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November 2007

Only Connect: World Writing from Iowa



     was it at the Palace of Sport in 1952? a whole school class

A Witness Disappears

The more she spoke, the darker it became. She plunged into the forest everywhere and she saw the sea. Busy holding on to my thoughts, I can't think, nor can I prevent the images.

Read Out Sunday

This is how Sue gave her life to God and got back her virginity. That Sunday was church as usual. The same women as always in Jesus hats, their hands raised and their eyes squeezed so

“I don’t carry your picture in my purse”

I don't carry your picture in my purse; it burns anyway under my eyelids. Every expression, gesture, intonation, without my even wanting it, is etched— most clearly, your

A Classical Education

"And Mister Mozart didn't fasten his seatbelt either," the little monster tattled.


So many things follow us like the moon, listening for our primal cries. We stop, it stops, while thirty miles ahead bright moonlight floods the brain of a wild animal. Grief rushes

Only Connect

"Only connect," E.M. Forster famously advised novelistsóand this is the governing principle of the International Writing Program, which brings the writers of the world to the

The Shakes

Now I have to get the fourth glass down me before I can operate. I mean, the fourth glass, filled to the brim, full of the amber stuff. Yes, now I drink the amber, Scotch. Because of my

V. Samsara

I have always been intrigued by the fact that cows in India are sacred. Unmolested, they roam the streets of towns and villages. In some parts they have a bell round their neck and a jasmine

Ten Short Pieces

The Artist's Likeness Is Like an Artist This tale is rather old: Two painters wanted to see which of them could paint the painting that best imitated reality . . . One of the painters


White Birds in a Black Space

He said: You may walk into the spaces of mildness and obedience with the rebellious, the dreamers and the scared; you know that the city has been raped, that everything is permissible,

Gulliver in Icelandic

On my first day, I was overcome with dread. It wasn't even four in the afternoon and the sun had set long ago. They turn on the streetlamps here by two, two-thirty, and in the brief

Crying over Light Green

Even as I scoop Korean sushi into my mouth with a trembling hand, the train forces the fields of summer into my eyes. The light-green rice paddies prick my pupils. Why is the field so

The Jungle

It was dark like the inside of a piano, the twanging of the instrument filled your eyes, I said you looked through octaves. The sound is made in the closed coffin, it comes to life in

Almost Parnassus

Now comes the labor of descent. Walking down the wooden stairs of the house, it comes to you, you are descending the slopes of Parnassus— the chips in the white plaster, like

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