Jesse Sheidlower on profanity, cocktails, and the old practice of new words

On a rainy afternoon in Midtown, I ordered a cup of coffee and waited to meet Jesse Sheidlower, lexicographer and the former editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary, as well as the Historical Dictionary of American Slang. Jesse is also the co-owner of a semi-secret

Winter Contest Update by Issue 56 Managing Editor, Etan Nechin

Dear fellow readers and writers, Columbia Journal finds the writing it publishes in two ways. First, we use our literary noses, to follow the paper trail of words, track down our favorite writers, and chase lines as journalists chase leads. Our print editors have been

from Museums of Art by Judith Serin

THE HAGUE Rembrandt’s Night Watch You are ten years old in The Hague in Amsterdam, sitting on a bench and telling your eight-year-old sister stories. She has refused to take another step in a museum, and your parents have left her in your care. She wearied of culture

photo cred: Bustle

Jeannie Vanasco on writing a memoir, sticking to your vision, and her three-legged cats by Daphne Palasi Andreades

photo cred: Bustle When I read Jeanne Vanasco’s debut memoir, The Glass Eye (Tin House, 2017), the book left me crying on a subway train in Brooklyn. When I met with the author at Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore, a week after the release of The

Two poems by Jared Harel

Old Testament You tell me you are ruthless and vengeful as God. Then you grab me and kiss me hard on the lips. I love God I answer, tasting the blood. I say God you look good with your buttons undone.   Requiem for a

Honorable Mentions

We were fortunate to receive an incredible number of submissions from some supremely talented writers, but unfortunately didn’t have the space to feature all of our best-loved contributions. Here, in no particular order, we wanted to name a few whose work was particularly outstanding. In Fiction:

Veterans Day 2017: Poetry by Tricia Knoll

Unrung Bells Good Housekeeping reports the most popular novel the year of my birth, Miracle of the Bells, told a story about a second-rate actress   who died playing Joan of Arc for film. The last President sang Amazing Grace for the gun-down slaughter of

Veterans Day 2017: Fiction by Joseph Levens

SOLDIER DOWN Under the sun umbrella on the patio deck, fanning herself to keep the heat off, Milly reads correspondence from long ago. “These dog days in New Britain are all the same, a quiet silence before the storm.” The penmanship is poor, but the

Veterans Day 2017: Nonfiction by Eric Chandler

The Big Red One I stepped out of the hotel where Georgia O’Keeffe lived in New York City and into the urban canyon. The blue light of the clear skies bled to gray among the buildings. The breeze blew the pom-poms and hair of the

Veterans Day 2017: Guest Editor Brian Castner

At Columbia Journal, we believe the stories and voices of our service members should be celebrated within creative communities and circulated among the people for whom they served. In honor of Veterans Day 2017, we have invited guest editor Brian Castner to curate writing and creative expressions concerning

El Gringo Ancianísimo by Andrew J. Hogan

After I was discharged from the Marines, I needed a VA hospital not too far away from home that had the facilities to take care of my back injury. There are some small VA facilities closer to Ojinaga, where I was born and lived most

Call for Submissions: Veterans Day Issue with guest editor

Brian Castner

“War is what happens when words fail.” -Margaret Atwood At Columbia Journal, we believe that the stories and voices of our service members should be celebrated within our creative communities and circulated among the people for whom they served. This November, we hope to bring

2017 Winter Contest

Our annual writing contest is open until December 1st. The winner will have their work published in the print issue 56 of Columbia Journal and receive a $500 prize. Our 2017 judges are: Karan Mahajan – Fiction Bianca Stone – Poetry Valeria Luiselli – Nonfiction

Anti-Escapist Literature:
Anxiety in Fiona Maazel’s
A Little More Human
by Michelle Hogmire

Near the conclusion of Fiona Maazel’s present-day tragicomedy, A Little More Human (Graywolf, April 2017), our hero Phil Synder returns to a toy store where he used to work weekends. Phil, an almost middle-aged Staten Islander, is going through a rough patch, mostly involving a

5 Poems by Patrick Kindig

Break   For weeks two rabbits have sat evenings in the grass outside   my apartment. They have been watching me eat pomegranate flesh, naked,   seen me leave behind the seeds. Something I have recently learned:   the body has enough blood for the

By The Waters: Nonfiction by Annalise Mabe

“The sea is not a question of power I have to learn alone” —Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck” On the playground, we draw lines in the sand with sticks. There is us and there is them. There is safe on base, or unsafe—free or

Columbia Journal Cover

The new issue of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art is here!

The new issue of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art is here! We’re delighted to announce the new print issue of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. Featuring fiction by Ottessa Moshfegh, poetry by Micheal Earl Craig and Brenda Hillman, translations of Eka Kurniawan

Winter Contest Winners Announced!

The Columbia Journal is pleased to announce the winners of its 2016 Winter Contest! Each award comes with a prize of $500 (per category), and the winner(s) of each category will have their work published in the forthcoming issue (Issue 55) of Columbia Journal, which


In other words, a whore — Shelley Puhak’s DETAINED: A Genealogy…

By Shelley Puhak DETAINED: A Genealogy of Whores and Wolves Editor’s Note. We’re re-posting this piece from Columbia Journal’s print Issue 54 at her request, and because it’s timely. We hope you enjoy it. 1. The Buttonhook Men turned her eyelids inside out to check for

Credit Pixabay

Atar Hadari’s It’s Not Your Fault

By Atar Hadari   It’s Not Your Fault   When they see your face and smile It’s not your colour scheme they see, Not your teeth, your eyes, your style But every name their grandchildren will hear   Walking in the gate at school. Every

Credit - Pixabay

Tony Concannon’s A Brief Opportunity

by Tony Concannon Editor’s note: while the Election & Politics Feature received an incredible volume of outstanding submissions, our guest editor and our staff had to decide which pieces fit our vision for the feature. A lot of great work went into pieces that we

(Politics) Dmitry Borshch’s illustrations: Short-Fingered Vulgarian?

By Dmitry Borshch   More of Dmitry’s illustrations can be found at and         More of Dmitry’s illustrations can be found at and Dmitry Borshch was born in Dnepropetrovsk, studied in Moscow, today lives in New York. His

Moscow Pixabay

(Politics) Ken Walker’s translation of Georg Herwegh’s To The Federal Labor Unions

By George Herwegh Translated by Ken Walker Author’s note: This translated poem has been brought into English from the German, by Georg Herwegh: 19th century poet and letter writer, philosopher of sorts, friend to Marx and Engels, who has barely published in English. The poem comes from Herwegh’s first book

Pixabay Party

(Politics) Becca Shaw Glaser’s I Look Around My Party There’s So Much White, and two more poems

I look around my party there’s so much white By Becca Shaw Glaser skin and everyone drinking or laughing parties aren’t so bad it’s just that I’m older now and angrier or less angry and I worry I’m going crazy because I’m trapped by my

Alia Ali

(Politics) Alia Ali’s transglobal textiles: People of Pattern / Cast No Evil

by Alia Ali This series is an important platform in itself to participate in dialogue. It is for this reason that I chose to continue with this style and develop it in regards to indigenous textiles of particular regions, in a new series called the

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(Politics) Steven Roiphe’s Naturalisation Exam & Joobin Bekhrad’s Response

By Steven Roiphe Editor’s note: our guest editor, Joobin Bekhrad, has volunteered his own answers to the Naturalisation Exam, in italics. Read more, below. What is your Country of Origin? (If Africa, complete Part D, “Renunciation of Plausible Muslim Heritage,” and continue the Exam. If Middle


(Politics) Duff Allen’s Amerikan Politicking Kurtains 1, 2, 3

by Duff Allen Presidential Motorcade Limousine Game The ten car motorcade spirits the President of the United States to the next presidential location. Part of the unsuccessful importance of this is to create a moving image filmed in real time which creates for the millions

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(Politics) Poems “Restive” and “Fortune of the Righteous” by Hugh Anderson

by Hugh Anderson RESTIVE The throngs are restive, no longer enamored of the circuses, no longer so sure words matter.  Sucking the last morsel of fish off bony fingers, eyeing the neighbours’ crumbs of bread, they expect someone to work a miracle  done once, and millions

Bernard Hayman

(Politics) On Anti-Blackness with Activist, Writer, Fulbright Scholar Bernard Hayman and Shaun Lau

This interview was originally published on, read & listen here: Shaun Lau is an Asian-American occasional writer and host of the film and social issues podcast No, Totally! Follow him on Twitter, @NoTotally, and find his work at . Bernard A. Hayman

Pixabay Credit

(Politics) Today’s Eve, by DB Rhys

by DB Rhys IMAGINE ME, moving around a cramped apartment, on the mend. I look like an old man, but I’m not. I feel like it’s been centuries, it hasn’t been, but it feels like it has. Depending on the time of day, if you

Pixabay imagery

(Politics) American Mercury, by Carolyn Williams-Noren (With Editorial Response)

by Carolyn Williams-Noren Selected by Guest Editor Joobin Bekhrad (Headlines from the magazine, June 1932 to May 1939) American Mercury America’s Number One Fool The Truth About Hair Tonics Is Roosevelt a Socialist? Are Dogs People? What is Mussolini? What About “The Revolution”? The Boast

Future World Imagery Scary

(Politics) THIS IS A REALLY GREAT STORY, by Gerry Mandel (With Editorial Response)

by Gerry Mandel Selected by Guest Editor Joobin Bekhrad Mr. Bekhrad: In a situation like this, I think I’d ask myself, What would Omar Khayyam do? Warm evenings in Costa Rica, ‘colourful rum drinks’, and nubile housekeepers named Marcella sound right up his alley. Count me

(Politics) The Pope must canonize a Patron Saint of Rats right now

by Jennifer Clark Oh, saints of sudden death, miscarriage of justice and babies, saints of running sores and Polish dishes, we are running out of time. We must strengthen the saints among us and canonize quickly a saint for protection from rats. Benjamin, Lilly, Jason,

A drawing of a sheep

(Politics) “The US Election: a Timeless View from Abroad” & accompanying poem, by Dr. Mario Petrucci

By Dr. Mario Petrucci “I’ll drink to that, Mario. Martin Luther King quoted Omar Khayyam, as has Bill Clinton, so I don’t see why the candidates can’t just crack open a bottle of fine Shiraz wine and let it all ‘sparkle from their lips’. That’s

A picture of a monkey and a human

(Politics) Donald Trump’s Response to The Little Prince, by Judith Terzi

by Judith Terzi “There goes the gluten-intolerant vote.” -Guest editor Joobin Bekhrad “Goodbye, says the fox. Here is my secret…One sees only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” The Little Prince, Antoine Saint-Exupéry We do have baobabs, little man. We call

(Politics) Editor’s Choice: Make America Literal Again by Krista Cox

Make America Literal Again By Krista Cox Selected by Guest Editor Joobin Bekhrad   There’s this guy on the TV everywhere I go these days. His voice grates on me like parmesan on a Caesar, but not the green plastic cylindrical kind that Mom always

(Politics) The Populist by Jack Belch; Response by Guest Editor Joobin Bekhrad

Populism by Jack Belch The smile so warm, so firm the grasp yet eyes so cold the heart is told the hand is but an uncoiled asp. We know the truth without reflection: someone is running for election.     A response by our guest

Joobin Bekhrad

(Politics) A Note from Joobin Bekhrad, Our Guest Editor

Hello! It’s a pleasure and honour to be serving as the Guest Editor of the Columbia Journal from now until the presidential elections in early November. I’m incredibly thankful to the Journal’s fabulous team for having had me in mind for the gig, and am

(Politics) Submit Now to the Election & Politics Feature

Do you want to be president someday? How do you feel about monarchies and queens? Have you survived an upbringing in a dictatorship? Submit The first themed feature for Columbia Journal’s website is “The Election & Politics”. Please submit to us, until November 7th, 2016

Letter from the Editor; Winter Contest; Fall Feature

By Andrew H. Miller, Online Managing Editor Dear Readers, When Columbia Journal was founded by its graduate writing program students in 1977, two central tenets were installed: first, that the journal staff must fill the pages with outstanding & promising poetry and prose, and second,

About the election & politics feature

Do you want to be president someday? How do you feel about monarchies and queens? Have you survived an upbringing in a dictatorship?


The first themed feature for Columbia Journal’s website is “The Election & Politics”. Please submit to us, until November 7th, 2016 (a deliberately chosen date), your poetry, essays, nonfiction, fiction, translated works, art, music, film, literary rants, polemics, prayers, and speeches concerning whatever burns brightest in your heart when we say the words “election” or “politics”.

Please keep in mind that we are a publication of literature and art, and we will publish works appropriate to those categories – we are not the news, and we are not a blog.

Guest editor Joobin Bekhrad will review the best submissions, and may comment on the ones he chooses for us to publish. We are grateful for his involvement, and hope to learn from his unique perspective as a writer and editor.