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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 milk tongue (Deep Vellum, 2023), Grand Marronage (Switchback, 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.