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Winter 2020

Winter 2020

Volume 96, Number 4

The essays in our Winter issue showcase writers displaying a fundamental talent—that of deep, lucid inquiry into widely shared experiences. Julia Cooke offers a kind of close reading of the birth narrative—its power and its politics; Pamela Erens mines fresh critical insight from the novels of literary phenomenon Elena Ferrante; Simon Han, meanwhile, tests a new metaphor—that of sleepwalking—for the experience of living through 2020; and in the final installment of his borderlands trilogy, Francisco Cantú explores the origins and cultural power of Tejano-music titan Selena. Other features include a story, reported in collaboration with the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN), on the growing popularity of homesteading in the age of the pandemic; photographer Brian Palmer’s sublimely rendered visual documentary of forgotten African American burial grounds; and fiction and poetry that forgo convention for more adventurous constructions of interior life. (Cover Art: Hudson Christie)

[toc] Table of Contents




Winter 2020

Table of Contents

Editor’s Desk








Author Profiles

Beth Bachmann is the author of three books, all published by the University of Pittsburgh Press: Temper (2009), Do Not Rise (2015), and CEASE (2018). A recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in Poetry and VQR’s Emily Cla

Irène Mathieu is a pediatrician and writer, and the author of Grand Marronage (Switchback Books, 2019), orogeny (Trembling Pillow, 2017), and the galaxy of origins (dancing girl, 2014).

Brian Palmer is a Richmond, VA-based journalist. With colleagues Seth Freed Wessler and Esther Kaplan, he received the Peabody Award for “Monumental Lies,” a 2018 Reveal radio story about public funding for Confederate sites.