• Poetry

    By Jennifer Clarvoe

    I wrote, day after day, about the bee
    in the begonia – bees, I should say, though it was only
    one at a time, amid the many blossoms.
    I took pictures through the window with my iPhone: ...

New at Zócalo


A Disquieting Look at Life Around the Caspian Sea

Photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews Captures the Geography of the Land and the Practices That Connect People to It

  The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland body of water, nestled between Europe and Asia, and surrounded by five countries: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. Through history, the area has been under the sway of the Persians, the Mongols, the Ottomans, and the Russians.
  For five years, from 2010-2015, British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews traveled throughout this part of the world, chronicling its people, politics, and geography. Her photos detail not only the elements of its famous geology—which include oil and uranium—but also the practices that connect residents to a land they see as by turns mystical, practical, religious, and therapeutic. In her photos, Azeris seek healing by sitting in baths of crude oil in the town of Naftalan, Azerbaijan, while two Kazakh sisters walk through a field of rock towards an underground mosque. ...

Connecting California

Yosemite Is Not for Claustrophobes

As It Accommodates Millions of Visitors a Year, California’s Signature National Park Feels Less Like an Escape

Joe Mathews

  The Yosemite National Park shuttle bus to Mariposa Grove wasn’t running. And the road up to the grove is no longer open to private cars. Would my three sons, ages 10, 8, and 5—aka the Three Stooges—agree to a 2 1/2 mile uphill hike to see Yosemite’s signature sequoias?
  While I have been going to Yosemite since I was a kid, this month I made my first trip as a father. And I wondered if my city slicker boys could handle a visit to the Sierra wilderness. The Three Stooges are aggressive urbanites who haunt coffee shops, ride the Los Angeles Metro Rail, and are hard to coax outside for any adventure more ambitious than our local playground.
  I shouldn’t have worried. Today’s Yosemite has been changed so much by record crowds, and the limits put in place to try to control them, that it no longer feels like a place apart. Indeed, as California has become a state with the highest urban ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews


  • By Sophie Klahr

    Yes—alone, I could stop for anything.
    Fossil bed at a river’s ...

  • By Laton Carter

    Between sagebrush and the lichened rocks,
    a covey of quail ...