Letter from Long Island

“People always say they’ll write [letters], but they never do.” —Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore Today, M., I rode the S59 bus to Sayville, that typically kinder iteration of our one-traffic-light hyphenated station-name hometown, and though I wasn’t looking for him I did the Catholic gestures when I noticed the statue Jude, patron of dashed-hope… More


In Genoa, the city where the Mary Celeste never arrives every day, the hour to become a ghost isn’t necessarily noon— it’s when the young American student named Hemingway reads, in the plaza, The Collected Stories of her namesake— reads the story of the white elephant hills again, the story of the bickering lovers who… More

Letters Written Near the End of the Cold War

Michael Tyrell I wonder if you’ve seen them on the hospital TV— children on talk shows who swear live inside them the entire populations of small countries. * Multiples, abreactions— big, formless hands make multiples, it’s like they smash a shark tank and take all the glass, then make something that walks and talks like… More

A Conversation with Michael Tyrell

Long one of our favorite artists and dearest friends, poet Michael Tyrell sits down for a Sunday morning discussion about his new poems, em dashes and Donald Justice. More

Level Entries

Michael Tyrell Casual Fridays I’m promoted to a ghost desk to type in figures in computer grids. Required fields. Expenses. Hewlett Packard. Hellwit Packet. To hell with slim pickings, pack it in son, you backpack bastard. It’s not the heat it’s the stupidity. Leavings, really, no better than condiments, and only when I can get… More

Women & Children

Michael Tyrell The tedium of six-hour drives to a summer house at Lake Hopatcong with the sister-in-law who hates you— no conversation, sometimes music— a song called ‘Satisfaction’ about not getting any, the baby, the niece, cutting teeth in the backseat— the test cry, nothing sustained, no tears. The brother who lives at the office… More

Son & Heir

Michael Tyrell The heirs will not consent—from an 1853 English telegraphing guide, called The Traveler’s Vade Mecum; or Instantaneous Letter Writer. The day I stop wishing for his money—cut myself From his unwritten will—rub out the rainy-day faces From the piggybank riches that can only be mine— Then I’ll be alone with my body—my disinherited… More

Review: Christopher Patton’s “Curious Masonry”

Sam Selinger “Curious Masonry” Christopher Patton 2011, 9781554470938, $15.95 Christopher Patton’s third book, Curious Masonry, includes three translations of Anglo-Saxon poems from The Exeter Book, and “Hearth,” a work which he calls a “palimpsest,” mostly made up of erasures from his translation of “The Earthwalker,” using both the translation and the original text. The Exeter… More


Mara Michael Jebsen i’m starting to be startled       by the way time passes it seems to fall out              like clumps of hair its November         the Hudson river’s all gooseflesh and silver the history books sing of trains, souls boarding and riding       till… More

The Debris Field

Scott Hightower The figure standing and raising a sword between Babylon and the return to Jerusalem was St. Michael, protector of Abraham’s people; Justice; Michael, field commander of the army of “the one true God.” * In 1909, New York City commissioned Frederick MacMonnies, one of America’s most prominent sculptors, to design a fountain for… More

James Lasdun

The prolific London-born writer sits down with Ben to discuss his process, style, and latest collection, It’s Beginning To Hurt.


First Frost, New York

Michael Tyrell Continually, as October weeds out the majority of false Edens, the hollow Eve finds us sweet teeth bobbing for apples. Scratch us so we can start over, so we can turncoat through iron-maiden turnstiles. Crosstown ride where the Lord give uth and take uth away, flasher whose jimson got jammed in slamming doors.… More


Bruce Bromley She thought that she wanted him to stay in the same place, but she did not know where that place was. She wanted to be able to return to him, to come back with bags of vegetables, coffee, and cheese, to open their apartment door and smell the rosemary soap he showered with… More

Dixie Queen

Scott Hightower Tennessee Williams knew how to mine the kinetics of cruelty. Not the inverted and demure, “I’ll roll over, and let you ravish me, you he-man man, you!” Forget Stella. No. It’s Stanley, the shrieking infantile god, who’s vicious; who’s had enough of just “whistling Dixie;” who finally succumbs to being topped by Stella’s… More

The Garden

Michael Tyrell The tuxed-up drunk, trembling the dorm’s lobby window when a bottle tipped him over. His squint not at me but past me to the one hundred keys glittering behind my post, the check-in desk, where all summer, I worked the Saturday insomnia shift. The ruse of looking down at the marble notebook, one-one… More


Michael Tyrell I was born the summer of his disgrace. That’s always been my claim. And it’s a trait I despise in other people: hitching the intensely personal to the historical, making Watergate a lame pun for passage and delivery. But my mother insists on scandal. An unmarried mother, middle-aged— she swears her pregnancy didn’t… More


Mara Michael Jebsen When I walk down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn where they sell African Black Soap and the Koran, it hooks me: the dark red leather, a dark like behind my eyelids when I close them. There’s a girl swinging a machete, cracking the coconut that lies against her palm. She’s out on the… More