All posts tagged: July 2024

In Diamondville: Five Poems

By LAKE ANGELA

Black and white picture of four family members

Courtesy of Marilyn Kreger

 

Diamondville, Pennsylvania

Meryl: In Diamondville II

Quiet Uncle Peck was just five when the older kids
set him on fire. This was one hundred years ago,
and Grandpa told me the story. The closest hospital
to Diamondville sent him home, saying there was
nothing more they could do. Grandmother Verna took care
of him, anointing his wounds with devotion, rotating
his torso and arms, helping him walk again.

In Diamondville: Five Poems
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Friday Reads: July 2024

Curated by SAM SPRATFORD

July in Western Massachusetts is a month of heightened sensation. Perceptions are focused by the burning and buzzing heat, until it bursts in its own excess, dripping or pouring from the sky. It is an excess that ferments rather than rots, and it is what makes July so intoxicating. The onset of climate change, bringing merciless humidity and monsoon weather patterns, has deepened and darkened this character. Amid this, our Editorial Assistants AIDAN COOPER, CIGAN VALENTINE, and SIANI AMMONS have been reading books that match the month’s potency: storytelling that dazzles, prose that floods and sweeps away the sane, and historical truths delivered in lightning-bolt cracks. 

Friday Reads: July 2024
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Muscle and Rubber and Cotton and Bone

By JULES FITZ GERALD

There is no such thing as silence in the South. There is always the percussive hum of insects, winged bodies waiting in the weeds for dusk. This sound fills the fissure before Coach Meeks fires the gun, while Joanna leans over the spray-painted line in the crabgrass field. She is sixteen but still as stick-legged and bird-chested as she was at twelve, brushing daily knots from her homeschool-length hair because her mother gave up trying to teach her how to make a braid. The billow of smoke erupts from the pistol’s nose before the crack of the blank reaches her ears. Her hair streams behind her, loose and wild, as she pushes off the line. She believes that it makes her faster.

Muscle and Rubber and Cotton and Bone
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Ho’omana’o

By EDWARD LEES

A volcano

Photos by author.

Lahaina, Maui

When I was young, my parents
took me to Pompeii.
I remember the grouped bodies in the museum
of people who had tried to shelter.

Ho’omana’o
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Violence and Its Other: Toti O’Brien Interviews Dimitris Lyacos

Dimitris Lyacos (left) sits with his knees to his chest in front of a barbed-wire fence. Toti O'Brien (right) stands with her arms crossed, chin tilted slightly upward at the camera.

DIMITRIS LYACOS describes his new book, Until the Victim Becomes our Own, as a prequel to his world-renowned trilogy, Poena Damni—which begins with a fugitive on a train, but never clarifies what, whom, and where from he has fled, hinting at the past only through the traces it left, showing us a mere geography of scars. Until the Victim Becomes our Own reels us back to the pre-fugue universe, mapping both an archeological grid and a bird’s-eye view of our very own Western civilization, founded on Judeo-Christian traditions, then evolved through industrialization and capitalism up to the digitally-global present day.

Though he was bound to Israel when TOTI O’BRIEN reached out to him with her questions, Lyacos agreed to interweave their conversation with his travels, and we are glad he did.

Violence and Its Other: Toti O’Brien Interviews Dimitris Lyacos
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Translation: to and back

By HALYNA KRUK 
Translated by LADA KOLOMIYETS

Poem appears below in English and the original Ukranian.

Translator’s note

Since February 2022, the metaphorics of Halyna Kruk’s poetry have undergone transformation on the way to nearing the genre of testimony. Kruk explains in her speech at the poetry festival in Berlin in June 2022 that metaphors have lost their power in front of what is actually experienced (Kruk, Halyna. “Krieg ist keine Metapher.” Zeit Online, June 18, 2022). The voice of the diarist of wartime has become the most important feature of literary expression. In her Berlin speech—just as in the poem to and back, written in spring 2022—Kruk warns the prosperous western world against erecting an emotional wall between Ukraine and itself. While addressing the Western audience, she tries to explain a painful feeling of irreparable loss—in our souls, in our culture, science, economy, industry, society —of men and women, someone’s parents, someone’s children, who were killed by Russia: “War creates a gap between those who have experienced it and those who are far from it; with each passing day of the war, I see that it is more and more difficult to explain to people from the outside what we feel here, on the inside. … Poetry acquires very peculiar forms—a spontaneous prayer, a stingy testimony, a lament or even a curse to the enemy. These are not the forms of poetry to which modern European culture is accustomed, they are functional and ritualistic, too primeval in their emotional coloring, too subjective, too pathetic, and intolerant” (Kruk, “Krieg ist keine Metapher”; my translation).

In her poem to and back Kruk writes about the unfitting of war in the eyes of Western world, even if the words for war may be found by survivors and those who have experienced it. Incompatibility of war and peace, of poetry and war calls for the memory to work in place of creativity. The healing power of poetry—as a witness of war crimes in Ukraine—is encoded in Kruk’s poems, written in the spring and summer of 2022.

—Lada Kolomiyets

Translation: to and back
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