But it's a serious let down if the writer can't uphold the promise of such a great opener. No worries here: Townsend delivers. Her essay takes readers through her summer spent at this pond, and it is almost utterly painful when she must separate herself from the place (c'mon - no spoiler here - summers do come to an end).
How many of us know this very experience: "I was homesick for the pond for months after leaving it. I missed the silence and the stillness, nothing but the sound of owls calling at night and wind in the pines. I missed my meditative forays, alone in the canoe. I missed the sight of Grace, reading across the room. But more than anything else, I missed who I was at the pond. Or rather, I missed the way that I forgot myself in its presence. Returning to the normal world and resuming my studies was a letdown after living as elementally as I had. As time passed, I would slowly understand that, without intending to, we had in fact lived more deliberately at the pond than I realized." Double wow.
Read it. All of it.
Open Minds Quarterly is a publication of "poetry and literature of mental health recovery." The winners of their annual BrainStorm Poetry Contest for mental health consumers is divided over two publications. The first, second, and third-place poems are published in the spring issue, with honorable mentions following in the fall issue. The Honorable Mentions are "The Rain King" by Thomas Leduc, "Ophelia" by Ruthie-Marie Beckwith, "Observational" by Katy Richey, and "The 4th Floor" by Katy Richey.
Gabe Herron: You have to forget time because it's going to take how long it takes, not one minute longer, not one minute less.
Carrie Brown: I'm interested in how shockingly difficult it is to be good. And I'm interested in our failures in that regard—exactly how we fail and why, how we console ourselves and others, how we forgive ourselves and others, how we fail to forgive.
Stephanie Soileau [pictured]: I believe in storytelling as a way to map and explore the ambiguities of human experience, and it is this belief that motivates me as a fiction writer. Stories have given me a language to express the contradictions in my own experience, and because...
George Rabasa: The fragrant mess is being constantly stirred, the recipe changing, if not hour by hour, certainly from one week to the next: memory agitates, imagination warps, new stuff is learned and enters the mixture.
What’s with 3288? Purely a Michigan thing, as Editor-in-Chief John Winkelman tells me: “We wanted a name which reflected something about Michigan. Based on a survey done in 2000, Michigan has a total of 3,288 miles of coastline (including islands). However, with the rise in water levels over recent years, we may need to revisit this.”
A project of Caffeinated Press, established in 2014 as an independent publisher serving the authors and readers of the West Michigan community, The 3288 Review is dedicated to finding and showcasing literary and artistic talent with a particular focus on West Michigan. Winkelman explains the publication’s philosophy, “Literary journals provide a good point of entry for new writers, and can be more narrowly focused than can publishing companies as a whole. We feel that West Michigan talent is under-represented in the larger literary world, and we want to do something about that.”
Working alongside the editor-in-chief are Jason Gillikin (fiction editor), Elyse Wild (nonfiction editor), and Leigh Jajuga (poetry editor) who read all submissions blind, providing input and feedback. Accepted submissions are then “curated" for individual issues.
The 3288 Review readers can expect to find finely crafted arts and letters, with that particular focus on talent from West Michigan. Some recent contributors include Lisa Gundry, Jennifer Clark, Mary Buchinger, Z.G. Tomaszewski, Robert Knox, J.M. Leija, Elyse Wild, and Matthew Olson-Roy. The 3288 Review also just nominated two of their published writers for the Pushcart Prize: J.M. Leija, for her essay "Tacet" from issue 1.1, and Matthew Olson-Roy, for his short story "Our Monstrous Family" from issue 1.2.
Winkelman tells me that future plans for 2016 include a broader scope to include regional journalism and long-form interviews.
Submissions are accepted through the publication’s website on a rolling basis with deadlines for inclusion in each issue - roughly a month before the publication date.
FIRST PLACE: Doug Cornett, “Maybelline in the Tower"
SECOND PLACE: Will Jones, “The Shed”
HONORABLE MENTION: Elizabeth Kaye Cook, “The Body in Silence”
See a full list of finalists here.
The Massachusetts Review Winter 2015 includes two outstanding art features: Selections from Chuck Close Photographs which were on exhibit Sept. - Dec. 2015 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Museum of Contemporary Art and Selections from Women's Work: Feminist Art from the Smith College Museum Art Collection which were on exhibit Sept. 2015 - Jan. 2016. The cover features Bill T. Jones (2008) by Chuck Close.
It would appear that human faces have captured my attention for this week's picks. The Writing Disorder online lit mag features the illustrative art Alina Zamanova on its homepage as well as with a selection of her works in this quarter's issue.
The Whiting Award Selection Committee says the collection is “always in service of a moral vision, a deep concern for who we are, who we have been.”
Copies of The Black Maria can be pre-ordered from BOA Editions LTD website.
[quotes from BOA Editions LTD website]
The collection explores moments of loss and yearning in its fifteen short stories that, according to contest judge Phong Nguyen, “have you by the throat [ . . . ].”
Readers can have a small peek inside The Loss of All Lost Things and order a copy at the SPD website.
1st place goes to Gabe Herron [pictured] of Scappoose, OR, who wins $1500 for “Suzette.” His story will be published in Issue 99 of Glimmer Train Stories.
2nd place goes to Sam Miller Khaikin of Brooklyn, NY. She wins $500 for “A Working Theory of Stellar Collapse.”
3rd place goes to Cady Vishniac of Columbus, OH. She wins $300 for “Move.”
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Those needing a pick-me-up in the middle of these dark winter months can find copies of Beautiful Zero at the Milkweed Editions website.
First Prize: Shasta Grant [pictured], “Most Likely To”
Runner-up: Rob Howell, “Mars or Elsewhere”
Runner-up: Courtney Sender, “Black Harness”
Judge Ann Patchett writes:
In “Most Likely To,” Shasta Grant delivers a full narrative arc in four pages. Her characters experienced loss and were changed by it, a pretty remarkable feat to pull off in such a small space. Perfectly chosen details made both the characters and the setting memorable. This was the story that stayed with me.
Robert Howell gives us a completely delightful flight of imagination in “Mars or Elsewhere”. In dealing with a lover’s fantasy of what could happen were the couple to run off together, he creates a wild and atmospheric riff on possibility that read like jazz.
Courtney Sender matches the light topic of youthful lost love with the extreme heft of the Holocaust in “Black Harness” and comes up with a miraculous balance between the personal and the universal. I never could have imagined where this story was going and I was pleased by the surprise.The winner and runners-up can also be read online here.
I'm only selecting one cover this week because it is so profound. This cover image for The Georgia Review Winter 2015 is Mavis in the Back Seat by Cynthia Henebry, one of the photographers featured in The Do Good Fund: Southern Poverty Initiative. The Do Good Fund, a public charity based in Columbus, Georgia, is focused on building a museum-quality collection of contemporary Southern photography. Do Good's mission is to make its collection broadly accessible through regional museums, nonprofit galleries and nontraditional venues, and to encourage complimentary, community-based programming to accompany each exhibition. (Text excerpted from Do Good's website.)
Heidi Czerwiec, “Nervous Systems”
Christine Stewart-Nuñez, “Art of the Body”
Raquel Fontanilla, “Souvenir from Where You’ve Been”
Work by the winners is included in the Winter 2016 issue, available at the Baltimore Review website, and submissions for the journal re-open February 1.
- “Bergamo on a Postcard”; or, A Critical History of Cognitive Poetics by Nicholas Myklebust
- Aesthetics and Impossible Embodiment: Stevens, Imagery, and Disorientation by G. Gabrielle Starr
- A Mirror on the Mind: Stevens, Chiasmus, and Autism Spectrum Disorder by Mark J. Bruhn
- “The Eye’s Plain Version”: Visual Anatomy and Theories of Perception in Stevens by Deric Corlew
- Acoustic Confusion and Medleyed Sound: Stevens’ Recurrent Pairings by Roi Tartakovsky
1) Can poetry be taught?
2) Is there any value to students having a foundation in traditional prosody (meter, rhyme, fixed form, what have you)? Or should free-verse be the starting place? Or something else?
3) What poets have been the most useful to you in your teaching endeavors and why?
4) [After a "summary of a boilerplate class"] Can you imagine a radical revision of the way we teach poetry in the creative writing classroom? What would it look like? No workshop? No teacher? What more, or better, could we do?
Great questions with thoughtful and thought-provoking answers - which you have to get the issue to read - but also some great conversation starters for the teachers among us. How would you answer these?
NewPages can certainly believe you have done all that in five years. Like your readers, we appreciate every page, and we look forward to seeing many more years and pages! Happy Anniversary Gold Man Review!
If I had my druthers, Still Point Arts Quarterly would be featured here for every issue, along with just about every page of their publication. Each issue is a true meditation of art an literature. The Winter 2015 issue #20 features Square (XIII) by Susan Breen.
Lalitamba "is a journal of international writings for liberation." This 2015 cover gets my pick because, in the dead of winter, this says SUMMER to me and definitely liberates my mind from the cold and ice. [No credit given for the photo/model.]
"Equal," acrylic on canvas by Amy Guidry, graces the cover of Fourteen Hills (22.1: 2016), keeping with the publication's tradition for catchy, sometimes bordering on (good) bizarre images.
Comic scriptwriter Greg Wright and artist Ken Lamug are the creators of Monstrous, a four-comic series that “tells the tales of everyday monsters, robots, and townspeople caught up in the changes sweeping Europe in the wake of Dr. Frankenstein’s mad science. But even in this twisted landscape, our unconventional heroes—giant rabbit monsters, steam-powered cyborgs, and babysitting bank robbers—all try to live by their own code of honor.”
Source Point Press has optioned the series and will be releasing them as a book in addition to readers being able to get the series delivered one issue per month starting in February. Source Point Press says they are using Kickstarter as a way to better interact with their readers and offer up some great incentives – like SIGNED COPIES! My favorite!
Poetry Judge Eduardo Corral
Caitlin Scarano, “Between the Bloodhounds and My Shrinking Mouth”
Jennifer Givhan, “Town of Foolish Things”
LA Johnson, “Split-Level”
Caitlin Scarano, “To the City With Her Skull Wind”
A complete list of finalists can be found here.
Nonfiction Judge Kiese Laymon
John Murillo III, “Black (in) Time”
A complete list of finalists can be found here.
[Cover art: "Desire Is the Root of All Suffering" by Deedee Cheriel]
Hemingway's Spain: Imagining the Spanish World - a collection of thirteen essays edited by Carl P. Eby and Mark Cirino. The collection explores "Hemingway’s writing about Spain and his relationship to Spanish culture and ask us in a myriad of ways to rethink how Hemingway imagined Spain—whether through a modernist mythologization of the Spanish soil, his fascination with the bullfight, his interrogation of the relationship between travel and tourism, his involvement with Spanish politics, his dialog with Spanish writers, or his appreciation of the subtleties of Spanish values. . . a particular strength of Hemingway’s Spain is its consideration of neglected works, such as Hemingway’s Spanish Civil War stories and The Dangerous Summer."
Teaching Hemingway and War edited by Alex Vernon - fifteen original essays on such topics as:
The Violence of Story: Teaching In Our Time and Narrative Rhetoric
Hemingway’s Maturing View of the Spanish Civil War
Robert Jordan’s Philosophy of War in For Whom the Bell Tolls
Hemingway, PTSD, and Clinical Depression
Perceptions of Pain in The Sun Also Rises
Across the River and into the Trees as Trauma Literature
The final section provides three undergraduate essays examples.
Teaching Hemingway and Modernism edited by Joseph Fruscione presents "concrete, intertextual models for using Hemingway’s work effectively in various classroom settings, so students can understand the pertinent works, definitions, and types of avant-gardism that inflected his art. The fifteen teacher-scholars whose essays are included in the volume offer approaches that combine a focused individual treatment of Hemingway’s writing with clear links to the modernist era and offer meaningful assignments, prompts, and teaching tools."
Last Words of the Holy Ghost by Matt Cashion placed first in the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction through the University of North Texas Press. Chosen by Lee K. Abbott, the collection of 12 Southern Gothic short stories was released November 15. This is Cashion’s first short story collection.
Nate Liederbach’s short story collection Beasts You’ll Never See, winner of the 2014 Noemi Press Book Award for Fiction, “seeks to unearth the inevitable paradoxes of comedy and tragedy lurking under the skin of every human relationship, and it does so while also challenging its reader to question the emotional mechanisms that underpin conventional narratives.”
[Quote from SPD website.]
"Charles Baxter and MQR" by Laurence Goldstein
"What We Owe Each Other: An Interview with Charles Baxter" by Jeremiah Chamberlin
"A Tribute to Charles Baxter" by Matt Burgess
"Notes Toward a Baxterian Taxonomy" by Michael Byers
"Charles Baxter's Tuneful Bewilderment" by Matthew Pitt
"Darkness Outside the Door: Charles Baxter and the Meaning of Melodrama" by Joan Silber
"Minnesota Nice: The Depths and Limits of Charles Baxter's Good Behavior" by Valerie Laken
This issue of Michigan Quarterly Review is available to purchase by subscription as well as single copy print or PDF here.
[Cover art note: "Fog uner the High Bridge; photography by Sue Vruno. Our over, with its bridge over the Mississippi at St. Paul, celebrates the many bridges, both actual and metaphorical, that appear in the novels and short stories of Minnesota native Charles Baxter..." MQR]