Villoro/Hernandez, Brody, and Melnicove: New work up on AGNI!

We’ve got great work up on the main AGNI website—a story by Juan Villoro (translated by Jorge Luis Flores Hernández), an essay by Leslie Brody, and a poem by Mark Melnicove. Check it all out!

AGNI Hernandez“One afternoon, my father got in his Studebaker, and we never heard from him again. The last and defining fact tying these photos to my father is the absence of pictures afterward.”
from the story “Bad Photographer” by Juan Villoro (translated by Jorge Luis Flores Hernández)


AGNI Brody“I’d never been manhandled before. There’d been no physical violence in my childhood. When I was nineteen, a policeman had clobbered me in the head at an anti-Vietnam War protest. Then, there’d been blood and stitches, and I’d displayed my scar proudly. Nothing in my life had prepared me for being flung across a room.”
from the essay Daisies: An Observation” by Leslie Brody


AGNI Melnicove“Just when all feels lost,

the fire department volunteers show up in shiny,
red corvettes, gather in a circle around
the crumbling frame of the house, and piss

on the charcoal timbers”

from the poem “Where I Came From” by Mark Melnicove



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Release Party: AGNI 85 is here!

The 85th issue of AGNI is ready, and we’re celebrating—join us!

When: Monday, April 24, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston (Green Line B, Pleasant St.)

We’re celebrating with readings by:

  • Wen Stephenson: Climate change activist and former editor at The Atlantic.
  • Kim Adrian: Author of the memoir The 27th Letter of the Alphabet.
  • Noah Warren: Winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets.
  • Courtney Sender: Winner of fiction prizes from Mississippi Review, Boulevard, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Glimmer Train.

Plus there’ll be a performance of words-to-music by singer-songwriter Brian King of What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? Our release party follows.

Like all our release parties, this will be free and open to the public. For more info, contact AGNI Senior Editor William Pierce at or (617) 353-7135 or visit AGNI Online. And if all this talk about AGNI issues has got you excited, check out our subscriptions page!

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Mehta, Jenkins, and Hoffman: New work up on AGNI!

We’ve got great work up on the main AGNI website—a reprint of a review of Derek Walcott’s Tiepolo’s Hound by Diane Mehta, and fresh new poetry by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins and Richard Hoffman. Check it out!

AGNI Mehta“Walcott creates compelling narratives, and, along with V. S. Naipaul, he has introduced to the West the richness and complexity of the Caribbean. It’s a place, the public now understands, where epics happen.”
“Walcott, Pissarro, and the Search for Tiepolo’s Hound” by Diane Mehta
AGNI Jenkins“Today is a crash course on moving gently.
How to take a gift from someone so gingerly
they believe they still have it.”

“Horses Explain Things to Me” by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins
AGNI Hoffman“I was lifted up
on someone’s shoulders.

All in one memory all I need.”
“Hurricane” by Richard Hoffman






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AGNI at AWP 2017!

Hey, AGNI readers—are you going to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Washington, DC, next week (2/9-2/11)? Well, if you’re there, you can visit AGNI at our bookfair table (518-T), or come catch AGNI staff at any of these events:

Thursday, February 9:

  • 9:00-10:15 am: AGNI Poetry Editor Sumita Chakraborty will be on the panel “The Craft of Editing Poetry: Practices and Perspectives from Literary Magazine Editors” (Room 209ABC, Convention Center, Level Two)
  • 3:00-4:00 pm: AGNI Blog Editor David Ebenbach will be signing his new short story collection, The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy and other stories, at the University of Massachusetts Press table (872)
  • 4:30-6:30 pm: AGNI Social Media Editor Rachel Mennies will be reading in the off-site reading “RHINO Reads!” hosted by Rhino Poetry (Sixth Engine, 438 Massachusetts Ave NW)
  • 8:00-10:00 pm: AGNI, along with Pleiades, American Literary Review, Boulevard, cream city review, Gulf Coast Journal, and, is hosting a “Magnificent Seven” reading of magazine contributors, including Chen Chen, Alice Elliott Dark, Matt Donovan, David Keplinger, Shara McCallum, Gregory Pardlo, Caitlin Pryor, Maggie Smith, and Ryo Yamaguchi (Bayou, 2519 Pennsylvania Ave NW)

Friday, February 10:

  • 3:00-4:15 pm: AGNI Editor Sven Birkerts will be on the panel “Susan Sontag and the Authority of Authorship” (Marquis Salon 6, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two)
  • 4:30-5:45 pm: AGNI Blog Editor David Ebenbach will be on the panel “Writing Neighborhoods: (Re)Creating the Places We Live” (Liberty Salon M, Marquis Marriott)
  • 7:30-10:30 pm: AGNI Non-Fiction Editor Jennifer Alise Drew will be reading in the off-site reading “Selected Memories Book Launch & Gathering” hosted by Hippocampus Magazine (Capitol Yacht Club Clubhouse, 660 Water Street SW; RSVP requested)

Saturday, February 11:

  • 9:00-10:15 am: AGNI Social Media Editor Rachel Mennies will be on the panel “Money, Power, and Transparency in the Writing World” (Marquis Salon 6, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two)
  • 3:00-4:15 pm: AGNI Blog Editor David Ebenbach will be on the panel “Small Press, Big City: 45 Years of Washington Writers Publishing House” (Marquis Salon 5, Marriott Marquis)

We hope to see you at AWP—come on up and say hi!

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Big Five: Our Top Blog Posts in 2016

Happy New Year! As we look back on 2016, we thought we’d revisit the posts on the blog that have drawn the most readers. Check them out if you haven’t read them yet!

#5: Designing Time: The Idea of Plot in the Lyric Essay
by Tyler Mills

Tyler Mills Headshot
“The lyric essay must transform our ‘erratic assemblage,’ moving them into meaning like the night sky that turns toward morning. The constellations change positions, and we pick out their patterns from the chaos of darkness. The crisis that spins everything toward the main thing is realization. Realization is what the mind does with these observations. Realization is what the mind does with the world. Realization is the heart of the lyric essay—what makes it move, what makes all of its light-riddled parts hold together.”


#4: Stanislavski in the Ghetto
by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Maurice Carlos Ruffin Author Photo BW
“Someone much smarter than me once said that the act of writing while black is a political act. But the idea is broader than race. I believe the principle is true of all groups who don’t have access to the full panoply of human rights.”


#3: The Ultimate and Decisive “Is Poetry Dead” Article!
by David Ebenbach

David Ebenbach
“The ‘Is Poetry Dead?’ articles are coming. Often they show up in National Poetry Month (April), but they can appear at any time. Spring or Fall, day or night. Maybe you’re in the middle of writing poetry, or reading it, and you look away from the poem—only for a second, but still—and there, on social media, out from behind a curtain or something, jumps the article, screaming: IS POETRY DEAD IT’S TOTALLY DEAD ISN’T IT DON’T LIE IT’S DEAD I TELL YOU! DEAD! DEAD?


#2: Living the Process of Dying
by Kelly Cherry

“Writers who continue to write in old age—and as we live longer there are more and more such writers—often seek to write about death, which is not a pretty subject. Not a poetic subject. Except that it is a poetic subject by virtue of the poets writing about it. In other centuries many poets touched on the subject of death—we think particularly of Keats—but in our current century medicine stretches out the dying process, and poets are spending more of their lives living the process of dying. Dying is incremental, as a friend once pointed out to me when I exclaimed that I was falling apart piece by piece. ‘You don’t get it,’ he said. ‘That’s how we die. Piece by piece.’ Well, that woke me up.”


and…our most-read post of the year:

#1: Is Poetry True or False?
by Ben Purkert

“I now teach my own creative writing course spanning three genres: non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Invariably, poetry proves the hardest to define; it plays by a different set of rules, while seemingly breaking all of them. But if the formal conventions of poems can be tough to untangle, just as challenging is poetry’s relationship to lived experience. Non-fiction and fiction announce themselves on a basic level: the first is what happened; the second is what didn’t. So where does poetry stand, my students ask. Is it true or false?

Thanks, everyone, for a year of conversation, and we’ll see you in 2017!

Lewis, Chang, and Lowe: New Work Up at AGNI!

We’ve got fresh new work up on the main AGNI website—a review of Don DeLillo’s Zero K by Woody Lewis, a poem by Victoria Chang, and a story by Charles Lowe. Check it out!

“DeLillo embraces the mythology of self. His first novel Americana tells the story of self-exploration in the form of a road trip. In Great Jones Street, Bucky Wunderlick explores his musical self without leaving his East Village hideout. Mao II dramatizes Bill Gray’s retreat into himself, while Underworld does the opposite in describing Nick Shay’s escape from his childhood self. The post-Shay novels show DeLillo grappling with his own games of time and infinity: the ghost character in The Body Artist, the eponymous falling man. He turns more inward in these works, past exploring to eulogizing his inner qualities, what Jeffrey in Zero K calls ‘my little felonies of self-perception.’”
“Zero K: Ars Longa, Ex Machina” by Woody Lewis


chang“Barbie Chang should have seen
the signs should

have noticed the signs in the street
that were backwards”
“Barbie Chang Should Have Seen” by Victoria Chang


lowe“The game is called Lose a Foreigner. First, have the foreigner point (the right index finger only!) at a Gucci purse or zippered Prada bag or vice versa. Then, advise him not to look too closely at the fake gold clip. A fake gold clip can blind a foreigner to the possibility of a fine from an overly vigilant customs official. Afterward, walk away from the laowai. Finally, doing the best sexy walk possible, stroll up to a dealer.”
“The 250 Foreigner Game” by Charles Lowe


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Stanford, Mandelstam, Lavochkina, and Teicher: New Work Up at AGNI!

We’ve got fresh new work up on the main AGNI website—poems by Eleanor Stanford and Osip Mandelstam (the latter translated by Svetlana Lavochkina), and a story by Craig Morgan Teicher. Check it out!

Stanford“residents of small hope
and coal smoke make peanut butter
sandwiches or bicker, or sing
their coal-tinged lullabies”
“Centralia,” a poem by Eleanor Stanford

“the basic unit can only be
affirmative: the soft
gray rain fogging
the windows. Palm
on palm.”
“With J., Discussing Grammar in the Anarchist Coffee Shop, West Philadelphia,” a poem by Eleanor Stanford

Lavoch“Moscow Drizzle…hands out its sparrow coolness
in such a parsimonious way:
a bit to us, a bit to bushes,
a bit to cherries on the tray.”
“Moscow Drizzle,” a poem by Osip Mandelstam (translated by Svetlana Lavochkina)

“The shade goes purple, ever deeper”
“Impressionism,” a poem by Osip Mandelstam (translated by Svetlana Lavochkina)

“Shining milestones won’t stop us,
We will walk without turning,
Dawn to dawn, light-laden lanterns
Under heaven’s violet awning.”
untitled poem by Osip Mandelstam (translated by Svetlana Lavochkina)

Teicher“He gets as far as the subway station in front of the American Apparel a block from his building before realizing there is no world beyond his mother to run to.”
“The Child Runs Away,” a story by Craig Morgan Teicher


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