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Published August 11, 2017
arkanaArkana is a new biannual online journal published by the Arkansas Writers MFA Program at the University of Central Arkansas. While the name may seem obviously connected to the place, “arcana” can also mean a secret or a mystery, or a powerful and secret remedy, some “great secret of nature that the alchemists sought to discover.” This definition, the editors explain, is what they want Arkana  to be all about: “discovering powerful voices that haven’t previously been heard, but speak to human nature and the human experience. Publishing every genre possible, and with the welcoming flexibility online offers, the editors want to “be the literary journal of mysteries and marginalized voices—to champion the arcane.” Read more...
Published August 09, 2017
willow springsHappy 40th Anniversary to Willow Springs magazine of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and interviews published out of Spokane, Washington. Issue 80 features approriate celebratory cover art by Marta Berens ("Crystal Structure") of a small girl seeming to be caught in mid-dance, and inside this issue, the poem "Anniversary," by Elizabeth Austen includes these closing lines: "I twist as if I, like the jellyfishdress, / am suspended, still / thick with possibility, still buoyant."

May Willow Springs continue on another forty years - buoyant and thick with possibility!
Published August 01, 2017
Glimmer Train Bulletins are produced monthly with essays written by writers (published in GT) and creative writing teachers on topics related to craft and the industry.

silas dent zobalIn the most recent issue, #157 August 2017, Rowena Macdonald offers 10 tips for writing dialogue, offering this advice: ". . . remember, when it comes to writing dialogue in prose you need to convey the impression of reality rather than verbatim speech." Silas Dent Zobal [pictured] offers a meaningful exploration of finding the heart of the story and the difficulty of writing about what can't be written: "That's what I want to tell you. Here, right here, is where you can find the heart of the heart of your story. Not in a place but in no place. Not in clarity but in ambiguity." And Joshua Henkin provides commentary on developing character background: when Mia comes from Montreal instead of Maryland, it changes how her family got there and the impact of their choices on her character in story - and the writer's responsibility to the "seeds of a narrative."

Three excellent essays that would be great semester kick-off reading for any creative writing class, and some great basic craft conversation for all writers to consider. Signing up for the bulletins is free.
Published July 31, 2017
lucille cliftonSecond Look is a section in One online poetry journal in which various writers are asked "to take a second look at poems they admire and discuss informally what they admire about the work." Some of the poems include "Woman Falling" by Franz Wright, “homage to my hips” by Lucille Clifton, "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London" by Dylan Thomas, "Looking for Songs of Papusza" by Bronisława Wajs, "Celebrating Childhood" by Adonis, "Looking for my Killer" by Thylias Moss, and "Requiem" by Anna Akhmatova.
Published July 25, 2017
mom egg reviewThe Mom Egg Review print literary journal about motherhood also has an online quarterly component called the Mer Vox, featuring writing, artwork, craft essays, hybrid works, and interviews. Recent craft essays include: "Women Writers, Mothers And Friendships: How We Sustain Each Other," an Interview by J.P. Howard, MER VOX Editor-at-Large, of Mireya Perez-Bustillo and Patsie Alicia Ifill; several essays on "Poetry as a Reflection of Self on the Page" curated by J.P. Howard  – "Release the Dam: A Poem is a River" by Keisha-Gaye Anderson, "Writing the Narrative Poem" by Heather Archibald, "Poetry as a Reflection of Self on the Page!" by J.P. Howard, and "Poets and Performance" by Jacqueline Johnson; and a number of writing prompts from the editors as well as other writers (Janet Hamill, Cynthia Kraman, Tsaurah Litzky).
Published July 20, 2017
cold creek reviewEver stuck your foot or hand into ice cold water and held it there, feeling the numbness of the aftershock? How about the whacky idea of a polar plunge – your whole body into an icy lake – can you imagine what that must feel like? Believe it or not, that’s the exact sensation the editors of Cold Creek Review were going for when they named their online publication. “We wanted to focus on literature and art that makes you feel paralyzed,” Editor-in-Chief for Poetry and Nonfiction Amber D. Tran tells me. “We imagine reading and reviewing our featured pieces leaves you with a sense of frozen time, like you were being submerged in a body of ice-cold water.” Read more...
Published July 19, 2017
denise duhamelFrom The Florida Review interview with Denise Duhamel, focusing on her newest collection Blowout:

TFR:
Given the times we suddenly find ourselves living in, is there even more pressure to write in the moment?

Duhamel:
Yes, absolutely. I was thinking so much about how my next book, which is not out yet, is going to be called Scald. [The book came out in February 2017, after this interview.] It’s about feminism and it’s dedicated to three different great feminists. I was so in the zeitgeist of a Hillary Clinton presidency and women, and now I feel so unmoored. But I’m so glad I wrote it when I wrote it because, while I wasn’t thinking of Hillary necessarily when I was writing it, I felt this movement towards women and the feminization of power and saving the planet. Now, we really have to stay in the moment and not stick our heads in the sand. I mean you may have to stick your head in the sand for a week to survive, but then we have to come out strong.

TFR:
I felt like I often heard people say, “We are having more conversations about race during Barak Obama’s presidency and we will talk more about gender with a female president.” Do you feel like we will talk more or less about gender given the president we ended up with?

Duhamel:
He’ll talk a lot less about gender and even his wife will say less. I was reading something just this morning about how she wants to be more like Jackie O. It’s so retro and cultural regression to the max, right? She really wants to go back to the 1960s pillbox hat and not even say anything. We are in big trouble, but I also think because this election is so egregious and Clinton didn’t lose to a man who was moderate or even a Mitt Romney or John McCain, she lost to a misogynist who calls women the worst possible names, I think women are not going to give him a pass. We are going to come back strong, especially since we had a taste of what could have been. I can’t imagine women going, Oh well, we’ll let it go.

TFR:
No.

Duhamel:
I think we’ve been letting it go for decades and centuries and I don’t think we can let it go anymore.

TFR:
I think that’s also what I admired about your book. You didn’t let it go. You talked about it.

Read the full interview on Aquifer: The Florida Review Online.
Published July 18, 2017
timothy yuThe July/August 2017 issue of Poetry Magazine "is the product of a new partnership between the magazine and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and it launches as part of the Smithsonian Asian American Literature Festival, held July 27–29, 2017, in Washington, DC." In his section of the introduction, Timothy Yu writes, "'Asian American poetry' is itself a political category. Like the term 'Asian American,' it is a category constantly redefined by new contexts; yet it is also one that demands attention to the intersections of poetics and race, and that claims value for the act of placing poems within an unfolding Asian American literary tradition."

Authors whose works are featured in this special issue include: Ocean Vuong, Chen Chen, Rajiv Mohabir, Hoa Nguyen, Kazim Ali, Khaty Xiong, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Zubair Ahmed, Cathy Linh Che, Kimiko Hahn, John Yau, Sarah Gambito, Li-Young Lee, among others. Read the full contents here.
Published July 13, 2017
carolyn kueblerAre we still talking about our addiction to Facebook despite its evils? Apparently, yes, we still are, with New England Review Editor Carolyn Kuebler contributing a new perspective to the conversation - especially for writers. In her editorial for Issue 38.2, she addresses some of the known issues with the social media platform, and comments that "Facebook seems to present a special kind of hell for writers" in that it "offers the possibility of an audience beyond one’s circle of friends (the real kind)—and even better, an audience that responds immediately, positively, and in great numbers."

But, alas, what about when there is NO response? What about the silence of a Facebook post? "Writers have always known that theirs is a lonely art," Kuebler comments, "but after spending time on Facebook it’s as if we have to learn this all over again. We have to remember that the audience for literature is largely silent; it takes its time."

Read the full editorial here, and Kuebler's closing comment of appreciation for writers, even if it is only ever offered in silence.
Published July 07, 2017

nor african literary hustleIssue 43 of New Orleans Review is themed "The African Literary Hustle" and opens with the editorial by Mukoma Wa Ngugi and Laura T. Murphy, "This Hustle is Not Your Grandpa's African Lit." The two issue editors examine the historical 'presentation' of African literature published in Western culture as "all too often realist, in English, and in the spirit of Chinua Achebe. But romance, science fiction, fantasy, epic, experimental poetry, satire, and political allegory all find expression in Africa, though not necessarily publication." The editors confront this disparity, "Those who are called to write often have to hustle to get recognition by writing a coming-of-age colonial encounter tale or hustle even harder to have their unique voices heard. So the post-Achebe generation writer faces all sorts of firewalls."

Thus, the call went out for this issue, and writers responded with the editors hoping "to provoke some interesting and unpredictable writing and thinking that would reflect and respond to the spirit of the hustle." Oddly enough, the editors note, "eighty percent of the submissions were from white non-African-identifying writers who thought they could hustle their way into a volume of African literature and had no qualms about it." Seriously.

The editors close on the comment, "But what is African literature? Is there, can there be, was there ever and African literature? In asking you have answered your question. African literature is a question. It is an open question that invites, and has to keep on inviting, different geographies, languages and forms."

Thus, this issue of New Orleans Review: The African Literary Hustle.

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