In the tradition of Martin Amis, Joshua Ferris, and Sam Lipsyte—set against the stunning mountainous backdrop of La Paz and interspersed with Bolivia’s sad history of stubborn survival—Peter Mountford examines the critical choices a young man makes as his world closes in on him.
While writing about economics in Ecuador for a nonprofit think tank, Peter Mountford noticed his byline read “senior associate” for a hedge fund he’d never heard of. It turned out the think tank was running the hedge fund out of its back office—inspiration for A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism. Mountford has lived in Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles, as well as Scotland, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, and Southern Mexico. His fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2008, Boston Review, and Conjunctions.
Chang’s poems narrate grief and loss, and intertwines them with hope for a fresh start in the midst of new beginnings. With topics such as frustration with our social and natural world, these poems openly question the self and place and how private experiences like motherhood and sorrow necessitate a deeper engagement with public life and history.
From "The Winter's Wife":
I want wild roots to prosper
an invention of blooms, each unknown
to every wise gardener. If I could be
a color. If I could be a question
of tender regard. I know crabgrass
and thistle. I know one algorithm:
it has nothing to do with repetition
or rhythm. It is the route from number
to number (less to more, more
to less), a map drawn by proof
not faith. Unlike twilight, I do not
conclude with darkness. I conclude.
Jennifer Chang is the author of The History of Anonymity, which was a finalist for the Glasgow/Shenandoah Prize for Emerging Writers and listed by Hyphen Magazine as a Top Five Book of Poetry for 2008. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry 2012, The Nation, Poetry, A Public Space, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at George Washington University and lives in Washington, DC with her family.