The sun has not yet set on climate activism and our potential for a bright future. So say Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua, the editors of a new collection of essays and interviews, Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story From Despair to Possibility (200 pages; Haymarket Books). Not Too Late features the voices of advocates who have been through the mill in the fight against climate change; they show us that giving up is not an option. They have become thick-skinned and resilient, and their writing offers a guide for us to turn to when we need revitalization. […]
In Tom Comitta’s new work of fiction, The Nature Book (272 pages; Coffee House Press), we never encounter a human being. Taking the form of a literary “supercut” that pieces together words from over 300 novels, Comitta’s collage redirects our attention to the life force that pulses through land, water, time, and outer space. Comitta (they/them) uses ornate prose to describe how time moves across seasons to paint a fresh picture of the world and how all nonhuman life fits into it. A standard fast-paced plot is replaced with a gentle rise and fall in action that decentralizes any characters—wolves, […]
Value is everything. You can tell a lot about a society by what it values. In America, things that move tenaciously with the bravura of a cha-ching—like buildings, prescription pills, and personal data—are big business, practically a national pastime. But what about the arts? The arts are trickier. Art is messy, it’s too human, and by virtue of provoking thought and reflection, too ambiguous (although the market for fine art makes capital use of ambiguity). How do you judge art? What’s it worth? What does it mean? Where’s it from? Who cares? Scott Timberg, former arts reporter for the Los […]
1996 Irvine Welsh is “Mikey Forrester” “I’m playing this drug dealer who’s probably one of the most unsympathetic characters in the book, cause, probably kinda manipulative and nasty and sort of horrible guy so, a lot of people will be saying sort of type-casting again, you know?” —Irvine Welsh, in a video interview from the set of Trainspotting in June 1995 To the strains of Bizet’s Carmen, Renton (Ewan McGregor), a young Edinburger junkie, makes fastidious personal preparations for kicking heroin, the final step of which is obtaining one last hit from his dealer, Mikey Forrester. Mikey appears, smirking like […]
Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film, Fargo, begins with the following statement: “This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”
Fans of the films of the Coen Brothers simply must read Troy Jollimore’s essay “The Fixers” from Issue 120, the Technology issue. Through the lens of several of the Coens’ most seminal films, including their 1996 Best Picture nominee Fargo, Jollimore explores how disinformation and conspiracy have grown dominant in American culture over the last two decades. Be sure to order your copy of Issue 120 so you can read “The Fixers.”
Troy Jollimore is the author of four books of poetry and three books of philosophy, as well as numerous articles, essays, and reviews. His first collection of poetry, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, won the National Book Critics Circle award in poetry for 2006. His poems have appeared in publications including the New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, McSweeney’s, the New England Review, Tin House, and The Best American Poetry 2020. He is currently a Professor in the Philosophy Department at California State University, Chico.
Lee Conell’s story “My One and Only Very Incredible Amazing Love” appears in Issue 120, the Technology issue. In this bitterly funny and keenly insightful piece, Conell tracks the outsized influence that social media and reality TV have on the fragile friendship shared by two young women. Which reminds us: be sure to order your copy of Issue 120 if you haven’t already.
Lee Conell is the author of the novel The Party Upstairs, which was awarded the Wallant Award and was named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Post, as well as the story collection Subcortical, which was awarded The Story Prize Spotlight Award. Her writing appears in the Oxford American, ZYZZYVA, the Paris Review Daily, Kenyon Review online, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere; her stories have been shortlisted in Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize anthology. She spoke to Editor Laura Cogan about “My One and Only Very Incredible Amazing Love” and its sardonic commentary on our social media age.
Michael Jaime-Becerra’s story “Omar, March 1987,” about a boy named Omar who discovers his mother’s affair while skateboarding in the neighborhood, originally appeared in Issue 102. The story evokes the sights and sounds of Omar’s streets, its homes and storefronts, with these details grounding the story as Jaime-Becerra builds to Omar’s emotional devastation. It can be read in its entirety in Issue 102.
Michael Jaime-Becerra currently teaches creative writing at University of California, Riverside. His story collection, Every Night Is Ladies’ Night, was named one of the best of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. It was awarded a California Book Award, the Silver Medal for a First Work of Fiction. He spoke to Managing Editor Oscar Villalon about “Omar, March 1987” and his use of distinct sensory details.
As the weather report had promised, the morning was clear and blustery, the aspens outside clicking their leaves like maracas. I slurped the dregs of milk from my bowl of cereal, stepped outside to head to my studio, winked into the brightness and saw the plume. An immense bulbous cloud of pearly grey smoke billowing high into the blue. It loomed so large that for an instant a jab of panic seized my chest. Fire. Just as we had feared. All the day and night before, winds had whipped up from the south at forty miles an hour, tearing through […]
Kate Reed Petty’s story “Mr. Pink,” about a disgraced screenwriter’s attempt to manage the online response to his public scandal, is featured in Issue 120. With its focus on social media platforms like Twitter and the way we use film to help interpret our experiences, “Mr. Pink” was perfectly suited for inclusion in The Technology Issue.
Kate Reed Petty’s first novel, True Story, was published by Viking in 2020. Her fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She spoke to Editorial Assistant Zack Ravas about “Mr. Pink” and the themes prevalent in her work.
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.
“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 […]