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Photograph by Daniel Terna

The Circle Is Now Complete

On September 30, 2016, Alex Bird joined Jack Hitt onstage at the Institute Library in New Haven, Connecticut, as part of the ongoing series “Amateur Hour,” in which various tinkerers, zealots, and collectors discuss their obsessions. Bird, who lives in Kingston, New York, works to restore cognitive and social skills in survivors of brain injuries. He is ranked as a knight and deacon at the Temple of the Jedi Order, where he has three apprentices. The conversation that follows was recorded live and has been edited for brevity and meaning.

North and Norths, True and Otherwise

If I move a block of stone into the green-wood sector of the bagua, will my children grow up to be dull? If I put my desk next to a window, will my thoughts become insipid? Where is the dragon sleeping? Practitioners of feng shui, the Chinese art of geomancy, worry about such things—and not least whether in calculating the most propitious placement of a building, the orientation should be to magnetic north or to true north.

North, to a proto-Indo-European traversing the steppes a few thousand years back, was simply the direction the left hand pointed in when one faced the rising sun, a position that changed throughout the year. Our notion of north is based on a finer but still inexact science, its core assumption that we live on a perfect orb that spins along at a uniform rate. We do not, and it does not. Still, true north is a geometric concept that posits a line, a meridian, wrapping neatly around the planet. Also called geodetic north, it is constant to the extent that, for our lifetimes, it points pretty much toward Polaris, our North Star for the next few thousand years.

VQR Online

VQR Thanks Outgoing Publisher Jon Parrish Peede

September 28, 2016

Virginia Quarterly Review Publisher Jon Parrish Peede, who has led the publication for the past five years, has resigned effective September 30 to return to his writing career, nonprofit consulting, and arts advocacy. 

This year, Peede oversaw the operational transition of VQR from the office of the Vice President for Research to the newly established Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. Media Studies Professor Siva Vaidhyanathan, the founding director of the center, thanked Peede for his service to the publication.

“Jon Peede has served VQR with creativity and commitment through much transition,” Vaidhyanathan said. “He served during a time of great financial pressure on magazines. Throughout his time with VQR, the magazine published some of the finest prose, fiction, poetry, and photography in the world.”

The Death of Pablo Neruda

May 5, 2015

“Looking back now, I could have so easily walked to that cemetery and joined the men and women chanting next to his coffin,” Ariel Dorfman confesses. In addition to the documentary, "The Death of Pablo Neruda," this multimedia work includes an essay, “From Beyond the Grave,” by Dorfman, poetry by Martín Espada and Idra Novey, and a translation of Neruda’s poem “XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu” by Mark Eisner.

VQR Nominated for Four National Magazine Awards

January 15, 2015

The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) today recognized the Virginia Quarterly Review with four nominations for its prestigious National Magazine Awards—the magazine world’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes. VQR was named as a finalist [...]