Redux: Without Wanting to Live Forever



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.

Elizabeth Bishop. Photo: Alice Helen Methfessel. Courtesy of Frank Bidart.

This week at The Paris Review, we’re eating our vegetables and celebrating the summer’s bounty. Read on for Elizabeth Bishop’s Art of Poetry interview, Alice Munro’s short story “Spaceships Have Landed,” and Sue Kwock Kim’s poem “The Korean Community Garden in Queens.”

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Elizabeth Bishop, The Art of Poetry No. 27
Issue no. 80 (Summer 1981)

The next day there was a picture in the afternoon paper—they take such things very seriously in Brazil—and the day after that my Brazilian friend went to market again. There was a big covered market with stalls for every kind of comestible, and there was one vegetable man we always went to. He said, “Wasn’t that Doña Elizabetchy’s picture in the paper yesterday?” She said, “Yes, it was. She won a prize.” And he said, “You know, it’s amazing! Last week Señora (Somebody) took a chance on a bicycle and she won! My customers are so lucky!” Isn’t that marvelous?!



Spaceships Have Landed
By Alice Munro
Issue no. 131 (Summer 1994)

Rhea didn’t think they would pay much attention. They were busy and their life was eventful, though the events in it were seasonal and had to do with the vegetables which they sold in town to earn their living. The vegetables, the raspberries, the rhubarb. They hadn’t time for much else.



The Korean Community Garden in Queens
By Sue Kwock Kim
Issue no. 148 (Fall 1998)

… Each one lit by what it neighbors

but is not, each tint flaring without a human soul,
without human rage at its passing. In the summer
there will be scallions, mung-beans, black sesame,
muskmelons, to be harvested into zinc buckets

and sold at market. How do they live without wanting
to live forever? Unlike their gardeners in the old world,
who die for warring dreams and warring heavens,
who stop at nothing, life the one paradise they wanted.


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