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September 2011


Image: Miller Updegraff, The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, 2010 (detail) Acrylic, Glitter on Canvas 52 x 43 inches. Courtesy of Miller Updegraff and Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Amateurs borrow, professionals steal, and this month we're accessories after the fact, presenting a collection of pieces based on, alluding to, and just plain pinched from the work of others. Our contributors target writers from a variety of countries and eras to mimic and riff on, and subvert plots, characters, and the authors themselves. Venezuela's Slavko Zupcic finds theft can be fatal. Eduardo Halfon traces the steps of Hemingway in Paris. Mexico's Guadalupe Nettel channels Haruki Murakami. Lion Feuchtwanger Prize-winner Michael Kleeberg introduces a lighthearted Heidegger. Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas honors his fellow poets Álvaro Pombo, Eugenio Montejo, and Antonio Gamoneda, while Dutch poet Nachoem Wijnberg meets bards of the Song and Tang Dynasties. Lúcia Bettencourt keeps watch at Marcel Proust's deathbed. Algeria's Mohamed Magani talks fishing with Richard Brautigan; Muharem Bazdulj conflates a Serbian classic with a British bestseller; and Christopher Kontonikolis proves that form follows function in his odes to ancient Greece. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, these subjects receive the most honest compliment of all.

Elsewhere, we present a group of contemporary Polish poets, selected by the critic Grzegorz Jankowski, including new poems by Jacek Dehnel, Julia Fiedorczuk, Justyna Bargielska, Edward Pasewicz, and Piotr Sommer.


I was the one who killed Borges.



If I was a cactus, what kind of plant was Midori?

Never Any End to Hemingway

"Come now, Hemingway,” she teased, “you really don’t know this gentleman’s stories?”

For Antonio Gamoneda

Maestro, I said, tell me, / reveal to me the secret of poetry.


For Álvaro Pombo

Because we lived in brothels / and in dungeons


For Eugenio Montejo

That night / Of Greek drunkenness/ In a Berlin tavern


from “A Garden in the North”

He recommended Valium and a trip to London.

On Tao Qian

He writes the way someone who is no longer impatient speaks.


Su Dongpo and the Trick he says he Learned from Tao Qian

More to see left and right than he can list.


Du Fu

Every word Du Fu uses, he read somewhere.


Marcel Proust’s Last Three Days

And you need to promise me one thing: don’t let them give me any injections.

The Other Letter

He gave me a very serious look and said there would not be any more murders.


Double Fishing

If he and I had been able to exchange space and time, he might well have become "Trout Fishing in America."

Timon vs. Newton

By Zeus, do you know how to bring owls to Athens!



Hard as he tried, he could not save himself.



Book Reviews

Sergio Chejfec’s “My Two Worlds”

Reviewed by Jennifer Croft

Technology, for one, has begun to batter life’s perfect syntax

Raymond Roussel’s “Impressions of Africa”

Reviewed by Stefanie Sobelle

Imagine an extravagant pageant during which a marksman shoots off the top of a soft-boiled egg

Eduardo Chirinos’s “Reasons for Writing Poetry”

Reviewed by E.C. Belli

At the heart of "Reasons for Writing Poetry," there is a figure: ostensibly, it’s all zebra from the waist down, but from there up, the Okapi, as it’s called, looks like a giraffe

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