Redux: The Seismographic Ear



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.

This week, we bring you Alice Munro’s 1994 Art of Fiction interview, Shelley Jackson’s short story “Husband,” and Laurance Wieder’s poem “The Seismographic Ear.”

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.


Alice Munro, The Art of Fiction No. 137
Issue no. 131 (Summer 1994)

The story fails but your faith in the importance of doing the story doesn’t fail. That it might is the danger. This may be the beast that’s lurking in the closet in old age—the loss of the feeling that things are worth doing.



By Shelley Jackson
Issue no. 164 (Winter 2002–2003)

I am a lady drone and a big eater. I eat for the tribe and I eat well. How I gorge, grinning back at my spare teeth on the wall, knowing the tribe depends on me! My chewing does not deviate from regulation by more than one point two five beats per minute, and my digestion is irreproachable. I polish my tackle daily, brushing all my teeth whether I have used them or not, the second-best and third-best set, the travel tooth I have seldom used and the ugly spatulate guest tooth, as also the rarer items, the fragile ceremonial embouchure of the gift tooth and the miniature krill of the husband stripper, never used, which is beautiful as a diadem and of the very best make, and I hang them on their hooks on the wall of my bungalow.



The Seismographic Ear
By Laurance Wieder
Issue no. 44 (Fall 1968)

The reason that I choose this flat
Prosey tone is that I know the truth
Will not be found in elaborate fountains
Which evocative gush refracting images
To daze, sparkle, reticulate and astound
Cleaved sense. Such truths as may exist
Exist by dint of silence, distinct fragrance
Or by simple quiet phrases which put to bed
All doubts. For example, I was born
A simple salmon in the river without words
Though learned them later and employed
Figures, arabesques, leaps, deletions and inflections
With great echoes to obtain, retain and nurture
Eggs, out of the ocean, over the dam, spawn …


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