We had joined the carnival together. She’d been my girlfriend for six months. Now she was the Illusionist’s Assistant.
FROM THE EDITORS
150 WORDS OR LESS
with Ann Beattie
What’s the most useful criticism you’ve received?
“Because you are good at a thing does not mean that you are obliged to do it.”
DRINKING AND WRITING
From Chaucer’s Tabard Inn to Chandler’s ode to bars in The Long Goodbye (“I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation”), watering holes have long served as settings in great writing.
WELCOME TO 3.0
With the launch of our new look, Narrative enters its twelfth year of publishing. The old design gives way to a cleaner, more nimble, more responsive one, for viewing on all devices and screens.
FELINE FICTIONS AND POETRY
Way down deep, we’re all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.
POEM OF THE WEEK
By James Richardson
Nineteen miles away in Manhattan, Bill Evans’s great, quiet solo in “Detour Ahead” was walking out on unbelievably thin ice.
Narrative invites all writers, poets, visual artists, photographers, performers, and filmmakers, between eighteen and thirty years old, to send us their best work.
We’re looking for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction.
I Thought I’d Be a Movie Director
By Lucy Gray
He told me a story about a couple who stopped by the side of the road and fucked. I laughed.
By Jackie Thomas-Kennedy
I asked how long the immersion would last, though I’d seen it dozens of times.
The Empire of Night
By Robert Olen Butler
We neared the front parapet of the roof and she stopped us. “Here,” she said and she knelt, pulling at my hand, bringing me down beside her.
Black and White
By Jonathan Lee
In the republican pubs of Belfast, Colum was called Hallion, or Hallinan, or the Welsh Saint, this last name persisting despite his energetic claim to have no Welsh in him at all.
The Strength of Fields
By Nathan Poole
What did it amount to, his tenderness? Is tenderness everything? Will tenderness inherit the earth?
30 BELOW 30
Hiking at Bee Rock
By Ron Paul Salutsky
I will find the waterfall in which she washed her hair when we were nineteen and I didn’t know a girl that young or that old would do such a thing.
30 BELOW 30
Best Young Authors
One of our greatest pleasures is finding new talents. Here are some of the writers under thirty we are proud to have published in the past year.
A Real Writer
By Bill Barich
All tales of youth involve a large measure of folly, so I continue to be amazed that my brief career as a literary agent yielded any positive results.
Learning to Write
By Vikram Chandra
You put each word in place, brick upon brick, with a shimmery sense of what the whole edifice would look like, the shape of the final thing. You tunneled, dug, dug.
By Lacy Crawford
The summer I was nine, I spent half of June and the first weeks of July at sleep-away camp, a set of buggy wooden cabins strung alongside a lake in northern Wisconsin.
Center City, Philadelphia
By Joseph Dworetzky
With the back of his heel, McArdle tried to turn over the corpse, but it was too heavy.
Cartoon Art Volume 2014-07
More great new toons, including panels by Glen Le Lievre, Rina Piccolo, and Ken Krimstein.
PHOTOGRAPHY & ART
PHOTOGRAPHY & ART
The Merwin Conservancy
By Sarah Cavanaugh
Nurtured on poetry and writing, the Merwins’ forest is a testament to what can be achieved by a devoted couple.
By Katy Gurin
The doe was unable to comprehend my speed or beware of the dull way I smash the sweet air, every day: my hands upraised to cup the wheel.
Tiger Balm and Other Poems
By EJ Koh
My recent ghost stands over me in the form of a yard rake: little spine umbrella. He doesn’t say anything that terrifies.
By W. S. Merwin
Thank you for the true love you brought me to. Thank you for friends and long echoes of them and for those mistakes that were only mine.
Lewisburg and Other Poems
By Maya Catherine Popa
Driving down a highway in August, desire whittled me a tool I’d never seen before but knew how to use almost immediately.
Ecstasy and Other Poems
By Shann Ray
There is beauty in the way she looks at me over the kitchen table reminding me how she kissed me last night.
By Jacob Sunderlin
You should never start a story I woke up because you think some camera cares.
By Laura Tanenbaum
She thinks of her husband. She thinks of the other man: The rising day.
A Real Nice Baby and Other Poems
By Jennifer Liberts Weinberg
No one told her there would be so much beauty. She believes there is a motor humming inside her.
By Alen Hamza
Those under us are not dead. They are dancers. We are the music.
After the Imaginary Crime
By Elizabeth Metzger
What killed me when I left the room?
By Patrick Phillips
She tells me Someday you’ll understand, darling. Everyone will just—vanish!
SEND US YOUR iPOEM
I Shut My Eyes & Doors in Me Fly Open
By Ben Purkert
I’d like to meet my bones. I’d strew them on a Minnie Mouse beach blanket at a yard sale.
SEND US YOUR iPOEM
By James Salter
Performing at a nightclub in the Bowery, Salter read from his collection Last Night and spoke extemporaneously about the nature of art and of a life lived for art.
The Blue Hotel
By Stephen Crane
The Swede said nothing. He seemed to be occupied in making furtive estimates of each man in the room. He resembled a badly frightened man.
A Red Dress—1946
By Alice Munro
That old school building was filled with sexual competition. I had premonitions of total defeat.
The Lesson of the Master
By Cynthia Ozick
What I am going to tell now is a stupidity, a misunderstanding, a great Jamesian life-mistake: an embarrassment and a life-shame.