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.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NANCY CRAMPTON.
“Among the greatest pleasures of the Review’s Writers at Work series,” as our editor, Emily Stokes, wrote this week in a note introducing the Spring issue, “is the opportunity to eavesdrop on a revered author speaking intimately.” That sense that you’re eavesdropping is likewise often crucial to literature’s appeal. This week, we slip back into the archives to listen in on John Cheever’s 1976 Art of Fiction interview, in which he describes reading certain books as “finding myself at the receiving end of our most intimate and acute means of communication”; reencounter the young amateur spies of Joy Williams’s “A Story About Friends”; tune in to Laurance Wieder’s poem “The Seismographic Ear”; and rifle through Kathy Acker’s papers.
If you enjoyed these free interviews, stories, poems, and art portfolios, why not subscribe to The Paris Review? You’ll get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.
The Art of Fiction No. 62
One almost has a feeling of eavesdropping on your family in that book.
The Chronicle was not published (and this was a consideration) until after my mother’s death. An aunt (who does not appear in the book) said, “I would never speak to him again if I didn’t know him to be a split personality.”
From issue no. 67 (Fall 1976)
NOTES FOUND IN HERMAN MELVILLE’S WHITE JACKET; OR, THE WORLD IN A MAN-OF-WAR (1956).
A Story About Friends
Their schoolbooks lay open and unread, littered with particles of bread and nail trimmings. Every night that didn’t bring a blizzard, they would spy on the chemistry teacher, for they were fourteen and could only infrequently distinguish what they did from what they merely dreamt about.
From issue no. 57 (Spring 1974)
The Seismographic Ear
Sometimes I wonder which voice is mine, I hear
The dust accumulating everywhere like dead snow
On bleak eaves, fields, aluminum storm windows
Is also connotative, suggests words which float
From transmitter to receiver, from dusk to dark.
From issue no. 44 (Fall 1968)
NOTES WRITTEN IN JEAN GENET IN TANGIER BY MOHAMED CHOUKRI (1975).
Kathy Acker’s Library
A significant element of Acker’s creative process was her personal library. She was an avid and active reader. She frequently marked passages that she later pirated for her own novels and traced illustrations that would appear in her works whenever writing alone was insufficient. Most important, she used margins, blank pages, and the empty spaces in front matter to formulate spontaneous ideas about her own art and (love) life—a glimpse into the writer’s mind at its most unfiltered.
From issue no. 225 (Summer 2018)
If you enjoyed the above, don’t forget to subscribe! In addition to four print issues per year, you’ll also receive complete digital access to our sixty-nine years’ worth of archives.
Last / Next Article