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Craft of Writing

Philip Dacey's "Leaves of Lucre" was published in the North America Review's 2009 spring issue.

Author's note: “Leaves of Lucre” appears in a completed but as as-yet-unpublished book manuscript of poems entitled The Ice-Cream Vigils: Poems on the Life and Work of Walt Whitman. If the book is ever published, it...

Notes on “The Archeology of Music” from issue 300.2, Spring 2015

My father had a certain expression on his face whenever he played. His eyebrows arched high on certain notes and his forehead would round and dip in anticipation of a run. The correct embouchure for a clarinetist tightens the lips and flattens the chin into the...

Around 5:30 PM on Monday, December 8th, 2014, a couple down the road from me, Patricia and Stuart Little, both in their 70s, returned home from a shopping trip. When Mr. Little fell while getting out of the car, Mrs. Little was physically unable to help him up. At that time, like most houses along the rural Creek Road, the Little's were in the dark, owing to a storm-wrought power outage which rendered the Little's home phone useless. Presently there's no steady cell service in this remote...

Happy New Year from us at the North American Review! Holidays this year are being just perfect with falling on all these Throwback and Flashback days. Bobbie Ann Mason's story "New Ground" was published in issue 268.2 back in 1983. Here's to another awesome year! Cheers!


Andrea Potos's poem, "Each Self" won the James Hearst Poetry Prize in 2004. Her poem is featured in issue 289.2, Spring 2004.

Notes from the author: As my daughter is now on the verge of leaving for college far away from home, I reflect again on what she inspired in me when I wrote this poem years ago: all the invisible, infinitesimal, yet totally inescapable changes that propel us forward, willingly or not, into new lives.
Each Self

My six-year-old...

I have never been able to write at home. I can edit at home, but I cannot create. “Writing at home” is code for doing laundry, watering plants, googling my name, grooming my eyebrows, checking email, researching anti-frizz product, eating chocolate, decoupaging planters and petting the dog. Because of my complete lack of at-home-self-discipline I have always written at a Starbucks. This practice started in 1999 when I lived in Seattle, WA, which makes sense given Seattle is the birthplace of...

I’ve been thinking lately about fiction and nonfiction, how they can merge and separate until one becomes the other.  Especially I’ve been thinking about the technique of pause in nonfiction, a liberal stepping outside, pausing the narrative, to pursue a possibly fictional what if this had happened?


Most of us have two eyes. And with those two eyes we see things that others see. But
because my eyes are different from yours and hers and his, nothing we see can ever be seen the
same way.


To make matters worse, when we try to communicate what we see, the reality we try to capture is never accurate. It can’t be. It’s impossible to see something and communicate exactly what we see because the words we use to describe an image are just, well, words. Take the human...

Happy Holidays from us at the North American Review, to you! It's that time of year when we think about what Christmas means to us and why we do what we do for Christmas. We dug into the archives to find this gem. Avis D. Carlson's "Our Barbaric Christmas" was published in issue 231.1 back in January of 1931.  They talk about how they wish for Christmas to be a little more "civilized".



“Aleister Crowley Lipogram” is written in a form that excludes one or more letters of the alphabet. A few years ago, my friend Wisconsin poet Mark Zimmermann further refined the lipogram by developing first-person...


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