The Art of Distance No. 23


The Art of Distance

In March, The Paris Review launched The Art of Distance, a newsletter highlighting unlocked archive pieces that resonate with the staff of the magazine, quarantine-appropriate writing on the Daily, resources from our peer organizations, and more. Read Emily Nemens’s introductory letter here, and find the latest unlocked archive pieces below.

“It was early in the pandemic and our Art of Distance newsletters that I mentioned my daily ambulations through Alphabet City with my pooch, Willow. Then, daffodils were blooming along the East River, seemingly oblivious of the sirens racing up FDR Drive. These days, in that same stretch of park, we’re waiting for the trees that were uprooted in Isaias to be cleared, but we’ve also found a rogue clutch of sunflowers. The city is quieter, by dint of lower viral rates and a certain amount of road-tripping neighbors, and there are picnic blankets dotting the lawns of the park. I used to complain about August here: it was sweaty and stinky and felt like the city went on hold. Everyone who could quit New York did, leaving the rest of us to brave that particular funk of the subway platform when the tunnel temperature crept above 90. But this year, as we brace for the fall’s uncertainty, viral and political, the dog days of summer are particularly welcome. Willow and I are walking slower, longer, and trying to hold on to this pause, this small peace.” —Emily Nemens, Editor

There have been few bright spots through the ordeal of COVID-19, but for the staff of The Paris Review, one of them has been welcoming some new wolves into the pack: two colleagues have acquired pandemic puppies (Cashew and Penny). In celebration of our canine companions, here are some selections from the archive:

“The dog was not demanding, it was modest in its requirements, although it drank a lot of water; it liked its water. It could square itself off like a package in a chair, it could actually resemble a package.” In Joy Williams’s “Substance,” Louise is delivered an unexpected furry gift.

“The dog’s name was Macho.” Margaret Ross explains in this poem.

Eileen Myles and Ben Lerner discuss Rosie the pit bull and the writing of Afterglow (a dog memoir) in Myles’s Art of Poetry interview.

In “Unbridled,” Carl Phillips describes an encounter while walking a dog.

Jim Harrison’s Art of Fiction interview opens with this declaration: “My favorite moment in life is when I give my dog a fresh bone,” a feeling he says he developed as “the blinded seven-year-old hiding out in the shrubbery with his dog, whom he recognized as his true friend.”

“From where Nakata sat, the beast looked more like a calf than a dog.” Read on to see how this meeting unfolds in Haruki Murakami’s “Heigh-Ho.”

The dog “barks in meter.” Impressive, right? Erica Jong describes a poetic pet in her poem “Jubilate Canis.”


Sign up here to receive a fresh installment of The Art of Distance in your inbox every Monday.