Culture & Literature
The Paris Review

The Paris Review Fall 2017

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.

United States
The Paris Review Foundation, Inc.
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4 Issues

in this issue

36 min.
maxine groffsky

For the first two decades of its existence (1953–73), The Paris Review was a transatlantic operation. It was printed in Europe. It was distributed mainly in America. And it was edited in both places, by George Plimpton— who moved back to New York in 1956—and by a series of Paris editors, who also oversaw the physical production of the magazine. These Paris editors were a distinguished group: over the years they included Robert Silvers, Nelson Aldrich, and Frederick Seidel, among others. But the person who held the job longest, and left the biggest stamp on the Review, was Maxine Groffsky, who worked in the rue de Tournon office from 1965 until it closed in January 1974. Although Groffsky went on to become a wellknown literary agent, until now she has never…

2 min.
two poems

COUPLES IN THE DEATH OF WINTER Now this is a city held by winter, and this is a glass splinter. Now this is a day as short as a short vowel, and this is a night as long as a wandering owl. Now this is how brilliance fails, and this is the sun wearing hundreds and hundreds of veils. Now this is a road scratched in a black window, and this is what men and women do. Now this is a black dress in a storm, and this is a table spilling with charm. Now this is the lip of a moment, and this is what they both partly wanted. Now this is a door made of pages, and these are the large eyes of your rages. Now this is clearly destiny, and now it means nothing to me. Now this is a blinding motorway, and this is…

30 min.
ann beattie

I’d started to visit Olivia more often because it was obvious she was lonely. The ALS lady who’d been moved to Hopkins had been Aunt Olivia’s closest friend, leaving aside Merton Hillstead, who actually went home. Even the friendly paperboy who sometimes went into Harmony House to say hello to the ladies at early breakfast had quit the route. One Sunday, she didn’t get her paper at all, which left her with only the two p.m. bingo, or three thirty “Our Friendly World” (slides of places the director of Harmony House and his wife had lived, with soundtracks by their son, who was a fellowship student at Juilliard). Instead of attending either of those activities, O. tore up some magazines and started assembling a collage on special paper I’d gotten…

2 min.
peter gizzi

SPEECH ACTS FOR A DYING WORLD A field sparrow is at my window, tapping at its reflection, a tired New England god trying to communicate it’s getting to me as I set out to sing the nimbus of flora under a partly mottled sky as I look at the end and sing so what, sing live now, thinking why not I’m listening and receiving now and it feeds me, I’m always hungry when the beautiful is too much to carry inside my winter when my library is full of loss full of wonder when the polis is breaking and casts a shadow over all of me, thinking of it when the shadows fall in ripples, when the medium I work in is deathless and I’m living inside one great example of stubbornness when my head is stove in by a glance, when the day’s silver-tipped buds sway in union, waving to the corporate sky when I said work and meant lyric when I thought I was done with the poem as a…

20 min.
isabella hammad

It happened like this. A week after the Six-Day War, Sam walked to the eastern bank of the Jordan River. He was working as a counselor that summer near Karameh, at a day camp for boys. Although the fighting occurred further upstream, camp activities had been suspended. Then came the cease-fire, and the usual schedule resumed: football in the morning, literacy after lunch, assorted games in the afternoon, orange juice and croissants in plastic wrap, and a bus to take them back to the city. That Tuesday it was sweltering. After taking the register and sending the boys outside, the supervisor told Sam that a new counselor-in-training would referee the match that day, which gave Sam the morning off, if he wanted it. At first Sam considered hanging around all the…

1 min.
frederick seidel

HYMN TO APHRODITE Ποικιλόθρον᾽ α᾽θανάτ᾽ Αφρόδιτα —Sappho, Fragment 1 I gather you were in the lobby Minutes before. Terrifying to almost see you again. I smelled the shockwave, the burning air. You were too sexual To be bourgeois, screams from the jungle On top of Mount Olympus. You were too violently beautiful. Last night I looked up at the sky, Lights out as I was falling asleep. There was the moon, a full moon, or nearly. It was you. I wasn’t, but I could have been, A god I was living in. I chose not to come out Onstage and tell them what a poem is about. Pubic hair that befits a goddess. Pubic hair that equips a goddess. That little arrowhead of pubic hair that Magnifies your thighs’ magnificence. You look like a field of flowers. You look like flowers in a vase. You look like brains and breasts. You act like life stabbing death…