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Literature

James Hearst

[B]urned in the bold air above you
in Black Hawk County
are the proudest words we can speak:
Here is a man.

Let the earth be lucky.

from Paul Engle’s poem “James Hearst” in the ...

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In Honor Of The Thanksgiving Holiday, The North American Review Would Like To Start A Series Of Posts This Week And Hopefully Continue Throughout This Season To Show Thanks To All Of Our Contributors For Their Works Of Literature And Art. 

Cornucopia ...

Two boys

“Scenes from a Life of Sport” by Robert Shuster was published in NAR issue 301.3.

Some years ago, a friend of mine asked the writers she knew to compose a short piece, on any subject, as a gift for her thirtieth birthday. I found the request delightful—I was, I must admit, rather smitten with Jan’s charms—but didn’t quite know what to do. Something philosophical? Something funny? A page of...

Just out of graduate school, only a few reasonable publications under my belt, I landed a job at a small Lutheran College in the upper Midwest. That neither my wife or I knew that far, flat land of small towns, corn farms, and dying industry didn't matter. What mattered was that we were off on a new adventure, that we were starting this new, gainfully employed part of our lives....

My mother may have been the first American practitioner of feng shui. Before this ancient Chinese philosophy of bringing harmony to the home by moving furniture and other objects to create a balance – sort of an external chi thing – became popular among the trendy, New Age, upper-class, my mother was moving things around our home to restore balance and harmony. During the 1950’s when I was still in grade school, my...

Our first journey from womb to earth is a gendered passage. From our first words, the language we speak and later read and write is informed by gender. The origin of “gender” is from the Latin (Oxford English Dictionary) generare, meaning: to “produce by natural processes, to give rise to, engender.” I was struck by the softening “en” of “engender,” which felt like a blurring of gender’s certainty. My OED defines “engender” as transitive...

"STANDING DEADWOOD" originally appeared in issue 294.3-4, May-Aug 2009. The first half of Thomas M. Atkinson's short story "Standing Deadwood" was featured yesterday June 6, 2015.


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When she was about nine years old, my daughter Lillian asked me to write a poem about her. I told her I would try.

She had seen me writing poems since she was a toddler, and she had heard me give poetry readings, and she had seen journals with my poems in them.  She knew I could write poems, and she really wanted me to write her a poem.

So I tried and tried.  I thought that I could write her a...

If I could sprout wings and fly anywhere in the world, where would I go?

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Maybe to an overseas perfumer where I’d try new fragrances all day long, or fly back in time to the earliest history of perfume ~ a narcotic blue lotus...

Writing starts from the world—doesn’t it?—something you see or hear, or hear about. Newspapers. TV. Restaurants. Coffee Shops. Family Reunions. Bus Stops . . . a “trigger,” was how Richard Hugo put it, and it arrives from anywhere, anytime, like meteors, fish bites, hail, or dawn. Sometimes it can be as simple as a word. Take sabotage, coming to us from sabot, the French word for wooden shoe. The first instances of “sabotage” were likely peasant revolts against oppressive landowners,...

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