Redux: Your Name Means Open



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’re reading pieces that are featured on The Paris Review Podcast, which just wrapped up its second season. Read on for Tennessee Williams’s Art of Theater interview, Danez Smith’s poem “my bitch!,” and Philip Roth’s short story “The Conversion of the Jews.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to The Paris Review and read the entire archive? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door. And don’t forget to listen to Season 2 of The Paris Review Podcast!


Tennessee Williams, The Art of Theater No. 5
Issue no. 81 (Fall 1981)

I now look back at periods of my life, and I think, Was that really me? Was I doing those things? I don’t feel any continuity in my life. It is as if my life were segments that are separate and do not connect. From one period to another it has all happened behind the curtain of work. And I just peek out from behind the curtain now and then and find myself on totally different terrain.


my bitch!
By Danez Smith
Issue no. 228 (Spring 2019)

after Nicole Sealey

o bitch. my good bitch. bitch my heart.
dream bitch. bitch my salve. bitch my order.
bitch my willowed stream. bitch my legend.
bitch like a door. your name means open
in the language of my getting by. bitch sesame …


The Conversion of the Jews
By Philip Roth
Issue no. 18 (Spring 1958)

“You’re a real one for opening your mouth in the first place,” Itzie said. “What do you open your mouth all the time for?”

“I didn’t bring it up, Itz, I didn’t,” Ozzie said.

“What do you care about Jesus Christ for anyway?”

“I didn’t bring up Jesus Christ. He did. I didn’t even know what he was talking about. Jesus is historical, he kept saying. Jesus is historical.” Ozzie mimicked the monumental voice of Rabbi Binder.


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