Photo by author
March 25th, 2015 | 6:00am

Photo by author

I’d met Jimmy Reynolds when we were in fifth grade and his parents were the new owners of one of the two grocery stores in Maysville, my hometown of 900 or so, on the banks of the Little Wabash River in southern Illinois. I even went to his house once after school. His dad supervised while we shot off Jimmy’s model rockets, then later his mom cooked hamburgers and homemade fries for us and his younger brothers Jason and Jonah. The Reynolds kids spent that summer with their grandparents back up in Michigan but then with just a few weeks to go before the 1978-79 school year started Jimmy called and asked if I could come over again.

Image: From "What I Create Will Outlast Time" by Rafik Schami, calligraphy by Ismat Amiralai, Interlink Publishing, Northampton, MA. Reproduced by permission.
March 24th, 2015 | 6:00am

One might ask: What is this ‘new’ writing in the Arab World?

Is it a “new generation” of writers? Is it an unprecedented form of writing? The new writing that this essay wants to explore has nothing to do with the age of the writer, nor does it claim that “new writing” suddenly dropped—rootless and without precursors—into the vast space of literature. Rather, “new” writing is an evolution in the techniques of the literary form; in the themes and subjects that correspond with societal change in “real-time”; and in the relationship between the writer, the “cultural authority,” and the official cultural sphere designated by governments and institutions. “New” Arabic writing is also the result of a struggle between the writer and his exploding surroundings.

reviewed by Karen Uhlmann
March 23rd, 2015 | 6:00am

The protagonists of the 15 stories in Thorn, by Evan Morgan Williams, are a diverse cast: Native American, white, black, Asian; young and old; men, women; rich, poor. Yet Williams, who won the 2014 G.S. Charat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, with this debut collection, is able to inhabit his protagonists, as well as to empathize with them. This is no mean feat. Many of Williams’s protaganists are women in crisis, and he has an uncanny ability to take on their voices.

Photo by author
March 19th, 2015 | 6:00am

Photo by author

Your name: Elizabeth Bradfield

Current city or town: North Truro, MA

How long have you lived here: Well, that’s not an easy one. There were a few years in Provincetown and then the five or seven years—depending on how you count two of them—I was connected but away. Perhaps it’s simpler to say that I began belonging to this place 17 years ago.

Three words to describe the climate: coastal, seasonal, moody

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Tom Gill
March 16th, 2015 | 9:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Tom Gill

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore stretches along the southern tip of Lake Michigan in sixteen separate pieces—jagged, sharp-cornered patches of land that float in an industrial landscape of rail lines, factories, and tiny dilapidated homes. The official National Parks visitors’ map includes not just the usual hiking trails and bike paths, but also two steel mills, an electric company, and the machine-gutted inlets that make up the port of Indiana.