Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.
This week at The Paris Review, we’re celebrating the return of spring. Read on for Antonella Anedda’s Art of Poetry interview, Souvankham Thammavongsa’s short story “The Gas Station,” and Diane di Prima’s poem “Song for Spring Equinox.”
If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to The Paris Review? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.
Antonella Anedda, The Art of Poetry No. 109
Issue no. 234 (Fall 2020)
What is your earliest memory of poetry?
The first poem I ever heard was by Aleksandr Blok, on the radio in a small village in Sardinia. It’s an early work that begins, “Carried on the breeze, / the Spring’s music drifted from far, far away.” The poem was about space and wind—how the wind breaks open the clouds to reveal a strip of blue sky.
The Gas Station
By Souvankham Thammavongsa
Issue no. 228 (Spring 2019)
The gas station was on the edge of town, before you hit the interstate. It was bright green like a tennis ball. Easily spotted from miles away. This was where he worked. The gas station man. He came out to pump the gas. He was not beautiful, but she liked looking at him. Grotesque seemed right to describe him. It was not yet spring. The white sand in the town still glimmered. The ocean still swelled, wave after wave crashed into shore. There was a chill in the air, but he was shirtless. He had hair all over his chest. Like pubic hair. Messy and wet and shining. It was inappropriate to walk around like that.
Song for Spring Equinox
By Diane di Prima
Issue no. 44 (Fall 1968)
It is the first day of spring, the children are singing
(they are supposed to be sleeping) the clock is ticking
the cats are waiting for supper, one of them pregnant
kittens to herald the spring, nothing is blooming
nothing seems to bloom much around farms, just hayfields and corn
farms are too pragmatic, I look at ads
for hydrangea bushes, which I hate they remind me of brooklyn …
If you enjoyed the above, don’t forget to subscribe! In addition to four print issues per year, you’ll also receive complete digital access to our sixty-eight years’ worth of archives.