"Can’t and Won’t": a short story by Lydia Davis

A new (very) short work.

I was recently denied a writing prize because, they said, I was lazy
What they meant by lazy was that I used too many contractions: 
for instance, I would not write out in full the words cannot and will not,
but instead contracted them to can’t and won’t.
 
The American writer Lydia Davis was recently awarded the Man Booker International Prize. She is the author of one novel and seven short story collections.

This article first appeared in the 03 June 2013 issue of the New Statesman, The Power Christians

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“Minoan pendant”: a new poem by Mark Granier

“Yes – I press my nose / to the pleasantly warm glass – / it’s a copy of one I saw / cased in the cool museum”

Yes – I press my nose
to the pleasantly warm glass –
it’s a copy of one I saw
cased in the cool museum –
gold beaten to honey, a grainy
oval dollop, flanked by two
slim symmetrical bees –

garland for a civilisation’s
rise and collapse, eye-dropped
five thousand years: a flash
of evening sun on a windscreen
or wing mirror – Heraklion’s
scooter-life buzzing and humming –

as I step in to browse, become
mesmerised by the warm
dark eyes of the woman
who gives her spiel and moves
softly and with such grace,
that, after leaving, I hesitate

a moment on the pavement
then re-enter with a question
I know not to ask, but ask
anyway, to hear her voice
soften even more as she smiles
and shakes her hair – no.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Haunt (Salmon).

This article first appeared in the 16 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Britain on the brink