100th Volume Retrospective: Poem by Tory Dent

The Columbia Review printed this work by Tory Dent while she was studying at Barnard College. She later published three volumes of poetry and received numerous awards and honors, such as the James Laughlin Award in 1999 for HIV, Mon Amour, which described her struggle with the disease. Dent passed away in 2005. Poem by…

A Meditation on Childhood Stories

I found an old diary of my mother’s a few weeks ago containing a number of humorous anecdotes and stories from my childhood. I don’t have many tangible memories of my younger years so it was nice to find something connecting me to them. Showing her, we laughed at the oddity of the questions and…

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…

100th Volume Retrospective: Atonement by Mary Morris

As a countdown to the release of the first issue of our 100th volume on December 14th, we will be posting pieces every day from previous issues over the years. Our first piece was written by Mary Morris, who went on to earn the Rome Prize in Literature and publish many novels, memoirs, and story collections. She…

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…

Endnotes on Pale Fire

  Azure adj.    blue, bright, cloudless; (of love) cloudless: The false azure of cloudless love. And when a noun – heaven, palate, the roof of one’s mouth. Azure as in: The bright, bottomless vowels that once echoed against the roof of your mouth. Or: Unstuck from your palate, here I am – trying to speak your…

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…

Claiming Holiday Supremacy: A Halloween Blog

October is upon us, and we all know what that means; it’s finally time for Halloween. On the list of the top ten best holidays, Halloween easily fills ranks 1-9. It is truly a peerless event, but October 31 is not just an excuse to eat an entire bag of mini-snickers bars while dressed up…