The Threepenny Review

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The Threepenny ReviewThe Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review Summer 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.

United States
The Threepenny Review
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4 Issues


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J. T. Barbarese’ latest book of poems is Sweet Spot, published in 2012. Charlie Clark’s writing has appeared in Best New Poets, Pleiades, Smartish Pace, and other journals. He lives in Austin, Texas. Louise Glück’ many books of poetry include A Village Life, Faithful and Virtuous Night, The Wild Iris, and Averno. A new book of her essays will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux this fall. Wendy Lesser edits The Threepenny Review. Her biography of Louis Kahn, You Say to Brick, is due out next March. Dave Lucas is the author of Weather, winner of the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. He lives in Cleveland and teaches at Case Western Reserve. Javier Marías, Spain’s foremost contemporary novelist, has had his work translated into more than forty languages; his most recent novel, Thus…

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table talk

“WHAT ARE you doing here?” the poet demanded. It was a good question. The reading had been interrupted by “a danger alarm,” the student in charge of the university-owned townhouse explained. He seemed to feel this would reassure us. We should just stay seated while… Several company’s worth of firemen burst past him, many wielding medieval-style pikes and staffs. We made for the door, waiting on the sidewalk while the distant bell continued to toll. The poet, who had been interrupted in mid-stanza, was understandably suspicious. She found out I did not write poetry myself and wondered what brought me to such a hermetically sealed event. Everyone else was either a colleague or student. They all seemed to know each other. I glimpsed the makings of a severe pecking order: grandees, priesthood, aspirants. Or…

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photo credits

The sixteen photographs in this issue, all done by Jack Feder, are copyrighted in the name of the artist and reproduced with his generous permission. Below is the caption information for each image, listed by page. Front Cover: Kids playing in an abandoned car, Lower East Side. 3: Couple in window in London. 6: Washlines from tenements. 7: Men on a stoop. 11: Midway Bar. 14: Boy swinging from window. 15: No Parking. 17: Drunk on sidewalk. 18: East Village scene. 21: Boy Scout. 22: Man with hat. 24: Boy staring out. 27: Girl with Venetian blinds. 28: Man sitting on crate. 30: Man under Westside Highway. Back Cover: Boy with pipes numbered 1 and 2. For additional information about the photographs and career of Jack Feder, please see page 7.…

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actaeon’s hounds

And then I wasn’t myself anymore. A heaviness branched from my head, not like thought, or worry, but solid, forcing upward, pressing against my brow, wedging itself between me and the world. The weight swung with me when I shook my head, clattered against a limb above. Nothing could dislodge it. And the woods thrummed as though a skin had broken from over my ears to let in what had always been muffled. Wind wrestling through the pines. Branches mourning against each other. The skirring slang of birdsong. Everything thrilled and fretted into new sound. Even the dogs rushing through the far trees, I heard it all—footfalls, twigs snapping their faces, one dog breaking into a bay, then another. My dogs. I knew them. Loved them. And I knew they would know me, dogs I once stroked…

access_time10 min.
paycheck to paycheck

WHEN I WAS in my twenties and newly married, I worked construction as a common laborer, laying pipe and building box sewers. Once in a while the job was dangerous. Mostly it was tedious. Once our gang had to clean out an 800-foot length of 72" sewer main clogged with waist-high mud, a spongy mix of yellow clay saturated with storm runoff and human waste. We smoked in the dark and cool interiors of the pipes we laid, and if the boss was not around we smoked dope. I had been kicked out of college (twice), had a wife and a six-month-old son, and was making eight dollars an hour, which seemed like a fortune—good money for a dropout with a family, a mortgage, and no car. I was a union…

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undated, no certificate but possibly genuine

For many years I’ve tried to remove the mechanism they installed in my head when I was arrested for an unlawful display of fireworks. It gets kinda messy like cleaning squid and now I’m homesick for places I’ve never been like the Outer Banks and Further Outer Banks. Once I threw a stone eye into a construction site and now the people who work there can’t stop bubbling about their dreams, which are boring and involve bunny-costumed leg-humping. May I assure you I am nothing but mist? Something of a fledgling in the boudoirs of middling echelon. A merchant of bonsai seeds. A relic of a time never come. You think you’re the slightest sigh in the world then along comes a candle sneezing itself out. No, I didn’t start…