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Ontario Review, Spring/Summer 1998, No. 48

Ontario Review 48Poetry

  • Margaret Atwood, "Blackie in Antarctica", "Questioning the Dead", "The Nature of Gothic", "Sor Juana Works in the Garden" 
  • Sharon Olds, "The Sound", "The Forgiveness", "My Mother's Pansies", "Coming of Age 1966", "In His Hands", "Cherry" 
  • Oliver Rice, "Over 100 Reminiscences and an Ideography; Blue Jays", "Tangerines", "Detrimental Genes" 
  • Alexandra Burack, "What You Can Keep"; "Sky", "Fence", "Fields"
  • John Updike, "Orvieto", "Jacopo Pontormo" 
  • Albert Goldbarth, "Con Carne" 
  • Stuart Dybek, "Narcissus", "Shoesa", "Bath", "Three Kinds of Nakedness", "Current" 
  • David Wagoner, "The Young Goats", "Night at the Zoo" 
  • Tom Wayman, "Teachers at Risk", "My Mother's Burial"
  • Gary Soto, "The Mariachi Suit", "The Confusing Aspects of Being a Good Man"
  • Michael Miller, "The Alien Begins His Day" 

Fiction

  • Kathleen Crowley, "St. Anthony's" 
  • Melissa Hardy, "The Uncharted Heart" 
  • David Lynn, "Desserts and Dowries" 
  • Greg Johnson, "Don't Tell Dramatic Monologue" 
  • Joyce Carol Oates, "When I Was a Little Girl and My Mother Didn't Want Me" 

Graphics

Cover

  • Margaret Atwood and Blackie, Photo by Jill Krementz

 

Blackie in Antarctica
Margaret Atwood

My sister phones long distance:
Blackie's been put down.
Incurable illness. Gauntness and suffering.
General heartbreak.
I thought you'd want to bury him,
she says, in tears.
So I wrapped him in red silk
and put him in the freezer.

Oh Blackie, named bluntly
and without artifice by small girls,
leaping from roof to roof
in doll's bonnet and pinafore,
Oh sly fur-faced idol
who endured worship and mauling,
often without scratching,
Oh yowling moon
addict, devious foundling,
neurotic astrologer
who predicted disaster
by then creating it,

Oh midnight-coloured
faithful companion of midnight,
Oh pillow hog,
with your breath of raw liver,
where are you now?

Beside the frozen hamburger
and chicken wings; a paradise
for carnivores. Lying in red silk
and state, like Pharaoh
in a white metallic temple, or
a thin-boned Antarctic
explorer in a gelid parka,
one who didn't make it; or
(let's face it) a package
of fish. I hope nobody
en route to dinner
unwraps you by mistake.

What an affront, to be equated
with meat! Cat-like, you hated
being ridiculous. You hungered
for justice, at set hours and in the form
of sliced beef stew
with gravy.
You wanted what
was coming to you.
(Death

is, though. Ridiculous. And coming to you.
For us, too.
Justice is what we'll turn into.
Then there's mercy.)

 

From Writers and Their Familiars
Jill Krementz

 Jill Krementz 01

Margaret Atwood with Blackie


 Jill Krementz 02

Kurt Vonnegut with Pumpkin

Coming of Age 1966
Sharon Olds

When I came to sex in full, not sex
by fits and starts, but day and night,
when I lived with him, I thought I'd go crazy
with shock and awe. In Latin class
my jaw would drop when I would remember
the night, the morning, the in the out the
in, the long torso of the beloved
lowered lifted lowered. When he wasn't
there, when he worked 36 On,
8 Off, 36 On, 8 Off,
I'd sit myself down to memorize Latin
so as not to go mad--my brain felt like a
planet gone oval, wobbling out of
orbit, pulling toward a new ellipsis,
I learned a year of Latin in a month,
aced the test, made love, wept, when he was
working all night I'd believe that a burglar might
actually be climbing the wall outside my window,
palm to the stone rosette, toe on the
granite frond, like the prowler who'd scaled the first
storey next door, been peeled from the wall
and kicked in the head. And every time
I tried to write a love poem,
giving the lovers their flesh on the page,
the child with her clothes burned off by napalm
ran into the poem screaming. I was
a Wasp child of the suburbs, I felt
cheated by Lyndon Johnson, robbed of my
entrance into the erotic, my birthright
of ease and joy. I understood
almost nothing of the world, but I knew that I was
connected to the girl running, her arms
out to the sides, like a plucked heron, I was
responsible for her, and helpless to reach her,
like the man on the sidewalk, his arms up
around his head, and all I did
was memorize Latin, and make love, and sometimes
march, my heart aching with righteousness.

 

Narcissus
Stuart Dybek

Down on his hands and knees
outside the biker bar
as if searching the pavement
for his tooth; between the kick
that lacerated a kidney,
and the kick that cracked a rib,
my ex-pug uncle, Chino,
said he caught a look
he hadn't seen for years
on the distorted face
that lovingly gazed back at him
from a blood-spattered hubcap.

 

From Illustrations for the New Testament
Barry Moser

 Barry Moser

The Flight into Egypt