Cultuur & Literatuur
The Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review

Summer 2020

The Threepenny Review is a well-regarded quarterly of the arts and society which has been published since 1980. Every issue contains excellent essays, stories, poems, and memoirs, plus beautiful black-and-white photographs. Its regular writers include six Nobel Prizewinners and four U.S. Poet Laureates; recent issues featured writing by Wendell Berry, Geoff Dyer, Louise Glück, Greil Marcus, Javier Marías, Adam Phillips, and Kay Ryan.

United States
The Threepenny Review
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4 Edities

in deze editie

14 min.
table talk

THE SUMMER I sold bibles door-to-door was my first experience of a suburb. I was fourteen. I don’t remember which suburb, but it was close enough to Philadelphia for the guy I now think of as The Collector to drive his sales crew out there in the morning hours and then collect us late afternoon. I was expected to work summers, and jobs usually came my way through relatives. I had an uncle who moonlighted as a successful bible merchant, and it was he, a matinee-idol lookalike with a Dean Martin voice, who trained me. I spent a Saturday with him as he made rounds in one of my own South Philadelphia neighborhoods. I wondered how it might all turn out. I was not confident. It seemed easy, at least as…

1 min.
motion against ideas

As for the idea we are all oneI notice cancer has removed pieces of RobertBut I am still whole. I see a few peopleSwimming in money, many others wading outTo supply drinks and sex. The water’s glassy blue. The manyTaken by the few. But I don’t know them,Don’t fish, don’t care. It’s cool to think our skullsContain sun, and moon, and stars, each headA planetarium. The difference is Heads switch off, quick,Unlike stars. A new body, all new cellsEvery seven years: Hell yes, why not! But, new Cells that make us look older?Your honor, entropy spreads us thin, andThinner; we’ll soon be gloss. Your honor, I moveWe clear away ideas on both sides of the table& wait wordless together For as long as it takesThe soul to appear, then wait longerFor the maker of souls to appear, The…

5 min.
unexpected sunday meeting

GORGEOUS MORNING in the awakened city, fresh new green, the angled rays of the sun glittering in spiders’ webs, birds twittering, the fragrance of buds, grass drenched in dew, the air cool, bees hovering around blossoming branches, Sunday, the tolling of a distant bell... Spring in Chisinau! It had been months since I was liberated from the Strict-Regime Colony in Northern Russia. Behind me were dozens of blood transfusions, restorative dental tortures, and scary talks with a cardiologist. A week ago, I had finally obtained my so-so bill of health and now was waiting patiently for the Soviet Immigration Office to approve my visa. One day, as I was sipping coffee at a small table outside of a restaurant in downtown Chisinau, someone’s light hand touched my shoulder: “What are you up to these days, Lazarus, what…

2 min.
false teeth

After the viewing, they took her new false teeth,inhumanly gleaming, out of her mouth, then slidher body in the oven and turned up the flame.They offered them to me as “a keepsake,a remembrance,” but I turned them down:all I wanted to see, all I wantedto remember was the old wrecked Acropolisof her shattered grin. She, whose soul had beentight-jawed, gap-toothed, a cavity-drilleddissenter, possessed in her new denturesthe permanent reminder of how all those yearsshe’d hidden her shamed smile. It was as ifthe porcelain grins of the ones she calledthe bosses, and hated with the purityof a blowtorch cutting steel, had become her grinmocking her from the water glass she soakedthem in at night, their perfect alignmentand corrected overbite become my littlenightmare, gnashing, tearing, hyperbolicin their appetite, as if they embodiedhunger…

2 min.
a note on the artworks

Though Henry Wessel was born, raised, and educated on the east coast, he was drawn to California, like so many artists before him, by the quality and sharpness of its light. In 1971, age twenty-nine, he drove cross-country to the Bay Area, where he eventually settled in Point Richmond, a waterfront neighborhood across the bay from San Francisco. Wessel became adept at working his camera—a Leica with a 28mm lens, which he used throughout his career—to isolate casual figures or plainspoken objects against the urban and suburban scenery of public lawns and bus stops. His methods of capture yielded surprising yet wryly understated juxtapositions: a small sign for ice in an empty desert landscape, palm trees and telephone wires crowding out church steeples, the voluminous outline of a fluffed show…

8 min.
i saw plenty

I’M WRITING a poem at my desk overlooking the bay when Rory arrives with news that Carl is dead. Which is too bad. It isn’t a good poem but that’s the point, that I want to make it better, and Carl’s dying isn’t likely to help. Rory is missing two fingers on his left hand, his middle finger and his pinkie. Chainsaw accident. With the remainders he points down the channel, at the end of which is Carl’s cabin. Rory’s children found the body, he says, and Rory came immediately to me. Why he thinks a doctor, much less a retired one, would be required in the event of corpse-finding, I’m not sure. Maybe he thinks there’s still hope. Or maybe he thinks I still have some authority in such…