Tag: -recirc-suppress

Alice Adams’s Afterlife

It’s just one of the tough truths of being an artist that you can publish 17 books and dozens of short stories—in both the big commercial magazines and the beloved literary journals—and wind up, two decades after your death, a footnote. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a renaissance. The posthumous salvation of our literary foremothers seems to happen regularly these days: Jean Stafford, Lucia Berlin, Bette Howland. Now it’s Alice Adams’s turn.

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The Suffrages

Freedom doesn’t think on us.

It’s not
a god,

                                                it’s a word

we further

(a word we once tore down
forests to tell)

                                               and by “we”

I don’t mean something
you or I have not had
a small part in defining.

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a patch of dandelions
in their seedhead prime

each calls out to be picked

a puff of breath or two
will launch

their wish and ours

but the artist
doesn’t obey instinct

she plucks a hopeful head
and contemplates it

she dismantles
hair by hair
each radial wicket
from its nodule

a pile of fractal fluff
a single naked nub

she glues each whitewinged
to a thread             she sews

a whisper of a web
and weight

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The Reenactment

What mattered in early wars
was the cavalry marching through
deep muck, the fife & drums,

stern ravens, words called out
across small, stagnant ponds.
They tell us every landscape longs

to be a battlefield. Someone
fires a cannon the size of a cave,
and we watch as shockwaves

italicize the trees. We, the living,
try channeling the original grief.
But this battle is nothing like

I thought it would be.

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Rupi Kaur Is the Writer of the Decade

Rupi Kaur has published two books: 2015’s Milk and Honey, 2017’s The Sun and Her Flowers. Her epigrammatic verse is spare, the offspring of classical aphorism (if you’re feeling generous) and the language of self-help. The poems have a confessional, earnest manner; disarmingly full of feeling, they can be easy to dismiss. Nevertheless, Rupi Kaur, a Canadian poet who is not yet 30 years old, is the writer of the decade.

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Tian’anmen Sonnet

Dead air in air
The anniversary of language
holds you back against
bucolic dreaming, down stream
from here is running
a miraculous color, elegy

bursts like a ribbon in air
Thinking again of the Square today
Bold sky, passing episodes of cloud
Vegetation mutters in the Far West

A column of ghosts
goes lilac over time
Familiar song looping overhead
Lines pressed in air

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In Essays One, Lydia Davis Goes Big

Lydia Davis would begin this review simply. So I will. So I am. So I have. Which tense is right? I suppose they all are, or each might be, depending on what I mean to do here. I suppose the fact that I’m thinking about this at all is because I’ve been reading Lydia Davis.

ESSAYS ONE by Lydia DavisFarrar, Straus and Giroux, 512 pp., $30.

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