The Bay Area Issue: Editor’s Note

by Laura Cogan

One day in July I ran into a colleague on my way to lunch. We commiserated about the state of the world, briefly, and then he asked me if I’d been to the Flower Piano program at the San Francisco Botanical Garden yet. He said he’d just been, and that after one of the professional performers finished her set, a few of the people milling around took turns playing. One played David Bowie’s “Life on Mars,” singing softly under his breath. Another, a child of about ten, played a classical sonata, with astonishing beauty. There’s still art here, he said […]

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In the Winter Issue

by ZYZZYVA

ZYZZYVA Volume 35, #3, Winter 2019

New writing from the East Bay to San Francisco, from the North Bay to the Peninsula. Fiction: Charlie Jane Anders, Rita Bullwinkel, Lydia Conklin, Chia-Chia Lin, Nina Schuyler, Michael Sears, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, and Andrew Roe. Nonfiction: Paul Wilner, Gloria Frym, and Lydia Kiesling. Poetry: sam sax, Meg Hurtado Bloom, Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, W.S. Di Piero, Sara Mumolo, Kevin Simmonds, Lady Nestor Gomez, and Matthew Zapruder. Interview: Dodie Bellamy and the late Kevin Killian. Art: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Janet Delaney. You can purchase a copy of No. 117 here, or order a subscription to ZYZZYVA now. […]

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How to help those affected by the California fires

by Zack Ravas

Northern California is once again faced with wildfires. We encourage you to explore this link from the Northern California Grantmakers on ways you can help the many people displaced by the fires. NCG provides a number of options, including vetted wildfire relief and recovery funds such as the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the Solano Disaster Relief Fund. Please feel free to share links to similar relief efforts in the Comments below. […]

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Letter from the Editor – Issue 116

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Dear Readers, At the risk of stating the obvious, most of us will spend a large portion of our waking hours working. For many people, the work they must do is in tension with the life they want to lead. For others, work is the site of the most profound expression of their life force. Many of us labor somewhere in the middle, as both our work and our sense of self are subject to major change over the course of time. And while work and life are not the same, the sheer number of hours devoted to work (or […]

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ZYZZYVA Issue 116 – Now Available for Pre-Order!

by Zack Ravas

Dear friends, the newest issue of ZYZZYVA is here! Issue 116 is now available for pre-order, and you won’t want to miss what we have in store for you. You can look forward to a collection of writing on the subject of labor, including fiction by Tommy Orange and Dagoberto Gilb; an interview with Jim Gavin, the creator of AMC’s Lodge 49 (catch the the premiere of Season 2 tonight at 10pm!); and essays by Michael Jaime-Becerra and Michelle Latiolais. You’ll also find poetry by Cedar Brant, Rage Hezekiah, Major Jackson, and Carl Phillips; and more prose by Andrew Altschul, E.K. Ota, […]

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In the Fall Issue

by ZYZZYVA

In this issue: Work Stories “Mrs. Sorry” by Gabriela Garcia: The young woman tending a luxury cosmetics counter knows of ravages beyond the aesthetic. “Wilshire and Grand” by Dagoberto Gilb: A construction worker’s coffee date with an old flame picks at knotty threads of memory. “Session Drummer” by Tommy Orange: More than the studio gigs, it’s managing an unstable father that’s truly challenging. “Todo Se Acaba” by Michael Jaime-Becerra: Working at the same supermarket chain that employs his father fuels Jaime-Becerra’s longing for other ways of being in the world. “Hospitality” by Michelle Latiolais: Every aspect of providing service at […]

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ZYZZYVA wins CLMP’s 2019 Firecracker Award for Best Magazine: General Excellence!

by Zack Ravas

We’re thrilled and honored to have won CLMP’s 2019 Firecracker Award for Best Magazine: General Excellence! We want to thank CLMP for all they do to support independent publishing; thanks to Poets House for hosting this event; and thank you to all our readers, contributors, and colleagues for inspiring and sustaining us in this work. And congratulations to all the finalists! The event in New York City proved a beautiful night of literary community. […]

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America Was Hard to Find

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Kathleen Alcott is the author of three novels, her newest being America Was Hard to Find (Ecco). Her new book tells the stories of Fay Fern and Vincent Kahn, and in doing so considers the cultural watersheds (such as the anti-Vietnam War movement and NASA’s space program) that occurred over pivotal decades of the United States’ recent history. The following is an excerpt from America Was Hard to Find. Alcott will be in conversation with Managing Editor Oscar Vilallon about her novel at The Bindery in San Francisco on Thursday, May 30.   PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA, 1961-1963 Letters from Charlie, unopened, […]

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ZYZZYVA & Ploughshares Subscription Bundle!

by Zack Ravas

Get the best literature from coast to coast this Memorial Day Weekend with ZYZZYVA & Ploughshares! Subscribe now and get two great literary journals –– ZYZZYVA & Ploughshares –– for one low price of $49.99. That’s 35% off the cover price! Beginning with the next issue of both Ploughshares and ZYZZYVA, subscribers will receive: 4 issues of Ploughshares (print and digital) 4 issues of ZYZZYVA Free submissions to the Ploughshares regular reading period Don’t delay –– subscribe now before this offer ends!* *Offer valid though May 28th, 2019. […]

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‘What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About,’ edited by Michele Filgate: A Complex Bond

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In What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About (288 pages; Simon & Schuster; edited by Michele Filgate), fifteen writers grapple with the unexpected developments and shortcomings of their relationships with their mothers. In her introduction, Filgate explains that while each individual essay is an achievement in itself, together they work to address the ways we tend to idealize our mothers, as well as reflect honestly on the imperfect relationships we forge (and sometimes end) with them over the course of our lives: Acknowledging what we couldn’t say for so long, for whatever reason, is one way to heal our […]

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In the Spring Issue

by ZYZZYVA

In this issue: On Art Nonfiction Sallie Tisdale on touring the antiquities of Rome, Glen David Gold on tracking down a Gorey original, Heather Altfeld on the enduring gaze of John Berger, Paisley Rekdal on erasure and Paul Klee. Fiction Ben Greenman’s “Polyptych” (a divorced man and a painting that must be observed just so), Toni Martin’s “Director’s Cut” (a woman’s life as reconfigured through a foreign filmmaker’s sensibilities), and Peter Orner’s “Pacific” (an elderly couple—a sculptor and a potter—and the very end of things). Poetry Dan Alter, Denver Buston, Troy Jollimore, Rusty Morrison, Mira Rosenthal, and Alexandra Teague. In […]

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On Creating the Orcas Island Lit Fest

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When my friend Jule Treneer asked me if I wanted to start a literary festival, we were standing in a park, watching his son bounce up and down on a trampoline. It was summer, and I felt, like the boy, that I had excess energy to burn. The festival’s shape and focus were amorphous, but the location was definite. Orcas Island, a beautiful, two-lobed protrusion of volcanic plate in the San Juan archipelago in Washington State, but so far north the island is tucked into Canada. Orcas was a key place for Jule growing up, and his mother had recently […]

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