The Sewanee Conglomerate

Named for the uppermost rock formation in Sewanee's corner of the Cumberland Plateau, the Sewanee Conglomerate is the magazine's blog. Check here for short pieces about books and current events written by SR staff and guest contributors.

July 2019

In On Beauty, Zadie Smith loosely retells or reinvents E. M. Forster’s Howards End, a novel best remembered for the dictum, “Only connect!” On Beauty, though, takes less interest in connection than in its failures, which Smith’s omniscient narrator describes with heart-stopping precision.

June 2019

Our Summer 2019 issue publishes online Monday, July 1, with the print issue following on July 9. The keen reader will notice rabbits abound in Summer 2019—in Michael Hawley’s “Somerville,” Anna Caritj’s “White Angora,” and Graham Barnhart’s “Collateral Rabbits.” What to make of all of these bunnies?

June 2019

If Bellow can’t really see the black neighborhoods that surround Hyde Park, if he depicts black men in his fiction only as sexual signifiers there to play upon the psyche of white characters, then Staples will write those omitted scenes. He’ll render the people and spaces in their complicated glory and failure. He essentially out-writes Bellow. It’s brilliant. Along with, say, the work of Eula Biss, it’s as good a Chicago personal essay as there is, and I aspire to that.

June 2019

These lines work because memory and love, respectively, are (to put it mildly) fraught, and overburdened with assumptions. Cruelty, when deployed with this kind of uncompromising, declarative honesty, evades cliché. And this cruelty is often mitigated by moments of uncanny grace.

June 2019

Managing Editor Eric Smith spoke to Olena Kalytiak Davis about the seven sonnets she published in our Spring 2019 issue. Davis, author of the 2014 collection The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems, discusses inspiration derived from Shakespeare and Kendrick Lamar, the writing process, and the preservation of the self.

May 2019

Dual Citizens is a gentle and moving exploration of what bonds us to those we love and the evolving strength or tenuousness of those bonds.

May 2019

On May 16, the O. Henry Prize, celebrating its 100th year of championing short fiction, announced its twenty winners. “Mermaid River” by Alexia Arthurs, which appeared in our Spring 2018 issue, was one of the lauded works.

May 2019

We recently learned that Malerie Willens's story, “Scandalous Women in History,” published in the Fall 2018 issue of the Sewanee Review, won a Pushcart Prize. Willens’s story is about a woman who stumbles into a job at a makeup counter at Saks and finds her way back to life.

May 2019

I’ve always favored open stanzas that allow their open-endedness to resonate with a meaning that remains unstated, but understood. Yes, the resonances may be misleading, out of context; how, then, to make them meaningfully misleading?

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