On Overturning Roe v. Wade: A Note to our Readers

by Laura Cogan

Dear Readers, We recognize and are heartbroken by the monumental consequences of the Supreme Court’s radical decision to eradicate the federal protection of abortion rights. It is profoundly undemocratic on every level: in its grotesque distortion of the proper role of the Court, in its unjustified incursion on personal freedoms, and in its blatant advancement of minority rule. No state should have the right to force birth. It is subjugation. It is inhumane. It is extremism. Such outrageous incursions into the private healthcare decisions of families and individuals will only compound existing inequities in our country. We are clear-eyed about […]

Continue Reading

Q&A with Editor Natalie Eve Garrett: “The Lonely Stories” & Making Peace with a Solitary Life

by Sophia Carr

Has there ever been a more appropriate time for a chronicle of writers’ individual experiences with the state of being alone than now, in the midst of an isolating and prolonged global pandemic? The Lonely Stories (240 pages; Catupult), edited by Natalie Eve Garrett, gathers essays from a diverse set of acclaimed authors—including Jhumpa Lahiri, Anthony Doerr, Lena Dunham, Maggie Shipstead, and Lev Grossman—and examines everything from struggles with personal demons such as addiction, failed marriages, and the loneliness of being an immigrant facing racial discrimination to  the sense of liberation and creative stimulation that a solitary existence can provide—particularly […]

Continue Reading

Prose Poems, Memos, Hybrid Forms All Ride in This Taxi: A Dual Q&A with Sean Singer and Christine Sneed

by Sean Singer & Christine Sneed

Christine Sneed: I first met Sean Singer in the late 1990s. I was a poetry student in the MFA program at Indiana University-Bloomington and he was an undergraduate student. One spring semester he was granted permission to enroll in our MFA workshop, and as soon as he shared his first poem with the class, I was struck by how smart, playful, and mature his work was—in a word, precocious but absent any negative connotations. Not long after he graduated from Indiana University, I wasn’t surprised to learn he’d received the Yale Younger Poets Award for his debut collection, Discography. We’ve […]

Continue Reading

Announcing our next Writers’ Workshop: Writing Across Cultures with Vanessa Hua

by ZYZZYVA

Vanessa Hua

Our next remote Writers’ Workshop is Writing Across Cultures with Vanessa Hua on September 17th, 2022. (11am to 2pm PST via ZOOM). “Can I write about that?” The question of cultural appropriation is a complicated one, and so too its answers. In this discussion-based Writers’ Workshop, students will examine strategies for researching and portraying lives unlike our own, that reflect social and historical context and the fullness of a character’s humanity. Students will work on writing exercises and discuss texts by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Toni Morrison, Elaine Castillo, among others, along with instructor Vanessa Hua’s own interviews with authors who write […]

Continue Reading

Catch up on two of our most recent events, including an interview with Vanessa Hua

by ZYZZYVA Staff

In case you missed it: we’ve got handy Youtube links for two of our most recent ZYZZYVA-related events, including our Q&A with Vanessa Hua about her latest novel Forbidden City that happened at San Francisco’s The Booksmith on May 18th; as well as our May 19th Q&A with Ecuadorian author Gabriela Alemán about her new collection, titled Family Album: Stories, that occurred at City Lights Bookstore. What could be better than free literary-world entertainment, no? (And if you’re interested in reading more work from Alemán, do secure a copy of our latest issue, Issue 122, to read her story “School […]

Continue Reading

‘The Music Game’ by Stéfanie Clermont: A Disenchanted Life

by Sophia Carr

While it’s rare, there are some friends you make during your childhood that you keep for the rest of your life, and The Music Game (304 Pages; Biblioasis; translated by JC Sutcliffe), the first novel by Stéfanie Clermont, is a story of this kind of friendship. Primarily set in Montreal, the novel follows Céline, Julie, and Sabrina—three French-Canadian friends with differing life trajectories. Though this winding and unconventional novel often reads more like a collection of linked stories, the sum of it feels in conversation about the millennial experience in contemporary Montreal. Among the group, Sabrina deals with racism and […]

Continue Reading

The Immense Presence of the Mist: Q&A with ‘The Red Arrow’ author William Brewer

by Kristen Iskandrian

It’s probably fitting that I thought often of Keats while reading William Brewer’s The Red Arrow (Knopf; 272 pages), specifically, the odes, all of which seek to create vessels into which the unknowable and unnamable—the “alien corn” of existence—can be contained. Brewer is a poet, after all, whose brilliant collection I Know Your Kind, about

Subscribers only: to access this content, you must be a member of ZYZZYVA Studio. Membership is included with any subscription. Subscribe today, or if you are already a subscriber, log in to continue reading. (Read our FAQ for more details, and contact us if you have any trouble logging in.)

[…]

Continue Reading

Jonathon Keats and His Library of the Great Silence: More Autobiographical Than Science Fictional

by Shelby Hinte

In 1979, science fiction critic Darko Suvin popularized the term “cognitive estrangement” in his book Metamorphoses of Science Fiction. According to Suvin, cognitive estrangement, as presented in science fiction texts, “presents aspects of the reader’s empirical reality ‘made strange’ through a new perspective.”[1] Through the recasting of the everyday as spectacle, readers and viewers of science fiction are able to recognize their own reality and, in theory, “gain a rational understanding of the social conditions of existence.” (One need only look at the 10,000% [2] sales increase of George Orwell’s 1984 after Donald Trump’s inauguration to see but one example […]

Continue Reading

‘Forbidden City’ by Vanessa Hua: Beauty in the Brokenness

by Pia Chatterjee

It is an age-old tale: a young woman escapes the constraints of her provincial life to make her way to the big city, only to fall victim there to the machinations of an older, powerful man. But Vanessa Hua’s Forbidden City (353 pages; Ballantine Books), set in China just before the dawn of Mao’s Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, takes this trope and cunningly turns it on its head, making for one of the most compelling works of feminist and historical fiction in recent years. Unlike stereotypical ingenues, teenage Mei is morally ambiguous and neither beautiful nor beloved. She connives her way […]

Continue Reading

‘Monarch’ by Candice Wuehle: Dead Ringers and Sleeper Agents

by Maura Krause

Candy-coated nightmare is a familiar aesthetic by now. From TV shows like Stranger Things to movies like Birds of Prey, it is not unusual to see horror and violence shellacked in bright colors. Monarch (256 pages; Soft Skull), the first novel by acclaimed poet Candice Wuehle, wears the neon skin of such blockbusters while exploring much thornier intellectual territory, asking: what is the true meaning of self? On the surface, Monarch is a thriller, charting the life of former beauty queen and decommissioned clandestine operative Jessica Greenglass Clink. A child pageant star from the age of four, Jessica grows up […]

Continue Reading

ZYZZYVA Staff Recommends April 2022: What to Watch, Read, & Listen To

by ZYZZYVA Staff

Shelby Hinte, Intern: I was raised by a Texas vet and a Colorado Rockies free spirit, both of whom were raised on Southern rock and old school country. Dolly, George, Willie, and Garth were household names, as were Wynonna, Reba, Brooks and Dunn. The soundtrack of my youth was a Southern twang filled with hard living, harder drinking, and heartache—music about small towns, lovers torn apart, and cowboys. Despite my affinity for country music and its presence in the New Mexico desert where I grew up, there was a clear disconnect between the landscapes of its lyrics and the one […]

Continue Reading