my God says it’s not in my job description to stay clean. hygiene is monetized farce. a trick to keep soap & rehab & the church & conscience & your silence in business. i scrub my own tongue hard to a shiny silence. a bad childhood stuttering cannot be blamed. mother says the pen is… [more]
ONE The sinkhole appeared without warning one night, opening up at the end of our driveway as if to swallow us whole. Anderson and I bought the house—a run-down Victorian in upstate New York—in the hopes of restoring it ourselves, but the plain truth was that it was in even worse condition than before, and… [more]
STILL I wore an armor made of lingerie I thought I wanted to be read sonnets but really I wanted to read I wanted myself … [more]
The Man With Blue Eyes i. legs like birch trunks stripped white by winter ginseng root toes mangled from wear chest scarred the color of wheat fields but he smears like wet ink when we touch ii. we celebrate the harvest moon forgetting to mourn the death of summer launched paper boats bleed colors soak… [more]
In the recent year, the Trump administration has flouted many environmental protection laws within its borders. In the international scene, the administration took the U.S. out from the Paris Agreement when even war-torn Syria, the only hold-out, signed it. The administration is obviously tone-deaf to what is happening to the environment. It is bad enough… [more]
As a writer, Edwidge Danticat is revered for her elegant prose and her moving depictions of Haiti and the Haitian diasporic experience. She has written more than a dozen books, including her debut novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, which was an Oprah Book Club selection, and the memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, which won the National Book… [more]
Yiyun Li is the author of two story collections, two novels, and, most recently, a book of essays called Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life. When I read her novel Kinder than Solitude, I was just beginning to take writing seriously, and the psychic familiarity of her characters spooked me – they were instantly… [more]
“Put you in the piss tank and flush you too!” Mandy. Five years old, half awake. She stands in the kitchen in her cloud-print PJs, curly brown hair bunched up on one side. Gramma Jean at the table lights a Kool. “What did she say?” “Piss tank,” says Pete by window. He’s twelve, dark-haired like… [more]
Lisa Ko is the author of the much-acclaimed The Leavers, which won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction. The novel follows the story of an undocumented immigrant woman and her child in the U.S. – a story that feels both timeless and… [more]
E. Y. Smith’s work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Thoughtful Dog and is forthcoming in The East Bay Review.
Jason Brown is a playwright and writer from Ireland. Since graduating from the DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama in Dublin with a Degree in Drama (Performance) a decade ago, he has been writing for the stage and publishing much of his poetry and short fiction here.
Ariella Carmell is a third-year student and writer at the University of Chicago. She has had prose and poetry published in Maudlin House, Spry, Words Dance, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Souvenir, Cleaver Magazine, Burningword, Alexandria Quarterly, and other places. In the past, she has also been named a 2014 Foyle Commended Poet of the Year… [more]
The Spiral Path When it is three-dimensional or four how can you follow one, you ask. Think of a mountain road, up an ideal mountain too steep to climb directly. So you find the road that’s been paved before. It circles, rises, narrows to the summit a perfect apex with a perfect point that you… [more]
Phil Klay is the author of the short story collection Redeployment, which won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2014. He’s a graduate of the MFA program at CUNY Hunter, and a Marine Corps Veteran who deployed to Iraq. I met Phil a year after I left the military and returned to New York City. Phil is… [more]
Emma Johnson-Rivard is a Masters student at Hamline University. She received her undergraduate degree in Film Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts and currently lives in Minnesota with her dogs and far too many books. Her work has appeared in Mistake House, Moon City Review, and the Santa Ana River Review.
Beeswax This is the first time that I have cried in a long time, and I realize more than I ever have before what a good person Tom is. I am glad that he told me off. I did treat him like I was being his counsellor, and I am so damn worried about… [more]
Rachel Joseph’s short stories and plays are published in journals ranging from North American Review to Kenyon Review Online. Her novella “The Man in the Trees” was a shortlisted finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom competition. Additionally, she was a finalist for the 2017 Arts & Letters Drama Prize, a semi-finalist for the 2017 Elixir… [more]
The Third Eye Counts not at all. It rolls, unfocused and lashed shut, worm-white, unbidden by you in some place like the black void of a frying pan. It hides though it may not want to. After all, who bothers with an eye not yet accustomed even to soft lights and the harsh knowledge… [more]
Born in the Netherlands, Tamara Stoffers is an artist who has long been fascinated with Russia and the Soviet Union. As the artist puts it: “[The USSR’s] typical visual language in architecture and art feels nostalgic to some and is still relevant to others. I compose my images from old books concerning the USSR, cutting… [more]
Envision the type of pathos that describes the true meaning of the Rose. It seems surely as if the Rose has come to mean more to us in a neurobiological or perhaps neuropsychological system of being, than a mere flower, a biologic entity evolved primarily for the propagation of a plant, a very complex method… [more]
Mark Burrow is a writer from the UK. His work has appeared in various publications in England, Ireland, the US, and in the French Riviera-based Côte Poets magazines.
There was something about Cristina that I liked right away. I was embarrassed to admit how quickly I calculated her looks and their probability of arousing my husband, but maybe such estimations were inevitable and instinctive. Sizing up Cristina was easy. She was chubby, with a pretty face, and wore nondescript outfits such as jeans… [more]
Singer Joy is a playwright and composer who splits her time between New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Singer has produced her own written work for the stage independently and the Sacred Circle Theater Company. Singer has also written music for stage productions. L.A. Play is a movement-and-poetry piece inspired by Los Angeles flora.
Sharon Willdin is a writer based in Sydney, Australia. You can find more of her work here.
Christmas is all about the traditional: gingerbread, brandied eggnog, tinsel and curling up in front of toasty fires with good stories. Or, if you’re a poor motherless MFA student like us at The Brooklyn Review, a fifth of whiskey, a shoplifted fir-scented candle, and your roommate’s three-month-old copy of The New Yorker. Whatever. But maybe… [more]
DEPARTURE OF THE ARK At midnight it was still chewing quietly on its anchor chain while the puddles meandering along the waterfront engulfed the chunks of watermelon we had thrown overboard after our farewell picnic. At two a.m., sound of the waterfront tugs suddenly flapping and churning. In no time we… [more]
Listen, my best wishes for you are built from the inside out, like a sentence after the eye falls upon a reasonable stone and opens a window I remembered to save the glass, to feel December’s bearable embrace. At the cemetery edge, the shade of a neighboring house passes the afternoon in a hooky… [more]
While First Lady Nancy Reagan was exhorting us turkeys to Just Say No, daughter Patti wrote, “my mother was a pill-popping Quaalude shrew.” As a gaggle of rugged individualists, some fellow travelers pick stimulants. Starbucks, CVS and shrinks offer caffeine, diet capsules, and Ritalin variants. Then IMHO, there’s Lockean ecstasy vs. Hobbes’ hell — MDMA… [more]
Monet Hurst-Mendoza is an accomplished NYC-based playwright from LA. Rising Circle Theater Collective, Looking Glass Theatre (NYC), Amios, Playwright’s Playground at Classical Theatre of Harlem, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and many others have developed her plays. She is a current member of the 2017 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater and is a 2016-2018… [more]
The room is bare, except for the girls Kneeling surreptitiously by the window, Keeping watch on harbor seals. The girls Are formerly land-locked Army brats Displaced by houses, yards and fences Caught on rotating schedules like Themselves. The harbor seals are rollicking, As harbor seals are wont to do without a care On danger-free, authentic… [more]
Teeth From a blindfold of lips every particular touch is as hurting is to grass. On these nights, your fingers almost sensibly set their ask to air — almost regrettably, tease the lotus notion of passing, not skin to skin or such heat but taking a route rendering the half-opened flower of the mouth something… [more]
“Sam realized there was a reason people went to dinner parties in twos. It was important to have someone there to squeeze your knee under the table when someone made an ass of himself and you couldn’t laugh out loud; it was particularly important if the ass was you.” A drunken haircut, a dinner party,… [more]
On Hong Kong Island, I run into my mother’s childhood crush— her teen-idol-gameshow-host-on-every-girl’s-wall-celebrity- still-a-bachelor, trying on Korean glasses in the arts district once used for police housing. I pick up a pair I can’t afford, hoping for the freeze-frame of the moment— it’s like in the movies when strangers lock eyes across the fancy boutique,… [more]
A crumpled flyer for the fall play in his pocket, the fresh- man who set a new record for the number of times one could be trash-canned in a year staggers slowly around the drama building at twilight, determined to master the voice of Quasimodo.
Starved for contact, sailors traded any last scrap of metal for whatever intimacy they could find. My chest walks to the rhythm of her stride. Her scent spirals the brainstem, petaling my scalp with shivers. They were dizzy with the breeze full of frangiapani, heliconia, the burning striations of the tiger lily in her hair…. [more]
I maintain dominion over the crevices of myself, deep into the layers of my skin, which must never be questioned. Never doubt that these crevices extend toward an infinitely receding boundary. Come close to me to feel it. The last time I encountered Simone White was in the summer 2016 issue of BOMB magazine, in… [more]
Tarantella She was unaffected by the lump on her forehead. Its size was considerable, and her father was concerned. If you see that spider, kill it, he said. Or I’ll kill it. She smiled and nodded — fathers sometimes had to kill things in order to express their affection. Everything seemed to come in squares…. [more]
Try Never By Anthony Madrid Canarium Books – 2017 I first saw Anthony Madrid read alongside Michael Robbins and Paige Ackerson-Kiely in Brooklyn one summer afternoon, in a bookstore by a church undergoing repairs, scaffolding wreathing the brown steeple. I only knew of Robbins, whose book, Alien Vs. Predator (Penguin, 2012), I had come across… [more]
We are proud to announce that The Brooklyn Review 2017 Print Issue has arrived! A compilation of pieces previously published online, the issue features cover art by Evan Paul English, an interview with Mary Gaitskill, works by Mac Wellman, Trinidad Escobar, Jessica Laser, and many other talents. Download the PDF version here. If you would like… [more]
The Hideout, by Egon Hostovský, was first published in the U.S. in 1945, and now has been reissued by Pushkin Press in an English translation by Fern Long. The novel – really more of a novella, at roughly 120 pages – consists of one extended epistolary soliloquy-cum-confession-cum-suicide note. The writer of the epistles, an unnamed… [more]
Mary Gaitskill is the writer of three story collections, three novels and, most recently, a book of essays called Somebody with a Little Hammer. She was my teacher last summer at the New York State Writers’ Institute, where my classmates and I hiked, ate several kinds of fruit pie right out of the tin, and,… [more]
Telling Grandma Stories At the end of Grandma Esther’s cul-de-sac, summer moon found me coins. Mexican money—round plata imbedded in roots. How do our hands find themselves soiled? Old man bursts through screen door, barking ¿Qué haces? I should have grabbed two handfuls of dirt and run. Instead, Grandma’s pursed lips, unsure if mentiroso is… [more]
When he took me out with his people, you could see he was ashamed of me. The next youngest guy there was twenty years older than I. Observe the parent bird strangely urging her babies from the nest. The poet’s eye is a mother bird, and the tears are jumping off his cheeks! Come, Corydon,… [more]
Evan Paul English was born in Meridian, Idaho. He received his BFA from University of Arizona, and earned his MFA from Pratt Institute in 2016. He has exhibited work across the United States, recently had a solo exhibition at NAPOLEON Gallery in Philadelphia, showcased work at The Boiler | Pierogi in… [more]
come to the edge, the edge (a poem to dad) i have followed myself to a hotel balcony in switzerland and i still can’t decide whether to take on that new editing project. and i can’t figure out how to think about memory. do you think we were the wood and wrought iron bench outside… [more]
I sat in a hot tub late one wedding And weathered falling branches Like a thing that could transcend me But that I could still carry If I had to go. The tub was Like an endless conversation about authenticity No more than two feet deep. And you thought you were diving. But if you’d… [more]
The Psychedelic Tragedy of the Donner Party CHAPTER III Winter The Five of Coins (Gale-force winds blow, swallowing sound and blasting snow across rock. Everything is an endless field of white.) (From the whiteness emerge a few dark shapes. They yell at each other.) Stanton: I CAN’T SEE! Eddy: WHAT?! … [more]
James Scales lives and works in New York City’s oldest house. His visual art has appeared in The Birds We Piled Loosely and Sinker Cypress Review. His poetry has appeared in Sinker Cypress Review, Go Places, and Cadenza Magazine, and is forthcoming in Yes Poetry. He graduated with an MFA from… [more]