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Redux: Not an After-School Special

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Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.


John McPhee, ca. 2009. Photograph courtesy of the Princeton University Office of Communications.

This week at The Paris Review, it’s back to school. Read on for John McPhee’s Art of Nonfiction interview, Shanteka Sigers’s short story “A Way with Bea,” and Melanie Rehak’s poem “Self-Portrait as the Liberal Arts.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to The Paris Review? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.


John McPhee, The Art of Nonfiction No. 3
Issue no. 192 (Spring 2010)

Writers develop slowly. That’s what I want to say to you: don’t look at my career through the wrong end of a telescope. This is terribly important to me as a teacher of writers, of kids who want to write.



Photo: Fortepan / Urbán Tamás. CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons.


A Way with Bea
By Shanteka Sigers
Issue no. 234 (Fall 2020)

The Teacher puts down her fork and stares at her husband. A worn white tablecloth edged in lace tries to put her in the spirit of their honeymoon. But it is hard to remember the man who grinned at her across lopsided wooden tables in tiny restaurants in the Caribbean while looking at him here with his mouth only half lifted in a smirk. She leans back, withdrawing from him. “I am aware that teaching is not going to be like a made-for-TV movie or an after-school special, and fuck you,” says the Teacher.



Photo: Simon Bastien. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.


Self-Portrait as the Liberal Arts
By Melanie Rehak
Issue no. 165 (Spring 2003)

The addition of solitude untrammeled,
one and more and more but always
the inner life astray,
that equation incompatibly private.

The errors unrepenting that will not
come out right.

Tautology, tautology. What I’ve said
in argument cannot be taken away.
I’ve emptied my pockets of change …


If you enjoyed the above, don’t forget to subscribe! In addition to four print issues per year, you’ll also receive complete digital access to our sixty-eight years’ worth of archives.

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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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