Tin House Is Poison

Tin House Volume 20, Number 1: Poison

TH77-Cover-800x1030One night after I’d turned off my reading light but not yet sunk into sleep, an uneasy feeling swept up my back. I was accustomed to the sweep of shadows along the walls as the train emptied its passengers and they marched by my windows and cars braked at the corner stoplight, but one shadow had stopped, its source blocking the stripe of light at the corner of my closest window.

‘Hey, baby’ a voice murmured from outside. ‘Are you sleeping?
—MELISSA FEBOS, Intrusions

Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” So said Paracelsus, the sixteenth-century Swiss physician credited with creating laudanum. In our toxic times, it seems as if there are very few remedies and that all is, indeed, poisonous. What, then, must writers do? Come up with remedies? Use the poison to cleanse, to heal, or simply to attack what is attacking us?

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Summer Sanctuary

Conj70frntonlyThis is one of two months of the year when quarterly and bi-annual journals show up in my mailbox with a one-two punch of stimulating new reading. No sooner had I begun flipping through Tin House when another thick issue of Conjunctions opened up even more impediments to my often chaotic published reading lists. But I’m not complaining!

Newly published:  Conjunctions:70, Sanctuary: The Preservation Issue

Start your summer reading with innovative new work by Diane Ackerman, Heather Altfeld, Rae Armantrout, Mary Jo Bang, Mauro Javier Cardenas, J’Lyn Chapman, Julia Elliott, Andrew Ervin, William Gaddis, Peter Gizzi, Rae Gouirand, Robin Hemley, Troy Jollimore, Robert Karron, Madeline Kearin, Marshall Klimasewiski, Byron Landry, Nam Le, Maria Lioutaia, Andrew Mossin, Debra Nystrom, Toby Olson, Peter Orner, Richard Powers, Jessica Reed, Donald Revell, Elizabeth Robinson, Joanna Ruocco, Kyra Simone, Erin Singer, Maya Sonenberg, Donna Stonecipher, Arthur Sze, S. P. Tenhoff, Daniel Torday, and Frederic Tuten.

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Summer Is a Great Time For Reading

c9561b9a-44a3-43d4-8869-880c07e9b86d.jpgIt’s here! Tin House #76: Summer Reading (Vol. 19, No. 4). Now that I’m getting back to normal (sorta), it’s comforting to have easy access to some great reading in one of my favorite literary journals.

That night, though, a bad thought came to her as she drowsed in the old rump-sprung armchair near the bed. Where did Mr. Cowper keep his money?

She couldn’t worry about it then, in the middle of the night. But she did. Next day as soon as she’d got him looked after she went into the other room of the two he’d sub-rented from her and Petey two weeks ago and looked around. She felt like a criminal, but she looked into his coat pockets, and at the pocketbook she found there, which had twelve dollars in it. She checked the little chest of drawers where he’d put his shirts and stuff. There was nothing else of his in the room but some books and papers on the worktable, and under the table the little humpback trunk that was all his luggage.

He’d locked it, but there was a trunk key lying out on the table with what had been in his pockets when he went up to the mine. She had to look.

—URSULA K. LE GUIN, “Pity and Shame”

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True Crime

VOLUME 19, Number 1: True Crime

The town claimed to be shocked by the arrests, but most confided that they’d always known Penny Misko would end up doing something like this. She’d always been a liar and a drunk; it was not hard to imagine that she could leave a neighbor in the road not twenty feet from her front door . . . The more compassionate suggested that maybe she hadn’t known she’d hit someone, but they’d been dismissed. The car’s windshield had been replaced! The police who’d retrieved it from the body shop said the damage was “consistent with something large striking it.” Something like Brenda Leroy’s head. The Miskos had left her in the street, and they’d sat there at their kitchen table listening to the ambulance come and go, and they’d lied, lied, and lied again. And Brenda was their neighbor. She’d known them her whole life. Penny had worked with Brenda’s mother at the sleeping bag factory. Penny Misko was a terrible person. Not guilty? they said. Please.

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