Mikhail Iossel

Mikhail Iossel was born in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia), where he worked as an electromagnetic engineer and a security guard at the Leningrad Central Park of Culture and Leisure, and belonged to an organization of "samizdat" writers before emigrating to the U.S. in 1986. He is the author of, most recently, of "Love Like Water, Love Like Fire," a collection of stories, " "Notes from Cyberground: Trumpland and My Old Soviet Feeling," and one previous collection of fiction: "Every Hunter Wants to Know." He is a frequent contributor to newyorker.com, and his stories and essays have also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. Iossel, a Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Arts, and Stegner Fellow, has taught in universities throughout the U.S. and is an associate professor of English at Concordia University in Montreal.

SENTENCE: I AM

By Mikhail Iossel / 2023 May 17
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Mikhail Iossel recalls a moment in Leningrad as an 8-year-old Jewish boy, a luminous moment of being, loss, love, and language. The latest installment of SENTENCE, Iossel’s series of stories in a single sentence.

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SENTENCE: CRYING

By Mikhail Iossel / 2023 May 10
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Mikhail Iossel’s friend has an after-dinner nap nightmare about a firing squad. The latest installment of Iossel’s stories in one sentence.

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SENTENCE: SWEDISH DEATH CLEANING

By Mikhail Iossel / 2023 May 3
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Mikhail Iossel is riding a city bus in Montreal and thinking about a recently dead friend and a man on the street who resembles the friend with whom he’s lost touch. It’s a no-story in a “hasty” sentence, the latest installment of Iossel’s stories (and non-stories) in a single sentence.

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SENTENCE: POSH LUST

By Mikhail Iossel / 2023 April 26
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Mikhail Iossel is having black tea and an almond croissant in a downtown shopping mall when a middle-aged man plunks himself down directly opposite Iossel at the otherwise empty long table. A life story in a sentence.

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SENTENCE: PEN MAN SHIP

By Mikhail Iossel / 2023 April 19
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Seven-year-old Mikhail Iossel is writing out the alphabet in a Soviet communal apartment. Clean writing in a sentence.

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SENTENCE: GERMANS LIKE HIM

By Mikhail Iossel / 2023 April 12
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In 1983 Leningrad, at an underground art exhibition, Mikhail Iossel meets a German man who tells Iossel how he survived the Nazi era. A story in a burning sentence.

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SENTENCE: WALTZ No. 2

By Mikhail Iossel / 2023 April 5
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Mikhail Iossel pauses in a Montreal metro underpass to listen to a busking middle-aged violinist playing Shostakovich’s “Waltz No. 2.” It’s a melody that can fit into a sentence.

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SENTENCE: DMD

By Mikhail Iossel / 2023 March 29
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Mikhail Iossel is on the Red Arrow night express train from Moscow to Leningrad on January 9, 1986, when he meets a fellow traveler with two bottles of brandy and a box of chocolates. It’s a journey that can be told in a sentence.

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