Redux: A Aries, T Taurus, G Gemini



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.

Kay Ryan. Photo: Jennifer Loring. CC BY-SA ( Via Wikimedia Commons.

This week at The Paris Review, we’re feeling esoteric. In the cards are Kay Ryan’s Art of Poetry interview, Fernanda Melchor’s “They Called Her the Witch,” and Charles Bernstein’s “Twelve-Year Universal Horoscope.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to The Paris Review? Or, better yet, subscribe to our special summer offer with The New York Review of Books for only $99. And for as long as we’re flattening the curve, The Paris Review will be sending out a weekly newsletter, The Art of Distance, featuring unlocked archival selections, dispatches from the Daily, and efforts from our peer organizations. Read the latest edition here, and then sign up for more.


Kay Ryan, The Art of Poetry No. 94
Issue no. 187 (Winter 2008)

I’d bought a tarot deck—this was the seventies—a standard one with a little accompanying book that explained how to read the cards, lay them out, shuffle them—all those things. But I’m not a student and was totally impatient with learning anything about the cards. I thought they were just interesting to look at. But I did use the book’s shuffling method, which was very elaborate, and in the morning I’d turn one card over and whatever that card was I would write a poem about it. The card might be Love, or it might be Death. My game, or project, was to write as many poems as there were cards in the deck. But since I couldn’t control which cards came up, I’d write some over and over again and some I’d never see. That gave me range. I always understood that to write poetry was to be totally exposed. But in the seventies I only had models of ripping off your clothes, and I couldn’t do that. My brain could be naked, but I didn’t want to be naked. Nor was I interested in the heart, or love. The tarot helped me see that I could write about anything—even love if required—and retain the illusion of not being exposed. If one is writing well, one is totally exposed. But at the same time, one has to feel thoroughly masked or protected.


Fortune-teller reading a woman’s palm, 1936. Photo: Nationaal Archief. Via Wikimedia Commons.


They Called Her the Witch
By Fernanda Melchor
Translated by Sophie Hughes
Issue no. 231 (Winter 2019)

They called her the Witch, the same as her mother; the Girl Witch when she first started trading in curses and cures, and then, when she wound up alone, the year of the landslide, simply the Witch.


Spread from Manuel pour la pratique de la chiromancie, by Jules Charles Edmond Billaudot, a.k.a. Le Mage Edmond, ca. 1870. Photo: MUCEM Marseille, via Wikimedia Commons.


Twelve-Year Universal Horoscope
By Charles Bernstein
Issue no. 230, Fall 2019

Key: A Aries, T Taurus, G Gemini, C Cancer, L Leo, V Virgo, Li Libra, S Scorpio, Sa Sagittarius, Ca Capricorn, Aq Aquarius, P Pisces. Each section covers one year, then rotates.

A2019, T2020, G2021, C2022, L2023, V2024, Li2025, S2026, Sa2027, Ca2028, Aq2029, P2030
Anticipated reversals occur in unanticipated locations: avoid planar surfaces. As Saturn and Pluto come into alignment, prepare for irrepressible nostalgia. Casual attachments provide a medley of diversions from long-term fantasies. Mix of sulfur and magnesium is at its height on the twelfth and twenty-ninth: stay clear of disarticulating headwinds while remaining open to miscalibrated address. Seek pine- and coconut-flavored dishes. Preferred alcohol: Anisette (neat) …


To read more from the Paris Review archives, make sure to subscribe! In addition to four print issues per year, you’ll also receive complete digital access to our sixty-seven years’ worth of archivesAnd for a limited time, you can subscribe to both The Paris Review and The New York Review of Books for just $99.