The Paris Review7 min read
Eye Of The Beholder
Alice Mattison reckons with the impacts of macular degeneration … Rembrandt, self-portrait, 1660 (modified) My mother thought children should visit museums, and back in the fifties, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was free. The Egyptian tomb was satis
The Paris Review6 min read
Staff Picks: Monsters, Monkeys, and Maladies
Patti Smith. Photo: © Jesse Dittmar. In her latest memoir, Year of the Monkey, Patti Smith writes of Sandy Pearlman: “We stood on either side of him, promising to mentally hold onto him, keep an open channel, ready to intercept and accept any signal.
The Paris Review3 min read
The Nobel Prize Was Made for Olga Tokarczuk
Olga Tokarczuk. Photo: © K. Dubiel. I’ve been saying it for years! Every fall, the big night would come and I would set my alarm for four or six or eight in the morning, depending on my time zone, and then not sleep because I was sure Olga Tokarczuk
The Paris Review11 min read
Voyage around My Cell
© Mathier / Adobe Stock. When I was eight my views on literature were precise and unshakable and my confidence in myself much greater than it is now. I had decided O. Henry was the world’s best author. During Prohibition, the folks who bought one of
The Paris Review14 min read
Nostalgia for a Less Innocent Time
On the glory and depravity of hair metal. Still from The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is a documentary that often feels like a mockumentary—in part because of th
The Paris Review4 min read
What Poetry Can Predict
Naja Marie Aidt’s When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back is an account of the first few years after her twenty-five-year-old son Carl died in a tragic accident. The excerpt below is addressed to him. Photo: Amanda Hill. Credit: the NOAA Wea
The Paris Review4 min read
The Most Interior Text of the 1300s
It’s not the one you think… Decameron—that’s a long book. I powered through it this past summer. I was like a self-propelled lawn mower, had to be. I had a lot of big books on my to-do list. Each one of ’em was allotted two weeks and no more. I “had
The Paris Review9 min read
The Stuntwoman Named for a Continent
In the late summer of 1866 a Black equestrian stuntwoman made her Paris debut and galvanized the city. She was known only as “Sarah the African,” and history has left us few traces of her: just some battered posters, inky clippings and burlesque scri
The Paris Review5 min read
Our Town and the Next Town Over
The author as a child, dressed as Oscar the Grouch. Every year it floods on three sides of our town. I do not know how any town could have floods on three sides, but there it is. My mom says it is because the very rich people who live on the lake to
The Paris Review2 min read
Redux: The Deep Well of Other Beings
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 Re
The Paris Review10 min read
The Perseverance of Eve Babitz’s Vision
Eve Babitz. Photo: Mirandi Babitz. © Mirandi Babitz. And because we were in Southern California—in Hollywood even—there was no history for us. There were no books or traditions telling us how we could turn out or what anything meant. —Eve Babitz My g
The Paris Review8 min read
What Our Contributors Are Reading This Fall
Contributors from our Fall issue share their favorite recent finds.  Jericho Brown I’ve spent the past few days thinking about a poem by Jericho Brown, published this summer in The Progressive. It’s an outtake poem, one that didn’t appear in his new
The Paris Review2 min read
The Ritual of American Racism
The multidisciplinary artist Betye Saar is best known for her assemblages: meticulous arrangements of found objects, religious iconography, and cultural ephemera that, together, interrogate the ritual of American racism. “Betye Saar: Call and Respons
The Paris Review6 min read
A Bluebeard of Wives
Sabrina Orah Mark’s monthly column, Happily, focuses on fairy tales and motherhood. Bluebeard Illustration, “What She Sees There,” by Winslow Homer, 1868 “Sabrina,” says my husband’s first wife, “is married to my husband.” I hear this through The Gra
The Paris Review10 min read
Dinner with Martin Amis
The one time I had an opportunity to meet Martin Amis, I ended up taking heroin instead. I’m not especially proud of this fact, it was a kind of accident, but also perhaps a lucky swerve from the more difficult experience of having to have dinner wit
The Paris Review8 min read
Are We All Living in a Simulation?
In his monthly column, Conspiracy, Rich Cohen gets to the bottom of it all.  The best conspiracy theories make sense of what has always seemed senseless. They let you believe you are finally connecting the dots, finding the missing pieces, experienc
The Paris Review8 min readSociety
Memoirs Of A Queer Revolutionary
Like many other queer writers and activists of his generation, Lou Sullivan lived a painfully short life: he died in 1991, at the age of thirty-nine, from complications related to AIDS. But he left behind a wealth of material, thirty years of diaries
The Paris Review2 min read
Redux: Courting Sleep
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 Re
The Paris Review11 min read
Motherhood Makes You Obscene
Marguerite Duras. My mother had green eyes. Black hair. Her name was Marie Augustine Adeline Legrand. She was born a peasant, daughter of farmers, near Dunkirk. She had one sister and seven brothers. She went to teachers college, on a scholarship, an
The Paris Review7 min read
Giorgio de Chirico’s Italian Poetry
Left: Giorgio de Chirico, The Soothsayer’s Recompense, 1913 Right: De Cherico in 1936, photographed by Carl Van Vechten Despite living in New York City for more than five decades, my ninety-three-year-old grandfather still doesn’t speak English. No,
The Paris Review16 min read
Rigorous Grace: A Conversation Between Leslie Jamison and Kaveh Akbar
Kaveh Akbar, left, and Leslie Jamison, right. Leslie Jamison makes her life more difficult than it needs to be. In her most recent essay collection, Make it Scream, Make it Burn, the subjects she chooses—the world’s loneliest whale, Second Life devot
The Paris Review4 min read
Staff Picks: Biopics, Blades, and Balloons
Brandon Taylor. Photo: Bill Adams. David Ferry’s poem “At Lake Hopatcong” has its narrator considering a family portrait taken a year before he was born. He knows everyone in the photo, and yet it is “of no country I know.” Over and over again, I tri
The Paris Review8 min read
The Intelligence of Plants
What if plants are smarter than we think—a lot smarter? Miguel Rio Branco, Untitled, Tokyo, 2008  © Miguel Rio Branco  A few years ago, Monica Gagliano, an associate professor in evolutionary ecology at the University of Western Australia, began drop
The Paris Review5 min read
Poetry Rx: The Fucking Reticence
In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This month, Kaveh Akbar is on the line. © Ellis Rosen Dear Poets,
The Paris Review8 min read
A Letter to My Sons
Imani Perry photo: Sameer Khan. Sons— You have been running away from lies since you were born. But the truth is we do not simply run away from something; we run to something. I do not think you fully believe me, but I am not a mother who yearns for
The Paris Review2 min read
Redux: Gold-Leaf From The Trees
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 Re
The Paris Review9 min read
You, Too, Can Have a Viral Tweet Like Mine: Demystifying Poetic Meter
Here are some things that happen when you go viral on Twitter for pointing out that the first two lines of Stephen Sondheim’s “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” can be sung to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”: Your notifications will blow up with
The Paris Review6 min read
What’s the Point?
As of spring 2020, I will be stepping down as Chairman of The MacDowell Colony’s Board of Directors. It’s time for somebody else to sit in the chair. When I took this position, nine years ago, Barack Obama was the President of the United States, Dona
The Paris Review2 min read
The Radical Portraits of Amy Sherald
Nothing looks quite like an Amy Sherald painting. In each of her portraits, the form for which she is best known, an impeccably painted figure stands smack in the middle of a slab of color. But rather than plucking the subject out of reality and plac
The Paris Review5 min read
Staff Picks: Ducks, Dubs, and Dung
Nicole Flattery. When I moved to New York, I was overwhelmed by the sense that everyone I encountered was desperately holding themselves together. I could not escape the feeling that I, too, must be very careful, that if I were not, some crack in my
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