A recap of the week at Atticus Review, along with some extras.
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Dear Friend,

I have some disturbing news...

The Matrix is broken. Or at the very least, short-staffed. 

Why, you ask? How do I know? 

It's not just the big-world surreal things—Brexit, or this non-stop American reality-TV political situation we're in—I've been noticing small echoes. Things in my own life. Things that happen and then happen again. Not Déjà-vu, mind you. Not that. 

These echoes are more like repeated patterns, phrases, words, images. I will think about a friend I haven't talked to in a long time, and then that person will contact me. I will think about a song, and then later that song will play on the radio, and later still somebody will play me that song on the phone from a different continent. I will have a conversation about "erasure poems" with a friend and then the next day in my feed I will learn that another friend has just published two erasure poems. 

You can call these coincidences. If you're highfalutin, you can use a word like stochasticity. But I prefer to think of them as echoes in The Matrix.

Look, this week, there was evidence for me right in the Atticus publishing stream. Here's how it happened. A few weeks ago I had seen, for the first time, a painting called Judith Slaying Holofernes. I lingered on it. It affected me. I looked up more information about the painting. I learned a little about the artist, Artemisia Gentileschi. Then this week, I was working on a daily Atticus post—a creative nonfiction piece scheduled by our CNF Editor, Dorothy Bendel: Self Portrait as Allegory of Self by Michelle Donahue. And as I read the piece, I realized it featured the very same Gentileschi painting. 

Coincidence? Or Matrix Echo? I think you know. 

My friends have been mentioning similar things. Disturbances. Tremors. Something seems to be happening. Something with reality. Our perception of reality. It's all shifting. We're beginning to see the cogs in the machine.

And here's the thing: the folks at The Matrix know we're getting wise to this stuff. They know things are breaking down and so they're planting people and things to help re-establish our sense of normalcy. But at the same time they keep losing good programmers to higher paying jobs in other reality systems. And so they can't keep up. They've had to bring in the scab team. Amateurs. And those goof-offs keep messing it up.

Take this week's bumble: the arrest of the intelligence contractor who leaked classified information. Did you pay attention to her name? I mean, come on. All I can think is that right now, some slacker scab programmer at The Matrix is packing a bowl, eating M&Ms, and watching re-runs of Three's Company, and realizing that he forgot to actually name this woman. When he created this program, when he wrote the lines of code for the leaker, he was so tired and overworked (and, well let's admit it, stoned) he couldn't think up a name and so, figuring he'd change it later, he just was like, well, she's going to help re-align reality, and so: "REALITY WINNER [NOTE: CHANGE THIS LATER]."

Look, reality is breaking—the illusion of reality is breaking—but we can begin anyway. We can re-align reality for ourselves through art. Through writing. Through music. Bob Dylan released his Nobel Lecture for Literature this week. We've highlighted some of it in a post below. If it isn't a perfect example of re-aligning reality (of the very idea of what a Nobel Lecture can be) I don't know what is. 

Donahue's CNF piece ends with this: "I walk hand-in-hand with my boyfriend. We take pictures of ourselves reflected in mirrors. We capture a fraction of our faces, choose the angle, the portion exactly how we’d like."

Don't forget, you guys: There is no spoon.

We're glad you're here.

David Olimpio, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

PS: There might not be a spoon, but there's still a Weekly Atticus.


FERAL TOWN by Adam Gustavson

BOOK REVIEW: The Performance of Becoming Human, by Daniel Borzutzky
Review by Dylan Kinnett

"The lines of these poems, and the demarcations they make, have an incantatory quality, the way a dark lullaby should.​"

By Claire Guyton

"Still. On heavy days gone gun-metal gray, when a thunderhead gathers and then, in a furious instant that always comes sooner than she thinks, splits the sky, Marsha slows whatever she’s doing. Slows, slows, and then stops. To wait. To count. In these moments she is exquisitely aware of her breath, her heartbeat, the tingle in the palms of her hands. She tastes copper at the back of her throat and then returns to movement by shaking her head in admiration. Five times."

By Renee Emerson

"I’ll swab the mouths of toilets
to learn Latin conjugates;
I’ll dab dust from every surface
to learn trigonometry, physics."

By Michelle Donahue

"I write fiction, because I’m more interested in others' stories than my own. But I understand the power of self-portraiture, of creating yourself exactly the way you are, if you want to. But this also is fiction—a creation of what you want, a mode of being exactly how you want."

By Alison Lanier

"Out of the dumpster fire that has been the DC cinematic universe post-Nolan, finally, we have a genuine beacon...Wonder Woman isn’t decked in stars and stripes, but in dyed and gilded armor that represents her utopian home...she isn’t co-opted by a patriarchal nation, but rather independent in her actions and alliances...she’s an emblem of responsible power, godly force, and genuine good will, just as Marston imagined her."


by David Olimpio

"When Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, I wrote about how it was a wake-up call for literature. I still believe that. I’ve never been a huge Dylan fan to be honest, but I thought awarding the prize to him was important. Some of the best modern poets have been musicians.Here are some of my favorite parts of Dylan’s impressionistic Nobel Lecture, released this week."

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