On the Buka Islands off the coast of New Guinea there has recently been observed an unexplained surge in the population of the genus Ciconia ciconia, commonly known as the Indone- sian stork. Not only has each generation greatly outnumbered its predecessors in aggregation, but the newer storks are also found, at maturity, to have surpassed the size and body weight of their progenitors by up to twenty percent, the most recent hatchlings having already, after only one month, far outgrown their parents and achieved a wingspan of 6.4 feet — an unprece- dented length in all previously observed stork populations, including the mammoth South American eagle stork. Scien- tists have attempted to evaluate all environmental influences, assessing possible fluctuations in water temperature due to industrial activities, tidal disturbances and global warming; changes in rainfall; effects of regional nautical and aviation patterns; et cetera. They have also gathered meticulous data on any and all conc…
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Episode 22: “Form and Formlessness”
In an essay specially commissioned for the podcast, Aisha Sabatini Sloan describes rambling around Paris with her father, Lester Sloan, a longtime staff photographer for Newsweek, and a glamorous woman who befriends them. In an excerpt from The Art of Fiction no. 246, Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti discuss how writing her first novel helped Cusk discover her “shape or identity or essence.” Next, Allan Gurganus’s reading of his story “It Had Wings,” about an arthritic woman who finds a fallen angel in her backyard, is interspersed with a version of the story rendered as a one-woman opera by the composer Bruce Saylor. The episode closes with “Dear Someone,” a poem by Deborah Landau.
Rachel Cusk photo courtesy the author.
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