excerpts

On Boulevard’s 100th Issue

One hundred is a kind of magical number equally shunned and celebrated. It’s the number associated with extreme old age but also with total success.

Of course, I was idealistic and somewhat naive when I invited several literary New York friends to discuss my idea for a new magazine in the late summer of 1984. When we first began discussing what kind of literary magazine we wanted Boulevard to be, no one thought that we ever had it 100 percent right. Far from it. The meeting was full of a sound and fury, and no one was really sure what we wanted it to signify. Gradually some principles emerged….

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Hanif Abdurraqib

How Can Black People Write About Flowers at a Time Like This

free love til the check comes & me & mine reach in our fruitless pockets
for the wallets we know we left at the crib next to the framed black & whites
of our divorced or widowed parents. there were hand drawn daisies on the
de la
soul album cover once & now I stay on that hippie shit, arms open the
length of a day’s

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Craft Interview: Jane Smiley

Craft Interview: Jane Smiley

Interviewing Jane Smiley means, if you’re the person asking the questions, you’re going to have to pick and choose. Since her 1980 debut, Barn Blind, Smiley has published a book at least once every other year. Her oeuvre is nothing if not diverse: an Agatha Christie-like mystery, a college politics farce, an Icelandic saga, and a Pulitzer-Prize-winning reimagining of King Lear. Her writing has the unique position of appealing to both literary and commercial crowds. All together it can be a little difficult to know where to begin, what to cover.

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Chana Kim

Looking for the House

My mother walks in front of me under the blazing sun, and I follow her. We are already lost in this neighborhood. The house we are looking for was probably demolished a long time ago. She lived here, in this inexpensive part of Seoul, during the 1960s. Since then, the maze of this area has been straightened by the last twenty years of development. Two large apartment complexes now cut the flow of the sprawl on the north and east. But when Mom and her family moved into this district, the labyrinth of narrow alleys, more than six hundred years old, led the townspeople to their tiny tile-roofed homes, sharing walls. My mother was a college student then. As the passage grows steeper, she remembers that she had to climb a hill to come home after school.

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Weike Wang

Hair

Shampoo is not enough. There is always conditioner, toner, essence, oil, serum, balm, and after that, cream, wax, pomade, mousse, gel, shine drops, moisturizing mist. The difference between moisturizing mist and moisturizing spray is huge. To achieve rocker girl texture, use mist and then wax. To build height at our roots, use spray and then gel.

The first time we pick up the curling iron, we burn ourselves. A large red mark appears across our necks and, embarrassed, we say we ran neck first into a tree. Across the street where the school bus is supposed to pick us up, we spot another girl who has run into the same tree. We smile, wave.

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