8 Things You Can Do To Support the AAPIs in Your Life

by Mimi Lok

The following is a reprint of a Google Doc by author Mimi Lok. You can read the original document here. In the week since the Atlanta shootings, which claimed the lives of eight people—six of whom were AAPI (Asian American & Pacific Islander) women—I’ve seen my own experience reflected in the AAPIs around me in heartbreaking and illuminating ways. What has emerged most clearly are the layers upon layers of pain—the grief and anger for the victims and their loved ones, the fear for our own loved ones and for ourselves, and the added hurt of invisibility and silence within […]

Continue Reading

Lawrence Ferlinghetti: The Latin America Notebooks

by Mauro Aprile Zanetti

“He traveled a lot and he traveled light. He always carried a raggedy Pan Am bag about the size of a large toaster, in which he packed a change of underwear and an old navy tie in the unwanted event that a tie might be required somewhere, and he didn’t want to embarrass his host. And he always carried small notebooks, which he filled with images, poems, political observations, character sketches.” These are Nancy J. Peters’s words portraying her business partner and lifelong friend, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Her tribute to San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate was paid on the occasion of […]

Continue Reading

A Curse on Chavez Ravine

by Lou Mathews

I’m reading in the newspaper today and I see that Peter O’Malley wants to build a new football stadium, next to Dodger Stadium. Some of the neighbors are upset. ¡Que surprise! Some of them have been upset since the first O’Malley built the first stadium. That one was Walter. A big, smart, mean Irishman from Brooklyn. Muy duro. Always with a cigar Cubano. He had a full set of cojones and he always got what he wanted. Ask Brooklyn, they’re not over it yet. A good Catholic of course. He made sure the cardinal got good seats. The son they

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

Pen Pals of the Pandemic, Unite!

by May-lee Chai

My father at nearly 90 years of age can no longer safely live on his own so he has moved in with me, into my apartment in San Francisco. We’ve sold his home, auctioned off the lifetime accumulation of his possessions, boxed his books, stacked the remnants in storage. Then the pandemic hits and we can’t go to movies or museums or anything to break the tedium of being confined together in my small, studio apartment. Sartre thought he was being clever but not literal when he wrote No Exit, putting three narcissists in Hell made up of a single […]

Continue Reading

The Ever-Evolving Condition of Emigrating: Q&A with ‘Infinite Country’ Author Patricia Engel

by Oscar Villalon

In Patricia Engel’s new novel, Infinite Country (208 pages; Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster), the acclaimed author of Vida and The Veins of the Ocean explores a desolating aspect of the immigrant experience in the United States: the bifurcation of the heart, split between yearning for a better future and longing for the towns and cities left behind. As her protagonists contend with an immigration status that leaves them terribly vulnerable, and leads to a dreadful family separation—far from each other and from the places they still think of as home—the weight of loss is ever felt. It’s an emotion […]

Continue Reading

Ramiro

by Patricia Engel

Ramiro will tell you himself he was just another slum kid from El Cartucho. He lived in a one-room apartment with his mother and another family of seven who let them take up a corner. They’d come from Pereira with Ramiro’s father when Ramiro was just beginning to walk, but his father got stabbed beneath his ribs while shining shoes in front of the Palacio Nariño and Ramiro and his mom had to find their own way. He’ll tell you his story like he was some kind of miracle, not getting into basuco like every other kid in the sector.

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

‘Popular Longing’ by Natalie Shapero: To Remain in This Life

by Owen Torrey

At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, you can see a picture frame with nothing in it. The frame is nice enough: gold and engraved, waiting in a light-filled room on the second floor of the gallery. In this spot, in 1990, two men smashed the glass of Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee before cutting the canvas out of its stretcher and leaving with the stolen work in tow. The painting hasn’t been seen since. Still, the museum keeps the frame hanging: a symbol of its awaited return. In the longest poem in Popular Longing, the […]

Continue Reading

Q&A with R.O. Kwon and Kim Fu: Challenging the Narrative with ‘Kink: Stories’

by Corinne Leong

Sex in literature is the backdrop of the volta, of awakening. Sex represents the moment in which the character most deeply occupies their body, is most aware of their being, whether the experience incites joy or regret. But for all of the artful depictions of sex present in contemporary literature and other media, sexual kink has been largely neglected. The few representations of kink that do exist have assumed an exoticizing, alienating gaze, framing kink as something to be gawked at, commodified, rather than experienced. Editors R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries, and Garth Greenwell, who released his novel Cleanness […]

Continue Reading

Locking Down with the Family You’ve Just Eviscerated in a Novel

by Julian Tepper

On March 13, 2020, I was in Los Angeles, having flown there from New York for the launch of my latest novel. The event would take place at Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard, and we—my father, four brothers and stepmother, all locals, as well as my mother and son, who had come out west for the occasion—would have a night of celebration before I continued on with my promotional tour in points around the country. By afternoon, however, the book launch had been called off. That Friday the 13th in March, as you no doubt remember, was the day in

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

‘Let Me Tell You What I Mean’ by Joan Didion: Telling Things As They Are

by Zack Ravas

In times of crisis, we often look to the voice that is calm, rational, not prone to high emotion; perhaps it’s fortuitous, then, that a year into the global pandemic we’re receiving a new book from Joan Didion, one of our most controlled stylists—a writer known for her careful, neutral tone, and one who can observe an incident and report her findings with a precision that often belies the extremities of her subject matter. It’s right there in the title of this latest collection: Let Me Tell You What I Mean (149 pages; Knopf)—would readers really expect Didion to do […]

Continue Reading

‘Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino’ by Julián Herbert: The Inevitability of Influence

by David Emmanuel

It’s no surprise that Julián Herbert’s story collection, Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino (167 pages; Graywolf Press), features a cast of questionable characters, gory violence, and punchy dialogue—all are hallmarks of the eponymous screenwriter’s films. Within the collection, the profane becomes sacred and the sacred is made profane: a Mexican official throws up on Mother Teresa, a photographer films “gonzo-porno-AIDS movies,” and a journalism professor masquerades as author M. L. Estefania. As diverse as the lives and professions of these characters are, they are all Mexican men who are seeking a better life by traveling outside the bounds […]

Continue Reading

‘An Inventory of Losses’ by Judith Schalansky: The Innumerable Items of the Past

by Lily Nilipour

In the human endeavor of preservation, there is an intimate relationship between memory and those tasked with preserving it. In his essay “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire,” French historian Pierre Nora writes that “today…professional archivists have learned that the essence of their trade is the art of controlled destruction.” Among other things, this suggests that a true archivist has a love for not only what remains in the archive, but also what is lost. Memory is an art—the artist the recaller but also the forgetter. Judith Schalansky’s An Inventory of Losses (238 pages; New Directions), newly translated […]

Continue Reading