Redux: The Old Juices Flowing



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

Barry Hannah.

This week, we bring you Barry Hannah’s 2004 Art of Fiction interview, Hollis Summers’s short story “Mister Joseph Botts,” and John Ashbery’s poem “The Ritz Brothers on Moonlight Bay.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to read the entire archive? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.


Barry Hannah, The Art of Fiction No. 184
Issue no. 172 (Winter 2004)

My aunts told wonderful stories. Not to me, but to each other. We had a very strong family. My mother’s sisters loved each other intensely. The uncles loved each other intensely. Those were the days when it meant something to travel, when people were still grinning because you could drive a car over a hundred miles. So when they got together they really narrated. Children were supposed to be quiet, so we’d all go to bed, but I’d still hear these stories going into the night and people’s laughter. It was a delightful way to go to sleep on Christmas or Thanksgiving.



Mister Joseph Botts
By Hollis Summers
Issue no. 8 (Spring 1955)

At first Ernestine was completely overwhelmed with the wonder of the nieces and nephews. As she remembered it, she had been like a dancer, moving gracefully from one side of the stage to the other, turning her well-shaped head, as if in search, trying to decide on which of the children to kneel beside. But honestly, and it was very important to be honest now that everything had turned out as happily as a fairy story, honestly she had not known that Lucy would be one.

Three years ago, at the Christmas family dining, one of Martha Nell’s awkward little girls had twisted up her skinny face and asked, “Aunt Tina, why you be old maid?” Everyone around the table, even Lucy, had laughed as if the child were really clever.



The Ritz Brothers on Moonlight Bay
By John Ashbery
Issue no. 208 (Spring 2014)

We talked about the great error
that you can live with
and really can’t afford to get.
It’s Thanksgiving there, and besides
we might not have room for the next event
to get the old juices flowing.

A gay avalanche destroyed much of the town.
Please, I thought we were winning.
Set the wolves, I mean the dogs
on her, that is, him.
The stalled investigation proved otherwise.
And give back the taxpayers’ money.
The space program cost too much anyway.


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