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Three Poems

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Elizabeth Knapp reads her poems "Capital I," "Is That a Gun in Your Pocket" and "Self-Portrait as Kurt Cobain Wrestling with the Angel" and speaks with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur about topics ranging from American politics to her advice to young poets. [...] more


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Cattle auctions, pastures, and an old horse. These make up the world of Janisse Ray's essay "Cheyenne", about an old horse taken in by Ray's family. Ray's piece explores the nature of love, the connections between love and pity, and the discovery of grace. [...] more

Burning Silence

Friday, April 19, 2019

The repetitive work of a tree-planting camp, the complexity of the forest, and above all, the sounds of that world--these are the subjects of Geoff Martin's essay "Burning Silence". Tasked with tending a loud generator, Martin contemplates how noise and stillness fuel our creativity. [...] more

The Ideal Reasoner

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

S. D. Jones' short story "The Ideal Reasoner" gives a comic and touching twist to relationship trouble, as a Shelockian AI creates upheaval in a marriage--only to bring about a surprising resolution. [...] more

What's Heavy?

Monday, February 25, 2019

"I don't have much time," says Dickie, the narrator of Bradford Philen's "What's Heavy". Dickie is a high-school kid, but he doesn't have much time--before his father's kidneys give out, before the coming hurricane hits, before Ophelia, the girl he's into, gives up on him. Dickie is under more than specific pressures on this one night when his many burdens weigh on him. [...] more

Next Life

Friday, February 15, 2019

Frankie is a pet rat. And in Kaia Preus' story "Next Life," he is dying. As Zoe tries to soften his last moments, she tries, too, to find balance in her relationships with two men. Tenderness towards Frankie becomes her litmus test, but also the source of some surprising insights. [...] more

Devil's Drop

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Three boys make an unpleasant discovery while playing in a local park. Through one boy's narration, Heather Cripps' "Devil's Drop" tells the story of the children's vulnerability and the poignant ways in which they search for reassurance. [...] more

Horny For Construction

Friday, December 7, 2018

Two men work to remove a heavy cast-iron tub from a bathroom. They are both middle-aged; one is a teacher, a writer. In Guy Thorvaldsen's essay "Horny For Construction," working with your hands is full of lessons--about rewards and process, but also about what Thorvaldsen calls "small disagreements with the universe". [...] more

Head Like a Hole

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The husband who narrates Amy Lee Lillard's story "Head Like a Hole" watches, puzzled, as a perfectly round hole grows in his backyard. The growing hole, and the wife's ongoing vigil, tell a poignant story of self, integrity, and, ultimately, connection. [...] more

s w i m

Monday, November 12, 2018

What is held, what holds you, in water or in air? Marsha McDonald's story "s w i m" raises and explores these questions through the story of a girl taught to swim by her uncle. Learning much more than that about her body's resilience, the narrator connects her experience to the terrors and enticements of deep water. [...] more


Friday, October 26, 2018

Erin Hoover's poems "What Is The Sisterhood to Me" and "If You Are Confused About Whether a Girl Can Consent" speak to the issues of our current news-cycle and to the timeless issues of power and selfhood. In an accompanying interview with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur, Hoover talks about her process, her favorite poem, and other aspects of her work. [...] more

Two Poems

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Shane Seely reads his poems "Just Now a Goose" and "Two Stories Up" and speaks with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur about his process, his first favorite poem, and how he likes to write by "leaning out over his skis". [...] more

DISPATCH: When Hobos Come Home

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Every summer since 1900, the National Hobo Convention takes place in Britt, Iowa, a tiny town whose two train lines have made it the center of hobo memory for generations. Virginia Marshall's Dispatch from the Convention captures the voices of hobos gathered to name their king and queen, and speaks of the idea of freedom and the reality of borders as they define the hobo way of life. [...] more

Not Your Usual Valentine's Love Poems

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Frederick Speers' poems "Deerskull," "Interlude Blues," and "Star Jasmine" are not your usual love poems. Featuring loss, death, and decay, they explore the darker side of love. In his interview with Kirun Kapur, Speers talks about how his work originates, about his relationship with love poetry, and about how his work fits or doesn't into the long tradition of poems about love. [...] more

Two Poems and an Interview

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"XOX" begins with a fake-leather belt and concludes with thoughts on the sincerity of greetings and the limits of our reaching out to those in trouble. In both this poem and in "Teach Us to Number Our Days," Leslie Williams works within a surprising complexity to bring musicality and meaning together--topics she discusses in her interview with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur. [...] more

Death Fears Him

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mustang Wanted is one of a small group of young men who hang by their bare hands from the tops of skyscrapers. Without ropes. Laura Jones' essay "Death Fears Him" delves into this subculture, exploring the dangerous and fascinating intersection of risk and fame. [...] more

Dear Deer

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A woman, her two sons, her ex, and a deer. Add to this the knife the ex is using to gut the animal and you have a family crisis of compelling drama. Cindy House's "Dear Deer" doesn't skimp on the suspense but finds humor too in this confrontation over much more than one hunted animal. [...] more

The Housewife

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Nigerian woman's domination by her new husband forms the narrative of Hannah Onoguwe's "The Housewife" as, step by step, Aramide faces more and more restrictions--on what she can wear, whom she can visit, and finally where she can go. But confined to her house, visited only by the generator repairman, and allowed out only to have her fidelity tested by priests, Aramide discovers ways to subvert her husband's authority. Onoguwe's story brings surprise and delight in its lively telling. [...] more

The Rose Tradition

Monday, July 18, 2016

In this subtle and tense story, James English sets us down among the complicated relationships within a family and a neighborhood and lets us watch a betrayal unfold. It's a variation of the tale of a stranger coming to town--only the stranger is already there, and the town is someone's family. [...] more

Poems and an interview

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tess Taylor reads four poems and speaks with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur about how her poems originate and about her new collection Work and Days. Tendinitis, farm work, Hesiod, and hearing music in a phrase--all these and more topics come up in conversation. [...] more

The Art of Drumming Badly

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

To hear Melanie Senn tell it, she is not a good drummer. But what matters more than her musical and percussive talent is her skill in telling the story of how she took to the drums--at first as a way to connect to her musician husband, and then as a way to experience delight. In "The Art of Drumming Badly," Senn shares her joy in learning something new and in learning not to care about inhibitions and expectations. [...] more

What The Doctor Taught Me

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

When family crises buffeted author Catherine Elcik with grief and stress, she found solace in the unlikeliest of places: Doctor Who . Or perhaps not so unlikely. For from this television program about time-shifting and agelessness and loss and endurance, Elcik learned powerful lessons about coping with the thieveries of illness and death. In this beautiful essay, Elcik offers wisdom to all of us--Whovians or not. [...] more


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sermonette and Tom meet at a concert. Tom is at the mic. Sermonette is watching. They go on to skirmish and flirt, resisting the monsters of Jane Flett's title even as those monsters grow within them. The narrative seethes with passion and inventive language as it takes us through this richly unconventional love story. [...] more


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

S. E. Clark's "Foxes" places us in an unsettling world part fairy tale, part parable, in which the innocent and the sinister battle in the lives of children. Clark's spare prose tells the tale of a small community preyed upon in subtle ways by the story's eponymous foxes. [...] more


Friday, November 20, 2015

Serotonin notwithstanding, Thanksgiving makes us hungry. Despite the torpor of the holiday, we become agitated, restless. Maria Mutch's "Appetites" immerses us in the restless and agitated world of a journey like so many on Thanksgiving: a trip to grandmother's house. In this short story first audio-published in The Drum in May 2014, Mutch revises the old tale, skewing fairy-tale familiarity with modern distortions. [...] more

Finding Forgiveness in a Ziploc Bag

Friday, November 20, 2015

Travel is supposed to be so broadening, in the words of Sinclair Lewis. But anyone embarking on a Thanksgiving-motivated journey knows that travel can be aggravating, maddening, and bewildering too. In an essay first audio-published in The Drum in July 2013, Jane Hamilton recounts a trip with her husband when the combined forces of the TSA and a Ziploc bag threatened to undo them. [...] more

Mi Brooklyn

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Brooklyn family wrestles with challenges in which the mundane swiftly becomes momentous. One child's impish use of a dried legume, another's need for order; a father's return from Iraq, a mother's rush to the emergency room: events and experiences combine in a tragicomic turmoil. [...] more

Lessons in Romanian

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A young woman teaching English to her Romanian students is repaid with profound lessons of her own--in language and in the nuances of love, hope, and expectation. Interspersed with Romanian words and phrases, Lenore Myka's "Lessons in Romanian" slides its listener into a place between what is known and new, familiar and exotic. [...] more

a poem and an interview

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Beth Woodcome Platow reads her poem “When to Leap” and talks with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur about Ginsburg’s "Howl", being direct and her obsession with design. In a gripping, unadorned voice, her poem explores the instincts of both body and heart. [...] more

a poem and an interview

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Brian Burt reads his poem "Ars Poetica" and discusses its origin and themes with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur. Burt talks about the registers of poetic language, the tradition of the ars poetica, Rilke, and his passion for bicycles and cycling. [...] more

Gretchen Was Abducted

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In "Gretchen Was Abducted," a woman recalls with wry humor the night she was taken in error from a slumber party. Gilmore Tamny's short story offers a dispassionate exploration of haplessness and desperation, adventure and survival. [...] more

two poems

Monday, June 23, 2014

Susan Rich reads her poems "Tricks a Girl Can Do" and "Cloud Pharmacy"--and speaks with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur about ekphrastic poetry, her discovery of photographer Hannah Maynard, and the pleasures of bicycling while reciting Elizabeth Bishop. [...] more


Monday, June 9, 2014

Physics, hope, and speculation come together beautifully in this moving story about a couple dealing with the chance that their fetus has a rare genetic mutation. In "Chance," Peter Ho Davies raises complex questions about what is certain and what is random, and about how and if our efforts affect the course of our lives. [...] more


Monday, May 19, 2014

Maria Mutch offers a new take on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, setting this old story of violence, innocence, and sexuality in a strangely natural urban world. In "Appetites", Grandmother lives in an institution, and the wolves wear turtlenecks, and Red takes matters into her own hands. [...] more

Honey, Don't

Monday, March 31, 2014

A red spaghetti-strap dress and blue-suede Doc Martens set Dinah apart as she walks through a small southern town looking for a wedding dress. But it's not just the clothing that doesn't fit; it's the music, too, that isn't quite the right accompaniment she wants for her life. Dinah lives on the flip side, the back side of "Blue Suede Shoes" in this story by Darlin' Neal about a woman teetering between maturity and childishness, weakness and independence. [...] more

The Ghostzoo

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's after a cataclysm of some sorts, a post-apocalyptic moment etched in miniature in Jody Azzouni's "The Ghostzoo". As a father and his daughter eke out an existence from the meager remnants of their former world, the little girl plays with a dollhouse. She learns as she plays about the world that is lost to her, until new arrivals start a new and perplexing cycle of creation and disappearance. [...] more

The Rock

Monday, January 27, 2014

The complexities of a date take on new dimension in Jennifer Hill Ozga's "The Rock". Ozga's story mines the rituals of contemporary dating for their vulnerabilities and power dynamics, setting her unnamed couple on a path of gentle but inexorable devolution. "The Rock" is a story about disappointment, rendered with a light touch through painfully comic details. [...] more

Are You An Animal Lover?

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Are you an animal lover? " is the innocent question that precipitates the soul-searching rendered comically here by Colleen Houlihan. Squirrels, a video store, and a healthy amount of risk-taking and imagination feature in Houlihan's essay, in which an encounter with an unusual customer leads the writer into new and potentially taboo territory. [...] more

The Parts of You We Want To Keep

Monday, December 30, 2013

It's an old story: the love triangle. But Steven LaFond sets it in the world of kink. What are the most shocking parts of us that we need or desire to keep secret? What happens when circumstances risk revealing what we want to preserve for ourselves--or what we fear to acknowledge? Those are the questions the characters of "The Parts of You We Want to Keep"--and listeners to the story--are forced to ask themselves. [...] more

Things Summoned

Monday, December 16, 2013

A little girl plays in the woods, content to be alone with the bits and pieces of nature that she gathers around her. When she sees signs of a visitor, she welcomes this potential friend, eager to include someone else in her small world. Heather Newton's story "Things Summoned" lets us into that world and into the wonder, vulnerability, and danger of what's new and strange. [...] more


Monday, December 9, 2013

The Quincy, Massachusetts quarries are the setting for this short story about the disappearance of a young boy in 1980. Kim Savage's "Stud" weaves together the memories of two women once in thrall to the charismatic Danny Delano, piecing together a narrative of threatened innocence. The conflict between two brothers, undercurrents of homophobia, and the toxicity--literal and figurative--of the quarry landscape propel this unsettling and powerful narrative forward. [...] more

Sunday Afternoon With Buddha and Spider

Monday, December 2, 2013

A woman, a spider, and a small space. These are the elements of Barrington Smith-Seetachit's essay "Sunday Afternoon With Buddha and Spider. " With comic flair, Smith-Seetachit leads us through a high-intensity meditation on fear, power, and mercy. [...] more


Monday, October 28, 2013

Afolabi Opanubi's short story "Force," an overnight visit from an old friend brings into stark clarity the concerns of two young ex-pat Nigerians in Canada. The question of whether or not to return to Nigeria--and the question of what obligations Tinukeh and Bankole have to each other--propel this story in which personal decisions carry political and social resonance. [...] more

Dome Life

Monday, September 30, 2013

Annie Dawid's "Dome Life" describes a life under a figurative dome, on the margins of conventional society. Set in the world of pot-growers in 1970's Mendocino County, Dawid's essay tracks a descent into drugs and violence, and other dangers hiding in plain sight. [...] more

JOSH MACIVOR-ANDERSEN Bedford Forrest Birthday--Unexpected

Monday, September 9, 2013

Josh MacIvor-Andersen writes lyrically about his brother, who has made it to his thirtieth birthday in spite of a persistent craving for risk. MacIvor-Andersen's essay "Bedford Forrest Birthday--Unexpected" contemplates the seduction of danger, the power of risk to imbue our experience with seemingly greater value. The essay asks the question: do we need danger in order to validate our survival? [...] more

MATTHEW SALESSES Excerpt from The Last Repatriate

Monday, July 29, 2013

Matthew Salesses' novella The Last Repatriate tells the story of Theodore Dickerson, a prisoner who eventually returns to his home in Virginia in the midst of the McCarthy Era. He is welcomed back as a hero, though he has not returned unscathed. The lasting effects of the POW camp and troubles with his ex-fiancée complicate his new marriage as he struggles to readjust to the Virginia he holds dear. The letter from Teddy's fiancée is read by Joanne Barker. [...] more

ANN LEARY excerpt from The Good House

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hildy, the narrator of Ann Leary's The Good House, is a descendant of a Salem witch, making her living selling real estate in the fictional Wendover of Massachusetts' Gold Coast. In this excerpt from Leary's novel, Hildy demonstrates her power to judge character, background, and aspiration simply by looking at the landscaping of a seaside mansion. Moving within but also slightly outside the culture of wealth and ambition, Hildy assesses the tensions and anxieties of her surroundings with acerbic wit. [...] more

LADETTE RANDOLPH Excerpt from Haven's Wake

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ladette Randolph's novel Haven's Wake tells the story of a family reunited on the family farm after the death of their patriarch. Set in a Mennonite community in eastern Nebraska, the novel illuminates themes of faith and loyalty, belief and imagination, family and allegiance. In this excerpt, a son discovers the strange clay figures his father was building beside the lake where met his death. [...] more

RON MACLEAN Is Fiction Empathy's Best Hope?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ron MacLean's essay examines how stories connect us, and how the imagination becomes a powerful force in the creation of empathy. Citing writers Rabindranath Tagore, Ian McEwan, Tim O'Brien, and Marilynne Robinson, among others, MacLean reminds us that empathy is not just a desired effect of fiction, but a social and cultural need. In "Is Fiction Empathy's Best Hope? " MacLean offers us the hope and the promise of literature. [...] more


Monday, June 10, 2013

Ed Bull's "Seed" revisits the shocking events of August 1, 1966 when Charles Whitman shot seventeen people from the University of Texas clock tower. Part essay, part invention, Bull's piece bring us into the events, allowing us to ponder Whitman himself and the nature of his horrible crime and the nature of violence. [...] more

JOSHUA MALBIN The Mating Behavior of Great Tits

Monday, April 1, 2013

Joshua Malbin creates an avian drama for his short story "The Mating Behavior of Great Tits". It's a new genre, possibly with this story as its only example. Malbin's unusual story sets a drama of relationships and family in the world of birds, immersing the listener in one bird's struggle to establish a family and a place in his world. [...] more

LISA DUFFY What Matters

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lisa Duffy's "What Matters" explores our notions of exactly that in the telling and remembering of the events surrounding the brief disappearance of the narrator's son. When the little boy gets lost in Central Park, his absence sets off a chain of events both in the search for him and in the narrator's search for the meaning of the events as she relives them. Trust, fidelity, and truth are just some of the ideas Duffy mines for this compelling and compellingly told story. [...] more

LEEYEE LIM Hereditary

Monday, January 28, 2013

The narrator of Leeyee Lim's "Hereditary" is a young girl troubled by her mother's illness and her sister's loss. Sharing a sandwich with a homeless man, she thinks of her family, and the strange ways in which people nourish each other. [...] more

COLLEEN FULLIN The Dead and The Drowned

Monday, November 26, 2012

Colleen Fullin's "The Dead and The Drowned" focuses in on a teenaged boy in the aftermath of the drownings of young men in his city. Garrison is shaken by their deaths, but unsettled more profoundly in ways that he only comes to understand--if at all--at the story's end. The reader is in for a powerful conclusion to Fullin's tale, as it touches on the complications of identity, desire, and sexuality. [...] more

KATRINA GRIGG-SAITO Assailing Otherness

Monday, November 19, 2012

In "Assailing Otherness," Katrina Grigg-Saito confronts the ultimate food taboo and survives to tell the tale.  Grigg-Saito's essay explores the limits different cultures draw around what's approved and what's beyond the pale. Her experience of learning to cook in Laos begins with the desire to get to the heart of a culture and ends with a discovery about her own assumptions and willingness to set them aside. [...] more


Monday, November 5, 2012

In Sandra Jensen's "War", a young South African girl wrestles with her emerging sexuality and with the political, familial, and cultural conflicts taking place around her. Learning about the Boer War in school, Kimberly thinks instead of the more immediate aggression in her mother's relationship with her boyfriend. Attraction and repulsion, love and violence, mingle in this rich story. [...] more

JESSICA KEENER--Excerpt from Night Swim

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Set in affluent Boston surburbia in 1970, Night Swim follows the Kunitz family as tragedy breaks through the country-club lifestyle masking an array of simmering, emotional troubles. [...] more

ILIE RUBY Excerpt from The Salt God's Daughter

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ilie Ruby's novel The Salt God's Daughter tells the story of Ruthie and Naida, a mother and daughter bound by loss, by violence, and by family mysteries. In this excerpt, Ruthie describes a storm that sends her, her mother, and her sister into a desperate escape, even as internal storms continue to pursue this small and vulnerable family. [...] more


Monday, July 23, 2012

Aine Greaney's essay "Green Card" recounts a trip to renew the eponymous card in Lawrence, MA. As her GPS tries to lead her to the INS office, Greaney meditates on the obstacles and miscommunications of the immigrant's experience. She thinks over her years in the United States, her departure from Ireland, and her sense of belonging to those who don't belong. Greaney's essay offers a thoughtful meditation on cultural and personal identity. [...] more


Monday, July 2, 2012

Sabina Murray's "Balboa" imagines the explorer in 1513 as he climbs a ridge on the Isthmus of Panama and sees the Pacific Ocean. "Balboa," Murray writes from the explorer's point of view, "is that divining line between the modern and the primitive. " In this story, from her collection Tales of the New World , Murray investigates the meaning of civilization, discovery, and the foreign, and makes us consider the intersection of power and desire. [...] more

ROSIE SULTAN Excerpt from Helen Keller in Love

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rosie Sultan reads from her novel Helen Keller in Love (Viking 2012), specifically, the episode in which Keller first meets Peter Fagan, the man she was to fall in love with. The excerpt offers a vivid sense of Keller's world, in which messages are communicated by signs in her palm, and sounds are felt through vibration. [...] more

ANITA DIAMANT Excerpt from Day After Night

Monday, June 11, 2012

Anita Diamant's novel Day After Night tells the story of four women among the two hundred prisoners of the Atlit internment camp, a prison for “illegal” immigrants run by the British military near the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa. Diamant reads the Prologue and "Waiting" from Part One, focusing in on Tedi, a young Dutch woman prisoner trying to make sense of life in Barracks C. When a train brings new arrivals to the camp, Tedi must resist the urge to remember her home and her lost life, lest the memories overwhelm her. [...] more

DANIEL DAVIS West Texas Tears

Monday, April 30, 2012

Daniel Davis brings a modern sensibility to the cowboys-and-Indians tale in "West Texas Tears". In his short story, two lawmen come upon a land-grabbers' home where Indians have left only one little girl alive. The narrator, Horace, wrestles with what's fair and what's just as he comes upon a surviving Indian caught in barbed wire. Davis' story is a subtle study of the complications of justice and belonging. [...] more

ANGELA FOSTER Shards of Glass

Monday, April 16, 2012

Angela Foster's "Shards of Glass" finds a brother and sister fighting their step-father with whatever tools they have--a knife, a gun, anger, and rejection. But books, escape, and the imagination turn out to be just as powerful as these young people stand up to the bully who runs their house. [...] more

ERIC WEINBERGER Once More With Feeling

Monday, April 9, 2012

Eric Weinberger's "Once More With Feeling" is a story of fidelity and infidelity set in the world of guided tourism. The story's protagonist Adam steers his tour groups around locales emblematic of diplomacy and international negotiation as he encounters one couple who seem to manage a diplomatic menage of their own. The narrative follows him as he studies these two and contemplates a crisis in his own relationship. [...] more

JOHN HAGGERTY The Other Half of Graceland

Monday, March 19, 2012

A teenaged girl narrates John Haggerty's "The Other Half of Graceland," describing a trip to the eponymous home of Elvis along with her mother, who is looking for what the magazines call more pizzazz in her life. Armed with a make-up kit, an expertise for matching blush to skin tone, and a keen eye for adult behavior, Lisa steers them through their pilgrimage and tries to mediate the relationship between a young man they meet there and his father. As Lisa manages her mother's own delicate emotions, Graceland becomes the setting for the revelation [...] more

JESSICA BARKSDALE Marco on the Beach

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jessica Barksdale's "Marco on the Beach" captures Marco trying to make do--with food stamps, with his girlfriend who can't sleep enough, with uncertainty over where to live. As he and Sara negotiate the grocery-store aisles and settle down over a meager meal, a new discovery makes Marco imagine his life, an alternate future spinning out from a single choice. [...] more

CHERYL WALSH Unequal Temperaments

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cheryl Walsh's "Unequal Temperaments" is narrated by a musician and a tuner of harpsichords--instruments whose tuning challenges give the story its title. Telling a story about friction among players in a conservatory, the piece explores our ability to adjust, align, and predict events in our experience, and suggests that despite our certainty that we can foretell things, we will always be surprised and perhaps foiled by the irrational and the unruly. [...] more

HADLEY MOORE When My Father Was In Prison

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hadley Moore's "When My Father Was In Prison" describes the power of language in the life of a nine-year-old boy as he tries to sort out what it means to be a boy, a man, a father. A father in prison, a pet bird that has died, an older brother discovering his sexuality--Moore's narrator studies it all, coming to understand some part of how he fits in to his world. [...] more

STEVE MACONE Who's Walking Who

Monday, October 17, 2011

Steve Macone's "Who's Walking Who" is a wry and hilarious love letter to his local Market Basket grocery store, with its chaos, its crowds, and the various mysteries of its organizing principles. He spots the foibles of human behavior there--his own and those of others--and identifies the strange beauty of this place "where everything meets and touches". [...] more

BARRY JAY KAPLAN Marco Sells His Book

Monday, October 3, 2011

Barry Jay Kaplan takes on the world of publishing in his short story "Marco Sells His Book. " A group of friends is shaken by news that an underserving member of their Thursday night salon has reached what they view as premature success. The launch party for Marco's novel is shot through with jealousy and social strategizing, but comes to an encouraging conclusion. [...] more


Monday, August 29, 2011

Jennifer Haigh's short story "Bent" takes place in Cape Cod's Provincetown (02657), where Kip's family has vacationed every summer he can remember, renting the same house by the shore. He's always brought along his neighborhood friend Fanelli, but this year, he's added his college buddy Jean-Luc, a Frenchman whose exoticism and way with girls Kip envies. "Bent" portrays the subtle dance of allegiance and rivalry between these young men, as it studies Kip's first true experience of regret. [...] more


Monday, July 18, 2011

Carla Panciera's "All of A Sudden" paints an insightful portrait of a unusual young girl in a small New England town. Albina is odd enough to be exotic, strange enough to be awkward, and a source of mingled concern and attraction for the the narrator who befriends her during their childhood and adolescence. Watching Albina, trying at times to correct her and perhaps save her, the narrator reflects on her own changing sense of self. "All of A Sudden" originally appeared in print in the New England Review . [...] more

ALEXANDRA JOHNSON excerpts from The Hidden Writer

Monday, July 11, 2011

Alex Johnson's The Hidden Writer (Doubleday 1997) explores the writer's journey from diary to published writings, and the negotiations between private and public work. In her chapter "The Married Muse," Johnson looks at the relationship between Leo and Sonya Tolstoy--as husband and wife, idol and fan, writer and scribe, and muse to muse. [...] more

GINA OCHSNER Sleeping Beauty

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gina Ochsner's "Sleeping Beauty" is a retelling of the old story, set in Yakusha, one of the coldest parts of Russia. In this version, the beauty of the title is a young girl working in a Russian market, seemingly trapped inside her kiosk until a suitor with an unlikely errand frees her. Ochsner's prose mingles the lush details and fantastic elements of folk tales with the realities of the contemporary world. [...] more


Monday, May 9, 2011

Rural Greece is the backdrop for Sandra Jensen's "Square Root," a story propelled by the complex relationships between a mother and her children, the mother and the men she captivates, and a group of village Greeks and the foreign family living among them. Told from the point of view of the little girl, "Square Root" turns a trip to buy a pet goat into a study of social and sexual power. [...] more


Monday, April 25, 2011

In the first of what will be two interivews with The Drum , 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Harding spoke with editor Henriette Lazaridis Power about his experience as a rock drummer, his fascination with jazz, his views on the craft of writing, and the ways in which a writer, like a drummer, gets to keep and manipulate time. [...] more


Monday, April 11, 2011

In Drew Balfour Jameson's short story "Drown," a fishing trip--and the gutting, cleaning, and cooking of the day's catch--provides the setting for a wary encounter between a teenaged boy and the new man in his mother's life. "Drown" renders the details of fish-handling with vivid detail, and allows the relationship between the boy and the man to emerge with subtelty, though just as clearly. [...] more

KEITH TEMPLE It's Behind You

Friday, April 8, 2011

Keith Temple's It's Behind You is a story about fame, megalomania and murder. After years in the limelight as a popular soap star, Carina Hemsley is appearing as the Good Fairy in the Christmas pantomime show of a third-rate northern theater, terrorising the cast and crew as she drinks and smokes herself to death. Audiences are down and the outlook for the holiday show isn’t good, until Carina starts receiving death threats in the post. [...] more

REBECCA PAWEL Death of a Nationalist

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rebecca Pawel's Death of a Nationalist follows Carlos Tejada Alonso y Lean, a Sergeant in the Guardia Civil in Spain in 1939. The bitter civil war between the Nationalists and the Republicans has interrupted Tejada's legal studies in Salamanca. Second son of a conservative Southern family of landowners, he is an enthusiast for the Catholic Franquista cause, a dedicated, and now triumphant, Nationalist. Just as the Republicans have surrendered, and the Guardia Civil has begun to impose order in the ruins of Madrid, Tejada finds the body of his best [...] more


Monday, March 14, 2011

Susan Orlean followed up her recording of an excerpt from her Rin Tin Tin book for The Drum with an interview with Drum editor Henriette Lazaridis Power. Orlean asnwered questions about her interest in animals, why dogs hold such a unique place in our lives, and whether there's a place out there that is too boring to write about. She also gave valuable tips on making the most of solitary research travel and how to dine alone. The excerpt from Orlean's forthcoming [...] more

SUSAN ORLEAN Excerpt from Rin Tin Tin

Monday, March 7, 2011

Susan Orlean has just completed a cultural biography of the dog actor Rin Tin Tin. In the excerpt she recorded for The Drum , she writes about a visit to Paris' Cimetiere des Chiens, the special cemetery for dogs. Looking for Rin Tin Tin's grave, Orlean ponders the history of the pet-person relationship, and explores the human need to memorialize what we love even as we know we can't hold onto it. [...] more

ILIE RUBY The Language of Trees

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ilie Ruby's novel The Language of Trees is set in upstate New York and greatly informed by the Seneca Indians, whose lore imbues the book with spirituality. In 1988, the Ellis children set out on a stormy night in a canoe borrowed from the Songos next door to escape their brutish father. Luke, the youngest, drowns, and his older sisters are never the same: Melanie turns to drugs while Maya suffers bouts of catatonia. Years later, Grant Songo returns to his family's lake cabin after separating from his wife. [...] more


Monday, February 14, 2011

Miriam Novogrodsky writes about growing up an outsider in Montpelier, Vermont, and the year her father's winter obsession turned to economical meat-eating and the creative use of the compost pile. This is a tale of chest freezers, prairie bonnets, and snowshoe picnics with unusual sandwiches. [...] more

ANDREW KAUFMAN All My Friends Are Superheroes

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Through a partnership with Iambik Audiobooks , we bring you the first chapter of Andrew Kaufman's novel All My Friends Are Superheroes , published by Coach House Books. Gordon Mackenzie reads the chapter aloud. All Tom's friends really are superheroes. There's the Ear, the Spooner, the Impossible Man. Tom even married a superhero, the Perfectionist. But at their wedding, the Perfectionist was hypnotized (by ex-boyfriend Hypno, of course) to believe that Tom is invisible. Nothing he does can make her see him. So she's [...] more

STEVEN LEE BEEBER Blood-Red Nails, Pale Cold Hands

Monday, January 31, 2011

The narrator of Steven Lee Beeber's short story "Blood-Red Nails, Pale Cold Hands" contemplates the strange combinations of violence and tenderness that underlie his relationships with the important women in his life. The story begins with an accident witnessed in childhood and concludes with the scratches left from passion. [...] more

SARAH NAGER Horseshoe Hunt

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sarah Nager's "Horseshoe Hunt" brings a weary young woman and an enthusiastic little boy together on a beach where their attitudes and world views collide over a horseshoe crab. [...] more

CD COLLINS The Vigilantes of Vance

Monday, December 6, 2010

CD Collins' essay "The Vigilantes of Vance" is a portrait of her candy-eating, derringer-toting, fast-driving mother, and a drily funny story of the woman's power to enthrall those around her. [...] more

LYNNE GRIFFIN Sea Escape (a central chapter)

Monday, November 29, 2010

At the November 15 Four Stories event, Lynne Griffin reads a central chapter from Sea Escape , her novel about the ties between a mother and her daughter, inspired by a collection of family letters. To hear Lynne read the first two chapters of the novel for The Drum, click here and here . [...] more


Monday, November 22, 2010

Michelle Hoover reads from her novel The Quickening at the November 15 Four Stories event, choosing a scene that dramatizes the themes of loss and perseverance at the novel's core. [...] more


Monday, November 22, 2010

Reading at the November 15 Four Stories event, Ethan Gilsdorf begins with a boy facing a woodchuck, and leads us through a humorous and complex contemplation of the nature of play, cruelty, and kindness, in his essay "Just To See If I Could". [...] more


Monday, November 1, 2010

Elyssa East’s first book, Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town , interlaces the true story of a grisly murder with the strange history of a wilderness ghost town and explores the possibility that certain landscapes wield their own unique power. She reads here from the prologue of the book, "The Prophetic Pictures. " [...] more

DEBORAH MILSTEIN A Yiddish Vocabulary

Monday, September 27, 2010

A feisty grandmother, Yiddish nicknames, and a hospital stay come together in Deborah Milstein's "A Yiddish Vocabulary. " Milstein's essay offers a reverie on Jewish heritage and on the words that bind family together. [...] more

AARON TILLMAN Heeding Doctor Eisner

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Newbury College professor Aaron Tillman's "Heeding Doctor Eisner," an over-analyzing academic comes undone as he clings to sociological theory and to questionable sources of advice in the figures of his boss, his student, and his fellow commuters. [...] more

ADAM STUMACHER Local Appetites

Monday, July 5, 2010

Three narrators take the listener through a range of responses to American culture. A Bolivian tour guide, a Taiwanese businesswoman, and a young Palestinian give us three perspectives on America’s relations with the world, all of them with a hamburger at the core of the story. [...] more

ETHAN GILSDORF Loving the Momster

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In his essay “Loving the Momster,” Ethan Gilsdorf recounts his childhood after his mother’s 1997 death, specifically the childhood after his mother suffered an aneurism in 1978. Gilsdorf revisits his mother’s mercurial moods and changed attitude, and his own altered childhood, through emails from a childhood friend who only knew Gilsdorf’s mother after her aneurism. Despite the fragmented nature of his mother’s life, Gilsdorf is able to find and preserve a sense of her identity. [...] more

LAUREN GRODSTEIN This Truth I'm Telling

Monday, June 14, 2010

The narrator of Lauren Grodstein’s “This Truth I’m Telling” was a bartender in the World Trade Center. At a jobs convention for workers displaced after 9/11, Martin thinks about the life and the people that he has lost. He wonders which is truer: the optimistic exhortations of the jobs speaker, or the resignation he feels. [...] more

LYNNE GRIFFIN Sea Escape, Chapter Two

Monday, June 7, 2010

In the second chapter of her novel Sea Escape , Lynne Griffin writes from the point of view of Laura’s mother, Helen. It is 1951 and Helen has just watched her boyfriend, Joe, depart for Samson Air Force Base. During his absence, she finds a new independence through work, despite her father’s wishes. [...] more


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lynne Griffin reads from the first chapter of her novel Sea Escape. After working a 12 hour nursing shift, Laura takes her two young children to visit her mother on her 77th birthday. But while she prepares to bake a cake for the occasion, Laura receives a phone call that could alter the course of her life, of her mother’s life, and of their rocky relationship. [...] more

LYNNE BARRETT Macy Is The Other Woman

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The narrator in Lynne Barrett’s story “Macy is the Other Woman,” is the other woman, conducting an affair with a softball teammate whose girlfriend she doesn’t want to hurt. Over a warm July 4th weekend in Washington, Macy comes to terms with the affair, pondering the complicated entanglements of infidelity and friendship. [...] more


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

At the turn of the 19th century, Albert wakes to find himself penniless and paperless, with no memory of his travels and the time he has been walking. In this excerpt from her unpublished novel, Fugueur, Maud Casey writes about a man caught in a fugue state, lost in time and place as he walks through France from town to town. [...] more

LAURA SALAMY Signs of Life

Monday, May 17, 2010

The narrator in Laura Salamy’s story, “Signs of Life,” contemplates her relationship with her significant other, Charlie, while vacationing in Jamaica. While eating local cuisine, relaxing in the hotel, and taking walks on the beach, the narrator contemplates the changes in her relationship, including one change she is not sure she can forgive or forget. [...] more

RANDY SUSAN MEYERS The Murderer's Daughters

Monday, May 10, 2010

A grandmother’s funeral is the setting for this excerpt from Randy Susan Meyers’ novel The Murderer’s Daughters. Sisters Lulu and Merry are approached by their father, released for the event from prison where he serves time for killing their mother. Lulu narrates the scene, mingling adolescent bitterness with sensitivity to her sister’s needs and her relatives’ scorn. [...] more

JENNA BLUM The Stormchasers

Saturday, May 1, 2010

https://www. drumlitmag. com/index. php? page=bio&display=162 In Jenna Blum’s excerpt from her second novel Stormchasers, Karena searches through storm-ravaged terrain for the twin brother she hasn’t seen in twenty years. She knows Charles will risk his life to seek the storm, drawn by its danger and its energy. about the author [...] more

theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

novel excerpt

short fiction


under 10 min

under 20 min

under 30 min

under 40 min