This story is only available in the print edition of the Sewanee Review.
Lydia Conklin has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright, and a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. Their fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, One Story, and Virginia Quarterly Review. They are an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Vanderbilt University. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, was published by Catapult.
I feel uneasy when any critic announces a poet’s themes and thesis because, at a certain point, poems aren’t interested in anything other than the voices and words they inhabit. If I were so moved, I’d argue that Hạo’s collection doesn’t have a subject; and that his poems resist paraphrase.
This is the house where the boy was born, and where he played on the floor as a toddler while the Civil War began. The house was not where it is today, in a small park on the banks of the Wabash. It stood about a halfmile farther north, at 318 South Second Street in downtown Terre Haute, Indiana, a couple of blocks from the river, in a row of similar-looking structures that precisely one hundred years later were scheduled to undergo demolition.
The Cost of Living is an unfettered, honest look into Levy’s life and how she refuses to reduce herself in the face of turmoil: “Life falls apart. We try to get a grip and hold it together. And then we realize we don’t want to hold it together.”