New Year’s Day 2016

New Year’s Day 2016

Feeling better because I looked up the verb to watch in the dictionary and its root is to awaken which isn’t sinister and since I was trying to figure out why it creeps me out so much that an old boyfriend is watching Latvian girls on his computer who do what...
Night

Night

On Sunday I crawled under a ladder while trying to hang curtains with a drill, in an old house that was newly mine, during a winter that just wouldn’t quit. One of the thin iron rods had fallen from my grasp, its hardware scattering like marbles beneath the bed. On...
A Brief Atmospheric Future

A Brief Atmospheric Future

If we’re to believe the neuroscientist Professor Marcus Pembrey, from University College London, who concluded that “Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory…phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders… [even] sensitivity to [a] cherry blossom scent…” then the...
Some Childhood Dreams Really Do Come True

Some Childhood Dreams Really Do Come True

Then I wanted to be a mermaid. But first, I needed the tits and the hair. Hair long enough that it fell in naked curves down my naked chest while I lounged on a rock, luring sailors with my song. Now I have tits and hair down to my ass....
Success and Prosperity

Success and Prosperity

A car hit our dog Prosperity not too long ago. The vet took out the staples in his body recently, and it looks like Prosperity has his health back. Prosperity’s big brother is Success. No one remembers when we started to call Success Success, as my grandma named him. (Grandma’s...
Safety

Safety

I’ve lived my life in safe places, not at risk except for boredom and its associated disorders. The farm was safe, my room upstairs with my brother, the pale kitchen where we ate, maple cupboards my dad built, and the plastic table we inherited and still fold our clothes on...
Meme 11

Meme 11

I was cast as one of two narrators in the kindergarten play. Hutchison Elementary, 1983. The Tawny, Scrawny Lion, adapted from a Little Golden Book. The script was ditto’d in landscape format, and sent home weeks in advance; the lavender lettering Mrs. Bunting was careful to highlight for each student. Tiny...
“La Vuoi una Mano?”

“La Vuoi una Mano?”

The old man is wearing a black trench coat and holding it wide open, showing a shriveled, pasty penis. “Cazzo,” I say, staring out the train window. Cappella Agnuzzo is one of the few stops on the single-track Ferrovia Lugano-Ponte Tresa line where a passing loop allows two trains traveling...
Blue

Blue

Years ago, Dad, you asked me at midnight to come outside. I followed you—of course I did—out of our house, into the humid dark. My feet brushed against the cool lick of grass, my hair lay still against my face in the unmoving night. Crickets whispered. A car on 55th...
The Woods Are Going to Close

The Woods Are Going to Close

Mother unzipped our snow pants and clumps of sawdust fell to the floor. Before that, the bloodhounds sniffed us, and their handlers asked us where we had been. The police needed to retrace our tracks, to know that the hounds had been on our heels. Before that, the man offered...
I Wonder What Happens Next

I Wonder What Happens Next

Sister, you already know what I am going to say. We leave our mother’s womb together. Our stomachs flower brownly into diapers. Screaming from our cribs, we watch colorful bears bounce across television screens. It is right that a bear should have a rainbow on its stomach. It is right...
Close to Shore

Close to Shore

In the months after his wife left, Thomas learned to cook. He matched socks and shopped for hair ties. His life, a labyrinth of small necessities, was not what he’d imagined. But, love. The girls need me, he told friends when they asked him to fish or hunt with them....
They Say

They Say

I’d take him home in a minute, they say. At the mall, the grocery store, while standing in line at the bank. When you finally reach the teller she says, I hope he is your deposit. Your baby smiles shyly, blinks his blue eyes and buries his face in your...
Foundation

Foundation

“That foundation there,” my father said, pointing as he drove, “was once a little bungalow that belonged to a woman named Betsy Williams.” He slowed so I could see the foundation, the cracked rocks hidden among the wild onion and witchweed. A sycamore grew where the living room had been....
Snapshot

Snapshot

I still cannot descend a steep flight of stairs or sit while someone leaves the table to fetch a camera without thinking of that Christmas fifty years ago, right after Great Uncle Earl had said the blessing in his Baptist deacon’s voice, when Great Aunt Velma (seventy-two at the time,...
Latest Issue
Issue 51 / January 2016

Issue 51 / January 2016

Our first issue of 2016, with wonderful essays from Abigail Thomas, Matthew Gavin Frank, Beth Ann Fennelly, Jeff Gundy, Dave Madden, Sharry Wright, Paul Crenshaw, Jericho Parms, Renée E. D’Aoust, Maggie Pahos, Leanna Petronella, Hayley LeMay, e.v. de cleyre, CB Anderson, and Bouiyan Chen’s “Success and Prosperity,” translated by Jennie Chia-Hui Chu.
Craft Essays

Craft Essays

Our Craft Section for the 51st issue features four new Craft Essays: Silas Hansen on the importance of asking hard questions, Randon Billings Noble on writers notebooks, Chelsey Drysdale on healthy expectations for writers,  and Sheila Madary on travel writing. We hope you find them of interest.  
Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Watch our book review section for regular updates on the best new nonfiction titles. We now publish reviews year-round, not only when new issues arrive.
The New Brevity Archives

The New Brevity Archives

In keeping with Brevity‘s mission to publish not only the finest work of contemporary nonfiction, but also thoughtful craft essays, we have created a series of tags that allow readers, writers, teachers, and students better access to our archives. You will now be able to find essays and craft-focused discussions under a number of different headings:...