Friday Reads: December 2022

Curated by SOFIA BELIMOVA

 

Last month, we launched Issue 24, which features wispy, ethereal poems, striking watercolors of the Stebbins Cold Canyon flora and fauna, stories about resilience in the face of war and natural disaster, and essays that celebrate humor and heritage. Wondering what our contributors are reading to keep themselves inspired? Look no further than this month’s Friday Reads.

 

Book Cover of Meet Us by the Roaring Sea by Akil Kumarasamy. Abstract drawings on black background.

Friday Reads: December 2022
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November 2022 Poetry Feature: Anacaona Rocio Milagro

This month we welcome ANACAONA ROCIO MILAGRO, whose “Nine Twelve Poem” appears in our new print issue.

 

Anacaona Rocio Milagro is a poet born, raised and living in New York City, uptown Manhattan’s Washington Heights. Writing poetry since the age of four, she earned an MFA in Poetry at NYU’s Low Residency program in Paris, an MPH at Columbia University, and a BA with a double-major in Social Anthropology and Journalism/Creative Writing, and a minor in Art from Baruch College/CUNY BA Program. Her “Nine Eleven Poem” is now part of the Smithsonian Museum’s 9/11 archives. Her poetry has been published in The BreakBeat Poets Latinext Anthology, Narrative Magazine, LitHub, Oh Dear Magazine, and Raising Mothers to name a few. Her poem “Stillmatic” was released as a spokenword/Hip-Hop/Jazz single on all streaming platforms. Her father is from the Dominican Republic and her mother is from St. Thomas, The U.S. Virgin Islands. She is the single mother of two—Nirvana Sky and Zion. 

November 2022 Poetry Feature: Anacaona Rocio Milagro
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Coconut and Bananas

By ROMANA CAPEK-HABEKOVIC

edificio

Zagreb, Croatia

A couple of days ago my husband returned from the grocery store with a pound of bananas and a small coconut. The bananas were perfectly ripe for consumption, and I put them in a fruit basket. I held the coconut in my hand and noticed the beige, hairy shell covering it. The image of a coconut that I was familiar with was of a large, round fruit with a dark brown, hairy exterior. Our coconut had an elliptical shape and a groove around its widest part as if someone had chiseled into it. I read the label on it that claimed that this coconut was “easy to open.” I began to laugh aloud and was barely able to utter to my husband to cut it in half following that indentation. I didn’t believe the label, and the steps that followed in cracking it open proved me right. This coconut intrigued us both, and we wanted to taste the liquid and the white flesh inside of it. We first pierced a hole on its top and drained it. We took a sip and agreed that the liquid was flavorless. My husband had to use a hammer and pounded hard several times across the chiseled line until the coconut finally split open. After that, we proceeded to separate its meat from the outer shell. It was edible but bland, and hard to chew.

Coconut and Bananas
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Klan Giant

By TOMMYE BLOUNT

 

“Made of Duretta cloth and sateen, embroidered in silk.
Cotton cord and tassels. Price, each $6.00″
—from Catalogue of Official Robes and Banners, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

Look up here, the air is Aryan. The moon, 
our white hood. Our life must loom large 
above that which is darkened in our shadow.
A fate loomed long ago, ours

Klan Giant
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Writing from the 2022 Outpost Fellows

A note from Outpost founder Ricardo Wilson

Launched in 2022, Outpost is a residency for creative writers of color from the United States and Latin America. Each September, we welcome two writers and award them with a stipend as well as complimentary travel, lodging, and meals to spend a month cultivating a generative writing community in the mountains of Southern Vermont. STEFFAN TRIPLETT and MARICEU ERTHAL, whose work you will encounter below, are exceptionally talented, and we feel quite privileged to have had them represent Outpost’s inaugural cohort. Thanks to the ongoing support of our funding community, we have been able to increase the stipend to $2,000 for our 2023 cohort. Applications are open and will close January 15th.

 

Writing from the 2022 Outpost Fellows
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Podcast: Sindya Bhanoo on “Tsunami Bride”

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Sindya Bhanoo speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her story “Tsunami Bride,” which appears in The Common’s new fall issue. Sindya talks about her experience reporting from India after the 2004 tsunami, and how that experience eventually became a story about a journalist in the same position, told from a local’s perspective. She also discusses how the training and techniques she developed as a journalist have shaped her drafting and revision process for fiction, how food often makes its way into her stories, and how her 2022 story collection Seeking Fortune Elsewhere came together.

sindya bhanoo headshot with cover of issue 24

Podcast: Sindya Bhanoo on “Tsunami Bride”
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Present Tense Machine: A Review

By GUNNHILD ØYEHAUG (Translated from the Norwegian by KARI DICKSON)

Reviewed by OLGA ZILBERBOURG

 

Book cover of Present Tense Machine by Gunnhild Oyehaug

Laura is expecting a baby. A twenty-four-year-old literature instructor, she lives with her partner Karl Peter in the heart of Bergen, a city in the westernmost part of Norway. She’s suffering from a strange sort of anxiety, which she suspects has something to do with the pregnancy: everything around her seems double, not quite like what it is.

Laura has more common anxieties as well, including a problem with her apartment. The buildings in her part of town are constructed of brick on the outside and wood inside, which makes them so flammable that they’re called “chimney houses.” If their chimney house were to catch on fire, there would be little chance of escape. Then, there are the noisy students living above and below, a drug dealer across the street, hypodermic needles littering the neighborhood. She decides that she and Karl Peter have to move before the baby comes, but this decision, too, seems to bring her nothing but anxiety.

Present Tense Machine: A Review
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A Photon Takes the Shortest Path

By ALEX FOSTER

Every second, somewhere in the universe, a star explodes. All life within a trillion miles is condemned to apocalypse, all love forgotten. A supernova spits up a photon, a dribble of light, which rolls onward to another star and another before its path is intercepted by a giant, flailing planet Earth.

On which an ambulance, spraying its own red and blue photons into windows and lower eyelids, rockets down Michigan Avenue. Inside, a twenty-two-year-old woman sits upright on a stretcher, looking all around, proving her physical haleness by screaming at the top of her lungs, because until fifteen minutes ago, she didn’t know that she was pregnant, though she’d felt ill for some time, and then her water broke in a Starbucks bathroom.

At a moment of relative simultaneity, our photon is pulsing through clean air, through airplane windows and white linen kites. It skims a lake and pinballs in a web of sleek skyscrapers.

The woman, admittedly, would not have boasted a fully harmonious relationship with her body before all this; now, minutes after giving birth, things have devolved into open hostility. She’s clawing at her legs. She’s stubbing her toes on the steel door frame. Life is an improbability. It’s an unlikely confluence of pharmacological and genetic circumstances to be eight months pregnant and not realize. The ambulance swerves. She’ll be sick. It doesn’t help that she’s hungover. That her few bouts of morning sickness in the months past could be so easily blamed on margaritas and boxed wine.

A Photon Takes the Shortest Path
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Cheetos and Rimbaud: An Interview with Tina Cane

MATT MILLER interviews TINA CANE

image of tina cane and matt miller

Tina Cane’s Year of the Murder Hornet was published in spring of 2022 by Veliz Books. In this interview, Tina discusses her new collection with Matt Miller. Threaded through by grit and lyrical beauty, the book weaves survival, strength, and hope out of this pitched moment of American politics, the Coronavirus pandemic, and popular culture.  

Cheetos and Rimbaud: An Interview with Tina Cane
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Friday Reads: November 2022

Curated by SOFIA BELIMOVA

 

We launched Issue 24 last week, which features an exciting medley of writing: pieces about journalists and translators, forest fires and traveling icebergs, ghosts, cousins, and parents. Wondering what our contributors are reading? Check out their book recommendations below: 

Friday Reads: November 2022
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