Anatomy of Absence 

There was a hole at the table where her son used to be. Once he had sat across from her and made reluctant single-syllable conversation, his mouth full of food. When his father left, he stopped speaking. Then he stopped coming all together. After the divorce papers were finalized, she enrolled herself in a cooking…

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We Sail These Seas

Long ago, they set fire to their homes. At the end of winter, when the snowdrifts began to deflate and the dead trees began to breathe in the changing air for the first time, they would all stand outside their homes and start a fire in the middle of the village. The homes were so close to one another; a family of homes that kept each other warm, that it never took long for the fire to spread. And while the homes fell into it shouting with glee at the spectacle, everyone stood outside and watched as breath floated into…

Zora Neale Hurston on Racial Identity, Ninety Years Later

Commencement season at Barnard College this year will mark the ninetieth anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston’s graduation with a BA in anthropology. As a graduate of Barnard’s sister institution, Columbia University, I feel the time is more than ripe to reflect on some of Hurston’s contributions. As it happens, I have a second—and third—connection to Hurston, apart from my status as a Columbia alumnus. Her hometown, Eatonville, Florida, lies not far from Gainesville, Florida, where I received my BA in anthropology. I first encountered Hurston, in the company of fellow anthropology undergrads, at Eatonville’s annual “ZORA!” festival. Hurton’s literary and…

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.  

Exeter Book Riddle #47: The Book-Moth

Original Old English: Moððe word fræt.        Me þæt þuhte wrætlicu wyrd,        þa ic þæt wundor gefrægn, þæt se wyrm forswealg        wera gied sumes, þeof in þystro,        þrymfæstne cwide ond þæs strangan staþol.        Stælgiest ne wæs wihte þy gleawra,        þe he þam wordum swealg.   English Translation: A moth made feast of words.        I thought that…

Thinking of a Friend at Night

Early in this evil year comes autumn. I walk in the fields at night, the cold wind at my hat, the rain rattles…And you? And you, my friend?   You are standing—perhaps—and scanning the sickle-moon vault over forests in its little arcing bends and bivouac fire, red in the jet-black valley. You are sprawling—perhaps—in a field of straw, sleeping, and soft dew falls on your forehead, your armor of a war-jacket.   You could be on horseback tonight, stationed at the outpost, peering out, gun in fist, whispering to your horse, stroking away its fatigue… Perhaps—I think—you are spending the…