April Bernard’s most recent books are Brawl & Jag, a collection of poems, and Miss Fuller, a novel.
 (November 2016)


Cold Morning

A horse lay on the ground, ringed by sentinel horses of the same dark brown like a monochrome drawing, only not a drawing, early morning, a cold morning, beside the county road. I walked down the ditch and up to the fence …

The Dream Behind the Wall of Words

Jorie Graham at Harvard’s Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2003

From the New World: Poems 1976–2014

by Jorie Graham
Some writers prompt us to respond in kind, to reply—speaking out loud to the page, or scribbling notes, or, if we are writers ourselves, riding the energy of the words we have read to make our own. Among poets, surely Walt Whitman has always been one of those prompters—for good …

Lisbon, 1989

The new year lurched
on a clamor of horns
trash cans and firecrackers
rising up from the harbor
over the window sills
into a hotel room where
civility had just died.

‘In the Face of Our Ghastly Sexual Culture’

A.L. Kennedy, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2008

All the Rage

by A.L. Kennedy

The Blue Book

by A.L. Kennedy
“Why are you telling me this?” A friend often poses this dry and disconcerting question to the stories, fictional and otherwise, that come her way. Of all the reasons someone may tell a story—and there are many more than Cicero’s famous three, “to teach, to please, to move”—surely the most …


A New Trip to Lindgren Land

Astrid Lindgren with Inger Nilsson (right) as Pippi Longstocking, during the filming of Pippi in the South Seas, Sweden, 1969

I usually have no patience for “happy family” literature, not to mention the contemporary habit of adults reading mediocre books for “young adults,” whoever they might be. But when I read Astrid Lindgren’s Seacrow Island (1964), for the first time this spring, I liked it so much that I consumed it slowly, like a savored cake. A month later I read it again, perhaps even more deliberately. It is a beautiful book, for adult readers as well as the children to whom it could be read.

Laura’s World

Carrie, Mary, and Laura Ingalls, circa 1879–1881

The knowledge that I was only one of a crowd of children devoted to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories of American pioneer life could not have altered the intensity of my personal attachment to the brave, and often surprisingly lonely, heroine, the girl Laura whose travels with her family take her from the Big Woods of Wisconsin to Indian Territory (Kansas); then to Minnesota and, finally, Dakota Territory, in the years from 1869 to 1883. By fifteen, I was already nostalgic for Laura’s world and for my eight-year-old self who had first discovered it.

Mice: Naughty and Nice

The mice in The Tailor of Gloucester

As with many classics, if Beatrix Potter’s tales have become invisibly “charming,” it is time to return to them and see them anew. The Tale of Two Bad Mice captures perfectly not only Potter’s “subversive” side with respect to bourgeois society, but more primitively, her reworking of what we must surmise are the frustrations of her youth.