Note: The Tang minister Fang Xuan-ling begins the record of his conversation with Chen Hsi-wei about the latter’s poem known as “The War in the South” with a few comments of his own. It is hardly surprising that a minister of the new dynasty should have certain opinions concerning the recently ended one, the briefest in all of China’s long history. Hsi-wei does not willingly … [Read more...]
Robert Wexelblatt. is professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has published essays, stories, and poems in a variety of journals, two story collections, Life in the Temperate Zone and The Decline of Our Neighborhood, a book of essays, Professors at Play, a short novel, Losses, and a chapbook, The Derangement of Jules Torquemal. His novel, Zublinka Among Women, won the Indie Book Awards First Prize for Fiction. A collection of stories, The Artist Wears Rough Clothing, is forthcoming.
Turning-points cannot endure simply because points occupy no space. It’s around points that events pinwheel like nebulae. It seems plausible that the cosmos began at a turning-point which is to say nowhere. That is what I had written but it was not where my mind had flown. I was recollecting things I didn’t want to think about, that I’d expected not to think about once … [Read more...]
Choosing between right and wrong isn’t hard. I mean you might still choose badly, but if you do, you know it’s wrong. Like if you’re at the pool and a baby crawls to the edge and slips into the water because her mother’s busy gossiping and drinking daiquiris. The right thing’s obvious: you fish the baby out. You’re a heroine and the mother’s grateful—also she’s going … [Read more...]
I The hour was nearly up and Dr. Clough, feeling more like a referee than a tutor, was deciding how best to put an end to it. The wood-paneled room was handsome and cold—all the rooms were. Cambridge was cold. England was cold, without enough butter, heat, or fun. Clough’s eight M.A. candidates’ serious faces looked pasty. They wore woolen sweaters and tweed—two were wrapped … [Read more...]
1. The guards, not wishing to make any noise, carried two pine chairs all the way from the commissary, set them down outside the prisoner’s cell, and sat on them. Birm and Erko, whose twelve-hour shift began at eight in the morning, had been doing this for more than a week. It was not expressly forbidden to sit down outside the famous prisoner’s cell, though this … [Read more...]