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The Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review Spring 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

J. T. Barbarese’s latest book is True Does Nothing. His translations of selections from Prévert, After Prévert, is forthcoming in 2021. Radhika Borde is a geography researcher at the Charles University in Prague, spending large parts of her time in India. Jake Crist works for housing and homelessness nonprofits in Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, Subtropics, and The Yale Review. Simone Di Piero’s recent books are a collection of poems, The Complaints, and Fat: New and Uncollected Prose, both from Carnegie Mellon. Ross Feld (1947–2001) was the author of four novels—Years Out, Only Shorter, Shapes Mistaken, and Zwilling’s Dream—as well as the posthumously published Guston in Time: Remembering Philip Guston. Jennifer Garfield is a high school English teacher in the Boston area. Louise Glück, who received the Nobel Prize in 2020, teaches at…

17 min
table talk

LAST JANUARY, I sent a stern email to my three adult children, all over thirty, informing them that if they didn’t claim their possessions by the end of the year I would throw them out. The pandemic scrambled my plans: one son landed home for months and my daughter, an ER doctor, was afraid to visit, for fear of infecting the old folk. Last week she finally drove up and managed to sort through a bookshelf. Many of the books in the discard pile were paperbacks she bought for courses, titles like Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair and Native Son by Richard Wright. When I sat on the floor stacking them into bags, I realized that over the years my husband and I have instinctively held on…

1 min
thanks to our donors

The Threepenny Review is supported by Hunter College, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Campizondo Foundation, Mad Rose 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 on pages 30–31 of this issue. Our heartfelt thanks to all!…

1 min
a note on the artworks

For the past half century, Finnish-American photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen has been engaged with one of the longest-running nonstop self-portrait undertakings in the history of the genre. Not a document of a performance nor a project with a beginning, middle, and end, his photographs duplicate the reality before the lens as he travels the world. “Make it different, keep it the same,” he says. “Making yourself the subject means no one else comes in harm’s way. Refusing manipulation rules out illustration. Being without clothes instills timelessness. And listen to the planet. It’s pleading for its life.” A Madison Avenue copywriter in his twenties, Minkkinen went on to study with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at Rhode Island School of Design. Currently Emeritus Professor at UMass Lowell, Minkkinen also serves as docent…

11 min
the home of two cliffs

MY OLDER daughter and I were biking around Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to her last soccer game of the season, she in her pale green uniform. The spring of 2003, this was. I had turned forty a couple of months before. My daughter was nine. As I recall it, it was during this ride that she asked if I played sports as a kid, if my father was involved, what all of that was like. “My father thought it was important for me to know how to play baseball,” I said as we pedaled in the pleasant air around the park’s paved inner loop. “People in his generation thought there were some things boys should just know how to do. So he tried to teach me. We spent a lot of time…

2 min
sestina for the matriarch

It’s filtering down across our state linenow that the storm has passed—the kind of waterwe’d like to think was born of the river,but it’s not. It only arrives after drowningswine in their slaughterhouses. This water’s black,death-steeped, brackish. My neighbor’s sons float across the road, basking in the sun-warmed water, belly-crawling ’cross the linehalving the street. I warn of worms wading overblacktop. Good as poison. They wallow in this waterthat tastes of decay and is day by day drowningthe houses that lie low to the earth. The river feeds and swells till it isn’t just the river,it’s my home, and even under our scathing sunI can’t parse the difference between drowningand redeemed. Rising, inch by inch, the only linethat matters anymore is where there’s waterto recede and leave behind the rotted, bitter, black of…