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100th Volume Retrospective: Racing to the Coast by Leslie Gottesman

Today’s poem was written by Leslie Gottesman, who went on to become a professor of English at Golden Gate University. Racing to the Coast by Leslie Gottesman   The face fragments stumble past the sleep station The children are stamping to get to the home station We place the morning station carefully in the locked Japanese…

The Tyranny of Memory: Yanagihara in Amsterdam

Hanya Yanagihara’s 2015 novel A Little Life can be briefly summarized as the story of four college roommates, their enduring friendship and soaring careers, but it is so much more than a big-city Bildungsroman. About 100 pages in to the book’s 720, Jude St. Francis, the most reserved member of the group, recalls the first of his “episodes,” bouts of physical agony that continue for the rest of his life: …the pain had been so awful—unbearable, almost, as if someone had reached in and grabbed his spine like a snake and was trying to loose it from its bundles of nerves…

On Tallulah Bankhead by Augustus Edwin John (1930)

I first saw her at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., having a few minutes to spare before scurrying off to a panel at a literary conference, my notebook still tucked between stiff fingers nicked by the cold. The chill hung onto my exposed knuckles through the long halls and wary high ceilings, and as I browsed figures painted stiff and presidential, others twisted pantheonic in contrapposto, I kept wandering, clattering as loose change. I drifted past the marble and cast bronze, meandered through both Davinci and Harlem’s Renaissance, and ascended stairs partially to test the property that heat…

V-Sides and Rarities

I. Entomology It is in rare circumstances that the etymology of the word is as fascinating as the definition of the word itself. In the case of “vampire,” this is because the precise etymological origins of the word are obscured—both through years of cultural exchange and language migration, as well as the linguistic misrepresentations of…

Announcement: The Columbia Review’s 100th Volume Literary Prizes!

The Columbia Review is excited to announce that we are offering one-time prizes to celebrate the first issue in our 100th Volume during the Fall 2018 semester. There will be three categories — Poetry, Prose, and Translation — as outlined below. The Kenneth Koch Prizes in Prose and Poetry will be awarded to one prose…

On a Collection of Covers

I. My excitement for Luna’s new album—following their decade-long break—had admittedly waned when I found out it would be a series of covers. I started listening to Luna largely for the blend of spacey music and frontman Dean Wareham’s sharp lyrics. The band—which formed following the demise of Wareham’s previous project, Galaxie 500—saw Wareham trade his higher and earnest voice for a more deadpan persona. His lyrics, however, maintained that same looseness, existing somewhere between absurd and sincere—or as both at the same time. Of course both Galaxie 500 and Luna have showcased Wareham’s affinity for covers. In Galaxie 500’s…

The Fall 2017 Issue is Here!

We’d like to thank all of the talented contributors for their great work. We would also like to thank the Gatsby Foundation for their generosity. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together.  

The Spring 2017 Issue is Here!

We’d like to thank all of the talented contributors for their great work. We would also like to thank the Gatsby Foundation for their generosity. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together.      

At the Base Of the Mountains

They say I was baptised, though I doubt anyone in my family actually remembers the event. I know my American grandmother and her best friend drove across the country from Meredith, New Hampshire to Pleasanton, California in order to meet my twin sister and me and to attend our bautizo. The dress I wore at…

On Biblical Fan Fic

There is a real category of media called Biblical fan fiction and I have consumed all of it. The canonized pieces of course, Paradise Lost and Pilgrim’s Progress, and childhood adaptations, i.e. the famed Veggie Tales collection. I’ve seen Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I took my mother to see Book of Mormon when I thought it was actually going to be about Mormons. I’ve read the less well-known pieces too though: a retelling of Hosea set during the 1849 San Franciscan gold rush, Jesus’s crucifixion from the point of view of a Roman slave. Having grown up in…