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Founded in 1948 P U B L I S H E D AT T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F N O RT H C A R O L I N A – C H A P E L H I L L


Spring 2013 V O L U M E 6 3 .1

E D I TO R- I N - C H I E F

Ma!hew Hotham MA N AG I N G E DI TOR

Katie Walker F I C T I O N E DI TO RS

Phil Sandick Lindsay Starck P O E T RY E DI TO R

Lee Norton N O N - F I C T I O N E D ITO R

Nick Anderman A RT E DI TO R

Chloey Accardi C OV E R DE SI G N

Philip McFee WE B E DI TO R

Adam Engel A SSI STA N T E DI TOR S

Joshua Bradley Bhumi Dalia Heather Van Wallendael

MO RE O N L I N E AT

www.thecarolinaquarterly.com


SUBSCRIPTIONS

ON THE COVER

The Carolina Quarterly is published three times per

Boy and the Moon – Lviv

year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

BY LEONID TISHKOV

Subscription rates are $24 per year to individuals and $30 to institutions.

INTERNS Kirsten Chang

BACK ISSUES & REPRINTS

Sco! Davis

Current single issues, recent back issues, and sample

Mandy Eidson

copies are $9 each. Historic back issues (before 2008) are available for $5 each. Remi!ance can be made through our online partners NewPages and Tell It Slant, or by money order or check payable in U.S. funds. Digital access to the current issue ($3.99) and recent back issues ($2.99) can be purchased for the iPad and iPhone via LitRagger. See www.thecarolina.quarterly.com for details.

SUBMISSIONS The Carolina Quarterly welcomes submissions of unpublished fiction, poetry, non-fiction, book reviews, and visual art. Manuscripts and editorial or business correspondence should be addressed to the appropriate genre editor at Carolina Quarterly, Greenlaw Hall CB #3520, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. No manuscript can be returned nor query answered unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope; no responsibility for loss or damage will be assumed. Electronic submissions are now accepted through our online partner, Tell it Slant. We do not review

Megan Harley Katie Jansen Kristen Johnson Alice Martin Holli McClean Taylor Noel Nathan Vail

FICTION READERS Kaj Anderson-Bauer Laura Benne! Joshua Bradley Laura Broom Alice Martin Joshua Peterson Jerrod Rosenbaum L. Lamar Wilson Nate Young

POETRY READERS

manuscripts during the months of May, June, July, and

Ma!hew Harvey

August; for manuscripts submi!ed during the rest of

Rachel Kiel

the year,, please allow four to six months for response.

Taylor Noel Hannah Riddle

INDEXING The Carolina Quarterly is indexed in the Book Review Index, Poem Finder, Index to Periodical Fiction, American

Liana Roux

NON-FICTION READERS

Humanities Index, and the Annual Bibliography of English

Andrew Aghapour

Language and Literature. Member Council of Literary

Kirsten Chang

Magazines and Presses. ISSN 0008-6797. Library of Congress catalogue card number 52019435.

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Contents

S P R I N G 2 0 1 3 | V O LU M E 6 3 .1

FICTION AARON HAMBURGER No More Wild Orchids 23 JACK CHRISTIAN from Apartment on Market Street 60 ELLIOT SANDERS Neighbor 72 MARC BERLEY Tim Descending 105 GEMINI WAHHAJ Rental Car 125

POETRY RUSSEL SWENSEN excerpts from What Happens Next 11

Song 16 MAT THEW GAVIN FRANK We Listen to a Prophet's Voice 18

Home-Built 20 Ether Dome 21 REBECCA BAGGET T Old Stage Road 36 SARAH CAREY Sinkhole 57 KRYSTIN GOLLIHUE Brothers 58 CORRINA ROSENDAHL The Golden 67

And This 68 And then a Door 69 MICHAEL MARTIN Public Service Announcement

from Last Night's Dream

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JOHN RANDOLPH CARTER Transcendence 83

Box Ditty 84 Expiration Date 85 SUZANNE MARIE HOPCROFT One-Way 86

In Santa Teresa 87 Turn and Return 88 JOHN F. BUCKLEY From the Mountains to the Sea 119


NONFICTION DALE ROCHE-LEBREC Calling Frank 8 ELI CONNAUGHTON Sisters 38

INTERVIEW KATIE JANSEN Dead by the Second Page 90 A Conversation with Mary Karr

REVIEW ALICE MARTIN Under the Shadow of Love 144 The Latest from Pam Durban

ART AMYISLA MCCOMBIE Mulberry Bush 22

Wuthering Heights 66 Giant 82 Fish 118 Pea 124 The Queen 141 C AROLI NA A N TICH Portfolio

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LEON I D TI S H KOV from Private Moon

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DALE ROCHE-LEBREC

Calling Frank The day my father died, I began calling my mother by her first name. This was obviously a way to create distance, something I’d waited too long to do with my father. I began calling him by his first name three days before he died, to the chagrin of Manon, the Haitian nurse we had all come to appreciate deeply those last few days. Tiger Woods had just confessed his sins to the world, and we were si!ing around the hospital room making fun of his sex addiction (Tiger Woods’, not my father’s, although he got a good laugh out of that). Manon was there, changing my father’s position to relieve the bedsores that were eating through his flesh. She used pillows to prop part of his body up so the blood would flow to the dying tissue, then she turned on the ma!ress that pulsed and moved on its own. When Manon heard me call him Frank, she frowned, turned to me and said “Ce n’est pas Frank, c’est Papa pour toi.” But it was too late, I couldn’t take it back. I had seen it in his eyes and could only bear what was coming next by calling him Frank. Thinking back, it was important to call him Frank then. I was giving him back his identity and freeing him from his role of high school football hero, father, husband, savior, provider, despot and know-it-all. My father never managed to free himself from those roles, and his guilt about being sick and dying—especially towards my mother—was our undoing. The day before his death was their 56th wedding anniversary, and he had arranged for us to buy presents from the hospital gi" shop: a teddy bear for my mother’s collection and a heart-shaped balloon that said “Happy Anniversary.” My father spent the last two months of his life in the hospital. He had a stroke during his stay that went undiagnosed, and he spent many days a"erward on a drip because he could not swallow correctly. He had a transfusion, which provided a temporary three-day renaissance. Then, as if his body could no longer stand the demands of all of that vigorous, oxygen-rich hemoglobin, he died in front of me one morning when I was drinking coffee.

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RUSSEL SWENSEN Excerpts from

What Happens Next I . T H E F U N E R A L PA RT Y First the casket draped in blue cloth— they’ve le" you swimming there beneath the fiberglass or within it—a trapped whorl of light in polished fabric. I keep waiting for you to surface & exhale— the grave streaming from you in cerulean rivulets, sticking to your bony shoulders like streams of kelp. And you will say, “this was never death this was the ultimate party trick,” applause ringing. ———— “Who told you that I was dead? How could I be dead?” He holds a champagne flute in his pale hands, grins—

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the music crawls down the aisle and over him— weighs him down. He shrugs helplessly. The music clings to him with crusted red pincers. He sinks back into the ground— gives a surprised shout—“There’s something down here. I’m not alone.” ———— “The soul is muslin draped on form —grief the handful of crickets in your mouth. If Erik found a bird he would not hurt it. That is what this means. That’s what he meant.” The minister falls silent: walled up in dark robes hands bunching out of his sleeves like straw. ———— “She was crying. She asked me if I knew him. I said I didn’t.

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She was holding her program as though it were injured. She was very careful. There were a lot of girls there— their faces were very serious & lit from within —each carried a candle in her mouth. I didn’t know them. Then I thought that it wasn’t a funeral at all— but a baptism— the coffin a font that spilled from itself darkened the carpet turned it to earth the hurtful sort the darkened birth soiled our nervous feet. I waited for you— for a long time.”

RUSSEL SWENSEN

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M AT T H E W G AV I N F R A N K

We Listen to a Prophet’s Voice Utah, my father never learned how to tell you to fuck off, even a"er you smashed his headlights and told the church he was an Armenian. You washed the bones of his ancestors in tapwater while he forgot Deuteronomy, thought it was the name of his dog. All the scrap metal fossils and World’s Largest Watermelons can’t make him remember me. Here, or in his dreams, there’s a special room for mine disasters and the Virgin Mary’s in a willow stump. He believed in Bigfoot, saved the paper cones from his co!on candy, built from them a model of a pipe organ in the living room. He played ragtime. He believed. Still, it sounded like paper. Mom called him genius. He called Mom a mermaid. I called from the road and said nothing of the divorce. In you, I ate one taco, and made for Wyoming, because you can’t swim in great salt, cast a ring into the flats.

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Windows down: Fuck off, you who can’t tell the mosquito from the seagull, my great-grandfather from a demon, the drowning man in the distance from the ship that saves him.

M AT T H E W G AV I N F R A N K

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CAROLINA ANTICH

Portfolio

Nascosta nell Bosco / Hidden in the Forest 2007, acrylic on canvas, 1,23 x 1,20 cm

CAROLINA ANTICH

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Trampa/Tramp 2012, acrylic on linen, 61 x 73cm

CAROLINA ANTICH

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JACK CHRISTIAN from

Apartment on Market Street I. PRE-MARRIAGE COUNSELING On first and third Tuesdays we visit our pre-marriage counselor. His name is Seth, and he is the therapist afforded by our grad-student health plans. We’ve seen him three times by now. He’s young, Jewish, and married, with a child on the way. He’s hip, but not too hip. We meet him in a cinderblock building on the UMass campus that resembles a barracks. In the waiting room, Anna and I sit surrounded by sad undergraduates. Their lips and eyebrows o"en are pierced. Some are fat, some hopelessly unfashionable. By contrast, we’re smooth and upbeat. Ours is an inoculation as opposed to a treatment. We chat with the receptionist. I help myself to a piece of hard candy in a small bowl at the desk. Seth calls and we’re sent up to see him. We like Seth because he’s similar to us, but not too similar. Neither of us is Jewish. We are, by upbringing, Presbyterian and Catholic. This is why we needed a pre-marriage counselor to begin with – not because we bu!ed heads over religion, but because Anna and I are both practically agnostic, and our parents are not. They would like a church wedding, and they would like it to be held at two different churches. Our solution is the local chapel of the Unitarian Universalists, who rent their Great Hall, for a steep-ish fee, to “any loving couple.” During one particular visit we talk to Seth about makeup. Seth says, “So Jack, if I am hearing you correctly, makeup is where you draw the line.” And I say, “That’s right. Makeup is where I draw the line!” For a moment we’re sitcom characters in agreement that the scene is funny. Then, we’re back. The room’s furniture is entirely beige. Seth’s intention is for Anna to hear that I am drawing a line, or for me to hear that I’m saying it.

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The topic has come up because Anna has suggested several times by now that I get some makeup to cover the rosacea that reddens my nose and cheeks. Seth reminds us we’re both in favor of “looking good.” He observes that “looking good” is our “middle ground.” He’s frequent in his advocacy for middle ground, frequent in his pointing out of our different approaches toward a!aining it. He likes to ask how we can “stand beside each other” as we maneuver through “experiences.” For Seth, life is a thing that happens in “moments” and “experiences.” The answer is to “act as each other’s complements.” (This was the lesson of our second session.) In this instance, a"er each of us speaks some more, a"er each of us hears, Seth sits back, purses his lips slightly, and gives us a look that means (if I were to paraphrase): “See, Different Approaches!” Other things we’ve talked about with Seth include money, house-chores, and sandwiches. Seth has had us practice listening to each other’s “I need” statements. He called these “a good tool for our tool belts,” especially for the more tense of “moments.” I explained how when I ask Anna to make me a sandwich, it’s not like I’m asking her to undo the Women’s Liberation Movement. Anna said she worries I’ll always be asking for sandwiches. I said it was scary to me too because there was part of me that could do that. The impending marriage can seem like a lot of things, one of them being a contractual agreement not to be too needy. I catch myself begging Anna for a back scratch; or I find myself wondering, when Anna wants me to comfort her: is it too much? Talking to Seth makes the way we tease each other look slightly terrible. He seems positively above poking fun. Our relationship seems positively anchored by how we poke fun at one another. On one occasion, Seth asked us, “What I want to know is which one of you does the dishes?” He says a thing like this, and that thing becomes ripe with symbolism. We didn’t have particularly good answers. Mostly, we wait for the other to do the dishes. We try to sweet-talk each other into making dinner. I think this is not so bad if JACK CHRISTIAN

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we’re equals in doing it, and I tried to say as much. It came out to the effect that I think I do more than my share of dishes. Then, Anna and I told Seth the time when there was a bat in the apartment, and how in that moment we acted as each other’s complements. When we saw it, Anna hid in the bedroom and searched the Internet. I didn’t feel any need to be overly calm or heroic. Anna didn’t expect me to handle the bat with any sort of overwhelming masculinity. I screamed and ran when it flew from the kitchen into the living room. Then, I shined a flashlight in its face. That’s what the Internet said to do. The Internet said the level of emergency caused by a bat in an apartment is in proportion to the relative health of the bat. It seemed like a healthy bat. Holding it in the flashlight beam, I could apply most of the criteria for evaluating. Perhaps the point was a weird one to make to Seth. The point was the third night a"er we moved in together, a large brown bat flew in an open window, and then le" again without us doing anything.

II. ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS By the beginning of October, we got our engagement photos back, some of which we hoped to frame, and at least one we want to put on a Save the Date postcard and send to everyone we’re planning to invite to the wedding. By now another thing Anna and I do together is Talk About the Wedding, and another thing a"er that is Argue About the Wedding. The photos turn out to be very good for making an argument. The ones where we’re natural and happy are too casual. In the more formal ones, our faces are tense and weird. We sat on the couch and scrolled through them on Anna’s computer. We kept thinking we were missing one, but even in the best I was red-faced, or Anna deemed her smile too plastic; I was turned awkwardly, or there was a small shadow beside Anna’s nose. In 150 photos, lots of nice ones, but none that popped. This was a problem. My experience of wedding planning so far consists of a

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A MYISLA McCOM BI E

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Wuthering Heights

T H E C A R O L I N A Q U A R T E R LY


CORINNA ROSENDAHL

The Golden Some days are shorter than others, are faster, pull us along through their tight tunnel of nothing and so many things to do. Too close up to see anything, we grab on to what we can and ride like flesh rides the bones, how an arm rides the body, sways like a sheet tied somewhere beyond the cliff of a girl’s bedroom window. We’re young and we ride our brother’s backs. Ride our lovers and then our own dark feelings form a black, barebacked horse, and we ride until light bites sharp into a hard night we had to have to come to this morning’s mouth opening wide to show us the place we live, the people we love are still there. The golden sunlight bronzing our bodies to the world we created, and we know we cannot go.

CORINNA ROSENDAHL

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And Then a Door I try to imagine myself in the future, alone and satisfied or indifferent. It’s hard at first to get it right. Eventually, I close my eyes, and I am in the kitchen. The cabinets sea green, everything within them. Two wooden chairs, only one of which I will need. There is a fork and plate resting dirty in the sink like sleeping children who put themselves to bed without washing. I know what is what, where everything is. I can reach without looking as if bathing my own body. The hum of my mind like an appliance begins and then ends with the wide open window, it is coming at me or I am going for it: the sky a frozen lake loosened, scent of water soaked trees and sound fully risen from the earth. The whole morning a ghost dri"ing in from the outside and hovering. And then a door slams, a truck fires up, people laugh and talk over the wind. I am in my body like an outfit again. I am too tired still to stand, so I sit down, and I sit down, and I sit down, but the chair keeps vanishing. I can no longer create with my mind something solid and wooden. My thoughts put me back in the bedroom. The man asleep beneath the sheets, I cannot get rid of him.

CORINNA ROSENDAHL

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SUZANNE MARIE HOPCROFT

One-Way During the day, the cars bob and pitch as if we are at sea. To our right are houses with their roofs knocked in, a worn brown exhibition of decay. To our le" the sun is knifing through a single cloud-burst over the street, where storefronts gobble up the meat of the plains, parading the improbable reality that bison still exist. When the light thins and purples and disappears, my closed eyes will miss the skeleton of the plant, the orange billowing glow that covers an almost town. They’ll miss the small rectangular sheds that dot the ground like game pieces on a board stretching wide and fast under the train-light, asking us to roll and claim our snow-stained prize: dark snaking of the river; silhoue!e of bending, crumpled trees. I will not feel alone. I will not feel the desolation of now, of wanting to walk bare and quiet for days beside the road, naming for myself the rare signs and clumps of sound. This is hollow. This is pestilence. This is the thump of your going, the endless mess

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of nights, the crater of your absent, singing spine.


In Santa Teresa It is our first time in this fierce city. The armed guards have their fingers in our pockets. Every semi-cobbled road winds up into a view of excess: a terraco!a estate, a dozen hovels built into trees. Neither of us wants to think about where the water comes from. Instead, we pad half undressed across the porcelain veranda, planning novels about a government conspiracy that does not exist. Below us, the funeral march we think we see unfurls and becomes a dedication to some saint. She is difficult not to remember later over bolinho de bacalhau and cokes as we talk gently and quietly and relentlessly of other things.

SUZANNE MARIE HOPCROFT

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photograph by Lindsay Starck T H E C A R O L I N A Q U A R T E R LY


INTERVIEW

“Dead by the Second Page” A C O N V E R S AT I O N W I T H M A RY K A R R Mary Karr calls herself a poet, but she is perhaps best known as a memoirist. Born in a small Texas town she describes as “one of the blackest squares on the world cancer map,” Karr grew up in a place that provided no literary role models. Nevertheless, she was obsessed with writing, and made li!le books of her work as a child. In a journal she kept when she was 10 years old, she prophesied: “When I grow up, I will write one-half poetry and one-half autobiography.” In 1995 Karr released her first memoir. Detailing her childhood, The Liars’ Club is centered on her father’s larger-than-life antics and her mother’s mental instability. Six years later, she published Cherry, a memoir about adolescence. Karr’s most recent memoir, Lit, came out in 2009. The book details her ba!le with alcoholism while she tries to be a good mother. All three of Karr’s memoirs have made The New York Times best-seller list. She has also published four volumes of poetry, most recently Sinners Welcome in 2006. Karr is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Bunting Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. I sat down with Karr shortly before she left for the airport at the end of her week-long stint as the 2013 Distinguished Writer-inResidence at UNC-Chapel Hill. We discussed Lit, her conversion to Catholicism and what she plans to write next. She cracked typically dry jokes about her a!empts to write fiction (lethal) and how it feels to write about oneself (shameful, mostly). — K AT I E JA N S E N CAROLINA QUARTERLY: In Lit, you take us through the process of writing The Liars’ Club, saying that it’s exhausting and painful to relive those memories. Did you find that the process was any different for your next two memoirs, or was it the same?

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MARY KARR: It’s worse. As it gets closer to the age you are now, you’re more ashamed of yourself, I think is what it is. CQ: What feedback about Lit surprised you the most, and has the feedback differed from the feedback on your other two memoirs? MK: Well, it’s all been excellent. I’ve got to say, I’ve been very lucky. I think what surprised me the most were friends of mine who were atheists who really liked how I wrote about my faith, or could understand. My friend Richard Ford—who, when I first got baptized, sent me a postcard saying, “Not you on the pope’s team! Say it ain’t so!”—wrote me a fan le!er about it, and it was very gratifying to me. Francine Prose, in The New York Review of Books, wrote a piece saying essentially that she had never really understood how somebody with any intelligence could believe in God, and she sort of saw that my need for it made it so crucial for me. That’s about right. CQ: When did you know you wanted to write Lit? Was it when you saw your son as a 20-year-old, like the le!er that introduces Lit, or was it before that? MK: He was about seventeen when I wrote that le!er. You know, he was old enough to drive and kind of out on his own, and I was overseas and I was missing him and I was sort of thinking about him. So I think finally imagining that I should tell the story he was in so that he would understand, you know, what the hell I thought I was doing. I would have loved to have had that for my mother. CQ: And has he read Lit? MK: No. No, but he knows what’s in it. I mean, they’re conversations we’ve had. He doesn’t want to know me as a literary phenomenon. I’m like, the woman who makes waffles, you know. That’s my job.

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CQ: You discuss ge!ing up at 5am every morning when your son was a child, praying to get something wri!en before he woke up. Has your writing schedule changed at all, or do you have a favorite time that you like to write? MK: I have to write first thing when I wake up. If I interact a lot with people—I don’t know how to say it, but your head gets infected with things: you need to go shopping, you need to make dinner, you need to do the dishes, you need to empty the dishwasher, you need to—you know, you have all these other things. I have students I need to work with, and … it’s different now in that I sleep both more and later. I think everybody in New York sleeps later because we’re all out later. So I’m really delighted when I can roll up by 9:00/9:30 a.m. and just make a cup of tea and hit it. That’s kind of my favorite thing. When I was really in a bind writing Lit, I didn’t get out of the house or answer the door or the phone. I didn’t go on email before the a"ernoon on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. So really I didn’t get out of the house. It was like those three days were this pressure-cooker, and I would work until about 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and those were almost like days off. CQ: Do you do any kind of planning before you write, or do you just start trying to commit memories to page? MK: I start trying to commit memories to page. I have no idea. I have some ideas of things that are, you know, I’ve got to be in a mental institution, I’ve got to get sober, my mother had to die. I guess I have some idea of those things. CQ: How do you choose when to kind of give us a glimpse into the future, like certain one-liners, such as “the young poet I’ll wind up marrying”? Given that you know the end of the story, how do you choose whether or not to withhold information at any given point? MARY KARR

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MK: I think if the events really misrepresent something, if I really see something some way that is mistaken, I don’t want readers to live under my mistake and think I’m right. Do you know what I mean? So if somebody kills themselves, I guess when you meet them you kind of want to know. There are just certain pieces of information...I think if you write a lot and you rewrite a lot, in revision I’m always thinking, “What about this? What about that?” So it’s really thinking about what information the reader needs in what order. CQ: So going off misrepresentation, in Lit you pay close a!ention to fairness when you talk about how your ex-husband Warren’s portrayal of events would probably differ from yours. MK: He didn’t read the book. He chose not to. I contacted him before I wrote the book, and I said, “Would you rather vet the manuscript, or would you rather I gave you a pseudonym? What would be…?” And he said, “I don’t like reading about myself. I’d rather not read the book.” I did send it to a woman who’d been our couples counselor in Cambridge, Massachuse!s at the time, and I asked her to let me know if she thought it seemed like how we were, you know, if I was fair, really is the main thing. CQ: Not in regard to Warren specifically, but if you had any differing representation from anyone in your books, how did you reconcile that? Do you think that others’ memories affect your own? MK: That’s why I don’t ask people—I don’t do research before because I’m really trying to figure out what I perceived, and other people don’t know what was important to me. So it’s kind of ordered and shaped by a single consciousness. The only person who’s ever changed anything was Toby Wolff, and I think he was lying. You know, my mother has said, “We’ll say it was this year and not that year,” I mean, very small things. I think I got the wrong year of a hurricane ... I had myself in fourth grade and it was third grade, or I had myself in third grade and it was fourth grade—I mean, something minor.

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CQ: So you say that your defining moment of becoming a writer was that you remembered how you told your stories to your mother because they could “puncture the soap bubble of her misery.” Then you say that you felt “the need” to “put marks on paper.” When did you first feel that need? MK: I always felt it. I always—I don’t know how you feel, but I mean, like when you go buy new notebooks and pens, don’t you feel like there’s this possibility? There’s something magical about it. It’s probably what a musician feels listening to a record or looking at a score or something. It’s like, “Oh!” You know, you just have this sense of possibility. I never didn’t have it. I always wanted to write books. I used to make li!le books and staple them together and draw in them, and it’s just—it’s really—I was obsessed with it. CQ: What led you to poetry first? MK: Probably I was depressed most of my childhood, and you don’t need a lot of time with a poem. With depression, your level of functioning is up and down, it’s uneven. So I think the kind of a!ention and concentration you need for a longer piece I wouldn’t have been able to sustain. It would’ve been too hard for me, would be my guess. CQ: You said at your panel that you taught memoir before you wrote any. Do you have any ideas or thoughts about memoir that are different now that you’ve wri!en three successful memoirs? MK: Oh yeah, but I almost don’t even remember what they were before. You know what I mean? It’s sort of like, I read a line somewhere where somebody said a bu!erfly doesn’t remember being a caterpillar. In a sense, with intellectual work, it would be very hard to kind of parse out when I learned what. MARY KARR

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CQ: How did the grant from the Whiting Foundation help to jumpstart your writing career? MK: Well, it was huge. It’s where I met my agent, and it was just the luckiest ... I just happened to meet somebody who was the agent of the biggest memoirist in the country who had just wri!en the biggest memoir in the country who had a movie deal and blah blah blah, and I was there telling my stories, and she was like, “You should write a memoir.” I mean, it was sort of like … I’d been looking for someone to say that to me my whole life. CQ: Did you ever find out who put in your application for that grant? MK: I don’t know. They don’t tell you. CQ: What’s next for you? Are you writing any more poetry? MK: I’m sort of writing a book about memoir that’s both a how-to and kind of talking about it as a phenomenon at this point in our lives as a people. And I’m always working on poems. I’ve probably almost got a book of poems. I’m also doing—I did this record, and I’m also doing two TV shows, one for HBO and one for Showtime, and I’m working on one now that I don’t know where it’ll be. CQ: What are the TV shows about? MK: The first one is sort of based on Lit. The second one is totally fictional, but it has some characters from Cherry. This one is 92 more complex as I’ve sort of worked my way into fiction. CQ: You said at your panel that you tried to write fiction, but you couldn’t? MK: Everybody was always dead by the second page.

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LEONID TISHKOV Photographs from

Private Moon

Moon World – Tianliao

LEONID TISHKOV

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The Moon Like Unicorn

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T H E C A R O L I N A Q U A R T E R LY


MARC BERLEY

Tim Descending Tim holds up shirt a"er shirt and says, “How magnetic is this one?” I don’t even nod. I’m past the answering stage with Tim. “See you tonight,” he says, bu!oning the shirt he has finally chosen. I watch Tim saunter out, his wide shoulders jouncing, curly red hair falling upon his freckled neck. His skin is fair, his eyes bright blue, streaks of red in his sclera. Mainly, Tim chases skirts. He catches most of them. He devours women the way a goat grazes grass, or maybe it is more the way a goat eats paper out of your pockets at a pe!ing zoo. “Tonight, whatever,” I say, watching Tim as he stands at the door rubbing the paisley on the chest panel of his short-sleeve bu!on-down shirt. “I don’t care what you don’t say,” he says. “This one’s magnetic.” Tim is a flammable combination of out-of-control confidence and irrepressible disappointment. He used to say he was going to be a great writer. But a"er his first-year writing professor scribbled Eh? and Translated from the Latvian? in margins, Tim said he hated books and a!ached himself to a frisbee. He tried to join the FBI a"er college but failed their examination—not the smarts part but the part that led them to the conclusion he could never be trusted. He found lowly work at a magazine, but they fired him for bedeviling female editors above him, who turned out to be one class of skirt he could chase but never catch. Tim took a job at a coffee shop as a short-order cook until he botched the heating of a can of string beans. He was supposed to cut a thin slot along the rim of the can, empty the liquid, pour boiling water in, shake it around, pour the water out, open the can, and serve. But he poured in evaporated coffee instead, the dregs, and the aggressive ingratitude of a regular customer led Tim to brandish an eight-inch chef’s knife. When the police arrived, Tim was holding only a bu!er spreader, claiming it was the knife in question. No one wanted to press charges, but Tim walked out backwards, holding the bu!er spreader the way one holds a cross against vampires. Not even the police said a word. MARC BERLEY

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REVIEW

Under the Shadow of Love PAM DURBAN’S THE TREE OF FORGETFULNESS No one is free from blame in Pam Durban’s new novel, The Tree of Forgetfulness, not even the reader. In her unnerving but startlingly clear depiction of the contemporary South, its history, and its people, she explores the relationship between memory, time, and tradition. Told through the distinct voices of multiple characters, the novel explores how a century-old triple lynching continues to disrupt the course of their lives. Durban’s novel opens from the perspective of Howard Aimer, a prominent man from a small town in Aiken County, South Carolina. At the opening of the story, he is on his deathbed, but the novel, like the roots of the tree Durban so o"en compares to Southern history, twists back to the 1920s, into the heart of the town’s brutal past. The story, in addition to being split between time periods, is split into a collection Louisiana State of perspectives. While this approach to storyUniversity Press telling has many inherent risks, Durban is able PA P E R B A C K , to represent a large cast of characters with the 2 0 0 PA G E S greatest respect. Her choice to write about racism in the South, a topic that may immediately appear exhausted, is made immeasurably richer by her varied voices, each as hypnotic and compelling as the one before. I encourage readers not to think of this novel as a book just about race, but rather a book about the imperfections of the human heart. Durban experiments with how a person’s voice changes over the years and how the passage of time has the ability to magnify our darkest moments. The novel suggests that these dark moments fester under the shadow of love, love that inspires us to protect family and home.

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Among the perspectives in the novel is Howard’s own. A family and community man with good intentions, he fears how his past involvement in acts of hate implicate his present. We hear from Minnie Se!les, a strong but so"-hearted black woman who works for the Aimers, and her son Zeke, whose passion and initiative come from his devotion to his mother. Our guide through this history is Curtis R.N. Barre!, a journalist who, by unwi!ingly tugging on the roots of the past, shakes the very foundation of the small, traditional Southern town. Despite having taken place off-page, each voice offers a new understanding of the triple lynching that lies at the heart of the novel. By highlighting the sharp difference between the Aimers’ involvement in the lynching and their recollection of it, Durban explores how the experience of an event and the memory of it simultaneously contort and clarify its gravity. This area of interest is not new for Durban. Her previous novel, So Far Back, winner of the Lillian Smith book award, explored how real the haunting presence of the past can be. In this new novel, Durban again emphasizes the permanence of mistakes. She writes: Now promises a later, when more words will come, and yet it feels as if the words he’s just spoken are the last in line; what’s le" is a fog of silence spreading and deepening inside him the way dusk moves across a field. Here, and throughout the novel, Durban’s characters remind us of how decisions made years ago can bury themselves inside of us. While the characters think they can leave their past behind, it actually continues to rot beneath the surface. In The Tree of Forgetfulness, the past is evocative and terrifying, something that each character wishes to look away from but can’t. Durban uses the metaphor of a turning wheel to describe how the past repeats itself. Howard Aimer fears that the sins he and

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those around him have commi!ed in the past will be “turning long a"er they were dead if they’d tied their children to it.” In moments like this, Durban captures a unique and chillingly accurate portrait of Southern history, particularly of the Jim Crow-era. She challenges us to consider what it will take for the South to change. Durban draws her strength as a writer from her ability to cra" complex characters. Their compelling nature makes us protective of their families and their futures; however, we are simultaneously repulsed by their actions. The tension between these two emotions forces us to confront the fact that we too might be capable of denying the evils of our own past and the pasts of those we love. These characters beg us to consider ourselves, our histories, our homes, and ask what, as Howard Aimer thinks, justifies “a necessary evil, commi!ed in defense of a marriage, a family, a community, a way of life.” — ALICE MARTIN

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T H E C A R O L I N A Q U A T E R L Y thrives thanks to the institutional support of the

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and our generous individual donors. Beyond the printing of each issue, monetary and in-kind donations help to fund opportunities for our undergraduate interns, university, and community outreach programs, as well as improvements to our equipment and office space. If you would like more information about donating to the Quarterly, please contact us at carolina.quarterly@gmail.com or call (919) 408-7786.

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Our sincere thanks go also to the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Carolina Leadership Development, the Bull’s Head Bookshop, the Morgan Family Writer-in-Residence Program, the UNC-Chapel Hill Creative Writing Program, and the UNC-Chapel Hill English Department. This publication is funded in part by student fees, which were appropriated and dispersed by the Student Government at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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Q U A R T E R LY S U P P O R T E R S

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Contributors

Spring 2013 V O L U M E 6 3 .1

C A R O L I N A R A Q U E L A N T I C H lives and works in Venice. She has exhibited

widely across the world, including the Art-U-Room in Tokyo, Gimpel Fils Gallery, London, Florence Lynch Gallery, New York, and Prometeo Gallery, Milan. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, and was most recently a finalist for the Cisneros Foundation Award. Her work can be found at carolinaantich.com. R E B E C C A B A G G E T T ’s most recent collections are Thalassa (Finishing Line

Press, 2011) and God Puts on the Body of a Deer (Main Street Rag, 2010). Her poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies, with recent work in Crab Orchard Review, Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, and Tar River Poetry. She lives in Athens, Georgia and works as an academic advisor at the University of Georgia. M A R C B E R L E Y ’s fiction appears or will appear in Iowa Review, Shenandoah,

Confrontation, Gargoyle, Lake Effect, and elsewhere. He recently completed a collection of short stories and is at work on a novel. He lives in New York City. J O H N F . B U C K L E Y has divided his life between California, where he spent

most of his adulthood, and Michigan, where he was born and raised and where he now a!ends the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, working toward an MFA in poetry. His collections Sky Sandwiches and Poet’s Guide to America (with Martin O!) were released in Fall 2012, as was his second chapbook, Looking an Aquamarine Shoat by Its Tail. S A R A H C A R E Y is a native of Salisbury, North Carolina and grew up in

Tallahassee, Florida. She a!ended Duke University and Florida State University, where she received a master of arts in English with a concentration in creative writing (poetry) in 1981. Her work has been published in Ra!le, South Dakota Review, Portland Review and several other literary magazines. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, where she is director of public relations for the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. J O H N R A N D O L P H C A R T E R is a poet and artist. A finalist for the National

Poetry Series, his poetry has appeared in journals including Bomb, Cream City Review, LIT, Margie, North American Review, The Pinch, Verse and

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Washington Square. He has been the recipient of NEA, New York State Council and Fulbright grants. His art is in thirty-two public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One-person exhibitions include the University of Michigan Art Museum and the Minneapolis Institute. J A C K C H R I S T I A N is the author of the poetry collection Family System (2012

Colorado Prize, University of Colorado Press). His writing has appeared in Verse Daily, Web Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, Everyday Genius, and Sixth Finch. E L I C O N N A U G H T O N earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. She

currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina where she works as a writer and graphic designer. Her most recent essays have appeared in Harpur Palate, Cimarron Review, and Alligator Juniper as the national prize winner in creative nonfiction. M A T T H E W G A V I N F R A N K is the author of the nonfiction books Pot Farm,

Barolo, and Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and the Man Who First Photographed It (forthcoming from forthcoming from W.W. Norton: Liveright); the poetry books The Morrow Plots, Warranty in Zulu, and Sagi!arius Agitprop; and the chapbooks Four Hours to Mpumalanga and Aardvark. Recent works appears in The New Republic, Epoch, AGNI, Iowa Review, Crazyhorse, Black Warrior Review, Seneca Review, DIAGRAM, The Normal School, Quarterly West, Best Food Writing, Best Travel Writing, Creative Nonfiction, Hotel Amerika, Gastronomica, and others. He was born and raised in Illinois and currently teaches Creative Writing in the MFA Program at Northern Michigan University, where he is the Nonfiction Editor of Passages North. This winter, he prepared his first batch of fried trout ice cream. K R Y S T I N G O L L I H U E is a poet, printer, and pet astrologist originally from

Swansboro, North Carolina. She now resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where she is currently playing the banjo for her dog and pursuing her MFA in poetry. Her first collection of poems is forthcoming and available in part from her heart. A A R O N H A M B U R G E R was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Acad-

emy of Arts and Le!ers for his story collection The View from Stalin’s Head. His novel Faith for Beginners was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Details, Michigan Quarterly Review, Boulevard, and The Village

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Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. Also, he has taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, and the Stonecoast MFA program. S U Z A N N E M A R I E H O P C R O F T ’s poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in

Hayden’s Ferry Review, Harpur Palate, Drunken Boat, the Normal School, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. This fall, Suzanne will begin an MFA in poetry at the University of California, Irvine. K A T I E J A N S E N is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying English, journalism,

and fiction writing. Born and raised in Ma!hews, North Carolina, she has enjoyed writing short stories since the age of seven. She has also experimented with poetry and memoir. When she isn’t writing or studying, Katie can usually be found playing alto saxophone for the Marching Tar Heels, spending time with family and friends, or working as a waitress in her hometown. Upon completion of her degree in May 2014, she hopes to pursue a career in copy editing while continuing to write on the side. D A L E R O C H E - L E B R E C is a writer and translator. Her poetry has been

published in Spoon River Poetry Review, Cold Mountain Review, and Southern Poetry Review. She contributes cultural and travel fiction to the Matador Network and is the co-author with Dona RocheTarry of What’s Next: How Professionals Are Refusing Retirement (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011). She has been living in France for more than thirty years. A L I C E M A R T I N is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at

Chapel Hill, studying English, communications, and creative fiction writing. Aside from writing fiction, she is an intern at Press 53, a publishing company of short stories and poetry in her hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She also works as a Creative Writing teaching assistant for the Duke Tip program at Wake Forest University. Next fall, she will be interning at a publishing company in London, England. M I C H A E L M A R T I N is a freelance writer and book editor living in North

Carolina. His fiction and poetry have appeared in New Orleans Review, Cha!ahoochee Review, and Berkley Poetry Review, among others. He co-founded the literary magazine Hogtown Creek Review and for a decade lived in Holland, where he was a feature writer with Amsterdam Weekly. In 2010, he edited the anthology Rules of the Game: The Best Sports Writing from Harper’s Magazine.

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C O R I N N A R O S E N D A H L lives and writes, and writes, and writes in Seattle,

Washington. Her work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review and Hoarse. She enjoys watching Timothy brush his teeth. E L L I O T S A N D E R S lives in rural Missouri with his wife and two daughters.

His fiction can be found at Hobart, Necessary Fiction, PANK Magazine, War, Literature & the Arts, and elsewhere. R U S S E L S W E N S E N earned his MFA in fiction from the California Institute

of the Arts and his Doctorate in poetry from the University of Houston. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Black Clock, Quarterly West, Third Coast, The Collagist, The Destroyer, and Elsewhere. His poetry chapbook, Santa Ana, was published by Black Lawrence Press. L E O N I D T I S H K O V is a Russian artist who has been an important figure in

the Moscow art scene for over thirty years. Primarily a photographer, installation artist, and videographer, Tishkov is also a painter and the author of numerous books. Begun in 2003, Private Moon is Tishkov’s ongoing, visual poem project. Pairing images with prose, Private Moon has traveled to numerous countries and regions including the Arctic and will be visiting the United States later this year. G E M I N I W A H H A J earned her PhD in creative writing from the University of

Houston. Her stories have been published in Granta, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Night Train, and Northwest Review, among others. She won the Inprint/Michener Fellowship in Honor of Donald Barthelme at the University of Houston, received an honorable mention in Atlantic Monthly’s student fiction contest in 2005 and in Glimmer Train’s fiction open contest in 2009, and was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s short-story award for new writers in Spring 2005. She works as Associate Professor of English at Lone Star Community College in Houston and is an advisory board member of Inprint, a national literary organization based in Houston.

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CQ 63.1  

Fiction by Aaron Hamburger, Jack Christian, Elliot Sanders, Marc Berley, Gemini Wahhaj Poetry by Russel Swensen, Matthew Gavin Frank, Rebec...

CQ 63.1  

Fiction by Aaron Hamburger, Jack Christian, Elliot Sanders, Marc Berley, Gemini Wahhaj Poetry by Russel Swensen, Matthew Gavin Frank, Rebec...

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