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Culture & Literature
The Paris Review

The Paris Review Winter 2018

The Paris Review publishes the best fiction, poetry, art, and essays from new and established voices, and the Writers at Work interviews offer some of the most revealing self-portraits in literature.

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United States
The Paris Review Foundation, Inc.
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
alex dimitrov

IMPERMANENCE The first ending. And knowing it would endI wanted another. Lover, summer,pen with which to write it all down.The first disappointment. Which is notremembered but lives in the body.And how familiar it became. To takethe same walk home or lean over ledges,to say my own name when meeting someone.Again and again for the last time:the taste of salt in the afternoon.Flowers for no one—alive and sold on the street.What did I think was promised in being?The way a stranger can finish you off.Once only. And never the sameafter that. After knowledge.How people are being detainedand shot with our money.All of which cannot prepare us for deathof which I am a studentand which is this country’s business:the permanence of others.Even our cruelty toward one another.Will end. And I knowthat looking at…

1 min.
two poems by rae armantrout

NOW SEE 1. Don’t worry. We have armiesof showrunners writing our dreams,ones where we’re featured as skilled apparatchiksfacing credible threats that appear and disappearlike clockwork, leaving no apparentdamage. 2. It was all oneto me— all pain-pleasure,all squirmy life-deathuntil your head broke the surfaceand looked backward and forward.Now see what you’ve done. PROBE No lie!Need input!Not ghosting you!Which coffee is best for wildlife? Are you going to get the monkey?Are you taking him to sister?No, you’re giving him to granddad. Everything we didwas tracked by sentences. Now we can’t stoptalking to ourselves. Worried about what happens. Just need a minute. We are allrooting for you.…

20 min.
a feeling artist

LINCOLN MICHEL Onstage, I’m thinking about the postman who was so overwhelmed by the amount of mail he had to deliver that he threw it all, and then himself, into the sea. I’m thinking about the agoraphobic grandmother who refused to go outside, even when the fire started on the floor below. I’m thinking about crying mothers, refugees fleeing crumbling cities, and infinite human hatred. It isn’t working, but I’m weeping anyway. It’s just muscle memory at this point. I go through my entire act. I rub my hands together on the lip of the foot-high stage. I moan beneath the fluorescent lights. Every now and then I squeeze a clump of hair and mime a howl. I finish by dropping to my knees on the sticky floor, a small puddle of…

3 min.
hanif abdurraqib

OFF-WHITE my boys & I refused to believe it was Michael who didn’t make it through the night even though the cameras strewn across the sky showed the mansion lawn specked with red sirens & from my own covers I imagined him to be simply asleep the way I slept with the red lights pouring into my bedroom windows in the summer of ’97 while the medics decided that my mother’s throat had closed & locked every door & they tucked her beneath a white sheet & to die in one’s sleep must be to unfold a dream that never stops unfolding & then it is hard to say where sleep ends & death begins & how close to the edge each night drags the unassuming lives it holds in a…

41 min.
i met fear on the hill

LESLIE JAMISON It’s the summer of 1966, and Sheila and Peter are a young married couple living in Berkeley. They are very much in love, and also very high—tripping on acid for the first time in their lives, in Tilden Park—walking in a shallow stream full of primordial monsters, or at least salamanders. The leaves are emeralds. The whole world is an amoeba. They are Adam and Eve, and they’ve found their way back to the garden. They are renting a room in a communal house from a lawyer turned drug dealer; a local character named Wild Bill painted on their walls during an acid trip, “Oh Lord, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have BAD DREAMS.” They…

2 min.
ilya kaminsky

1. Because cemeteries are too priceyI would like to be deposited on a public benchand not in the earthbut in the middle of Septemberat the end of wonder:wrap me in newspapers, darlings,and run! I want to live my deathon a public benchnext to a barbershop—die when it is time to cut my hair so I can save four dollars!I was always happy in barbershops.Now happiness,come blow your nose in my hands— I want to die on a public bench—those who watch me inthe streetsaysomething in him wants to be entered and picked clean. Be careless, life!Wrap me in newspaper on a park benchso some enterprising schoolchildcan filch from my eyestwo dimesand replace them with two U.S. postage stamps. 3. From a park bench I watch my pregnant wife chase pigeons on the piazza. Katie!You have got nerve! In…