“A Brief History of the Colloquial Title” by Lauren Alwan

A piece by alum Lauren Alwan (fiction, ’08) appears at The Millions:

It’s a single line of dialog in Ernest Hemingway’s classic story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” but that one line, 11 words, has had an outsized influence on the course of literary titling. It’s spoken by the female character, Jig, as she waits for a train in Zaragosa with her unnamed American man. In the train station they begin drinking, first cervezas then anisette, and soon conduct a suppressed dispute about whether or not to end a pregnancy. Tensions mount, differences are exposed, and with that, Jig utters the legendary line. It’s a breaking point that is as much textual as emotional: “Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?”

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“Ward” by Adam Jernigan

A story by alum Adam Jernigan (fiction, ’15) appears at Qu:

Curtis walked until West Girard turned into East and his feet hurt. It was 5:15 in morning and the sky was still as black as it comes when he went through the bright blue door with the sign above saying PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPT 26TH DISTRICT. Inside, it was too hot and crowded. He felt itchy. But he kept still as he waited his turn. When it came, he unfolded the flyer with the pictures and put it flat on the counter with the thick scratched glass between him and the cop. He said, “I’m the one killed them kids.” He turned the paper around so the two children in the black and white photo stared right up at the policeman on the other side of divide.

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“But What About the Fire?” by Liam Callanan

liam-callananFaculty member Liam Callanan writes about Adam Haslett’s “Notes to my Biographer” for Stories We Love at Fiction Writer’s Review:

I’m haunted by fire. Not that kind. The kind that forms the harrowing core of Adam Haslett’s “Notes to my Biographer,” which examines the very large life led by its protagonist, Franklin Caldwell Singer, and the metaphor that comes to consume him.

Singer is loud, tendentious company—and thus an incredibly risky character to anchor this story. But the result is marvelous [or: But the risk more than pays off], even if (or especially because) Haslett’s success requires him to break almost every rule there is about writing stories, starting with “show, don’t tell,” starting with the story’s very first lines.

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Nathan Poole: An Interview and an Excerpt

NathanPoole1An interview with alum Nathan Poole (fiction, ’11) conducted by alum Rolf Yngve (fiction, ’12) appears at Fiction Writers Review:

Rolf Yngve: Nathan, congratulations on all your successes, and even more, congratulations for this wonderful collection, Father Brother Keeper. We’ll talk about the stories, but something came up in the author’s notes that I thought might kick us off—you call yourself an amateur dendrologist and theologian. Tell me about that. Or, what I want to ask really, where would you rather start, with the dendrologist’s interest in hardwoods or as the student of Job? I feel like I should have the King James Bible and The Field Guide to North American Trees and Shrubs next to me when I read your stories.

Nathan Poole: Ha! Well, I guess they could both be considered field guides, in their own way. I can’t choose which to start with. This is so funny. I walk around all day fantasying about being asked this exact question and when someone actually asks me, I feel totally speechless, like Charlie Brown trying to spell beagle.

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We are also pleased to present an excerpt from Nathan’s novella, “Pathkiller as the Holy Ghost”:

Decima was an aunt before she was born, the youngest of fourteen brothers and sisters. Her older siblings, men and women she hardly knew, lived all over Burke County with their husbands and wives. She would often meet new kids at her school or new playmates in the church yard, only to find out later they were her nieces and nephews. “I see you’ve met your Aunt Decima,” their mother might say, Dessie turning a bright shade of red, as if it were a scandal. There was a creek path that ran beneath the hardwoods that bordered the back pasture behind her house. When there was cotton in the late summer it meant the heat had established itself and that the path would be trafficked by migrant pickers and sharecroppers because of the shade, cutting back between the ferry where it crossed the Savannah into Georgia, down across Claxton-Lively road to highway 23. The men moved down the hill and out toward the road in the valley, appearing where the trees opened up and disappearing just as suddenly as they turned back to follow the stream.

She could not remember a time when men did not walk that path in the picking season, men and young boys, carrying their own sacks and passing like ghosts, never coming up to the house to visit, never asking for anything, all except once.

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“A Reading from AWP” by Caitlin Horrocks

A story by faculty member Caitlin Horrocks appears at The Kenyon Review:

Ed. Note: Fiction Editor Caitlin Horrocks wrote the following story for the “New Voices at the Kenyon Review” panel presented at AWP last month. The story is composed entirely of lines from published or soon-to-be-published KR pieces.

Even before she said anything, I knew she wasn’t my actual mother.[1] She had her bags out the door by morning, monumental in the sun.[2] I was more dead than alive, she explained. They had no choice but to send me home.[3] Her mouth fit like a clasp, and was as small as the rest of her.[4] Her fake blue contacts held and twisted light like gemstones.[5] Who is to say we must see all of a woman to acknowledge her as whole? Who is to say we should look away?[6]

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