Nailing Down the Truth

Featuring reviews of:

  • Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman. Mayapple Press, 2011, 208 pp., $17.95 (paper).
  • Faith by Jennifer Haigh. Harper Perennial, 2012, 352 pp., $14.99 (paper).
  • Intuition by Allegra Goodman. Dial Press, 2007, 400 pp., $15 (paper).
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Harper Perennial, 2011, 432 pp., $14.99 (paper).

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Stagestruck: The Character Drawings of Al Hirschfeld

During his nine-decade career, Hirschfeld generated more than 12,000 drawings that chronicled the history of entertainment in this country. His images have become the logo of the American theater. No other illustrator has captured so thoroughly the magic of the performing arts — the theater, the movies, the symphony and television, ballet and opera — and his iconic work has appeared on everything from marquees to U.S. postage stamps.

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A Conversation with Steve Almond and William Giraldi

I see a lot of style and voice disembodied from vision, when real vision—the emotional/existential/intellectual shape of a psyche and its way through the fallen world—is what distinguishes a writer. I might be badly paraphrasing Flannery O’Connor there. . . . – William Giraldi

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Poetry Feature: Darren Morris

Featuring the poems:

  • Fear of Justifications
  • The First Circle
  • Fear of the Either/Or
  • Fear of Seed Vaults and Immortality
  • Fear of Blamelessness

Poetry Feature: Aaron Belz

Featuring the poems:

  • Charmed
  • Movement
  • King Leopold
  • How to Write a Poem
  • Dockside Dolls

A Clean Break

One month before I ran from the police with my mother, I threw a baseball for the last time. I was twelve years old, in the eighth grade, and I had been cut once again from the middle school baseball team. Surely this was a reflection of the coach’s poor judgment, not my skills, as I intended to prove that late spring by digging my toes into the batter’s box for the town recreational team. There, I would send red-laced balls arcing through the sky on such a preposterous trajectory that they would crane the necks of the opposing outfielders—from neighboring Connecticut towns—who, seeing how far they’d have to chase my blasts, would simply give up. Just drop their gloves beside them and take a seat on the grass, awed and frustrated by the fact that I was—would be—what they could only dream of.

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It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie

In the locked unit an old woman slumps on one of the mismatched sofas that line the walls, crocheted blanket draped over her head. Beatrice, I think. She snores softly, and I consider nudging her awake, leading her to the dining room. But I don’t. I need to hurry. Ada is yelling at one of the others to “Wake up! Wake up!” I grab the cassette player from the shelf near the door and head to the dining room—crowded with six tables, a wall of cupboards and a cart of bibs—to keep the residents busy while they wait for their eggs and toast.

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The Sea Latch

When I wake our first day at the Sea Latch, my mother and Agnes sit on the motel’s carpeted porch, smoking as they gaze over the railing at the passing cars. The sound of the Atlantic Ocean’s slow suck carries across the motel parking lot. Route 1, the coastal highway that runs through York, passes directly in front of the motel. You can see the highway’s glittering gray pavement and the boardwalk’s sandwich stands, but not the water. Still, the salt-air smell makes its way to us, the wind that carries it over the dunes bracing and wet and alive.

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The Defense

Turner had been thinking for the many months of his recovery about visiting Brian up in Jackson Hole when he was well enough to travel again, but then, just a day before he planned to go—he was actually mapping out his route in the too-large and too-empty house on Maxwell Avenue—he got a call from his little sister Maggie in Columbus. She had news. And a request.

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Poetry Feature: Katie Bickham

Winner of the 2012 Editors’ Prize in the poetry category.

Featuring the poems:

  • Dining Room, 1811
  • Kitchen, 1850
  • Master Bedroom, 1859
  • Front Porch, 1900
  • Widow’s Walk, 1917
  • Child’s Bedroom, 1933
  • Parlor, 2012