The Threepenny Review

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The Threepenny ReviewThe Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review Fall 2016

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.

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The Threepenny Review
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4 Issues


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Joe Aguilar is the author of Half Out Where. He lives in Missouri.Elvis Bego was born in Bosnia, lives in Copenhagen, and has completed a novel entitled Introvertigo.Michael Chitwood has had recent work in Ploughshares, Birmingham Poetry Review, and New Ohio Review. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.Ye Chun is the author of two books of poetry, Lantern Puzzle and Travel Over Water, as well as a novel, Peach Tree in the Sea. A Pushcart Prize winner and an NEA fellowship recipient, she teaches at Providence College.Julia Cooke’ essays and reporting have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, A Public Space, the New York Times, and Tin House.Sarah Deming, a former Golden Gloves boxing champion, writes about sports, alcohol, and many other subjects. Her children’s novel is titled Iris, Messenger.Ariel…

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table talk

LYING I WON’T certify as hygienic speech, but a lie can do some good. A lie captures truth in the trace of its bite into the plain meat of innocence. Benvenuto Cellini says in his wonderfully demented autobiography that you should not write such a work before you are forty, but five years short I want to give an account of some fabrications that have taken place in my life, lies that were uttered by me or others and left undenied long enough that they obtained a measure of being, if not truth. Truth itself may be more brightly arranged around the shadow of its adventurous twin.But for a lie I might not have even been born. During my parents’ courtship back in Bosnia, Dad shaved a year or two…

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photo credits

The seventeen photographs in this issue, all done by Hiroshi Sugimoto, are copyrighted in the name of the artist and reproduced with his generous permission, courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery. Below is the caption information for each image, listed by page. Front Cover: Anne of Cleves, 1999. 3: Napoleon Bonaparte, 1999. 4: Gemsbok, 1980. 7: Union City Drive-In, Union City, 1993. 8: Mountain Lion, 1980. 11: Neanderthal, 1994. 13: Salvador Dali, 1999. 14: Richard I, 1999. 17: Piet Mondrian, 1999. 18: Catherine Howard, 1999. 21: Oscar Wilde, 1999. 22: Homo Ergaster, 1997. 26: Wapiti, 1980. 28: State Theatre, Sydney, 1997. 29: Henry V, 1999. 30: William Shakespeare, 1999. Back Cover: Queen Victoria, 1999. For additional information about the photographs of Hiroshi Sugimoto and the fall exhibit of his work at Fraenkel…

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seeing things

I came here in my youth,A wind toy on a string.Saw a street in hell and one in paradise.Saw a room with a light in it so ailingIt could’ve been leaning on a cane.Saw an old man in a tailor shopKneel before a bride with pins between his lips.Saw the President swear on the Biblewhile snow fell around him.Saw a pair of lovers kiss in an empty churchAnd a naked man run out of a buildingwaving a gun and sobbing.Saw kids wearing Halloween masksJump from one roof to another at sunset.Saw a van full of stray dogs look back at me.Saw a homeless woman berating GodAnd a blind man with a guitar singing:“Oh Lord remember me,When these chains are broken set my body free.”…

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thanks to our donors

The Threepenny Review is supported by Hunter College, the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Campizondo Foundation, the Rosenthal Family Foundation, the Gerald Oppenheimer Family Foundation, the George Lichter Family Fund, and the Mad Rose Foundation. Our writer fees are underwritten by our Writers’ Circle, which includes Robert Bauer, Richard V. Clayton, Alan Kligerman, Susan Knapp, Eunice & Jay Panetta, Robert Redford, Neal Rosenthal & Kerry Madigan, and Pablo Woodward. Many other generous individuals, whose names are printed annually in the spring issue, have also helped to keep the magazine going. Heartfelt thanks to all!…

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a note on the artworks

For Hiroshi Sugimoto, who was born in Japan in 1948, photography is a means of exploring many things—the nature of time, the function of history, the metaphysical qualities of sight and perception. In the pictures we have selected for this issue, he is particularly interested in the imitation of life. Two of the series represented here, Wax Portraits and Dioramas, deal very specifically with the unreal portrayal of reality. In these photos, whether of historical figures (Oscar Wilde, Anne of Cleves, William Shakespeare, Salvador Dali) or of landscapes containing mountain lions, antelopes, and elk, Sugimoto manages to convey both a sense of immediacy and a sense of falseness. The latter is revealed by the extremely high technical quality of the photographs; the former is created by cutting out the frame,…