Redux: Disappointment Is Oily



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.

Eileen Myles. Photo: Shae Detar.

This week at The Paris Review, we’re turning our attention to graduation season. Read Eileen Myles’s Art of Poetry interview, as well as David Lehman’s poem “Commencement” and Venita Blackburn’s short story “Fam.”

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.


Eileen Myles, The Art of Poetry No. 99
Issue no. 214 (Fall 2015)

If I had been a good student and an achiever, I might have been excited by a more systematic approach to writing than what I do. People loved to throw around the word rigorous in the eighties. I’d go bleh. When I started to pull something out of the pool of incoherence, it was exciting in itself.



By David Lehman
Issue no. 158 (Spring–Summer 2001)

They’re calling old people seniors
short for senior citizens but it’s as though
they’re still in college and can look forward
to graduate school at Purgatory State
or the University of the Damned and
I can see this poem is intent on being Catholic
though it started out agnostic …



By Venita Blackburn
Issue no. 226 (Fall 2018)

My lil sister/niece/granddaughter/baby cousin doesn’t know she’s pretty, so she asks everybody, one post at a time. Her mom showed up at her high school graduation, no one had seen her in eight years.


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