The swimming pool is empty—another one is full but cracked and there are leaves floating in it. I’m sitting with my grandfather. He’s blind and our point of contact is a limit bolts of recognition pass through.
He saw me once in a pool under the water so he sees this in his mind often when he’s near me. He tells me about swimming across a river. Where is this river? I see branches with blue-black berries on them sinking into the water, each berry so loaded with his memory and my imagination they burst with their own reality.
On the Friday of LitFest, Amherst College’s annual literary festival, The Common Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker sat down with Jennifer Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, among other accolades, to talk about crime, place, and “timely” writing. This is an edited version of that live interview from March 1, 2019.
Julia PikeResisting the Path of Least Resistance: An Interview with Jennifer Egan
When I’m back in the city and on the subway, I tend to look at my book or at my feet and the feet of other people. I note the different kinds of shoes, their colors and states of wear.
Today is December 23, so there are shopping bags by all the shoes, held fast between lower legs and sometimes kicked out of the way of people coming and going. Bags filled with brown boxes and shoe boxes and stacks of folded clothes.
I’m sitting down, and a man stands above me with his back to me. Under his left arm is a cardboard box that says 6H on the side in thick permanent marker. He never turns around, and I never see him, but I know that he lives in 6H.
Ukrainian poets have long connected themselves to the powerful myth of New York, offering various takes on its aura of urban modernity, its problematic vitality. New York Elegies demonstrates how evocations of New York City are connected to various stylistic modes and topical questions urgent to Ukrainian poetry throughout the past hundred years.
Julia PikeNovember 2018 Poetry Feature: New York Elegies
A black ant walks across the kitchen counter and I try to flick it away. It dodges my finger, but it’s miscalculated how close it is to the edge and falls off the cliff of the counter and into the dog bowl. It struggles to swim. The ant is dying the way I always die in my worst dreams. In nightmares I sink to the bottom of the lake near my childhood home.
Excerpt from a speech given by Don Pedro Albizu Campos, Ponce, Puerto Rico, October 12, 1933:
A people’s sense of unity has to come from women … the woman nurtures the unity of a race, the unity of a civilization, the unity of a people … Puerto Rico will be free, Puerto Rico will be sovereign and independent when the Puerto Rican woman feels free, sovereign and independent. And for the Puerto Rican woman to achieve this unity, she has to feel it in her bones…
Whitney BrunoTo The Women Who Feel It In Their Bones
Today in the taxi I brought the famous jazz drummer’s wife, Elena, all around Harlem doing errands. Cobb is the last surviving member of the band that recorded Kind of Blue. We went to the bank and to the pharmacy. She let loose with some stories. It was as if his music was not alone waking up from its dream.