Passion Tempered with Patience: An Interview with Paul Yamazaki

by Stephen Sparks

ZYZZYVA Volume 33, #2, Fall 2017

Paul Yamazaki made me want to be a bookseller. When I met Paul, I’d been working in bookstores for fifteen years, but it wasn’t until getting to know him and seeing just how established and comfortable he was with his place in the publishing ecosystem that I began to find a similar comfort myself. At the time, I was working as a manager and book buyer at Green Apple Books on Clement Street, and have since, at the beginning of 2017, become with my wife the owner of Point Reyes Books.  Paul has been at City Lights Bookstore for nearly […]

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Cathedrals of Hope

by Lauren Markham

In 2004, when I was first old enough to cast a ballot in a presidential election, I lived in a small Vermont town, population 1,136. It was home to farmland, a cemetery, a snowmobile shop, a church, an elementary school, and a town hall that most days sat empty and unused. The leaky clapboard house my three roommates and I rented was shared with mice that ate through our cupboards and a badger who lodged in an unfinished back room. My roommate Margaret used to sunbathe on our lawn to the occasional honk of a passing car; we all enjoyed […]

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Cathedral: Some Marginalia on Reading

by Paisley Rekdal

“It’s okay to be white,” reads the sign posted in November by the Social Work building on the University of Utah campus where I teach. White poster, fine black letters in Arial font. The sign disappears in a day, though photos are taken, passed via social media. Two posters with the slogan “Stop the Rapes, Stop the Crime, Stop the Murder, Stop the Blacks” are then taped up, each with a web address for the manifesto “Blood and Soil” written by Vanguard America. These, too, are torn down. Someone spray-paints racist epithets on a campus construction site. This is not […]

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The Great Danger: A Conversation with Arundhati Roy – Part II

by John Freeman

When Arundhati Roy’s long-awaited second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, appeared last year, some reviewers wondered what the writer from Kerala had been up to for two decades. She certainly wasn’t blocked. If you care about climate change, protested the war in Iraq, or have followed resistance to dams anywhere, she has been hard to miss. In fact, since 1995, the year The God of Small Things was published and won the Man Booker, catapulting the then-35-year-old novelist to worldwide fame, Roy has released more than a dozen works of reportage. Nuclear power, the state killing of Muslims in […]

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The Great Danger: A Conversation with Arundhati Roy – Part I

by John Freeman

The following is Part I of an Interview with author Arundhati Roy you can read in its entirety in Issue 113, available on our Shop page. When Arundhati Roy’s long-awaited second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, appeared last year, some reviewers wondered what the writer from Kerala had been up to for two decades. She certainly wasn’t blocked. If you care about climate change, protested the war in Iraq, or have followed resistance to dams anywhere, she has been hard to miss. In fact, since 1995, the year The God of Small Things was published and won the Man […]

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National Poetry Month: ‘Peaceful Waters’

by Paul Wilner

Run deep. The people we know, or think we know, or wish we were, if only we could find a way outside the prison of selfishness. Unlikely. One hundred years—or more— of solitude can’t break these walls. But, you know, there we have it. Other people. Maybe they can save us, maybe they can ruin us, maybe we can find a way into a twangy heaven, where people weep, and weep, and say how much they love us. What is love? Who is he, and what is he to you? Black, brown, beige and battered, like an old suitcase draped […]

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National Poetry Month: ‘Northern California’

by Rage Hezekiah

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’ll be sharing a poem a week from our archives. The following poem, “Northern California” by Rage Hezekiah, is from Issue 116. You can read more poetry by Rage Hezekiah in the issue itself, which is currently available from our Store. You stood at the edge of the stone fruit orchard while I scaled the ladder, a picking basket against my belly, brimming with shiny-ripe plums. Father, you came to California willing to farm at my side, practiced shattered Spanish with the men I’d befriended. When I left after lunch to get high, you never said […]

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National Poetry Month: “Object Permanence”

by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’ll be sharing a poem a week from our archives. The following poem, “Object Permanence” by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, is from our recent Bay Area Issue. You can read more great work from local poets in the issue itself, which is currently available from our Store. Yes, the red-tail who swooped across our windshield didn’t actually vanish in the gulley, circles still. And when the alarm wakes you, I trust that soft nest of curls will be safely conveyed  to hover at a chalkboard, fall in your eyes. But the calls keep getting closer. So straighten your tie, […]

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National Poetry Month: ‘A Moment in Time’

by John Freeman

The following is an excerpt from John Freeman’s forthcoming book of poetry The Park, out May 2020 from Copper Canyon Press. You can also read more of John Freeman’s poetry in Issue 115. On a windy day I come upon a woman crying to herself on a bench. The park has hidden her in its embrace and I must decide how to be, to stop or keep walking by, to pretend not to see? Or should I flinch at her pain, even as she, so dedicated to caroling her despair, does not. How pain does this, makes us its instruments. […]

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National Poetry Month: ‘We Californians’

by Meg Hurtado Bloom

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’ll be sharing a poem a week from our archives. The following poem, “We Californians” by Meg Hurtado Bloom, is from our recent Bay Area Issue. You can read more poetry from Meg Hurtado Bloom in the issue itself, which is currently available from our Store. We never admit we have a problem. We compress. We knead. We withdraw toxins. Sun-blind and blond-hearted, we hang around Valhalla, keeping old warriors alive. It’s all super-casual. Our host, the spectral Spanish king— whose every vein burned blue as winter wind, who left us names for every hillside— has betrothed […]

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Ring Around the Equator, Pockets Full of Acres

by Chia-Chia Lin

Chia-Chia Lin is the author of the novel The Unpassing (FSG). Below is an excerpt from her short story “Ring Around the Equator, Pockets Full of Acres” from the Bay Area Issue, which you can purchase at the link. You can also apply to our Fiction Workshop with Chia-Chia Lin by submitting here. When Delepine first started running, the air shredded her lungs. Like inhaling powdered glass. After a run, she kept right on sweating and her face kept coloring, peaking at its maximum carmine hue when she was doing something embarrassingly low-impact, like sitting at her desk and rattling […]

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Mrs. Sorry

by Gabriela Garcia

The first time I see her, she is buying cold cream. What she wants, she says, is a moisturizer that doesn’t feel heavy, doesn’t sit on her skin like so much weight. I lay out her options: whipped argan oil, cold-pressed and refined; our new micro-beading exfoliating lotion with gentle 7 percent alpha hydroxy; the best-selling hyaluronic acid-plus-B-vitamins gel with all-day-stay technology, patent pending. Her red fingernails tap the counter as she slides a credit card with her other hand. She buys all of them. A few days later I see her across my booth in the shoe department. She […]

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