LARB Quarterly, no. 38: Earth

August 2023124 pages

LARB Quarterly, no. 38: Earth

LARB Quarterly is our signature print magazine featuring original fiction, essays, and poetry. Earth is the second installment in our “Elemental Year” collection. Order your copy of Earth or subscribe to get the Earth issue plus the next four issues of LARB Quarterly. Join as an LARB member for a subscription, access to events, a tote and more!


In this elemental issue of LARB Quarterly, no. 38: Earth, we found new ways of looking at the planet. Writers were free to take up the theme casually or catastrophically, studying the earth beneath their fingernails or the planet from hundreds of thousands of miles away. We imagined being sealed outside, dreaming of coming home.

Salma Shamel remembers her brother and his struggles within his family’s faith, in an essay that gave the issue and its omnibus a tagline: “There is nothing redemptive or emancipatory in suffering.” Ali Bektaş digs into the history of cannabis farming. Laura Nelson’s account of Antelope Valley’s communist back-to-the-landers teaches us the challenges of building heaven in hell. Editor-in-Chief Michelle Chihara’s survey of illicit global finance systems tallies the true costs of capital flowing freely, in the dark, among walled-off fiefdoms. Camila Fabbri reports from the front lines of the war for romance—a nail salon in Buenos Aires—while Chris Molnar recounts listening to Art Pepper in L.A., “the beautiful dead end of America.” Gabi Reigh offers a translation of Max Blecher’s account of his time in a small French town that, in the early 20th century, specialized in treating tuberculosis patients. Juliana Spahr writes about the decay of bodies and what it does to those who inhabit them. This issue features new short fiction from Hallie Gayle and ML Kejera; poetry by Bryan ByrdlongAnders Carlson-WeeKim Ok (translated by Ryan Choi), Meghan Maguire DahnSandra Lim, and Jesse Nathan; and art from the likes of Nobuo SekineGauri Gill, and Rajesh Vangad. Through vibrant prose, poetry, art, and fiction, Earth renders life here as alien as it often is.