There aren’t many examples in the family archives. We have that famous photo of Great Aunt BoDean, circa 1867, seated behind a wooden shack with ranch hands lined up on the other side, holding empty round plates. They’re missing their pie, for which she was famous. Her face is hard to read in the blurry photo. We’re just guessing it was a case of seclusion.
Guest host Jane Curtin presents two stories about marriage. In "Any Number of Little Old Ladies," by Bruce Jay Friedman, a playwright uses his wife as a character and she's not thrilled. Blythe Danner and Maulik Pancholy read. Another marriage is at risk in Roxanna Robinson's "In Naples," a trip that forces one woman to confront her feelings about her husband. Betty Buckley performs this delicate story.
"Any Number of Little Old Ladies" by Bruce Jay Friedman first appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of TSR.
Guest host Denis O'Hare presents three stories that take things to extremes. In Simon Rich's "Distractions," we learn about a global conspiracy. Errin Hayes reads. The misanthrope in Douglas Lawson's "Love in a Kitchen Garden" is cruel to his garden gnomes. Richard Kind reads. And Maulik Pancholy performs Emily Buckler's "Brand Values," a reality-bending tale about high-end leather.
Cornelius Eady is the author of several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and The Gathering of My Name, which was nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is cofounder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award.
Amy Hempel is the author of four story collections, including Reasons to Live, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Tumble Home, and The Dog of the Marriage. The New York Times named The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel one of the Ten Best Books of 2006. A 2017 inductee to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Hempel is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a Guggenheim Fellow; and the recipient of the Hobson Award, a USA Fellowship grant, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, and the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence from Centenary College. Hempel is a founding board member of the Deja Foundation, which offers direct assistance to dogs rescued from high-kill shelters in an effort to empower small rescue organizations to support sustainable adoptions.
Former TSR contributor Alicia Mountain's poetry debut, High Ground Coward, has been awarded the 2017 Iowa Poetry Prize.
"Her voice is intimate, brash, always precise, heartbreaking in both its vulnerability and its authority. These poems are carried away by both lust and intelligence—this poet understand desire." —Brenda Shaughnessy, 2017 Iowa Poetry Prize Judge
Read three poems from High Ground Coward (Spring 2018, University of Iowa Press) that first appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of TSR here.