In the Spotlight

On Addiction

by Dorothy Neagle in Creative Nonfiction 0

On Addiction is a snapshot of alcoholism from a child’s perspective. It explores the duality of addiction and the duality of loving someone who is an addict. It is also, and perhaps most importantly, a statement of what it feels like to endure abuse from the person whose role it is to care for you. […]

Latest: Issue 11 | June 2019

Nasiona Books

Poems That Sneak Up and Disturb Your Equilibrium in the Best Possible Way: New Book, ‘PLACES & NAMES,’ by Carl Boon

The poems in Carl Boon’s debut collection, PLACES & NAMES, coalesce two kinds of history—the factual and the imagined—to produce a kind of intimacy that is greater than either fact or imagination. It is this sense of intimacy that brings the poems to life. We encounter real places sometimes—places we see on maps and highway signs—but also places that exist only in the imagination. We encounter names that are both recognizable and almost—or barely—remembered at all: Robert E. Lee next to one of a thousand men named Jackson who went to fight in Vietnam; Jorge Luis Borges next to an unknown boy from Clarita, Oklahoma, who himself would become a poet someday; a man who wishes he were Rocky Marciano hammering the heavy bag in Northeast Ohio, hungry for more than beans or soup. And suddenly it becomes clear how intimately connected in this collection these places and names are as we range from Saigon to northern Iraq; Athens, Ohio, to Libya; Ankara to Pittsburgh; and a strange, sleepy place called Pomegranate Town where someone’s infant dozes in the back of a car on a seaside highway. The people who inhabit these places seem, in a sense, to become those places, inseparable from their geographies and histories, often unable to escape, bound by memory, nostalgia, and tradition. […]

Podcast

Episode 7: Motherhood

Motherhood has often been considered a pinnacle of wisdom and serenity, a sort of joining together of all those parts of ourselves in lesser focus. But in truth, motherhood opens more doors than it closes. It is an endless series of complications and ambiguities that are put into sharper relief by the arrival of a daughter. What emerges from the following four stories is this precise push and pull, pondered through the lens of devotion and loss, of privilege and resentment, of injustice and forgiveness. […]

Issue 10 | May 2019

Podcast

Episode 6: The Imperfect Art of Medicine

Why is it so hard to change people’s minds and behaviors with new facts? We explore this question through pediatrics. In 2015, after a landmark medical study proved that the early inclusion of peanut in the diet of infants prevents peanut allergy, Ron Sunog, MD, set out to develop a great first peanut food for infants. When most physicians and parents did not embrace this important new information, Dr. Sunog was determined to understand why. Dr. Sunog joins me to discuss his new book, Eat The Eight. […]

Odilon Redon, "Is There Not an Invisible World?" lithograph with chine appliqué, 1887, The Museum of Modern Art, Manhattan.
Creative Nonfiction

Anything but That

“Anything but That” begins with an uncomfortable incident caused by her husband’s early dementia. She reminds us that things are not always what they seem. When he forgets her son’s birth story, Paris retells it so that we will know how Courage sets the table for Love. […]

Issue 9 | Apr 2019

Photograph by Tony Hernandez on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Filling in Dark Tunnels

An exploration of the concept and effect of death from a perspective of a girl who, in spite of having grown up in Mexico, had to censor any confrontations with the end of life—her own and her family’s. At the same time, it is a celebration of death within our lives. […]

Salvator Rosa, "Three Figures Around a Globe," 1615–73.
Podcast

Episode 5: Transracial Adoption

We continue our episode 3 discussion on mixed-race families by digging into transracial adoption. Nicole Zelniker—whose book, Mixed, was the focus of that episode—joins me to interview Leah Whetten-Goldstein about her experience being adopted from China into a white, Jewish family in North Carolina. We discuss side-effects, critiques, misunderstandings, and assumptions surrounding transracial adoption, as well as the beauty of being in a mixed-race family. We get a glimpse into Whetten-Goldstein’s struggle to find an identity growing up in a predominantly white community as an adoptee, and she shares the wisdom she’s gathered along the way. […]

Badasses of the Season

Badasses of the Season (Spring 2019)

In this new seasonal series, we highlight some badasses.
_Lido Pimienta
_Ana Tijoux
_Shadia Mansour
_Gogol Bordello
_LP
_Melissa Lozada-Oliva
_Jessie Reyez
_The Hamilton Mixtape: K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC (Riz Ahmed), and Residente […]

Creative Nonfiction

Provincial Gods

Deep inside an ancient ruin, writes E. J. Myers, “I came face to face with a deity, and the meeting did not go well.” What does it mean to confront a lost culture’s image of divinity? And in that confrontation, what is the source of the resulting mysterium tremendum? […]

Nasiona Books

What Would Happen If One Woman Told the Truth about Her Life?: New Book, ‘Vestiges of Courage,’ by Mireya S. Vela

Vestiges of Courage is a collection of personal essays that explores inequities and injustice. Raised between two cultures and two languages, Mireya S. Vela discusses how the systems in her family and in society worked to create an abusive environment that felt crushing, confusing, and hopeless. In her book, Ms. Vela delineates her experience of living through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. This book is much more than a collection of experiences, though. Ms. Vela wants to know how and why abuse thrived in her family. She digs deep to understand why these things happened and how she survived. […]

Eat The Eight, by Ron Sunog, MD
Nasiona Books

How to Navigate the Imperfect Art of Medicine and Prevent Food Allergy with Food: New Book, ‘Eat The Eight,’ by Ron Sunog, MD

In 2015, after a landmark medical study proved that the early inclusion of peanut in the diet of infants prevents peanut allergy, Ron Sunog, MD, set out to develop a great first peanut food for infants. When most physicians and parents did not embrace this important new information, Dr. Sunog was determined to understand why. Eat The Eight examines how difficult it is to acquire and understand good medical evidence, the complex web of reason and emotion through which people filter medical information, and the imperative to thoughtfully temper the science of medicine with the art of medicine. Parents will learn how a healthful diet can be key to reducing their infant’s risk of developing food allergy. […]

Juan Gris, "Still Life with Checked Tablecloth," oil and graphite on canvas, 1915, Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Cluttered Table

“Cluttered Table” follows Briley Dewayne Jones in the winter of 2018 as he attempts to bring back repressed memories from his time in conversion therapy. […]

Podcast

Episode 4: Systemic Abuse of Women

We share four essays included in Mireya S. Vela’s forthcoming book, Vestiges of Courage, Collected Essays—a collection of personal essays that explores inequities and injustice. Ms. Vela discusses how the systems in her family and in society worked to create an abusive environment that felt crushing, confusing, and hopeless. In her book, Ms. Vela delineates her experience of living through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Ms. Vela wants to know how and why abuse thrived in her family. […]

Podcast

Episode 3: Mixed-Race Families

Journalist Nicole Zelniker, author of Mixed, takes us on personal journeys to help us glimpse into overlooked worlds so we can more fully grasp what it means to be mixed. Zelniker spoke to dozens of mixed-race families and individuals, as well as experts in the field, about their own experiences, with the hope to fill a gap in the very important conversation about race in the US today. […]

Sakai Hōitsu, "Blossoming Cherry Trees," pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; ca. 1805. Mary Griggs Burke Collection. Gift of the Mary Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

“I Guess I’m More Japanese Than You”

Nicole Zelniker’s book, Mixed, is a work of journalism about mixed-race families and their shifting identities. In this chapter from the book, Zelniker interviews Lynda Gomi, who is white, and Kazu Gomi, who is Japanese. They have lived in both the US and Japan and both believe that their cultures are a much bigger difference between them than the color of their skin. […]

Photograph by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash.
Poetry

She Who Flies Over Ramallah

You don’t know Zakia? / She is in grave number forty over three, over there. / They put my name on her mud-formed stone and / when I went to see her on that rainy afternoon, my shoes became stuck in a soupy quick sand which pulled me into the city of the always awake (those who no longer yawn after a long day’s labor, or close their ears to dull the screeching sirens of the bombs) / Did you know that Zakia hid in the cavern on the edge of al-Qusoor hill during that summer when the refugees outgrew their stay? […]

Photograph by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash.
Interviews

Literary Agents Answer Your Burning Questions, Part 1

You’ve spent months, maybe years, working tirelessly to tell your story and you’ve done it. You’ve written a book. What follows may be even harder: getting it published. It’s the word on every writer’s mind, and it can be scary, especially if you’re choosing to go the traditional route. In this three-part series, we hope to answer some of your burning questions, like What makes a literary agent tick? How do I craft a query letter? What are the best ways to utilize social media? To answer these questions, we went straight to source: literary agents. This article will give you a glimpse into the inner workings of the publishing world as experienced by literary agents. […]

Issue 8 | Mar 2019

Issue 8 | Feb 2019
Ep. 2: Mireya S. Vela's Vestiges of Courage
Podcast

Episode 2: Mireya S. Vela’s Vestiges of Courage

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? Mireya S. Vela is that woman. In this long-form interview, we discuss her art, creative nonfiction, social justice, motherhood, womanhood, being marginalized in the United States, and her new book, Vestiges of Courage: Collected Essays, which we, The Nasiona, are happy to be publishing in April of 2019.Vestiges of Courage is a collection of personal essays that explores inequities and injustice. Raised between two cultures and two languages, Vela discusses how the systems in her family and in society worked to create an abusive environment that felt crushing, confusing, and hopeless. She delineates her experience of living through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. This book is much more than a collection of experiences, though. Ms. Vela wants to know how and why abuse thrived in her family. She digs deep to understand why these things happened and how she survived. […]

Nasiona Books

What Does It Mean to Be Mixed-Race in the US?: New Book, ‘Mixed,’ by Nicole Zelniker

The definition of families is widening, whether it’s because of mixed-race relationships, interracial adoption, or numerous other factors. Today, it is important to hear from a growing population about race, their shifting identities, and what family means to them. At the heart of the issue are the mixed-race families. Many mixed-race children have had difficulties fitting in, whether with one race or the other. In mixed-race relationships, one partner may face racism, while the other may not, or else they will experience racism in different ways. Children who have been adopted into families that identify as a race that is not theirs often find that they struggle to fit in with their families as well as with people who identify as their own race. Not only are these families navigating US American culture at large, but they also must navigate their own family structures and what it means to be mixed. […]

Photograph by Jordan Madrid on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

The Notepad

I take pen and paper with me everywhere I go, even on a hike, where I walk and scrawl at the same time. I figure you never know what you might find. Today, a chance encounter with a loquacious tough guy sets up a skirmish of madscapes and loosened memories. […]

Photograph by Nathan Walker on Unsplash.
Columns

Confronting Our Creative Fears

Our best work as writers often begins as fear and self-doubt. While it feels like failure, it is actually the call to collaborate with our inner creative forces. The challenge is not to avoid these insecurities but to embrace them and by doing so unlock our own potential. […]

Issue 7 | Feb 2019

Podcast

Episode 1: IM John Donaldson’s Chess World

Do the stereotypes about chess and chess players have any validity at all? Through the eyes of John Donaldson (International Master and chess writer, journalist, coach, and historian) we get a behind-the-scenes look at the most popular game of all time to see if chess really does transcend language, age, race, religion, politics, gender, and socioeconomic background. We also get some interesting anecdotes about Bobby Fischer from his biographer, as well as try to answer the following questions: Is chess a sport, art, or a science? What is the role of computers in the game? How much do privilege and belief play into improvement? How has who plays chess today changed over the decades? […]

Vincent van Gogh, “Shoes,” oil on canvas, 1888, purchase, the Annenberg Foundation Gift, 1992, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Sad Stuff

When her lifelong best friend died suddenly, Taylor Feld found herself severed from her childhood. “Sad Stuff” celebrates that childhood and explores that friendship, before and after death. It’s about how grief transforms, disrupts, and warps. It’s about the levity we find amidst agony. It’s about love outliving. […]

Lovis Corinth, "Death Visits the Strucks," softground etching in black on Japan paper, 1921, National Gallery of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Human and Divine

In “Human and Divine,” human limitations collide with divine expectations as a young pastor-in-training botches the duty to comfort a grieving family and bumbles his way through a dying man’s last moments. […]

Umberto Boccioni, "Head Against the Light (The Artist's Sister)," ink on paper, 1912, bequest of Lydia Winston Malbin, 1989, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Diptych: Origins, Neurodivergence

A shock medical diagnosis. A child’s awareness of her otherness in the neurotypical world. In her two-panel essay, Deborah Elderhorst ponders the gaps that exist between one person’s perceptions and another’s lived experience, even within the closest of familial bonds. This is a mother’s heart-song to her daughter. […]

Photograph by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

My Mother’s Suitcases

It’s hard to cope with the resentment and demands of an aging parent with dementia. Sometimes, Jacqueline Doyle suggests, what doesn’t make sense becomes clearer in hindsight. […]

Photograph by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Finding Jean Palmer

*WINNER OF THE NASIONA FLASH CREATIVE NONFICTION PRIZE, 2019*
“Finding Jean Palmer” recounts a long quest to locate Hannah Huff’s great-grandmother’s grave in a vast memorial park. […]

Lafayette Maynard Dixon, "Sunset Magazine: September," lithograph, 1904, purchase, Leonard A. Lauder Gift, 2015, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

A Guide to Parenting

*WINNER OF THE NASIONA NONFICTION POETRY PRIZE, 2019*

I hope you don’t look Asian
like me.
I don’t want anyone, boy or girl,
reducing you to some Oriental fetish.

You will never know
your grandparents on my side.
I hope you will never know the hunger
that comes with such loneliness. […]

Blog

The Nasiona Literary Prize Winners

With our literary contests, we look to identify and celebrate some of the best original, unpublished creative nonfiction and nonfiction poetry out there.

_The Nasiona Flash Creative Nonfiction Prize, 2019: Hannah Huff, “Finding Jean Palmer”

_The Nasiona Nonfiction Poetry Prize, 2019: Bunkong Tuon, “A Guide to Parenting” […]

Issue 6 | Jan 2019

Photograph by Joel Fulgencio on Unsplash.
Columns

Perspective

Perspective is more than just a specific view of things, it is the parallel lines that spread outward in all directions but are all sourced from a singular experience. Memoir doesn’t just ask for the what, but also the why, even if that why can never be answered. […]

Photograph by JR Korpa on Unsplash.
Poetry

Rituals of Ijogwu Festival

Dances of naked women in a single file
(Only the darkness covers their nakedness)
Carrying on bare heads small earthenware pots
Smoked in rituals of the night around flaming logs
Singing for Ijogwu, the water goddess
Imbuing the air with tingling
Relics of the ancient dreams
Dawning on the hallows of the grove
Far sprung in the distant forest. […]

Gustav Klimt, "The Kiss," painting, 1907-1908, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Museum.
Creative Nonfiction

Wedding Portrait

Centered around the televised royal nuptials between Prince Harry and Ms. Markle, “Wedding Portrait” tells a larger personal story in which racial boundaries are transgressed and questioned. Jennifer Bostwick Owens describes finding the courage to stand up to external censure and sketches a picture of building a life of evolving, ongoing love. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Artwalk, Corkscrew, Armchair

You’re at a friend’s art exhibition. The art walk at full swing, paintings are spilling out of doorways. But you are looking around questioning the festivity, wrestling with the value of all this work, and wondering about your own elusive art career, the course artists take, the meaning of it all. […]

Columns

Words from Elsewhere

To keep with the spirit of Otra Parte, I’d like to share my list of readings from elsewhere. These are readings that tackle what it means to be the Other, expose us to extraordinary worlds, and/or disclose interesting, at times iconoclastic, perspectives that end up feeling (or at one time felt) foreign when compared to mainstream and conventional thoughts, behaviors, and codes of conduct. […]

Photograph by Pedro Gonzalez on Unsplash.
Poetry

hotel outside richmond

outside of richmond, virginia–full day’s / drive north of tampa. bulky old tv’s / and a lobby sharp with chlorine, the pool / absolutely alive with the ignorant / joy of children who know not cheap hotels, / only that there is water deep enough / to drown in, […]

"Rubbing of Apsarases (Dancers)," Cambodia, ink on paper, 20th century, gift of Mr. Jean Laur, Curator of Angkor, 1959, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

About Chains

In a letter to her daughter she put up for adoption, Holly Pelesky muddles through the emotional distance from her own mother who tried to leave her father once. An exploration of the tension between mothers and daughters; a reflection on how the choices we make wedge space between us. […]

Photograph by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Empathy in the Desert

Getting caught in a sandstorm in Death Valley makes for gritty contemplation. The aptly named National Park puzzles the author with its past secrets and possible previews of the future. Did a professional dancer really perform without an audience for decades in this desert? Will tougher conditions for all homo sapiens force more empathy from us? Join Tom Molanphy in this memorable tour of Death Valley National Park. […]

Joanna Staniszewski, “Watson,” oil painting.
Columns

The Nasiona’s Origin Story

In this keynote speech, I, as founder, speak about The Nasiona’s origin story, the role of creative nonfiction in today’s conflict-ridden world, why I deem The Nasiona an unconventional journalism organization more so than a literary project, why I embrace the subjectivity of human experience to get a better vantage point of our condition as humans, how The Nasiona digs deeper into the who and the why than traditional news sources, and how the voices and stories The Nasiona shares and promotes helps build bridges between strangers. […]

Photograph of Heidi Harris, by Jendog Lonewolf.
Columns

The Tall, Tall Tales of Heidi Harris

Heidi Harris is a self-taught musician and vocalist whose creative practice is based on an exploration and intermingling of traditional and non-traditional sound sources. A child of New Weird America, New Hampshire-based Harris is known for coloring outside the margins. Let’s put our feet on the ground with them red heels on and let’s go and row … row into dreams, comforting haunts, and sensations of being young or of some psychedelic foreign place with Harris as our tour guide in this two-part series of interviews. […]

Issue 5 | Dec 2018

Photograph by Cristian Newman on Unsplash.
Columns

Authenticity in Memoir

What keeps us from being authentic in our writing? Fear, shame, and ego, to name a few reasons, but authenticity can create connection and help readers recognize themselves in even the strangest of stories. To elevate your memoir beyond reminiscing you must bring your most authentic self to the page. […]

Stéphan Valentin photograph on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Swallow

Framed by the four phases of swallowing, “Swallow” is a personal essay about my first drinking experience and its aftermath. It investigates adolescent friendship, explores mother-daughter relationships, and blurs the line between teenage rebellion and addiction. […]

Bruce Christianson, "Underwater Fashion shoot testing with Sophie in a brightly colored flowing dress swirling with reflections on the under-surface of the pool," photograph, Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Miscarriages of Social Justice

Kelly A. Dorgan recounts her two miscarriages, including one that lasts eight months. Gazing at these experiences through the lens of intersectional feminism, however, she gains improved sight. Born out of her failed pregnancies are her new eyes, eyes that better see the twisting shadows of privilege, inequalities, and oppression across the female body. […]

An auto-da-fé of the Spanish Inquisition: the burning of heretics in a market place. Wood engraving by H.D. Linton after Bocourt after T. Robert-Fleury. Wellcome Collection.
Book Excerpts

‘Shver tsu Zayn a Yid’

“Shver tsu Zayn a Yid” follows a young anthropologist discovering his own ethnic identity as a Jew. The process was made difficult—potentially dangerous at times—by ‘background’ anti-Semitism exacerbated by Israeli government abuse of Palestinians, and […]

Albert Ernest Markes, "Ship at Sea," watercolor, late 19th century, bequest of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1966, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

Poems from the First Voyage

A poetic language emerges out of the experience of radically unfamiliar things. These poems capture the first voyage to a new world and reflect aspects of the traveler’s personality, his obsessiveness, and his devoutness and […]

@wild_away photograph of Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, Kaneohe, O'ahu, Hawai'i, United States, on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Return to Kaimuki

Julia Wright chases a man to another island in the hopes of getting married, but she leaves her two young sons behind. Her mother has cared for Julia’s illegitimate boys for a year when Julia […]

Issue 4 | Nov 2018

Pierre-Louis Pierson, "Scherzo di Follia," gelatin silver print from glass negative, 1863-66, gift of George Davis, 1948, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Picture Days

The worn blue robe, the unfriendly room. I’m just holding it together as I wait for the mammogram to expose parts of me I’d rather keep hidden. I’m wrapped in a blue and white gown, […]

Auguste Rodin, "The Embrace," graphite, watercolor, and gouache, 1900-1910, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

Intimacy

Is it a crime that I liked you for the collapsing breadth of your lips? I keep wondering if my life would have been different had I arrived at the party ten minutes later or […]

Henry P. Bosse, "No. 201. U.S. Government Bridge at Rock Island, Illinois (High Water)," cyanotype, 1888, gift of Charles Wehrenberg and Sally Larsen, 2014, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

Inside the Engine

I’ve drank in hangers built to maintain the airplanes my grandfather operated on, under the eye of a traffic control tower that’s quiet now in the after-effects of all those solvents. Of course the suds […]

Francis William Edmonds, "Preparing for Christmas (Plucking Turkeys)," oil on canvas, 1851, Bequest of Mrs. Screven Lorillard (Alice Whitney), from the collection of Mrs. J. Insley Blair, 2016, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

A Thanksgiving Burial

Her father used to cook the turkey on Thanksgiving, but every year it came out of the oven dry and overdone. As a self-proclaimed foodie and frequent cook, she smugly took over the ritual one […]

Vincent van Gogh, "Corridor in the Asylum," oil color and essence over black chalk on pink laid ("Ingres") paper, September 1889, Bequest of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1948, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

I Saw It All

Beware of the spiritual journey. You may end up in a place that’s not so comforting. I discovered this hard truth at a meditation retreat in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Vipassana Meditation, the time-honored method […]

Francisco Gonzalez photograph on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Softball

Robin Gow reflects on his relationship with his father when they used to play softball together. He recalls the only time he saw his father cry was watching Field of Dreams and explores how the themes of that movie apply to both of their lives. […]

Mireya S. Vela, "With Snake."
Creative Nonfiction

Doctores

When people are marginalized, their doctors are, too. A woman remembers her childhood and the decisions she and her family made. Grandmother didn’t like secrets. She said to me, “Secrets come from Satan.” I don’t […]

Edward Lear, "Agia Paraskevi, Epirus, Greece," graphite, pen and brown ink and watercolor, 1857, purchase, Brooke Russell Astor Bequest, 2013, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Passages

Each time I go back to Tirana, I see big changes, but I seek out the old parts of town, the narrow streets, talk to people who live there and people who are visiting, and […]

Issue 3 | Oct 2018

Issue 3 | Oct 2018
Odilon Redon, "It Was a Hand, Seemingly as Much of Flesh and Blood as My Own, plate 4 of 6," lithograph in black on ivory China paper laid down on white wove paper, 1896, The Stickney Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago.
Columns

The Power of Story

Stories are the foundation of our civilizations and our societies. Our legends and myths, our scientific discoveries and our explorations, can inform and influence us both individually and collectively. But what separates us also holds […]

Photograph by Chris Liverani in Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Blood Wine on a Full Moon

A reflection of Catholicism and Tarot/light occult beliefs; how they intertwine and connect despite being taught they were opposites, and how those teachings affected the writer as an adult. The moon had broken through, just […]

Gustave Courbet, "The Calm Sea," oil on canvas, 1869, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O Havemeyer, 1929, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Just One More Thing

Think about the hardest loss you’ve been through, perhaps a beloved parent, or even harder, a precious child. What if every horrible thing imaginable happened? What if you lost everything and nearly everyone? How would […]

Edgar Degas, "The Artist's Cousin, Probably Mrs. William Bell (Mathilde Musson, 1841-1878)," pastel on green woven paper, now darkened to brown, 1873, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Freed Women of a Certain Age

This piece narrates my journey as an older woman who attempts to resolve the financial, lifestyle, and professional realities of choosing to start an online freelance business. This is a deeply personal narrative that questions […]

Mansur, "Study of a Nilgai (Blue Bull)," Folio from the Shah Jahan Album, album leaf, ca. 1550, Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

Revel With Ghosts

Two months after losing our infant son, we were just starting to learn the language of signs. In Barcelona, a city whose ghosts seem to rise from the walls, our loss found a welcoming home. […]

Creative Nonfiction

The Things That Save You

The personal essay is an exposé on loss and absence. Tolu Daniel explores how the most random events influence each other. It should rain. But for some reason the rain is shy and from my […]

George S. Harris & Sons, "Olive, from the Fruits series (N12) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands," commercial color lithograph, 1891, The Jefferson R. Burdick Collection, Gift of Jefferson R. Burdick, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

The Girl from Patitiri

Slicing tuna skins pickling eyes in ouzo– comb of Kalamata olives; cubes of feta resembled plastic dice without any spots. The girl from Patitiri carried buckets of water on the back of a mule through […]

John Quincy Adams Ward, "Study for Treaty with Native Americans (from Sketchbook)," graphite on paper, ca. 1860, Gift of Edward R. Groves, 1985, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

Indigenous People’s Day

In a red state like Missouri, their hero columbised this land but for us, indigenous emigrants of burnt sage and blown prayers, a shivering flame in the stomach and Dr. Silver Wolf’s drums outside the […]

Issue 2 | Sep 2018

William Michael Harnett, "The Artist's Letter Rack," oil on canvas, 1879, Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1966, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Columns

Embracing the Subjective

As memoir writers, we must enter the dark waters of memory where facts are few and remembered events are often unstable. But the subjective experience offers its own reality and can reveal the truths that […]

Hans Christian Andersen, "Two Pierrots Balancing on Swans and Two Dancers," cutout in blue paper mounted on an album sheet, 1820-75, Mary Martin Fund, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Men Teach Me to Shoot

A little girl yearns for Papa’s attention, yet feels regret the moment the pellet gun weighs in her hand. Some men are not to be trusted. She wants to be brave and to be seen […]

Paul Klee, "Baum und Architektur—Rhythmen (Tree and Architecture—Rhythms)," oil on paper, 1920, Gift of Benjamin and Lillian Hertzberg, National Gallery of Art.
Book Excerpts

Jujubes Represent Sugar

Jae Langton is just like the rest of his family, especially in his love of musicals. The biggest difference is that Jae is South Korean, while everyone else is white. Jae’s parents, Shelley and David, […]

Egypt, "Fragment of a Queen's Face," yellow jasper, Dynasty 18, New Kingdom, Amarna Period, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1353-1336 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Open Season

Blending styles including personal memoir, creative nonfiction, and photography, “Open Season” lyrically explores what it means to be a woman in America. The vignettes present flashes of microaggressions that women suffer and internalize every day, […]

Winslow Homer, "Camp Fire," oil on canvas, 1880, Gift of Josephine Pomery Hendrick, in the name of Henry Keney Pomeroy, 1927, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

The Fire Extinguisher

When the motor on his boat catches fire eighty miles up a remote Alaska river, the speaker in “The Fire Extinguisher” is forced to see the experience through the eyes of an accompanying Swedish doctor. […]

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, "Peasant and Girl," color etching printed in black, red, and blue, 1921, Gift of Ruth Cole Kalnen, National Gallery of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

About Time

My father, born in Hungary in 1906, was often mistaken for my grandfather. Nowhere was the cultural divide between us more pronounced than on a trip to Budapest in 1969. We both let each other […]

Paul Klee, "Alter Dampfer (Old Steamboat)," oil transfer drawing and watercolor on laid paper, on Klee's original mount, 1922, Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art.
Poetry

Detroit Gold

First came the scrappers, Slicing the drywall muscle for Detroit gold. Dissection of the vein, red conductors. They gutted the city, Broke her teeth, Boarded up her eyes. Then came the scavengers, looking to make […]

Frederick H. Evans, "In the Attics," Kelmscott Manor Photographs, 1896, Purchase, David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1968, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

Broadway Avenue

East Canton, Ohio My grandmother’s house remains gray, remains past what might be recalled of it. A boy and a girl play Yahtzee! in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, and from the car I […]

South Netherlandish (?), "Glass Fragment," colorless glass, 16th century, Gift of George D. Pratt, 1930, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

A Memoir

and we were dying a little every day fleshy leftovers on tilted sidewalks failing to leave an imprint even the sun seemed to weep and the shadows never quite faded even as day broke even […]

Egon Schiele, "Crouching Nude in Shoes and Black Stockings, Back View," watercolor, 1912, Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

After Party

Her Pomeranian shot back and forth like the white lines cut out on the coffee table as she tucked bleached hair behind her ear and snorted from the rolled-up bill. She stripped at Blush, the […]

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, "Tadeus Langier, Zakopane," photograph, 1912-1913, Gilman Collection, Purchase, Denise and Andrew Saul Gift, 2005, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

Echoes of Tattered Tongues

Below are three poems from JOHN Z. GUZLOWSKI‘s critically-acclaimed book Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded, his book of poems and essays about his parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany. Make sure to read […]

Issue 1 | Aug 2018

William Leighton Leitch, "A Parkland View at Dusk," watercolor and graphite, ca. 1879, purchase, Didier Aaron Inc. Gift, 2003, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

My Father in Wild Pants

Because the ’70s sang. Because of becauses he couldn’t explain from the sand trap at the 17th hole at Brookside, the doctors drinking bourbon and soda in the clubhouse. I know the photographs, only, what […]

Paul Klee, "Adam and Little Eve," watercolor and transferred printing ink on paper mounted on cardboard, 1921, The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1987, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Berry Patch

We eleven-year-old girls sat through the film in the cafeteria and watched a movie about pads and how you could menstruate at night lying down. We all worried about the blood that might go straight […]

Paul Gauguin, "The Siesta," oil on canvas, ca. 1892-1894, The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1993, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

To Helen, a Handbasket

“To Helen, a Handbasket” takes a commonplace object—a basket—and uses it as a device to trace the author’s grandmother’s life from her early existence as a dutiful farm wife filling picnic baskets to her final […]

Ding Fuzhi, "近代 丁輔之 雜果圖 冊頁 (Fruit)," album leaf and ink and color on paper, 1945, Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

Sihanoukville by the Sea

In 1993, Spalding Gray’s monologue Swimming to Cambodia pulled us in. Within a year of watching it, my ex and I left Oregon to live in the beach town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. We flew there […]

Maurice Brazil Prendergast, "Large Boston Public Garden Sketchbook: A nude woman with red hair," watercolor over pencil, bordered in pencil and watercolor, ca. 1895-1897, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Mediocre Existentialist

Appalachia is a heritage I both wanted to understand and to escape. A place filled with opioid abuse, the remnants of poverty and coal mining culture, and somehow also, the filthy rich. You slurred about […]

Henri-Edmond Cross, "Landscape with Stars," watercolor on white wove paper, ca. 1905-1908, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

Sights

  With flint and tinder to kindle, we spark a blaze red-yellow-blue as night bedims and outlays the starry convoy of the skies, urging a census of the countless; hours vanish posthaste till sun gilds the […]

Carleton E. Watkins, "Looking up Among the Sugar Pines - Calaveras Grover," photograph, ca. 1878, Gilman Collection, Gift of the Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

We Are All Dead

don’t mind the dishes in the sink we died before we could clean them the trellis belongs to the ivy now its snaking fingers weaving through the holes we couldn’t stop the orange rust expanding […]

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