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A Life in Three Acts: Lakshmi Is on the Line

by Shanti Pillai

There is a lot to talk about when I call my father in India from Cuba. The calls are expensive, but the connection is crystalline. Nonetheless, it is hard to stay focused when my consciousness ping-pongs between a Malayali courtyard and the passage way of a Havana apartment building.

In which I admit to wishing we could skip straight to September

by Preeta Samarasan

It’s that difficult time of year when almost everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is celebrating the return of the sun and I’m longing for morning drizzles and cool, overcast afternoons. I don’t usually confess my hatred of sunshine and heat in public, because it makes me feel a bit like Scrooge (except that my Christmas is springtime), and also because confessing elicits, at best, incredulous questions — Didn’t you grow up in the tropics? Aren’t you used to the heat? — and at worst, a level of discomfort bordering on outrage. Then I’m left mumbling apologies, assuring my interlocutor that I have no control over the weather and cannot turn the skies grey no matter how much I might like to, concocting pseudo-scientific explanations about my blood having thickened in the nineteen years since I left the tropics.

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Where'd You Get Your Information From, Huh?

by Joshua Edwards

William Langland is old school. He’s Medieval. About seven years ago I read the 7500 line “B-Text” version of his masterpiece, Piers Plowman. I remember very little about it besides my struggle with Middle English (“And tolde hem tidynges—that tyne thei sholde”), ignorance of Latin (“Ubi thesaurus tuus, ibi et cor tuum.”), and Langland’s wonderful, bawdy humor. Recently however, I’ve been keeping the book on my writing desk, opening it at random and reading a little now and again. It’s been a helpful escape from contemporary poetry and its world, and somehow it has recently converged in my head with Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Guy Davenport’s essay “The Geography of the Imagination,” and several conversations with friends, to force me to think more deliberately about how I use poetry in my life, how it has been used, and what constitutes a poem.

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Where’d You Get Your Information From, Huh?

by Joshua Edwards

William Langland is old school. He’s Medieval. About seven years ago I read the 7500 line “B-Text” version of his masterpiece, Piers Plowman. I remember very little about it besides my struggle with Middle English (“And tolde hem tidynges—that tyne thei sholde”), ignorance of Latin (“Ubi thesaurus tuus, ibi et cor tuum.”), and Langland’s wonderful, bawdy humor. Recently however, I’ve been keeping the book on my writing desk, opening it at random and reading a little now and again. It’s been a helpful escape from contemporary poetry and its world, and somehow it has recently converged in my head with Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Guy Davenport’s essay “The Geography of the Imagination,” and several conversations with friends, to force me to think more deliberately about how I use poetry in my life, how it has been used, and what constitutes a poem.