Redux: The Subway Back and Forth



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.

Welty, ca. 1962, Wikimedia Commons

This week at The Paris Review, we’re waiting for the bus and descending into the subway. Read on for Eudora Welty’s Art of Fiction interview, Gish Jen’s short story “Amaryllis,” and Frank O’Hara’s poem “Corresponding Foreignly,” paired with a portfolio of photographs by G. M. B. Akash.

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Eudora Welty, The Art of Fiction No. 47
Issue no. 55 (Fall 1972)

Once you have heard certain expressions, sentences, you almost never forget them. It’s like sending a bucket down the well and it always comes up full. You don’t know you’ve remembered, but you have. And you listen for the right word, in the present, and you hear it. Once you’re into a story everything seems to apply—what you overhear on a city bus is exactly what your character would say on the page you’re writing. Wherever you go, you meet part of your story.

From the series “Nothing to Hold On To,” by G. M. B. Akash

By Gish Jen
Issue no. 179 (Winter 2006)

Amaryllis felt annoyed at Tara, at Uncle Jeff, at herself even, as she found that she had begun to like the ritual of leaving the office. She liked needing to leave the way so many of her coworkers did—all the time it seemed—to bring their kids to the doctor, pick up a birthday cake, something. She liked the No. 7 train and the people on it; she liked waiting at the platform, on the wooden bench facing the ticket booth. The Flushing stop was the last stop of the line. Why did she like even that?

From the series “Nothing to Hold On To,” by G. M. B. Akash

Corresponding Foreignly
By Frank O’Hara
Issue no. 69 (Spring 1977)

Certain eases appeal to me more than the flowering quinces
and your black pear branches dripping white petals.
I’m not a pastoral type any more, I take the subway
back and forth from beds to days or bed-in-the-day-time
and if pleased am a dirty flower at the end of ragtagging
it. “I hear you were downtown last night. It was just like
old times.’’ What a thing to say in an elevator. I’d feel
rather more assured, though, if we were rolling in a field
screaming above the records and the Japanese lanterns.
I hate the country and its bells and its photographs.

From the series “Nothing to Hold On To,” by G. M. B. Akash

Nothing To Hold On To
By G. M. B. Akash
Issue no. 192 (Spring 2010)

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