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Sign Language

Sign Language By Asha Dore   |  September 15, 2014
The motion of the body. Exchange of truths. Listening without the ears. Telling without the mouth. My daughter points to her chin and signs, my favorite then points to a moth that bumbles through the air on the other side of the sliding glass door. When the moth lands on the door, she moves toward it. She presses her hand on its glass. Wing against wing. The words she will fling through the twitch of her knuckles, the clasp of her palms, the flap of her wrists. Years and years of words, of stories that reach past hearing, past telling. Stories that reach into the skin.

Podcast Interview with Eli Saslow

Podcast Interview with Eli Saslow By Matt Tullis   |  September 11, 2014
Eli Saslow is a reporter at the Washington Post. Earlier this year, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for his series of stories on food stamps in a post-recession America.


Wildflowers By Patrice Gopo   |  September 8, 2014
To the right of my childhood home, where the grass melted into a thick wood, our tree’s steady wooden arms embraced two sisters and their imaginary games. I remember low branches covered with lichen and soft moss, just a foot or two above dark soil. The dip between branch and trunk served as a sort of woodland lap, a seat to welcome even the most unlikely tree climber. From early morning, we slid our hands across peeling birch bark while our feet peeked from beneath a cap of bright, green leaves. By day’s end, sticky, brown sap stained sleeves, palms and pant legs.

Best American Essays Notables 2014

Best American Essays Notables 2014 September 4, 2014
The Notable Essays list from The Best American Essays 2014 includes River Teeth's fall contributors Bettye Kearse and Dan Lehman and essays from Senior Editor Steven Harvey, Managing Editor Sarah Wells, and Beautiful Things column Co-Editor Michelle Webster-Hein

The Nothing That Is Not There and the Nothing That Is

The Nothing That Is Not There and the Nothing That Is By Doug Rutledge   |  September 3, 2014
In Praise of Nothing is both an interesting and a frustrating book. It’s interesting in its attempt to write a postmodern memoir. It’s frustrating, however, because it does not fulfill the reader’s conventional expectations of coherence and meaning. Postmodern thinkers, such as Roland Barthes, are highly skeptical of the idea of human agency and would also doubt the coherence of the self. They believe the idea that a human being who is a psychologically whole and stable person is largely fictionalized. Therefore, LeMay has written an unstable memoir.

The End of the Movie

The End of the Movie By Christopher Bundy   |  September 1, 2014
Today: summer afternoon on the front porch as thunderheads grow over the top of a giant oak. In the yard you perform perfect cartwheels, your legs long and straight in the air. Watch this, Daddy, you say, and execute another textbook cartwheel before you bounce up the steps to sit in my lap and rest your head against mine. You stare at the darkening sky. A breeze lifts your hair as distant thunder rumbles. This is like the end of the movie, you say.

Lee Martin

August 28, 2014
Lee Martin is the author of the novels, The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction; Break the Skin; River of Heaven; and Quakertown. He has also published three memoirs, From Our House, Turning Bones, and Such a Life; and a short story collection, The Least You Need to Know. He teaches in the MFA program at The Ohio State University, where he is a past winner of the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award.
Keywords: 10, 14-1, 16-1, 3-2, 6-1, 8-2

Sydney Lea

August 28, 2014
Sydney Lea, a former Pulitzer finalist, founded and for thirteen years edited New England Review. His thirteenth collection of poems, Here, is due from Four Way Books in 2019.
Keywords: 13-1, 13-2, 16-1, 2-1, 20-1, 3-1, 8-1

Falling featured on

August 28, 2014
Debie Thomas's fine essay, "Falling," from our fall 2013 issue of River Teeth, was featured as a member pick August 14, 2014.

Editor's Notes, Volume 16, Number 1

Editor's Notes, Volume 16, Number 1 By Joe Mackall   |  August 28, 2014
We at River Teeth talk a lot about what the journal has meant to us during our first fifteen years. What we’ve discovered doesn’t surprise us now, but it would have fifteen years ago. It’s the people: the people we’ve met, the people we’ve published, the people who came of age as creative nonfiction writers reading River Teeth. It’s all pretty damn humbling, to be sure.

Volume 16 Number 1

Volume 16 Number 1 August 28, 2014
featuring work by Jonathan Starke, Britt Leach, Elizabeth Arnold, Lee Martin, Nancy Lord, Sydney Lea, Ira Sukrungruang, Anne Panning, Melissa Matthewson, Jacqueline Haskins, Pamela Schmid, Ron Clinton Smith, and Hannah Hindley
Keywords: 16-1

Elizabeth Arnold

August 28, 2014
Elizabeth Arnold is a graduate of the MFA program at the Rainier Writing Workshop. Her work has previously appeared in such places as The Gettysburg Review, The Whitefish Review, Superstition Review, and elsewhere. Her essays have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been listed as notable in The Best American Essays. She lives on a working farm in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, horses, chickens, and dogs.
Keywords: 16-1

Jacqueline Haskins

August 28, 2014
Jacqueline Haskins is a biologist of watery wilds, from cypress swamps to cirque swales. Her nonfiction has received a Pushcart nomination and been a finalist in Oregon Quarterly’s Northwest Perspectives Contest. Jacqueline received her Masters in Biostatistics from U. of Washington, and her MFA from NW Institute of Literary Arts. Her nonfiction, poetry, or fiction appear in Cordite Poetry Review, Raven Chronicles, Cirque Journal, Meadowland Review, The Collapsar, Shark Reef Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. Visit her at
Keywords: 16-1

Hannah Hindley

August 28, 2014
Hannah Hindley is a field educator and wilderness guide with a B.A. in English from Harvard University. She is a published writer of both truthful and fictional stories and is the recipient of the Thomas Wood Award in Journalism and the winner of the New Conrads Writing Contest for Jack Tar Magazine. She currently works as a naturalist aboard a small adventure boat and is daily witness to Alaska’s ice melt—and the changes that come with it—during her long summer seasons spent in Glacier Bay National Park and the Alexander Archipelago.
Keywords: 16-1

Britt Leach

August 28, 2014
Britt Leach was an actor for thirty-odd years and at the end of that career started writing. He co-published, co-edited and wrote for Country Connections, a nationally distributed, award-winning magazine nurtured in the mountains north of Los Angeles. He also wrote and published two websites: Impertinent Information and Veritas—Any Day Now featuring his satire, poetry and essays toward memoir. He is married to Catherine Roberts Leach, a fine art photographer. Without whom, nothing. He now lives in Los Angeles.
Keywords: 16-1

Nancy Lord

August 28, 2014
Nancy Lord, a former Alaska Writer Laureate, is the author of several books including Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-changed North (Counterpoint Press, 2011). In 2013 she was an artist-in-residence in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest as part of the Voices of the Wilderness Program.
Keywords: 16-1

Melissa Matthewson

August 28, 2014
Melissa Matthewson’s essays have appeared in Numero Cinq, Pithead Chapel, Defunct, Under the Gum Tree,, and Prime Number among others. She is currently an MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Melissa, along with her family, owns and operates an organic vegetable farm in the Applegate Valley of southwestern Oregon. She also broadcasts a weekly alternative radio show from a tiny station in the remote hills of the Siskiyou Mountains.
Keywords: 16-1

Anne Panning

August 28, 2014
Anne Panning’s novel, Butter, was published in October 2012 by Switchgrass Books. Her short story collection, Super America, won The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and was selected as a New York Times Editor’s Choice. She has also published a book of short stories, The Price of Eggs. Four of her essays have received notable citations in The Best American Essays series. She has also published poetry in 32 Poems, Hotel Amerika, Fugue, and Room Magazine. She has recently completed a memoir, Dragonfly Notes; her next book project is a novel about a competitive food eater. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, Mark, and two children, Hudson and Lily, and teaches creative writing at SUNY-Brockport.
Keywords: 11-2, 16-1

Pamela Schmid

August 28, 2014
Pamela Schmid is the creative nonfiction editor at Sleet, an online magazine. Before receiving a 2013-14 Loft Mentor Series award in nonfiction, she spent nearly a decade as an award-winning staff writer for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in Sliver of Stone magazine, Sleet, and Sweet: A Literary Confection. She holds an MFA degree from Hamline University and is currently completing a memoir about the power of silence and words. Her website is
Keywords: 16-1

Ron Clinton Smith

August 28, 2014
Ron Clinton Smith is a writer of stories, songs, poetry, screenplays, and the novel Creature Storms, published in 2012. He is also a theater and film actor recently appearing in HBO’s True Detective as Sheriff Tate, and in the Sundance Channel's Rectify. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia where he balances his time between writing and acting.
Keywords: 16-1

Jonathan Starke

August 28, 2014
Jonathan Starke is a former bodybuilder and boxer. He tends to write about the loss of things. You can find more of his lost work in The Sun, Missouri Review, Threepenny Review, Brevity, and North American Review, among others. He works as a creative writing coach and editor at
Keywords: 16-1

Ira Sukrungruang

August 28, 2014
Ira Sukrungruang is the author of Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, Southside Buddhist, and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. His essays have appeared in Shambhala Sun, Creative Nonfiction, and Fourth Genre. He teaches at University of South Florida and the City University Hong Kong low-residency MFA.
Keywords: 16-1

Half-Lady, Half-Baby

Half-Lady, Half-Baby By Jennifer Niesslein   |  August 25, 2014
We’re in our bunk beds. Summer in western Pennsylvania, windows open. Someone nearby mowed his lawn not too long ago. The carnival is in town behind the fire hall, and earlier tonight, we stuffed ourselves with cotton candy and elephant ears. In the darkness, we hear the barker for the freak show. Come see her! Half-lady, half-baby!


Ceremony By Jill Talbot   |  August 18, 2014
Spring struggles through enough days to offer tulips. They've popped up in every garden lining the street, and a few reach from the corner where Indie, my twelve-year-old daughter, and I turn toward home. This is our end-of-the-day walk with our dog. A few nights ago, she picked two of the tulips—red-pink petals, black anthers—and put them in a mason jar on my nightstand. Tonight, she asks if she can pick one for herself.


Lilac By RL Gonzalez Del Valle   |  August 11, 2014
The scent in the air is familiar this last day of spring as I push my granddaughter's baby carriage, strolling the new neighborhood where my son and his family have moved. I spot the purple lilacs just above my head, blooming in splendor on tall bushes surrounding a stately home. I pull a branch down and push my face into the luxuriant bouquet, breathing their fragrance full measure. No lilacs grow in the subtropical clime where I've lived for decades.

Storied Walls

Storied Walls By Sarah Robinson   |  August 4, 2014
The wall outside my window is a bending patchwork -- out of plane, out of level, sloping in opposing directions; each one of its red bricks is imperfect like pottery and bread -- shaped by hand and baked in fire. It is a fragment of the thick red halo that once wrapped this whole city, was once a part of its strategic embrace. Though these ancient walls have been torn by gravity and time, the city still breathes inside them.

Essaying a Spinning World

Essaying a Spinning World By Robert Root   |  August 1, 2014
Much of what Skloot deems "off-kilter" seems the kind of emotional imbalance with which we can all identify.

Digging for Gold

Digging for Gold By Elizabeth Glass   |  July 28, 2014
My four-year-old niece, Cheyenne, runs toward me, jumps into my arms when I arrive at her house in the woods. I pull her up, our faces are close. She smiles, raises her hand. "Can I see your pretty teeth?"

Late Spring

Late Spring By Marion Agnew   |  July 21, 2014
Another chilly, overcast afternoon. From my nest on the sofa, I stare out the window at the yard, where dead grass outlines piles of dirty snow. The gray sky mutes any hints of greening in the pines and spruce. It would be a fine view in March or even early April. But it's mid-May, and I am as crusty and frozen as the lingering snow. A flash of brilliant yellow startles me; a thunk pulls me to the back window. On the porch lies a quivering feather ball, yellow mottled with dark gray-blue and black. A bird hit the window. Its breast feathers pulse, golden and glowing.

Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones By Sarah Wells   |  July 14, 2014
I am standing with my children in the bed of river rocks that have been broken and smoothed to flat disks, millennia wearing away the rough places. My daughter gathers stones and skips them along the shallow surface. As I dip my hand into the river to retrieve a couple pebbles, I see the stones I wear on my left ring finger, glistening in the creek. They are new and old, ancient in their creation and recently purchased by my husband of ten years. Five are on my wedding band—diamonds I deemed “stones of remembrance” after we married. Stones like the Israelites carried through and across the Jordan, stones the children could see later and ask, “What do these stones mean?”

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