Thanksgiving greetings from the NAR staff & contributors Bill Graeser and Susan Kort

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Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday from the staff here at the North American Review.

And thanks to Bill Graeser for his poem, “Thanksgiving”, from issue 294.6, Nov. – Dec. 2009 and many thanks to Susan Kort for her poem, “Over the River & Through the Woods”, from issue 292.6, Nov. – Dec. 2007, as well.

Thanksgiving

He’s thankful for SUVs
high enough to hide
under
like the night in the parking
lot when the cops came.

Thankful for what memories
he has of his father, that his
mother believed in
remaining strong, that his
kid sister is off the street,
that at least one of his
brothers will come up for
parole, and thankful that he
is not dead—what with
the ’Hood he grew up in
and two tours in Iraq.

He is thankful for rap,
for the Chicago Bulls,
for snow on filthy sidewalks,
and here at this table,
thankful that ketchup is
almost the color of
cranberry sauce, that french
fries mush in the mouth like
stuffing, thankful that he is
not an animal bred to be
dinner (though there’ve
been times he’s felt he was)
and thankful that he is not
the only one eating alone in
Burger King
on Thanksgiving.

Bill GraeserBill Graeser, a Long Island native, has worked as dairy farmer, carpenter, teacher of Transcendental Meditation and is currently the Locksmith at Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa. Winner of Iowa Poetry Association’s 2012 Norman Thomas Memorial Award.


“Over the River & Through the Woods”

To the left went the diapason
of forks, to the right
the spoons & knives in sterling, & in between came plates

that were appropriate, sequentially –
those were repasts she regaled us with, nothing less
than sumptuous, tureens & sauces & jellies & relishes: équipages

for butter & cream, grapish
épergnes in the center: her dining room
table: equinoctal feasts she counted on

familial esurience, it made her life
a thing of beauty, now & then, seeing all of us
in places she’d decreed were in right ones (on cards,

I mean, handletter’d, itsy violets & such, she had a lot of time) ;
& everything seemly. She hailed Mary
there’d be none of those gratuitous shenanigans

born of the vine, no espiritous implosions our kin were given to,
to her chagrin, no son’s head
laid to rest on her lineny cloth like my Daddy’s

every single year, impeding the serving
of the pumpkin or mince or Key lime:
Pièce de résistance

Susanne Kort is a psychotherapist practicing in Jalisco, Mexico. In the U.S., her poetry has appeared in the North American Review, Notre Dame Review, Grand Street, Green Mountains Review, Indiana Review, Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner, Sonora Review, The Laurel Review, and other journals. Her work has also been published in journals in Ireland, England and Canada.

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“Neruda” by Jacqueline Marcus from issue 295.2

neruda image

Neruda

When the moon was just beginning to rise—
he could smell the sea from a considerable distance,

a scene from the Mediterranean. Neruda,

lighting a smoke, the men
rolling their nets like their fathers before them.

I don’t know what he brought back on that cold December morning:

a ball of string, a cup of grass,
a flower blowing across the graves
when he was forced to leave his house
in the middle of the night,
rain soaking his shirt,
peasants slashing a path through the mountains.

Whatever it was—he meant to keep them:

scraps of paper,
poems—stashed in his boots.

—Jacqueline Marcus

Not long ago, after Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died, I wrote a piece for Truthout.org titled, If Democratic Leader Hugo Chávez was a Dictator, as U.S. Media Claims, Why Do Millions of People Love Him?   Continue reading

A Note About “In El Hipo” by Gary Gildner in issue 299.1

I was living in Mexico a few years after Jimmy Hoffa’s famous disappearance. My life there and my background were not unlike my central character Keane’s. (A name I borrowed, though spelled differently, from the old radio detective Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons.)
I knew the Hoffa story, the stories of the characters I call Kayo Colone and Belinda Wolfe, plus many of the others, including Gloria Morris, and I wanted to bring them all together, if I could, in a novel. The distractions of a fiction writer have been keenly noted by many good and great practitioners of our craft, and to add to that theme here would be redundant and call up, for me, too much of the blur and whine of the supermarket press. Suffice to say, I found focus by writing short stories, borrowing details from my main project—and riffing on them—and playing a lot of tennis. “In El Hipo” is the story I like best, which is to say if it was all I got out of my time in Mexico I would be grateful. But, finally, I did finish the novel— The Man Who Saw Hoffa Go Off—which I hope will soon appear, unlike Jimmy.

Gary Gildner has received the National Magazine Award for Fiction, Pushcart Prizes in fiction and nonfiction, and the Iowa Poetry Prize. Among his two dozen books are a new and selected volume of stories, Somewhere Geese Are Flying (2004), and a new edition of The Warsaw Sparks (2008), his 1990 memoir about coaching baseball in communist Poland. Gary’s most recent work in North American Review“In El Hipo,” appears in Winter 2014 issue 299.1.

Photograph by Stan Shebs.