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Gettysburg Review
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Essays

Summer 1990 Edition Selections

“Paganini and the Powers of Darkness”

by Floyd Skloot

When others claimed to hear
Satan’s heartbeat in his sweet
tremolo, she remembered ebony
for Niccolo’s fingerboard landing
like grace around her. It gleamed
with the Lord’s truant light.


“Thirteen Ways of Looking at the National Endowment for the Arts”

by Paul Zimmer

National Endowment for the Arts is bored,
Sits by its bone in the yard and moans,
Rises to see if someone is at the window,
Hears nothing, sighs deeply,
Sits down again in the hole it has dug.


“The Mind of a Forest”

by Reg Saner

Our first forest may not have been the one in a mother’s voice reading “Hansel and Gretel.” Perhaps instead it was grown-ups seen from below, ones we literally clung to, looked up toward. Because infants begin on all fours among legs thick as tree trunks, subsequent forests, however trackless, may rise out of those.


“Relic”

by Robert Olen Butler

Something comes into your head as I speak: this is a hard man, a man of no caring, how can he speak of the “spineless poor.”I do not mean to say that these people are poor because they are cowards. I am saying that being poor can take away a man’s courage. For those who are poor, being beaten down, robbed of rights, repressed under the worst possible form of tyranny is not enough worse than just being poor. Why should they risk the pain and the maiming and the death for so little benefit? If I was a poor man, I too would be spineless.

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