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Keeping Connected to the Natural World

Keeping Connected to the Natural World By Robert Root   |  June 3, 2019
Most days my wife and I read a book aloud at dinnertime and we each read a book silently at bedtime. Sometimes one book reverberates with the other, cumulatively expanding our consciousness. That happened when we read Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl together and I read Elizabeth Rush’s Rising over the same period.
Keywords: book review

The Dying Room

The Dying Room By Abigail Thomas   |  May 27, 2019
When he woke again he questioned how had he come to be here in this terrible room, who had allowed it to happen?

A Perceivable Soul

A Perceivable Soul By Robert Root   |  May 20, 2019
The last time we saw her, two weeks before she died, her dementia seemed to have taken everything from her. The traits we thought particularly hers were no longer visible to us.

Like Breath, Like Doors

Like Breath, Like Doors By Anne McGrath   |  May 13, 2019
I woke at 3 a.m. to what sounded like a barking seal. It was my husband—teeth chattering, too weak to stand, and too confused to speak.

How to Leave Without Saying Goodbye

How to Leave Without Saying Goodbye By Kristin Tenor   |  May 6, 2019
Remember that afternoon you asked me to be your accomplice, your getaway driver, your ticket to freedom?

Every Time I Read Him, I Feel Smarter

Every Time I Read Him, I Feel Smarter By Judith Sara Gelt   |  May 4, 2019
"Rather than clone what has already been documented—tweets and news reports, from right-leaning and left-leaning sources—Shields racks up an alternative collection of sources to support his thesis. This wide range of quotable material is, in part, what has me turning the pages..."
Keywords: book review

The Art of Icebergs

The Art of Icebergs By Sharon Goldberg   |  April 29, 2019
In Jokusarlon Lagoon, at the edge of Vatnajokull, Iceland's largest glacier, ten of us and Erik, our guide, bounce bounce bounce in a Zodiac boat. We are here to see icebergs, calves of the glacier, chunks that break off and fall into the water.

What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come By Gina Williams   |  April 22, 2019
If it wasn't for me, maybe he'd still be dreaming. When I told my Dad I wanted to live forever, he said, "Just wait 'till you get to be my age, then you'll wish you were dead." I was eight. He was twenty-eight. He was always joking, never kidding.

Family Portrait

Family Portrait By Laura S. Distelheim   |  April 15, 2019
Yesterday, when I was riding the train north from Chicago, back to the suburb where I live, I happened to look up from the newspaper I was reading just as the tracks veered up alongside the back of a faded brown brick building, where I saw two children seated at a kitchen table in one of its windows....

Cold (repeat)

Cold (repeat) By Kate Hopper   |  April 8, 2019
On the hottest days in San Vicente, I sit on the front porch of my host family's house, sweat dripping from under my arms, dust turning to mud on my salt-streaked legs.

Peaches (repeat)

Peaches (repeat) By Elizabeth Paul   |  April 1, 2019
The peach's soft flesh is so barely protected by its thin and fuzzy skin that I think it can't possibly be serious, but rather a jubilant sunburst, radiant and unworried in the brief noon of its summered existence, simply satisfied with the bright sweetness of its being....

Resisting the Bright Shining Epiphany

Resisting the Bright Shining Epiphany By Tarn Wilson   |  April 1, 2019
Karen Babine's All the Wild Hungers captures the disorientation we feel when faced with this most ordinary, yet extraordinary, of shocks: the mortality of those dearest to us. These short, meditative essays span the eight months of her mother’s recovery from embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer.
Keywords: book review

Jesus, the Wonder Bread of Life

Jesus, the Wonder Bread of Life By Rachel Rueckert   |  March 25, 2019
Mom gave me the idea, an object lesson given to her as a girl. "Pass it around," I said to my Mormon Bible study class. After a pause, the other preteens passed around the slice of Wonder Bread....

Editor's Notes 20.2

Editor's Notes 20.2 By Joe Mackall   |  March 20, 2019
When my children turned twenty-one, I wrote each of them a letter.... I knew that although my children were still mine and, of course, always would be, they were entering the world as adults; and forevermore I would have to share them with the world in a way that left me excited and proud, but also anxious and wary. This moment in the life of River Teeth feels a bit like that...
Keywords: 20-2, ball state, transition

River Teeth part of a 4-journal CNF reading during Portland AWP Writers Conference

River Teeth part of a 4-journal CNF reading during Portland AWP Writers Conference March 20, 2019
Join Under the Gum Tree, Fourth Genre, Hippocampus, and River Teeth for an AWP happy hour of telling true stories: Friday, March 29, 5:30-7 p.m. at the White Owl Social Club in Portland, OR.
Keywords: awp, reading

Perennial

Perennial By Kristine Jepsen   |  March 18, 2019
Yesterday my uncle Russ, my dad's older brother, texted me a video of a peony bush in bloom. The plant isn't his—he left the farm where it grows, in the remains of his mother's garden, to become a middle-school band director a half-century ago. But he can't stop tending things, a dogged farmer....

Very Large Array

Very Large Array By Ann Vallee   |  March 11, 2019
While traveling in New Mexico, I made a pilgrimage to the high desert to see the Karl G. Jansky Array, curious to witness a telescope as big as a valley....

Essay Collection by Joan Frank Wins 2018 River Teeth Book Prize

Essay Collection by Joan Frank Wins 2018 River Teeth Book Prize March 8, 2019
Congratulations to Joan Frank, the winner of the 2018 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize. Her winning manuscript Try to Get Lost: Essays on Travel and Place is focused, most broadly, upon travel and place--but also and equally, popular culture and, by default, autobiography.

Midnight Feedings

Midnight Feedings By Alexa Dodd   |  March 4, 2019
We are limbs, braided and heavy, under sheets reluctant to release us. We are dreams interrupted, sleep sliced away like an appendage, the knife a familiar siren, filling the space between walls. We are silhouettes, faceless shapes against muted window glow....

The Limits of Ownership, The Vagaries of Possession

The Limits of Ownership, The Vagaries of Possession By Jessie van Eerden   |  March 1, 2019
Sarah Viren's debut collection explores the concept of ownership. It begins with an essay on the ownership of material goods--the narrator's landlord lends her the furniture that belongs to a man on trial for murder. The essays that follow ask what it means to own one's body, one's family members, one's language, even one's story that is inextricably intertwined with the stories of others.
Keywords: book review

Young Moons

Young Moons By Melissa Sevigny   |  February 25, 2019
The moon drifts in the west, too thin to be called a crescent, Venus above like a sleeping child lowered by invisible hands into a cradle. It's a glimmer in the sunset sky above a skyline of pine, a sweep of summer grass....

October

October By Kathryn Wilder   |  February 18, 2019
October light leaks between slats of graying barn wood. A yellow stripe marks Craig's cheek, his shoulder. I taste salt and smell sun on skin and in the hay beneath me that makes our bed in the neighbor’s old hay barn, a place we run to in daylight....

Powerless

Powerless By Madeline Bodin   |  February 11, 2019
Our off-the-grid neighbors say that they know when the power has gone out because a chorus of hums rises from the generators in the valley. Now, our house has joined that choir....

Blamed No More

Blamed No More By Ann Piper   |  February 7, 2019
Heartland, by journalist Sarah Smarsh, already a nonfiction finalist for the 2018 National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize, is a multigenerational account of a hardworking family caught in the systemic forces that perpetuate the unknown and disdained Americans who are sometimes called "white trash."

Life Science

Life Science By Michelle Hope   |  February 4, 2019
You taught me, once, about the Swainson's thrush—its call like an invitation to another world: a swirling up of sound, unseen. Teach me the names of all the birds you know, and how they sing....

Back Aisles (repeat)

Back Aisles (repeat) By Ashley Hutson   |  January 28, 2019
The library building was my body like your children are your body, like your spouse is your body. Its wood and glass grew out of my chest. It came with a key and code. 

Mosque/Musk

Mosque/Musk By Heidi Czerwiec   |  January 21, 2019
I want to tell you that the word 'musk' comes to us from the Sanskrit mushkas, meaning 'testicle,' testimony to source in the aromatic abdominal sacs of musk deer....

Say When, Say It Louder

Say When, Say It Louder By Rachael Peckham   |  January 14, 2019
You pinned me to the basketball court in the middle of gym class while Mrs. Thompson was busy tending to a "situation" in the locker room, or off fetching ice from the cafeteria....

Ghost Sigh

Ghost Sigh By Terry Parker   |  January 7, 2019
I survey the elegant glass skyline crowded on the tray: the fine-boned Chanel, curvy Burberry, sleek Cabochard. The bottles display various levels of fragrant amber liquid, belying their owner’s favor. Each has its unique cap or stopper, competing like fancy hats at the Derby....

It's Not Marriage. It's the Husbands.

It's Not Marriage. It's the Husbands. By Eric Farwell   |  January 2, 2019
In her debut memoir, For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors, Laura Esther Wolfson, an American essayist and Russian translator for the PEN World Voices Festival, has written a complex book about three interacting subjects: her Jewish heritage, marriages to two Russian men, and her difficulties as a translator of Russian literature....

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