My stepson worked in President Obama’s mailroom when he was in college. He referred to it as the “mailroom of the free world,” which made Jeanne Marie Laskas burst out laughing. She had never heard anybody say it that way. Though my knowledge of the minutiae of my stepson’s days there is scant,…

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  • Issue Quarter Between the Issues
  • Issue Year 2018
  • Sub Heading Author explores letters from America to Barack Obama
“Prismatic” is how the late poet Wanda Coleman once described her smart, resonant American sonnets in a 2002 radio interview with writer Paul Nelson. The impetus of her avant-​garde style was to approach the old form in a new way, making it a more stimulating way to express anger and satire, allowing her…

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  • Issue Quarter Between the Issues
  • Issue Year 2018
The thing to understand about Rob Ruck is that he’s a runner — a distance runner and a daily runner. He’s the type of guy to run the Pittsburgh marathon a bunch of times, and when he is not running, he is at loose ends and out of sync. This devoted runner is also a…

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  • Issue Quarter Between the Issues
  • Issue Year 2018
There’s a favorite scene in Don DeLillo’s sprawling masterpiece of a novel, “Underworld,” where a priest asks his student to name the parts of the boots the pupil’s wearing. The young man struggles with the assignment, allowing the priest to walk him through each aspect of this common accessory, an extension of the…

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  • Issue Quarter Between the Issues
  • Issue Year 2018
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