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Call for Submissions: Shadow Play and Light Work

There is a term in visual art called chiaroscuro, which, in Italian, can translate to a compound phrase: lightdark. In this year’s series for Portland Review, two of the oldest artistic tropes— shadow and light—meet another profoundly finicky duality: work and play. You can’t have one without the other. Or can you?  Everyday, some work at dawn, some the graveyard shift; kids play at recess…

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Fifth Position: Unlocking Space

In the spring of 1983, Russian choreographer George Balanchine, at the age of seventy-nine, lay dying of a rare neurological disorder in Roosevelt Hospital. According to his biography by Bernard Taper, dancers from the New York City Ballet, the company Balanchine founded and spent a lifetime nurturing, came by to visit in dribs and drabs, for he had been there for many months. Not only…

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The Folk Singer

Her first harmonica was a cheap Toysmith—plastic under silver paint—that ’er daddy picked up on ’is way home from work without thinkin’ the littlest bit about it. It was a toy, was all. So was ’er first guitar: an ugly purple thing with a princess on it that hadn’t been the full-size, beat-to-hell beauty she’d dreamed of after seein’ an old Willie Nelson concert on…

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Dear/From

Letter as Dream Interpretation i had a dream where mama shot you. she felt so terrible, the moment she did it, i could feel it radiating out of her. and you, broken on the ground, only wanted to weep in my lap. i hugged you with such force that your wound lessened and soon it was only a scar, a memory of what she had…

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Things We Fed to the Sinkhole

It was April or May when the earth opened up to swallow part of Canal Street, and we decided to celebrate. Lou Ellen Beaumont was walking her dog very early in the morning when it happened. She heard a crumbling sound, like someone taking an enormous bite of very stale sourdough, and when she looked to her right she saw that the pavement had collapsed….

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