instagram logo tumblr icon

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Latest Blogs

Latest Blogs

I consider myself an activist as well as a poet, and have long debated whether the twain need meet. I believe in poetry’s power to move people and that we are all products of our time, so even a small detail in a poem might hint at a problem of the day. For example, say lovers are strolling along a riverbank at night, and some of the...
My poem “The Cheshire Cat Effect” reflects my interest in the intersection of quantum mathematics and poetry. This is an interdisciplinary field that’s really got me excited these days because I feel like there’s a lot of productive thinking to be done about the relationship of the arts and the sciences. And also our culture, whether it’s...
American Eye: What Makes Bernie Run? by Stephen Minot was featured in issue 274.4. In the December 1989 issue of North American Review, Stephen Minot began his profile of Bernie Sanders with the following: “The political career of Bernard Sanders is a succession of impossible events. How does an outspoken socialist from Brooklyn become mayor...
Shoe
A few years ago, a writer named Matthew Batt (check out his great book Sugarhouse) visited my school in Florida to read. As part of the gig, he talked to my creative nonfiction class and opened with the question: What pair of shoes do you remember best?  Students I had been trying to coax out of their shells all semester long finally emerged...
Childhood dream
MOST ACCIDENTS OCCUR AT HOME   Nobody tells you this: Every day is a creation story.   You’ll make a dome of light over waste and welter some of the time, then wake one night   on your side of the bed and remember: There weren’t many happy endings.   First the ripe fruit. Then the way he turned from her, said it was her idea.  ...
Illustration by Matt Manley
Ideas for a project beyond survival A friend says my picture looks like I am throwing a dazzling parade of ideas. I don’t have any ideas for a project beyond survival. This is from a project I am calling Survival. What am I currently working on? I am currently working on not getting sick/fired/overdrafted/divorced. I am currently working on...
I do not mean to come off as overly idealistic. I can't feed, clothe, and provide compasses to all of the lost, broke, talented, and up-and-coming writers out there anymore than I can sustain myself. What I can do, however, is talk about submitting to literary journals from an empathetic standpoint, if only because for the last nine months I...
Chinese Wedding
“Chinese Bride, 1999” was inspired by a story Xiaolong (“Little Dragon”), one of my Chinese students, told me about his sister during the fall semester of 1998 when I taught English at Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.  Many in my class of about twenty-five students already had American names and Xiaolong’s was Kevin.  He loved to sign...
Radar When the bats tore from our attic through the dilute dusk, we on the lawn watched them satisfy their summons, the adults explaining natural radar, a human deafness we would grow to accept. They rode like the sheets on our pulleyed laundry line, parallel to the meadow, lofted by a ditch of wind or my expectation they drop down to us....
When I first began my thumbnail sketches for the cover illustration, it was snowing. Outside my studio window, the Connecticut landscape was getting a small covering of our usual winter guest. Snow transforms: it hides all the cracks and divots, and just for a moment you might think the world is smooth and reflective. Cold marble to the touch...
When I received the invitation to post on the blog (my first), I’m ashamed to say that my initial reaction was one of horror. I quickly came to see that that reaction had something to do with why I write poetry. For me, poems are like little postcards thrust anonymously through the mail slots of people’s hearts. A little like valentines from...
Making "Territory"
There’s an entry in my diary from August 2014. I remember writing it. I was propped up on the bed of an old caravan I’d rented and which sat smack bang in the middle of a wildlife park in the Northern Territory, Australia, where I was researching for a novel about animals. The wildlife park housed thousands of captive native animals—...
Plane
Some poems percolate for decades, waiting to be born. My friend and baritone sax player Rick Countryman tells a story about working in a band that played behind an Elvis impersonator. When I heard this story, Rick and I were sharing a tumbledown house in Seattle that had no heat. In the winter, I’d open the stove and stand in front of it for...
Seventy years after the ten minute jury deliberation that sent him to the electric chair at age fourteen, George Stinney, Jr., was exonerated of the murders he had been convicted. When I read the story, I was, of course, deeply disturbed. Disturbed by the glaring injustice. Disturbed by the similarity to the circumstances surrounding the...
Michael Spence's poem, "The Unbroken Code" was an Honorable Mention in the 2009 James Hearst Poetry Prize from issue 294.2. Note from the author: "The image of blackberry vines coming over the back fence and encroaching on the yard of a childhood home came to mind as I found myself writing a poem about my father. It occurred to me that his...
My characters never write their endings. I feel exasperated when I hear writers say ‘the characters just took over and the story seemed to write itself’, as if the writing could be a glide through the first draft and revision, or maybe no revision. The length and the very nature of the short story, its economy, precision and mystery, suggests...
Angel Dust
For the 2016 spring issue of The North American Review, I was inspired to have the viewer of the magazine be an outsider peering in. Since “Angel Dust” deals with magical moments in secret, it gave more importance that the readers are looking from the outside. I recently started to buy more photography books for reference and found this...
“Don’t be afraid to get really strange,” my dad told me several summers ago, while helping edit my first novel. “You can always scale back later.” As always, I took his advice to heart. For, as a writer and creative writing professor, Dad’s editorial input was invaluable. These would be his last words of advice to me about writing. Dad, along...
My essay, "Rays," appears in the 301.2, Spring 2016, issue of North American Review. I'm particularly happy about the publication of this personal narrative. "Rays" affirms my hope that the prose I'm most proud of might also have value to others. This piece inspired me to write more creative-nonfiction and inevitably led to my book-length...
Shawn Pittard's poem, "Fall Creek" was an honorable mention in the James Hearst Poetry Prize in 2009. His poem is featured in issue 294.2, Spring 2009 and can be still be purchased through our online store. Notes from the author: As my fiftieth birthday approached, my friend—the poet Kathleen Winter—asked if I planned on writing a poem to...
I began “Ullage” one morning—almost all of my poems are written between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m.—in a darkened room, in a 250-page notebook I bought (one of several) at a paper store in Florence called Tassotti (sadly no longer there), a company founded by Giorgio Tassotti in Bassano del Grappa (Northern Italy) in 1957, having taken over the...
We who are poets know that the reason for a poem is not disclosed until after the poem exists.                                           —Thomas Merton TO HISTORY— You will not remember me. And I will not remember you. So while we are keeping company, please note the blue delphinium climbing past the window.   When this poem was selected as a...
“As if the world were not what we make it, pulled by dogs down streets so dark, the sound of a river is almost a kind of light.” Let me be clear, I lifted this line from George Looney’s Animals Housed in the Pleasures of the Flesh nearly two decades ago, and I’ve been carrying it around with me ever since. The sentiments in this verse form...
Vincent Peloso's "The Boy in The Men's Locker Room" was a finalist in the James Hearst Poetry Prize in Spring 2010 issue. The Boy in The Men’s Locker Room The boy in the men’s locker room tries not to stare as I strip off my clothes. How big, how hairy and how old I look. I remember being a boy enrolled in lessons, signed up for swim team,...
The artist who is nourishing hau is not self-aggrandizing, self-assertive, or self-conscious, he is rather, self-squandering, self-abnegating, self-forgetful—all the marks of the creative temperament the bourgeoisie find so amusing. (hau: a Maori word meaning spirit, particularly the spirit of the gift and of the forest, which gives all food...

Pages

FIND US:
North American Review
1222 West 27th Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50614

CONTACT US:
Phone: 319-273-6455
Email: nar@uni.edu

FOLLOW US:

instagram logo tumblr icon

 

SUBSCRIBE TO US:

Go to Online Store

Up to Top