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North American Review

Water's Touch

Alyce Miller's poem titled "On Finding a Legless Doll at the Beach Called Park Facing Southeast, California" was published in issue 295.3 of the North American Review.

 

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I hate to start out with a cliche, but art really can make you starve. You can be a stalwart perfectionist when it comes to fine art, be it writing, music or the like. Fine, in that I mean something that builds on our love of the world in which we live, that speaks to the conscience, that speaks to the heart’s struggles, that builds on the true temperament of the human experience.  But, it can make you starve, when you don’t know when to put the pen down, the instrument that bends your will...

According to family stories, where we are “from” is a skein of yarn bound tightly around a wooden spool. The yarn is so plentiful that the shape of the skein is no longer oblong but rather more spherical. We are from Chuluota, Florida; from Richmond Hill, New York; Toronto, Canada; Croydon, England; Georgetown, Guyana; New Amsterdam, Guyana; Crabwood Creek, Berbice; Chennai, Tamil Nadu; Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh; Allahabad, UP; Patna, Bihar. After all of the yarn is unraveled, there is no...

Sometimes I wonder if I would choose the life of a freelance poet again - a life that means never feeling secure in a practical sense, a life that means never having a holiday or vacation with pay or even a steady paycheck or pension plan. Right now I am working on completing a 35th year anniversary issue of Lips, a poetry magazine I founded and still edit. Though because it has never had university or corporate sponsorship, I have never received a salary for it because, frankly,...

An epidemic of deaths hit our family over the five years beginning in 2010. I lost three brothers, a niece, an aunt, two grand-nieces, and a grand-nephew. The youngest to die was one month old, and the oldest had just passed his fifty-sixth birthday. The door to my writing life cracked open to let death in as I tried to make sense of each new loss. Some of that writing became elegies published in the Summer 2015 issue of Mezzo Cammin.

So why does death, or the fear of it,...

Is it too sweeping or just too obvious to say that from falling in love to creativity itself, we must be off-balance to become?

I find myself trying not to think about writing when I am writing (things themselves…but of course words fall into this category) and, then, thinking of it constantly when I am not. I have been told by smart, talented people that we all need to find a “balance” between writing and life. This dichotomy proliferates endlessly into the mythological “...

As I was writing the poem, "Composite Color," crayons had gone through a metamorphosis. There were no longer the eight basic colors of my day. They were replaced by a sixty-four color box and a growing sensitivity to racial connotations. Society had become a melting pot of cautious consciousness and the simple became complex. This simple characteristic was the trigger that changed a box of crayons into stickmen of racial segregation.

From the poem:
“a mixing bowl with no sense...

Our Baroque Sustenance by Dan Chelotti

When I was learning how to let poems be poems, I had meaning difficulties. As we learn to read poetry, this is a big problem: the facts shroud us from the mystery of the subject. Students often cry: “if I could only put a little bow on every little fact about poetry, compartmentalize them away into storage, and pull them out the next time I need to write a term paper.” But, alas, poems don’t like to be put into storage. Poems want to be draped over every living thing, and then they...

On "Goodwill" by Jason Lee Brown

After I publish a story, I usually enjoy feedback from my nonwriter friends more than my writer friends, though both are great. I grew up in a small town in central Illinois, and my hometown friends are blue-collar workers who find it amusing that I publish my little stories in journals they’ve never heard of. What I’ve learned from this feedback is that I know I have developed a good character when my friends say they know who in our hometown the character in my story really is. For me,...

Illustration by Matt Manley

Happiness is a changing thing. One of the first statements on happiness I remember as a child came from watching reruns of the TV show Taxi. At one point, the Danny DeVito character, a cantankerous individual, surprises a love interest with the line: "Happiness is hard to come by in this life, and you have given me more than my share." Eight-year-old me tucked that one away, mulling it over now and then throughout life afterwards.

The phrasing alone makes the argument. The...

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