The Year in Dispatches, Prose

Looking back on a year of dispatches, I’m proud to report that we’ve had essays from five continents. I heard from writers in places both famous and obscure, as well as some remote areas that were unknown to me. More than once, I found myself zooming in on Google maps, trying to get a glimpse of the locations described. My hope is that some of this year’s dispatches inspired the same curiosity in you. Here are a few highlights from throughout the year, ones you may have missed the first time the around:

Samantha Ender confronts a snake in Rwanda;

Aaron Gilbreath forages for vintage bottles in the Californian desert;

Noreen McAuliffe dissects fish in Mongolia;

Elizabeth Abbott inspects a war zone in Balad Ruz, Iraq;

and finally, Julian Hoffman finds a birding bridge between Greece’s Prespa Lakes and Ottawa, Canada.

 

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons

The Year in Dispatches, Prose

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Dispatches: Stella Wong

STELLA WONG
If you have to read this out loud, / you can never take drug tests, hush money, or go // to church. I’m just an electric red honeymoon / away from honeypot boss. From the top, // Naval Intelligence likes writing oaths / to the wedding band’s frontman

Quarters

BEINA XU
I live in the wrong colonial quarter of Berlin. My neighborhood is called Afrikanisches Viertel, and my flat is on Guinea Street. There’s Kongostraße, Togostraße, Kamerunerstraße, Transvaalstraße, Sansibarstraße, Otawistraße—I could go on, but you could also just Google Germany’s colonial conquest of Africa.

Magic Mile

CAROLYN OLIVER
The track is too slick, too cold. As the preacher intones Let us drive fast and cheer hard in Jesus’ name amen, the mist is already falling over us, the drivers, the life flight helicopter at rest on its helipad over the rise. Engines fire and the air goes thick with pressure. In minutes the leaders spin into the wall’s invisible give.