August Issue

Numéro Cinq at the Movies: David Cho’s "Where We Are,"  Introduced by R. W. Gray
Words on Stone, Eggshells, Feathers, Etc.: Poems, Art & Interview with Jody Gladding — Darren Higgins
From On Immunity: Nonfiction --- Eula Biss
We Do Not Know Alone: Interview with Eula Biss --- Adam Segal
Beautiful Distractions: A Review of Shane Jones’ Crystal Eaters — Sebastian Ennis
Inside the Glass Factory: Review of If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? By Matthea Harvey --- A. Anupama
A Serpent: Fiction --- Lee D. Thompson
High Culture, Poetic Imagination and the Submerged Center: Essay — Paul Pines
Bleeds-The-Eastern-Sky: Poems & Photographs --- John Oughton
Altitude: Essay --- Leslie Ullman
Uimhir a Cúig | An Apple in the Library & Memory House: Two Stories — David Hayden
La Grande: Novel Excerpt --- Juan José Saer
The Decomposition of Continuous Movement: Review of Juan José Saer's La Grande — Richard Farrell
What It’s Like Living Here: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala --- Deborah Willis
The Alexander Debate and the Murderous Innocence of Bucephalus: Fiction — Patrick J. Keane
Vertical Labyrinth: Poems in Translation --- Nela Rio
Top of the Page --- Senior Editor R. W. Gray
Carved in Stone: The August Issue Preview
Numéro Cinq at the Movies: David Cho’s "Where We Are,"  Introduced by R. W. Gray

Numéro Cinq at the Movies: David Cho’s “Where We Are,” Introduced by R. W. Gray

“Do you wonder where I am?” “Do you miss me?” The woman on the call persists with her questions. When the man suggests the woman should come to him, however, she replies, “I’m happy here.” On the most overt level, this is the woman defining her contradictory desires, where she seeks the answer to “Do you miss me?” before she will assert “I am happy here.” Come here / go away. This is Anne Carson’s “sweetbitter,” cultivated by the woman who wants longing more than having. —R. W. Gray

Words on Stone, Eggshells, Feathers, Etc.: Poems, Art & Interview with Jody Gladding — Darren Higgins

Words on Stone, Eggshells, Feathers, Etc.: Poems, Art & Interview with Jody Gladding — Darren Higgins

Bark Beetle presents one unfathomable mystery after the next—stars burnt out, relationships damaged, butterflies blasted by traffic—but in this magical collection, that’s no reason for despair. As Ovid, another poet concerned with metamorphoses, has written, while everything changes, nothing is lost. Sound and sight, on the page and off—croaking ravens, scraping stones, melting ice, dying stars, unfathomable mysteries all. Gladding doesn’t just write poems about this unsettled world, a difficult-enough task. She turns the world into poetry, then lets it go. —Darren Higgins

From On Immunity: Nonfiction --- Eula Biss

From On Immunity: Nonfiction — Eula Biss

Late in On Immunity, Eula Biss quotes George Orwell from his famous 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language”: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” I find that one of the driving forces behind On Immunity is a hopeful reworking of this idea: if thought enriches language, language can also enrich thought. On Immunity is a challenging book, often as sharply critical as its predecessor. But it is also, as Biss has noted, about moving forward. It is an incitement to “live one’s life reparatively.”

We Do Not Know Alone: Interview with Eula Biss --- Adam Segal

We Do Not Know Alone: Interview with Eula Biss — Adam Segal

I think it is entirely possible to employ metaphors that do more good than harm. They just need to be apt metaphors. As Sontag notes, we can’t think without metaphor. Nor can we speak or write without metaphor—our language is dense with metaphor, much of which we no longer recognize as metaphor. My project in On Immunity was never to strip immunity of its metaphors—not much would be left in that case, as even the technical language of immunology is built on metaphor—but to make the metaphors we employ around immunity visible enough for us to think about them, rather than simply through them. —Eula Biss

Beautiful Distractions: A Review of Shane Jones’ Crystal Eaters — Sebastian Ennis

Beautiful Distractions: A Review of Shane Jones’ Crystal Eaters — Sebastian Ennis

The world of Crystal Eaters, from its myths to its inhabitants’ futile struggles (to be remembered, to avoid death), mirrors so closely our plain old world, and all the more in its dissimilarities, the bits that simply seem out of place, because what it exposes is the movement of our beliefs, no matter what we believe in, as a movement beyond ourselves—and perhaps towards nothing.

Inside the Glass Factory: Review of If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? By Matthea Harvey --- A. Anupama

Inside the Glass Factory: Review of If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? By Matthea Harvey — A. Anupama

In If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? Matthea Harvey packs the scissors and mercury thermometer in your suitcase and imagines the security x-rays in full color. This hybrid poetry and visual art collection encompasses prose poems with photographs for titles, embroidered models of imagined inventions, and mermaid silhouettes with tools for tails, including a Swiss Army knife and a hole-punch.

A Serpent: Fiction --- Lee D. Thompson

A Serpent: Fiction — Lee D. Thompson

George and Chiara spotted the sea monster not far from where they had set down their picnic blanket and basket. It was George who had recommended this spit of rocky tongue that overlooked the sea, but not because he thought a monster might be floundering a stone’s throw from Chiara’s smooth, tanned knee, but because he wanted to be alone with her, away from the hotel, and on Chiara’s map she had written ‘hidden lover cove’. —Lee D. Thompson

High Culture, Poetic Imagination and the Submerged Center: Essay — Paul Pines

High Culture, Poetic Imagination and the Submerged Center: Essay — Paul Pines

What happens when the soul turns numb and poetic imagination goes underground? What difference does it make if our children are fed packaged imagery designed to sell product but leave their inner worlds atrophied? Why should we care if there is no perceived difference between news and entertainment, advertising and information, Vivaldi and Kenny G. —Paul Pines

Bleeds-The-Eastern-Sky: Poems & Photographs --- John Oughton

Bleeds-The-Eastern-Sky: Poems & Photographs — John Oughton

Everything sucks into its event / horizon. Nothing achieves escape / velocity. So, circulating in this hive / of form: the hardest scream / life can draw from your throat, / Lost loves, the scent of flowers / your face was pressed into, unwilling, / The moments you thought death / came next, all the lines you never wrote down. — John Oughton

Altitude: Essay --- Leslie Ullman

Altitude: Essay — Leslie Ullman

The clouds have broken just over Mt.Pandim, and now it hovers larger than I could have imagined, so close it seems to be breathing over us. We feel held in something like a kind hand made of air and sky, a hand that has parted those clouds just for us, just for these moments, as we stand in the rain three miles above the earth’s floor. The mountain seems to bless us, dwarfing us and then offering all of its calm self, its whiteness, its unconquerable splendor. —Leslie Ullman

Uimhir a Cúig | An Apple in the Library & Memory House: Two Stories — David Hayden

Uimhir a Cúig | An Apple in the Library & Memory House: Two Stories — David Hayden

The reader turns and finds the apple; the apple finds his hand. The apple is more than one simple green, perfectly imperfect as a minor sphere with spongy facets that can take the light and appear white in patches, but never completely. Wood, a stalk, and a tiny, heart-shaped, serrated leaf which, when lightly tugged, pulls back, belonging to the apple. He pushes the fruit into his mouth; his tongue’s memory of other apples creates an unthought motion to test, to paint the smooth, cool surface. —David Hayden

La Grande: Novel Excerpt --- Juan José Saer

La Grande: Novel Excerpt — Juan José Saer

In this excerpt. Nula (five years before the major events of the novel) has been swept up in a strange, sordid relationship with a married couple, Lucia and Riera. For months, Lucia fondles Nula on the couch with her husband’s permission, but she refuses to bring him to orgasm or have intercourse with him. Still, Nula is mesmerized, and progressively becomes a puppet to this couple, until, in a heart-cringing scene, Lucia and Riera have sex on the bed while Nula watches television on the floor. —Richard Farrell

The Decomposition of Continuous Movement: Review of Juan José Saer's La Grande — Richard Farrell

The Decomposition of Continuous Movement: Review of Juan José Saer’s La Grande — Richard Farrell

At the very bottom, on the murky river floor where memory resides, where so much has been lost to time—betrayals, desires, the forgotten war, love, passions—here we find the source material for Juan José Saer’s La Grande. Saer reassembles the fragments. He reconstructs experience through memory, where nothing is ever quite what it appears, and yet where everything that appears is luminescent, like gold flakes panned from the silt, polished, crafted and forged into a ring. —Richard Farrell

What It’s Like Living Here: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala --- Deborah Willis

What It’s Like Living Here: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala — Deborah Willis

After the market we visit the cathedral, a white building that houses many gods. A woman named Tomasa offers to give us a tour. When she smiles, which is often, she shows a beautiful plate of false teeth: there’s a gold, five-pointed star at the centre of each tooth. She tells us that Jesus is worshiped at the front of the cathedral, and at the back there are twelve Mayan altars. Here candles are burned—white for prosperity, pink for love, yellow to bless the dead—and they make a soft crackling sound. —Deborah Willis

The Alexander Debate and the Murderous Innocence of Bucephalus: Fiction — Patrick J. Keane

The Alexander Debate and the Murderous Innocence of Bucephalus: Fiction — Patrick J. Keane

Just as Fate had made them Classicists, sent them to Princeton, made them roommates, and drew them to the study of Alexander, so that uncanny and intertwining Power arranged for them to date, interchangeably, two very different women, having only beauty in common. At first, Diana had been with Haggerty, Alicia with Anderson. But at some point (the quartet could never pinpoint the precise moment of transposal), there had been a sudden switch. —Patrick J. Keane

Vertical Labyrinth: Poems in Translation --- Nela Rio

Vertical Labyrinth: Poems in Translation — Nela Rio

The Argentinian-born poet Nela Rio’s writing is imbued with nostalgia and longing. She composes poems about everything from women victims of imprisonment and torture to the tango. She has even published a collection of erotic poetry. In El Laberinto vertical/Vertical Labyrinth, Rio invents a woman-centered creation story, an original myth meant to disrupt the Christian biblical tradition.

Top of the Page --- Senior Editor R. W. Gray

Top of the Page — Senior Editor R. W. Gray

Top of the Page this month is the inimitable R. W. Gray, Senior Editor, the wizard behind our wildly successful Numéro Cinq at the Movies series, a unique collection of short films with commentaries; you can’t find anything like it anywhere else, a major cultural achievement. Rob has also contributed a full length screenplay for the feature film Alice & Huck and the title story from his amazing collection Crisp. Needless to say, the magazine wouldn’t be what it is today without Rob Gray.

Carved in Stone: The August Issue Preview

Carved in Stone: The August Issue Preview

It’s the Carved in Stone issue, one to last the ages. Have you noticed — it’s true — how saved we are, even temporarily, from the world’s pathologies by a book, a picture, a song and verse, how settling to the spirit it is to contemplate clarity and order? Turn then happily to the beauties of Numéro Cinq, the August edition, which includes stunning poetry-on-stuff images from the inimitable Jody Gladding, an interview with Eula Biss, a review Shane Jones new book, a major essay on the erosion of high culture by Paul Pines, and more, much more.

RECENT BACK ISSUES

Vol. V, No. 6, June 2014