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.)

Paragraphs on Ice: Episode 2

by ZYZZYVA

Paragraphs on Ice: Andrew Sean Greer & Daniel Handler

How do certain sentences work on us as readers? What can we say about the beauty found in select pieces of prose? Daniel Handler and Andrew Sean Greer—best-selling authors and friends—take you along with them as they delightfully explore their favorite passages of writing in their video series for ZYZZYVA Studio.

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.)

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Three Windows Onto Rome

by Kirstin Valdez Quade

Santi Quattro Coronoti On the right wall of the basilica is a fragment of a fresco of San Bartolomeo. He’s a bearded old man, mouth obscured by damage, his eyes suspicious. His own wrinkled pelt is thrown over his shoulder like a traveling cloak. No longer the cheerful dandy, dressed in white with swinging purple tassels. (He took good care of that white tunic; for twenty years, across all those distances, it never showed signs of wear.) No, there on that wall, he lives immortal as he died: flayed bare. The son of the one who holds the waters on

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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

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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.

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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

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In This Annihilated Place

by Wanda Coleman

ZYZZYVA Volume 28, #1, Spring 2012

“Cast ’em out! For he deceives us all!” Some call him Preach, others call him Crazy John. We’ve called him out of his Christian name so much we’ve forgotten it. Most of us snigger at his ranting, sometimes to his face, daring the retort if he’s bold enough to make one. At those moments, he tightens his jaws, screws his lips sideways, and those crystal blue eyes either haze over or flash depending on who’s doing the taunting. Rarely does he remain silent. Usually, he’ll spit some variation on it, like it’s the only quote he knows. Maybe it’s the

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My Brain’s Too Tired

by Wanda Coleman

Mrs. Jackson, we’ve sat in silence for over five minutes. Perhaps you need additional time to gather your thoughts. Would you like to continue our session or should we reschedule? Continue. I’m sorry I stopped talkin’. But the mere thought of what I have to say exhausts me. It’s so heavy, Dr. Flowers. It’s as if my brain is worn to a frazzle. I haven’t heard that expression in years. My mother always used to say that. Ha! You find something funny? No. Not a damned thing. Just the opposite. Tragic. The first shrink I went to was some prize

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Ini Y Fati

by Carribean Fragoza

You would think that such an event, a bolt of lightning shooting out of the sky to strike a little girl in a vacant lot, would call immediate attention from the neighbors. But it did not. Only the dogs pointed their snouts to the sky and howled. Birds were startled into flight from their power line perches, but even they quickly settled back to roosting in the stillness of a late afternoon grown almost dark with pending rain. The sky had become heavy and shadowed, a rare experience during those years of drought when the blue sky imposed itself on

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The Manuscript in the Corner: A Conversation with Wendy C. Ortiz

by David L. Ulin

Wendy C. Ortiz and I met when she was an MFA student and I became her graduate mentor. She was working on the first draft of the manuscript that would eventually become Excavation (Future Tense; 2014), and even then, it was clear that this was remarkable work. Ruthless, self-interrogating, resolute in its unwillingness to look away, Ortiz’s book—which involves the sexual relationship she had with a teacher when she was an adolescent—represents an astonishing act of reclamation, an author writing her way back to her own life. Ortiz is not looking to lay blame so much as she is interested

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Paragraphs on Ice: Episode 1

by ZYZZYVA

Paragraphs on Ice: Andrew Sean Greer & Daniel Handler

How do certain sentences work on us as readers? What can we say about the beauty found in select pieces of prose? Daniel Handler and Andrew Sean Greer—best-selling authors and friends—take you along with them as they delightfully explore their favorite passages of writing in their video series for ZYZZYVA Studio.

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.)

[…]

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