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August 11th, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Excerpt from Window by Dorianne Laux

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This poem appears in our Fall 2015 Print Issue. The entire issue is available for download in digital format.   if this is how it ends, then let it end, moth at the window, my mother’s face, shadows buried in her purse, maw of endless matches scratched black, useless keys, the worn leather wallet with its plastic windows in which we lived, our smiles fixed, our shirts clean for once, hair combed, faces scrubbed How she loved to flourish it, opening on a brass pin like a fan on a deck of cards,   face, face, face, face, face, face, — DORIANNE LAUX’S most recent books of poems are The Book of Men, winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize, and Facts about the Moon, recipient of the Oregon Book Award and short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Laux is also author of Awake, and What We Carry, a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and Smoke. Her work has received three “Best American Poetry” Prizes, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Laux teaches poetry and directs the MFA program at Noth Carolina State University and is founding faculty at Pacific Read the Rest…

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August 4th, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Excerpt from Exotropia by Goldberry Long

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The following essay appears in our January 2015 digital issue. The entire issue is available for download. You stand there wobbling on your big small feet, and though you have been walking two months already, since you were nine months old, you totter like these are your first steps, with your wandering eye and your infected inner ear, the water behind it confusing your sense of up and down and sideway. You spot the birds at the feeder just outside the window, and you point to them and “Oh! Oh!” Oh, your word for the world, for wonder and surprise, astonishment, for warning and accomplishment – earlier, diaperless, you called from the other room – “Oh! Oh!” and came to get me, “Oh,” and took me there, “Oh,” and pointed to the puddle you had made with your own body “Oh!” All at once it says, Look, and See, and Did you see too? As if the world could be contained in one gasp, one small snatch of sound that is, maybe, not a word at all. Wobbling in your moccasins with the train pictured on them, one foot the engine, one the caboose, your knees bowed, as if your Read the Rest…

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This essay appears in our Spring 2016 digital issue. The entire issue with its’ many offerings is available for download. As Christians engage more and more in an interfaith dialogue with Buddhism, and other faiths, they are constantly challenged by a vocabulary, which is very different from the one they know and love. This is especially true in working with and studying Buddhism, with its non-theistic approach to understanding the nature of reality. How may a Christian perceive and understand the Buddhist concept of Sunyata – Nirvana, written of in the Heart Sutra, Mahayana Buddhist literature? Where the Heart Sutra teaches Sunyata-Nirvana, is that, which is empty of emptiness, and is that, which, points a Buddhist to an experience and union with Ultimate Truth, Ultimate Reality, as the Perfection of Wisdom. A teaching that leads a Buddhist to great wisdom and compassion. How may we understand “emptiness is form, form is emptiness,” coming from a spiritual tradition like Christianity that is theistic? May a Christian embrace a non-theistic approach to understanding the Divine Mystery, and still hold on to their theistic relationship with the Divine?  My simple answer is, yes; an answer that I have learned from Paul F. Knitter, author of Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian, as well as other writers and theologians. I Read the Rest…

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The following essay appears in our July 2015 Digital Issue. Download it today to read the rest of Gina’s story and the entire issue. LIFE IS SIMPLER OUT HERE, but that doesn’t make it any less complicated. I haven’t seen another human being for several days. Not a car, a plane, or a machine of any kind, except for my own vehicle. It’s so quiet here in the middle of the Alvord Desert near the Oregon-Nevada border that I can hear the soft thud of my own heart. There are no bird calls, no insect noises. Coyotes howl and warble at dawn and then go silent, leaving only paw prints in the wake of their chatter. This morning, there is no wind. Airplanes don’t even fly over this stretch of southeastern Oregon desert unless they are landing here on the ancient lakebed where I have pitched a tent. The loudest noise right now is the sound of my bare feet on the cool, cracked earth. How many people are left on the planet who can say, “I heard nothing once?”      I return from a sunrise walk deep into the rolling sagebrush knolls and eat a breakfast of wild rice and Read the Rest…

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July 14th, 2016 at 11:49 am

Excerpt from Sabzeh by Katayoon Zandvakili

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The following poem appears in our February 2016 digital issue. Read the rest of Sabzeh and the entire issue by downloading it. “Sabzeh” is the term, in Farsi, for a kid who is like a blade of spring grass Sitting on the washing machine  thinking and talking out loud with my nanny    in Tehran     about the bones we were going to feed Snowy, the white German Shepherd stray and her pups on our block. With my nanny there, warm [ … ] contemplating the bones and the meat in the pink plastic baggies, Snowy and her eight pups waiting. My knees bony. Her hands rough and red. In the mornings, before school, sitting on the washing machine  thinking and talking out loud with her about the dogs, down below.   hey Listen—I was in love with you You ran some true white light at the beginning, yes, the smartest man I ever met—my truest shot, twin flame and all. You know how I build people up. But then, through some trick of fate or the angels almost, you showed your hand, it unfolded … and I could not stand how you spoke to me. 99 I love you’s and one Read the Rest…

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July 6th, 2016 at 11:33 am

Excerpt from Definitions by Sandra Kohler

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This was the 2013 Tiferet Writing Contest Prize Winner for Poetry. Read the entire poem and the rest of the issue by downloading it here.   i. Sunrise: luminous pink orange flare in the east. I wanted rain, solid respite, gray shelter. I make coffee in a blue mug today, not maroon. A token: something over, something begun. At sunset the Day of Atonement starts; the celebration of the New Year ending. Today is the first day of the year after my brother’s death. Whether I atone or mourn or give up mourning I’ll take the weather as I must. I won’t forget how much I want rain.   ii. On the porch, it’s tropical, the blue ether so humid you’re breathing water. My blue cup is full of coffee, my head of dream reflection desire distraction impulse story. This is the day of the second step, the third, journey’s labor. The new is not new. We are at the bottom of a gray sea, light filtering down laced with blackness. How much did it rain? Will it rain again? A swoop of bird in front of me then up to the porch, the second story. If the first story Read the Rest…

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The following poem appears in our January 2015 digital issue. Read the rest of Joyce’s poem and the entire issue. Say what you will, the dead disturb our disbelief, open our books and whistle across the hearth those cold nights no fire can warm. When she died, my mother’s heart stilled against my palm, that last beat shocked my hand and left me burned beyond thought. How the clock in my sister’s family room stopped dead the moment our mother expired twelve miles away. Open the books, open the books! — JOYCE KORNBLATT is a novelist (NOTHING TO DO WITH LOVE, WHITE WATER, BREAKING BREAD and THE REASON FOR WINGS) and short-story writer. She also writes essays and reviews for Parabola Magazine and other journals. For twenty years, she was Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Maryland in the United States.  She now lives with her husband, meditation teacher Christopher McLean, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Australia.

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June 16th, 2016 at 11:05 am

Excerpt from Acceptance by Joyce Lott

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This essay appears in our July 2015 digital issue. Read the rest of the story and the entire issue by downloading it today.   EVEN AS A CHILD, I wrinkled my nose, wrapped my hair around my thumb and forefinger, and took it as a compliment when someone said to me, “You don’t look Jewish.”      For years, I haven’t acted Jewish either (if there is such a thing as a Jewish way to act). I don’t just mean I haven’t worn my Jewish star. I mean I’ve avoided the stereotypes: talking with my hands, bragging about my kids, showing off my money, playing mahjong.      Last year, though, at the age of seventy-four, I chopped chicken livers in my grandmother’s wooden bowl, which I had had to search for in the recesses of my kitchen. I probably hadn’t used it in at least thirty years.      During those years, I didn’t think about chopping chicken livers—or about brisket or kasha of the High Holidays. Instead, I decorated dozens of Christmas trees, attached feathery birds to their branches, and perched a white dove on top. Cold winter nights, I roasted pork. When I told one of my friends, a poet I share work Read the Rest…

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This short story appears in our Summer 2014 issue. The entire issue is available for download in digital format. It came to pass, the young men cut down the trees to feed the campfire and cookstove, to barter for wares or wives, to make arrows and bows, clubs and spears – they built the temples and great bonfires as a gift to the gods; but in later years, they wearied of wandering a desert of their own making, erected houses and frivolous corrals for horses and sheep. And the birds, having no place left to rest or nest, to preen or sing a lullaby to their young, tuned their chords to the same key and leapt from the shores of Canaan into the Mediterranean Sea – forsaking life in Hebron and Schechem, Dothan and Kadesh, prophecies of greener pastures in the land of Ramses. Holding fast to the sunlit waves, they learned to waggle their rapid tails, kept still their fearless wings and rose not from the branches or rooftops but from the floating world – tilting to catch the breeze, eluding the Man-of-War, the Great White. — WILLIAM O’DALY is a poet, translator, fiction writer, and editor. His publications, Read the Rest…

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May 31st, 2016 at 11:31 am

Excerpt from Last Words by Stephen Dunn

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Stephen Dunn is the author of sixteen books, including Different Hours, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Since 1974 he has taught at Richard Stockton College of NJ, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. He’s also been a Visiting Professor at The University of Washington, NYU, Columbia, and The University of Michigan. He has read his poetry at The Library of Congress, and at many universities and colleges throughout the country.

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