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The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

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John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

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Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

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Helen Pfeifer

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Blake Morrison

Piketty’s Revolution

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

Three poemsMiller Oberman
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Riddle 78

Often I [            ] floods [            ]
[        ] a kind of [    ] minnows
and [                                              ]
[                   ] me to [                    ]
[            ] as I to him [                  ]
[            ] not at home sat
[                ] the deep sea killed
through skill-work [          ] bent on the brim of the sea.

Riddle 82

The thing is [                ]
[        ] is going, giant, swilling
[                                                      ]
skin not made of flesh, feet [    ]
[                                                      ]
shall mark us all [                       ].

Riddle 97

Once he was alone and worked alone,
read alone, and cooked and ate alone
a red supper, a red celebration,
for when you are cut loose, drifting
as he was, not even trailing strings
behind, it’s necessary, sometimes
to tie down to something central,
embodied, hot. A steak, skillet-
seared, bloody. A bunch of beets
roasted, green tops torn off.
A bottle of wine, garnet-dark.

That was all.
                                    Except to say
he ate in a cave by a pit of dragon-
scale coals. The stone hole glowed.
The coals spat sparks in their ash bed.
The shadows sung softly, susurrant.
They might have been dancing
but were not, only made a sound
which entered him like dance
until he dug in the coals with a branch
then tossed the branch on their backs.
If wispily it smoked through its leaves
                  who, then, flamed?

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