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This week at The Paris Review, it’s back to school. Read on for John McPhee’s Art of Nonfiction interview, Shanteka Sigers’s short story “A Way with Bea,” and Melanie Rehak’s poem “Self-Portrait as the Liberal Arts.”
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John McPhee, The Art of Nonfiction No. 3
Issue no. 192 (Spring 2010)
Writers develop slowly. That’s what I want to say to you: don’t look at my career through the wrong end of a telescope. This is terribly important to me as a teacher of writers, of kids who want to write.
A Way with Bea
By Shanteka Sigers
Issue no. 234 (Fall 2020)
The Teacher puts down her fork and stares at her husband. A worn white tablecloth edged in lace tries to put her in the spirit of their honeymoon. But it is hard to remember the man who grinned at her across lopsided wooden tables in tiny restaurants in the Caribbean while looking at him here with his mouth only half lifted in a smirk. She leans back, withdrawing from him. “I am aware that teaching is not going to be like a made-for-TV movie or an after-school special, and fuck you,” says the Teacher.
Self-Portrait as the Liberal Arts
By Melanie Rehak
Issue no. 165 (Spring 2003)
The addition of solitude untrammeled,
one and more and more but always
the inner life astray,
that equation incompatibly private.
The errors unrepenting that will not
come out right.
Tautology, tautology. What I’ve said
in argument cannot be taken away.
I’ve emptied my pockets of change …
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