STORY OF THE WEEK

Fame

He wondered again at all the airplanes, kitchen tables, dentists’ offices, and trains where people would be staring at his face on the cover.

POEM OF THE WEEK

Waterline

If there was one shivering body at my side If the snow in your hair was all that was left of the fire If we ran through the orchard with our mouths wide open.

FALL CONTEST

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.

RECENT AWARDS

In the past year, many of our authors have received notable awards, including the Nobel Prize, the BASS and O. Henry/PEN prizes, and many others. You can find their works here.

SPRING CONTEST WINNERS

SPRING CONTEST WINNERS

NARRATIVE PRIZE WINNER

SPRING CONTEST WINNERS

Mysteries of Love and Grief

When my first baby died twelve days after his birth, I let the hospital take the body; I simply could not manage.

SPRING CONTEST WINNERS

Takes Enemy

We were raised in trailers and trailer parks. My father was a bar fighter. Getting ready to fight he’d say, “I’m taking my lunch and I’m not closing my eyes.”

NARRATIVE PRIZE WINNER

The Halverson Brothers

Their enmity had become almost tender, like a crush kept secret between sisters, but now there was no reason not to be more open about it.

FICTION

FICTION

FICTION

Snowy

Perhaps the town had changed its name. Perhaps he had stepped into a foreign country. The day was that beautiful.

FICTION

The Empire of Night

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.

FICTION

FICTION

FICTION

Evicted

The first time I saw the flat at 83 Sixth Avenue, I knew it was meant for me. The light, the space, the walls—above all the walls convinced me.

FICTION

Black and White

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

What did it amount to, his tenderness? Is tenderness everything? Will tenderness inherit the earth?

DON’T MISS

NARRATIVE 10

NARRATIVE 10

DON’T MISS

NARRATIVE 10

Music & Lyrics

I take my old mentor’s advice very seriously—try never to repeat rhymes, not once in an entire show. It tires the ear. It’s a “little death.”

NARRATIVE 10

Talking

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.”

NARRATIVE 10

NARRATIVE 10

NARRATIVE FIRSTS

NARRATIVE 10

A Conversation

I wish I knew at twelve that much of what I suspected about adults was true.

NARRATIVE 10

Some Possibilities

Your cure for when the spirit flags?

Yoga. Followed by one perfect martini.

NARRATIVE FIRSTS

First-time authors are a regular feature in Narrative. Read the works of some of the remarkable poets and writers who first appeared here.

PROFILES

NARRATIVE
BY HAND

NONFICTION

PROFILES

Hermione Lee

After Penelope Fitzgerald died in 2000, her children approached Lee to write their mother’s life. Lee leaped at the opportunity.

NARRATIVE
BY HAND

By Hand

Handwritten manuscript pages from The Blue Flower and The Bookshop illustrate the prolific mind of the Booker Prize–winning author.

NONFICTION

Learning to Write

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.

NONFICTION

CARTOONS

CARTOONS

NONFICTION

Clearwater

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.

CARTOONS

Cartoon Art Volume 2014-09

Hilarious new cartoons by J. C. Duffy, Ken Krimstein, Glen Le Lievre, P. C. Vey, and Kim Warp.

CARTOONS

Cartoon Art Volume 2014-08

Great art and laughs by Farley Katz, Kim Krimstein, Glen Le Lievre, P. C. Vey, and Kim Warp.

CLASSICS

CLASSICS

CLASSICS

CLASSICS

The Editor’s Relations with the Young Contributor

If any periodical is to live, and to live long, it is by the infusion of new blood; and nobody knows this better than the editor.

CLASSICS

The Correspondence-School Instructor Says Goodbye to His Poetry Students

Goodbye, lady in Bangor, who sent me snapshots of yourself.

CLASSICS

A Red Dress—1946

That old school building was filled with sexual competition. I had premonitions of total defeat.

POETRY

POETRY

POETRY

POETRY

Camphor

No one tells you what it sounds like out in the streets when stray bullets clang against the metal water drums, when sharp reports shriek above the trees.

POETRY

Two Poems

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.

POETRY

Tiger Balm and Other Poems

My recent ghost stands over me in the form of a yard rake: little spine umbrella. He doesn’t say anything that terrifies.

MASTERPIECES

PHOTOGRAPHY & ART

POETRY

MASTERPIECES

Pe‘ahi Poems

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.

PHOTOGRAPHY & ART

The Merwin Conservancy

Nurtured on poetry and writing, the Merwins’ forest is a testament to what can be achieved by a devoted couple.

POETRY

Lewisburg and Other Poems

Driving down a highway in August, desire whittled me a tool I’d never seen before but knew how to use almost immediately.

POETRY

POETRY

POETRY

POETRY

Two Poems

I’ve come to understand, we are accident and disease: a door left open, a gust, a weed. A ship docked in the wrong harbour, a pandemic.

POETRY

Ecstasy and Other Poems

There is beauty in the way she looks at me over the kitchen table reminding me how she kissed me last night.

POETRY

Two Poems

You should never start a story I woke up because you think some camera cares.

POETRY

POETRY

POETRY

POETRY

Hitler’s Bathtub

She thinks of her husband. She thinks of the other man: The rising day.

POETRY

A Real Nice Baby and Other Poems

No one told her there would be so much beauty. She believes there is a motor humming inside her.

POETRY

Put This Book Down

Cariño, you’ve never lived my war—a glass of fresh water in the ocean. Everything is mine on loan: the leaves I’ve combed out of my hands.

POETRY CONTEST WINNERS

POETRY CONTEST WINNERS

POETRY CONTEST WINNERS

POETRY CONTEST WINNERS

Insomnia: Triptych and Other Poems

How long this season of white hair, how long will Yahweh stay silent: how much of this galaxy’s light, this river of heaven, is the light of white dwarfs: dead stars.

POETRY CONTEST WINNERS

Yard Sale and Other Poems

They want to peer into each other’s lives, press their mouths to strangers’ cups and lift affinities, a few words of Swedish, a talent for Sudoku.

POETRY CONTEST WINNERS

Rhymes with Thigh Gap and Other Poems

Why don’t we call it a whorehome. Or a rustic slut cottage. A sleazy French chateau. How easy is it to dress up undressing. To elevate the taboo.

iPOEMS

iPOEMS

IPOEMS

iPOEMS

Paintings of Flowers by Morris Graves

Faint golden light on camellias, patrolling their petals, holding vigil over their sleeping sentience.

iPOEMS

The Underground

Those under us are not dead. They are dancers. We are the music.

IPOEMS

Euthanasia

House of my living father’s darkness fixation, forbidding a minute of halogen in the hall.

IPOEMS

IPOEMS

SEND US YOUR iPOEM

IPOEMS

My Grandmother

She tells me Someday you’ll understand, darling. Everyone will just—vanish!

IPOEMS

I Shut My Eyes & Doors in Me Fly Open

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

READERS’ NARRATIVES

READERS' NARRATIVES

NARRATIVE ON THE ROAD

READERS’ NARRATIVES

Center City, Philadelphia

With the back of his heel, McArdle tried to turn over the corpse, but it was too heavy.

READERS' NARRATIVES

St. John’s River, Florida

Dad and Denny’s bromance has been going on for six months. They finish each other’s sentences. Their tackle boxes are mingled.

NARRATIVE ON THE ROAD

Port of Lisbon

The Institute turns out to be a promising cross between a private club and a place of worship, quiet as the grave and refrigerated to a fare-thee-well.

SHORT SHORT

iSTORIES

DRAMAS IN ONE BREATH

SHORT SHORT

Hiking at Bee Rock

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.

iSTORIES

Baptism

I asked how long the immersion would last, though I’d seen it dozens of times.

DRAMAS IN ONE BREATH

First sex. I came. She didn’t.

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.

Revenge is living well, without you.

iSTORY CONTEST WINNERS

ISTORIES

iSTORIES

iSTORY CONTEST WINNERS

Objects of Desire

Hopelessly in love, and going crazy as a virginal bachelor nearing thirty, Xin Bao had gotten drunk and stolen a hyacinth macaw.

ISTORIES

This Kind of Life Keeps Breaking

“We’re not like other species,” you say, a river guide, a novelist at night.

iSTORIES

Appassionato

Howard found himself dancing the merengue with his hands locked to the gyrating hips of a buxom Puerto Rican.