On the Art of Interviewing

by Michael Krasny

I learned an important lesson interviewing David Byrne. He was (and is) an artist I respect and admire, but he was a terrible interview. Monosyllabic grunts were what I got from him as well as a clear indication that he simply did not want to be there, in the studio, being interviewed. Sometimes you can

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Interoffice Memorandum 10/18

by Christine Sneed

Date:   October 18 To:      All Quest Industries Employees From: Mid Level Management  Subj:   Returning Full-Time to the Office Please be advised that as of one week from today, we will resume full-time work in our offices at 1 E. Wacker Drive, i.e. we will no longer observe a 3-days-in-office/2-days-remote schedule. Please do not grouse about this policy within our earshot. We have no intention of changing our minds! Please also be advised that air fryers and heavy metal-extracting saunas are no longer permitted on these premises. The City of Chicago’s Public Works Department recently informed us that overuse […]

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‘Tell Me the Truth About Love’ by Erik Tarloff: A Bump in the Road to Romance

by Paul Wilner

Erik Tarloff’s new novel, Tell Me the Truth About Love (Rare Bird Books; 360 pages), is at once a comedy of manners about the not-so-smart set of San Francisco society, a sex farce complete with a mistaken identity subplot that could have come out of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Forum, and a deeply serious examination of just how rocky the road to romance can be. Toby Lindeman makes an inherently undignified living as fundraiser for the San Francisco Opera, which helps him support his ex-wife and teenage daughter. But a chance meeting with Amy Baldwin, […]

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‘Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow’ by Gabrielle Zevin: Life as a Game

by Emily Garcia

If ever there were ever a novel that replicates the addictive, multi-level quality of video games, it would be Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (416 pages; Knopf),an endearing and loving portrait of three friends who start their own video game company. When they’re eleven, Sam and Sadie meet at the hospital. Sadie’s sister, Alice, is recovering from leukemia, and Sam is recovering from a terrible car accident that practically destroys one of his feet, an injury that haunts him throughout his life. As they wait around, they begin to play video games together, developing the bridge of play […]

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‘Sleeping Alone’ by Ru Freeman: Snippets of Life

by Megan V. Luebberman

Sleeping Alone (202 pages; Graywolf Press), author Ru Freeman’s newest book, leads readers on a journey into the lives of a variety of unique individuals. In this collection of eleven short stories, Freeman utilizes a different point of view in each to tell of struggles with identity, loss, love, and more. Along the way, she reveals how thinking deeply about our own lives, contemplating our choices, and trying to make meaning of it all is simply a part of being human. The conflict in some stories involves familial relations, such as “The Wake,” which relates how an eccentric mother’s antics […]

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May 17th, 1974

by Dagoberto Gilb

“Slauson,” Sherry said. “Doesn’t that sound…maybe Watts, like that, to you?” “What?” Danny said making the word shorter than it already was. “It’s kind of a ghetto name, right?” Danny might have looked up and away irritated if he wasn’t driving her car. Slauson was the name of the street they were on, wide and

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‘Fudekara’ by Liliana Ponce: Evolution Through Repetition

by Roz Naimi

“Why write confessions? Why confess the written?” asks Liliana Ponce in her poetry collection Fudekara (44 pages; Cardboard House Press; translated by Michael Martin Shea). Ponce is a poet and scholar of Japanese literature from Buenos Aires, Argentina, who incorporates her knowledge of Japanese culture into her work: “Fudekara” is a Japanese neologism created from the terms “fude” (brush) and “kara” (from) to mean “from the brush.” Written over the course of a Chinese ideograph calligraphy class the author took in 1993, Fudekara takes as its subject the stroke: the iterative, meditative practice of putting pen to paper. The collection […]

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Q&A with Rage Hezekiah: ‘Yearn’ & Dispelling the Secrecy

by Chiara Bercu

Rage Hezekiah’s Yearn (65 pages; Diode Editions), the winner of Diode’s 2021 Book Contest, makes an active inquiry into notions of bodily autonomy and limitation, resilience, and an evolving sexuality—charting what Nate Marshall describes, in his blurb of the poetry collection, as a stunning exploration of “the erotic, the familial, and the mundane.”  Hezekiah is a New England-based poet and educator and a recipient of Cave Canem, Ragdale Foundation, and MacDowell Colony fellowships. She is the author of the poetry collection Stray Harbor (Finishing Line Press) and the chapbook Unslakable (Paper Nautilus). Her poetry has appeared in the Academy of […]

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The Murmuring Killed Me

by Peter Orner

Every few years or so I go to visit my dead at Beth El Cemetery in Fall River, Massachusetts. It’s across the street from a Cumberland Farms. My grandfather always said that being dead didn’t seem so bad if he could run over and grab a pack of cigarettes and the Fall River Herald. On

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Watch our City Lights Bookstore Event for Issue 123: The Poetry Issue

by ZYZZYVA Staff

In case you missed it: you can now watch our recent remote event celebrating the release of Issue 123, our Poetry Issue, with iconic San Francisco bookstore City Lights! Enjoy readings by contributors Maggie Millner, Victoria, Adukwei Bulley, Ruth Madievsky, Chris Carosi, and Joan Baranow. The event was emceed by Zyzzyva’s Managing Editor, Oscar Villalon. You can watch it via the embedded video below. […]

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

by ZYZZYVA Staff

Isabelle Edgar, Intern: I had never seen a movie that felt so much like a poem until I saw Petite Maman (2022), directed by Céline Sciamma. Like a poem, the movie is quite short –at just seventy two minutes– and quiet, with only one song in the whole movie (a trademark of Céline Sciamma; think Portrait of a Lady on Fire). Like a poem, Petite Maman’s silence is as meaningful as its words. You have to lean in, kneel down, and listen closely: a whisper from a child’s lips. As the lead in the movie says to her father and […]

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Deadline Approaching for our next Workshop: Writing Across Cultures with Vanessa Hua

by ZYZZYVA

Our next remote Writers’ Workshop is Writing Across Cultures with Vanessa Hua on September 17th, 2022. (11am to 2pm PST via ZOOM). The deadline to purchase a ticket is September 15th. “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 […]

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