June 2011

Unreliability across oceans: Miroslav Penkov’s story collection

by Annie Murphy June 30, 2011
Penkov cover

Unreliability Across Oceans: Miroslav Penkov’s debut story collection, East of the West Generally speaking, unreliable narrators tend to stump student readers, naïve and experienced alike. While bookworms notice implicit characterization, ponder subtle themes, and discern the meaning of motifs, they often believe they can trust a story’s narrator. In the two times that I have taught [...]

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Readers rescue us

by Jeff McMahon June 30, 2011

[capti on id="attachment_2694" align="alignright" width="300" caption="By fox_kiyo via flickr"][/caption] When we published the summer issue of Contrary two days ago, we had less than $2 in the bank. We’ve been scraping by since the recession hit, but this marked the first time we had published an issue without knowing how we’d pay for it. Scary, [...]

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Philip Roth is done with fiction

by David Alm June 28, 2011

“Either foreswear fucking others or the affair is over,” said Drenka Balich to her lover, Mickey Sabbath, at the start of Philip Roth’s 1995 book, Sabbath’s Theater. That book began a streak of award-winning novels for the author, earning him every major literary prize in the world of literary prizes. In the p ast 50 ye [...]

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Forecast: A Contrary Summer

by Contrary Magazine June 28, 2011

The Summer Contrary is published and we have an early deadline for Autumn. The details: “Vaucluse” by Laura Elizabeth Woollett is one of the finest pieces of very short fiction we’ve ever received. Laura Elizabeth Woollett is an undergraduate student and writer from Melbourne, Australia. Set your sidereal drive on her now and watch her star [...]

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One hundred steps: Body-building at the Hindu crematorium

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein June 23, 2011

Burning is learning. That’s what our guide at Varanasi’s burning ghats told me and my sister as we stood along the Ganges River, inhaling the smoke and dreams of the formerly alive. I was twenty-eight years old. I thought that life would get easier as I got older. That love would be as natural as [...]

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Love like all the stars in the sky

by Rafael Torch June 18, 2011

My mother told me just this morning (Friday, June 17, 2011) that I should write something about how my affliction with cancer is really an affliction that the whole family has in some way. I believe her. I believe it. She says, “You should write that because we’re all affected. Maybe I’ll try my hand [...]

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Your umpteenth reminder of Bloomsday

by David Smith June 16, 2011

As Contrary Blog’s resident Joycean, I’d been planning to be first out of the box today with a post about Bloomsday. Logging into Facebook, however, I found that no less than five of my 333 friends have already wished the world a “Happy Bloomsday.” This, I presume, triggered the following targeted ad in my Facebook account: [...]

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Everything’s got the shine. That’s been my point.

by Rafael Torch June 16, 2011

I was telling someone that my current experimental treatment was like the experience of being in a car crash. It’s the only way I know how to describe it. Sometimes I think it’s not even the crash itself but the treatment I just had was like the moment right after collision and right before the [...]

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Evaluation fixation

by David Alm June 16, 2011

In his critique of higher education — how it began in this country versus what it’s become — for last week’s New Yorker, Louis Menand makes clear a few unfortunate facts of college today. Namely, that too many people go, and that many of them aren’t ready to be there. Thus, it’s incumbent on their teachers [...]

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The Limits of Silence

by Marilyn Kallet June 15, 2011

As a lyric poet, I think a lot about the limits of silence.  And I try to keep a sense of humor about the problem of those who are stingy with speech.  This is a pantoum I wrote a couple summers ago in Auvillar,  about the irritation I felt with “Bubba,” the silent type.   [...]

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News flash: people argue to win

by David Alm June 15, 2011

According to a groundbreaking new study into the mysterious workings of the human mind, and reported by the New York Times, our species developed its well-honed capacity for reason and argument not to seek out truth, however nuanced or elusive it may be, but rather for a decidedly more selfish purpose: to win. Lest my [...]

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The Sting

by Crista Cloutier June 12, 2011

It was a hot day so I opened the big doors and settled down for an undeserved siesta. When I woke, it seemed that all of nature had moved in. Ants covered the floor. A bird perched on the shelf. A lizard slithered toward the fireplace. And somehow a bee got inside my shirt. Now, [...]

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Poetry can be a bad influence (ask Paolo and Francesca)

by Marilyn Kallet June 11, 2011

When   When the low heavy sky hangs down like a cover, you’re in Auvillar Without your spouse.  Dante’s on his way.   Ladies of a certain age compete for the clothes line. Show off gleaming copper pots.   Tea and flan, wet wash.  Dante’ s not your concern.   Beatrice tends him, pats dry. [...]

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The chronology of water

by Cynthia Newberry Martin June 11, 2011

The Chronology of Water< /em> by Lidia Yuknavitch. Wow. Some book. One reviewer admits to considering throwing it across the room. It’s a memoir, and the writing is uneven. But that fits the life it mirrors. Like the story out of which it grew, it’s About fathers and swimming and fucking and dead babies and drowning. [...]

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If You Like… You Might Like…

by Tasha Cotter June 9, 2011

If you love discovering new poets like I do, then surely you’re familiar with that rush of excitement that often comes with finding a new poet whose work you really enjoy. It’s often said that you don’t find the poem, the poem finds you. Fortunately, I’ve done the hard work and found a variety of [...]

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