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creative nonfiction

Drinks next to a window

I ate a dead man’s tiramisu this past summer.  I did not plan such a macabre act; one rarely does.  My husband Ryan and I had just become new residents to New York City and new regulars to a French patisserie and café two blocks from our apartment—when the owner and head chef, Jean-Francois, dropped dead from a heart attack.   He was forty-five.  I had seen Jean-Francois several times.  A no-nonsense man, he brought out warm trays of croissants, scones, and baguettes, even in the...


The story about Beauty came to me in a conversation with a good friend who was asking about the origins of Louisiana Creole people. One thing that kept rising to the surface was this idea that Creoles (especially women) are generally known for their beauty and not much else. Of course, Louisiana Creole women have so many other attributes, as women of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds have, but our supposed beauty is something that arrives over and over again in our family narratives. So...

Michelle Cacho-Negrette reflects on writing the piece "First Husband," published in our latest issue, 300.3, Summer 2015.

Daniel Zender

How long did it take me to write "First Husband...

Michael Spence discusses perseverance throughout his career and the success it brought him, and ultimately what he learned from Carol Channing. He last appeared in the North American Review with his poem "Consensus" in issue 298.2, Spring 2013. He also discusses "Consensus" in an...

How can a paper napkin turn into a poem?

Easy. But hard. Link it with a loved person and fire. Flame is the link in my poem "To a Great-Grandmother Who Loves Fire." Human beings have long been fascinated and ignited by it. Think of fire warming the hearth, or cut-down trees burning into smoke and flying up a stone chimney into cloud. The lady in my poem had the lively curiosity of a femal Prometheus, the good blood of a lively red-seeded pomegranate, and a spirit that struck a...

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