Finding the One: A Tortoise Retrospective

Tortoise’s story begins, in a sense, to the sound of Coltrane’s golden lamentation, Africa/Brass, its frenetic drone finding the ears, and fingers, of Doug McCombs and John Herndon circa 1988 in Chicago. The two are playing with Michael Cerzigan in a band dubbed “Simple”, and while the trio never manages to perform beyond their rehearsal… More

Heraclitean Thirst

Poet Dan Beachy-Quick explores space, singularity, and circumference in two impeccable new lyric essays. More

Circles

In July 1862—in the midst of her most productive year as a poet—Emily Dickinson writes a letter to her “mentor” Thomas Wentworth Higginson in which she says, “My Business is Circumference.” A short time later, perhaps in the very same month, dated only with “Friday,” she writes in a letter to Dr. and Mrs. J.… More

How to Name a City

“[Miami] is a profoundly American city – a place that reminds us that ideals matter more than the color of our skin, or the circumstances of our birth…” —Barack Obama   You waver in the face of the word journey. This could mean more loss, but all the not-belonging has metabolized into longing, so you… More

The Girls We Love

Alaina Symanovich I stretched out on my stomach, burying a pillow beneath my ribcage so my small breasts wouldn’t grind into the mattress. At thirteen, what I lacked in mammary tissue, I made up for in soreness: chafing under my sports bra, wincing beneath the blast of the showerhead, yelping when I bungled catching a… More

God Hates Ventriloquists

Morgan Hughes I will put aside, at least for the moment, the eternal debate, which some might correctly suggest is unwinnable, regarding the existence of God—particularly that much-depicted God with the white beard, the flowing robe; that cloud-dwelling father figure, that great and powerful authority who some might say sounds a little like the Wizard… More

Poetry & Smoke: A Manifesto

Elaine Sexton I am for a poetry that makes nothing happen. I’m for a poetry that is too young to date, but too old to overlook. I’m for a poetry that wants to paint. I was thinking of those huge paintings by Francis Bacon at the Metropolitan last summer. There must have been about fifty… More