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The Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review Winter 2021

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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United States
The Threepenny Review
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min

Skye Anicca’s short fiction has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Nimrod International Journal, Santa Monica Review, Passages North, and elsewhere. The poem in this issue is her first to be published in print. Elvis Bego was born in Bosnia and at present lives in Copenhagen, where he is at work on a novel. Dorothy Bendel’s essays have appeared in The Believer, Literary Hub, Catapult, the New York Times, and additional publications. T. J. Clark is living in the Norfolk countryside, writing the books he’d planned to write for too long. Terese Coe’s poem “More” was part of the Rain of Poems in the 2012 London Olympics, and her black comedy, Harry Smith at the Chelsea Hotel, was recently presented at Dixon Place, New York. Simone Di Piero’s recent books are a collection of poems, The…

17 min
table talk

THIS PAST April I was supposed to be in London, where I was looking forward to seeing the Artemisia show at the National Gallery, the overdue vindication of a great Baroque painter. I had only ever seen glimpses of her work in person, particularly the wonderful Judith Beheading Holofernes in Naples—a painting that I now think is even better, more psychologically astute, than the famous Caravaggio picture of the same subject, even as I think that generally no artist surpasses Caravaggio for psychological insight. But the epidemic intervened, and what I had desired was forced to remain desire unfulfilled, floating free, disembodied, unconsummated, the blessed almost, something I’ve come to think may be the best thing that can happen to these longings. Instead, I ordered the catalogue of the exhibition…

1 min
thanks to our donors

The Threepenny Review is supported by Hunter College, the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Campizondo Foundation, and the George Lichter Family Fund. Our writer payments are underwritten by our Writers’ Circle, which includes Robert Bauer, Richard V. Clayton, Susan Knapp, Richard Murphy, Eunice & Jay Panetta, Robert Redford, Neal Rosenthal & Kerry Madigan, Nancy Rudolph, and Pablo Woodward. Other individuals who have kindly donated to the magazine are listed annually in the spring issue. Our heartfelt thanks to all!…

1 min
a note on the artworks

Black River Falls, where the photographs in this issue were taken, is a small city in the central plains of Wisconsin. Alessandra Sanguinetti has been visiting there since 2014 to document a culture outside the ken of most Americans. Sanguinetti’s photographs of rural Wisconsin convey a general aura of quietude and devoutness, complicated by notable flashes of individuality. She shows local families sitting isolated in a church pew or enthroned in stiff-backed chairs, emanating an intimate sense of shared identity. Yet specific figures are captured in profile or at a slight pivot, as they pray or look calmly at something just out of frame which only they can see. In her photos of adolescent girls, youthful bodies line up for choir rehearsals and PE classes, but the pretense of institutionalized uniformity,…

1 min
photo credits

The fifteen photos in this issue were all taken by Alessandra Sanguinetti and are copyrighted in the name of the artist. Pier 24 Photography kindly provided us with the scans, which come from Sanguinetti’s Black River Falls series. Below are captions for each photo, listed by page. Front Cover: The Flood family at Sunday service, Wrightsville Chapel, Merillan,Wisconsin, 2018. 3: Sunday choir at St. Joseph’s Parish, Black River Falls, Wisconsin, 2014. 7: Alora, Black River Falls, 2014. 8: The reverend outside his chapel, Melrose, Wisconsin, 2018. 10: Ice blocks on the Wazee Lake, Black River Falls, 2014. 14: Woman attempts to get a better view by stacking glasses, Black River Falls, 2015. 17: Double coil spring trap, Black River Falls, 2018. 20: Shot coyote on sidewalk, Alma Center, Wisconsin, 2018. 21: American Bison, Baldwin, Wisconsin, 2015. 25: Young Ho Chunk…

16 min
reflections on reading hilary mantel’s cromwell trilogy

HAPPY DISCOVERY: I’m reading a novel in which every character’s got a Holbein portrait. I know these people, have seen them everywhere—in the Frick, in the National Gallery, of course in reproductions. Thomas Cromwell’s mug, lit by the light of a cloudy-day window, his hand clutching a piece of paper as if it were a weapon. Small-eyed Henry VIII, spread curiously flat on the rectangle, vast and gem-studded. Thomas More, Anne Boleyn, they’re all here. Even Erasmus gets an offhand remote mention, imaginable at the slanted writing desk in Rotterdam where Holbein situated him. The painter himself (to me, a bigger star) has a small role in the novel as itinerant court portraitist, cagey and supercilious. Mantel refers to this artist always as Hans; never anything but Hans. You catch…