Winter Reading

TH66-PG1I’m shortly going to be moving down to Florida to join my daughter in her new home. There’s lots of space but I will have to cut down on the number of ink and paper books I keep around and rely even more on digital editions and my trusty iPad. But one thing concerns me: I normally do not save books after I have read them (only scholarly texts and books I want to study further, as a rule) but that doesn’t hold true for journals and collections. I tend to read a little here and a little there in these types of books.

So the question is: what do I do with my years of Tin House and Conjunctions?

Time is short and just to force my hand, Issue 66 of Tin House arrived in my mailbox. Look at the goodies in this issue … who wouldn’t want to add these authors to their winter reading list:

Fiction:  Dorothy Allison, Patrick deWitt, Helen Phillips, Martha McPhee, Drew Ciccolo, James Scudamore, Andrea Barrett

Poetry:  Sharon Olds, Caroline Knox, Adam Fitzgerald, Cornelius Eady, Caroline O’Connor Thomas, Timmy Straw

Features:  Claire Vaye Watkins, Evie Wyld and Joe Sumner, Rachel Jamison Webster, CJ Hauser, John Fischer

Lost & Found:  Carrie Brown, James Guida, Pamela Erens, Scott F. Parker, Carol Keeley

And how enticing is that cover illustration by Inga Poslitur? I found the entry “About the Cover” especially intriguing and recommend you look further into this artist.

Here is the editor’s introduction to this issue:

Each July Tin House turns the Cerf Amphitheatre at Reed College into a temple of the written word. At our Summer Writer’s Workshop, editors, faculty, and over two hundred participants come together to recharge and share and risk. Night after night faculty and guest readers dazzle and disturb, and after a week of readings and talks everyone leaves spent yet rejuvenated. Often we are lucky enough to grab new work and pass it along within the magazine’s pages. This summer, Dorothy Allison shook us with her story “Something Not Unlike Love,” a ferocious depiction of how sexual attraction gets its hooks in. Cornelius Eady read two of the remarkable poems printed here, as well as performed a song for Trayvon Martin. And Claire Vaye Watkins gave a talk about how she got over “writing to impress old white men.” It was stirring, powerful, most of us in the room hearing articulated what we strongly felt but hadn’t quite been able to formulate into words. Watkins modified the talk into an essay, “On Pandering,” and we are proud to share this call to arms.

images.jpgA huge thrill for us is to see workshop participants grow and flourish. Past participant Caroline O’Connor Thomas is a poet to watch, as you will see from her two poems here. The rest of the issue features a few familiar faces, including Helen Phillips, and her surreal tale of parental anxiety, and powerful new stories by old friends Martha McPhee and Andrea Barrett. Barging into the familiar circle is Drew Ciccolo, with his first published story, “The Leash,” about a disobedient father, as well as Portland’s own Patrick deWitt, with his offbeat story of an undaunted man laying siege to a shady RV dealer. And we’re always happy to give you the unexpected in our Lost & Found section, which champions underappreciated books, this time discussing work that ranges from Jonathan Swift’s Directions to Servants to Jonathan Shay’s Achilles in Vietnam.

Wherever you are this winter, we hope that you will hold the light we tried to capture from last July. And if you are in the neighborhood next summer, drop by and join us.

I would love to attend but I’m on the wrong side of the country and swore off flying a few years back.


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