Richard Russo
I was in junior high—as middle school was called back then—when I heard my first live band. The venue was the gym where we hormone-driven eighth-grade boys ran laps, climbed ropes, played dodgeball, and wrestled, in the process converting our recent cafeteria lunch—half a ham-salad sandwich and a shallow bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup—to methane.
Nonfiction Online Feature
John Jeremiah Sullivan
The one who concerns us now is this little strapping round comedian, whom the sisters, when they arrive, will nickname Pudley. His real name, or the name we know him by, is Paul Dresser. He will grow into one of the fattest men in America, and for a time its most successful songwriter.
Ben Loory
One night, the woman has a dream that the ocean moves in next door. She can see it in there rolling around, as she stares out the window across the hedge. Somehow the ocean’s all lit up from below—light’s sparkling through the clear blue waves.
Anders Carlson-Wee
Fair warning: I gotta roll my mother / every half hour or so to curb bedsores, / but I wanna hear this story. Just keep / it down cause she’s asleep and I need / the door cracked to hear her heart.
Justin Taylor
When Rick’s father died, and the mountain house became Rick’s officially, he’d talked about bringing the game out here, setting it up in the living room or the den. Instead he sold it and used the money to buy a ring for Sharon, who in time came to throw it into the lake that the house sits above.
The Conglomerate
Hear John Jeremiah Sullivan's rendition of "The Curse": by some definitions, the first blues song ever written. Composed by Paul Dresser in 1887 and subsequently lost to history, it has been recorded here for the first time.
Alexander Maksik
I was living then in a charmless apartment on the eleventh floor of a deathly building in the fifteenth, constructed in the seventies when Parisians, apparently lonely for the days when others were destroying their city, took a shot at doing it themselves.
Archival Content Poetry
Christian Wiman
It was when I walked lost / in the burn and rust / of late October that I turned / near dusk toward the leaf-screened / light of a green clearing in the trees. / In the untracked and roadless open / I saw an intact but wide-open house, / half-standing and half-lost.
Lee Conell
Our principal began his weekly remarks by telling us that one of the high school’s alums had just won a Nobel Prize. Earlier, my mother had shown me an article about it. “You see, Elena,” my mother had said, “what a good public magnet school can achieve?”
William Logan
The hard-polish, bank-floor / sheen of horse chestnuts / fall after fall showered us // with naval mines / fertile in the gloom, / each erotic as a Madonna // or the rosary beads of nuns.
Charlotte Pence and Adam Prince
On her final evening in Cartagena, thirty-two-year-old Margaret Lockwood-Showenwaldt took a laminated invitation offering discount drinks and a free buffet from a man wearing a bandanna over his face like a Wild West bad guy.
Ben Eisman
This was in downtown Chicago, a cold November night, 1992, at an almost-pretty-nice Italian place. I was seventeen, three inches taller than my father and thirty pounds lighter. He was a dentist, and I was the freshman at the University of Chicago whom he bragged about to his patients as they lay prone and gaping in his humming, pleather chair.
Archival Content Fiction
Cormac McCarthy
He never even felt the water. He couldn’t hear them any more, hadn’t heard them call since he left them somewhere backup the creek, when he hit the bullbriers full tilt, not feeling them either, aware only of them pulling at his coat and legs like small hands trying to hold him.
Gabriel Houck
Al makes his first appearance at night. He crosses the parking lot from the south, cutting a tangent across the lot between Parkview Baptist and the Hardee’s on 7th, then trips the motion sensor again, licking a hamburger wrapper as he steps up to the store’s window and peers in.
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