"Trends in international politics toward right-wing nationalism, racism in endlessly renewing guises, and the pursuit of material short-term gain regardless of what it does to the earth’s environment and national budgets: all these things make me wonder how well we remember our history beyond last year or even last month. The end of World War I led to an utterly changed, financially crippled world; World War II resulted in the physical destruction of much of Europe and between fifty and eighty million dead, only to be followed by a series of cold and hot wars arising partly from long-misguided imperial assumptions. This nation now has a president who among other things denies climate change, while the largest wildfire in California history burns along with sixteen others and the highest mountain in Sweden just lost its stature because it has melted so much this year.
"Current politics and culture wars are surely a passing phase, like the reign of the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. When Dorothy throws a bucket of water on her, the witch will surely melt. Surely. However, given how little we appear to remember about history, one wonders if we will have to go through some cataclysm before we go for our buckets."
Read the full essay here.
Heading down its home stretch, Glimmer Train Bulletin continues to offer writers and readers the inside scoop from authors. December's bulletin features "Go Small to Go Big" by Jane Delury [pictured], which advises writers who feel "overwhelmed with your novel or story draft" to set it aside and go back to basics: the sentence. And Matthew Vollmer's essay, "The Literary Masquerade: Writing Stories Disguised As Other Forms of Writing," encourages that "this interplay that results from a story and the particular form it appropriates can be exciting for both writer and reader."
Read both essay in full here, where you can also find a full archive of bulletin back issues.
Until November 29, The Common Foundation is holding its annual Author Postcard Auction: "Bid for a chance to win a postcard from your favorite author, handwritten for you or a person of your choice. A wonderful keepsake, just in time for the holidays. Author postcards make great gifts! All proceeds will go toward The Common's programs. These include publishing emerging writers, mentoring students in our Literary Publishing Internship program, and connecting with students around the world through The Common in the Classroom."
Featured authors include: Aja Gabel, Aleksandar Hemon, Andre Aciman, Andrew Sean Greer, Anne Tyler, Ann Patchett, Caitlin Horrocks, Carmen Maria Machado, Claire Messud, David Sedaris, Elliot Ackerman, Esi Edugyan, Garth Risk Hallberg, George Saunders, Harlan Coben, Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Lethem, Joseph O'Neill, Julie Orringer, Kelly Link, Kiese Laymon, Min Jin Lee, Nathan Englander, Nell Freudenberger, Rabih Alameddine, Rachel Kushner, Rebecca Makkai, Rivka Galchen, R.O. Kwon, Tommy Orange, Tom Nichols, and Viet Thanh Nguyen.
"Cadets are keen observers of social cues from their professors, retracting behind the protective formalities of rank at the first whiff of 'agenda,' regardless of its political stripe. It’s easy enough, and they have little social capital invested in the humanities. Nor do they know many people who do. . . . Unlike most of us, though, Cadets will flat-out ask in public how reading poems matters to future practitioners of their trade.
It’s a sincere question, a vital one. It belonged in the public sphere the first time I heard it in October 2016. . . . poetic speech can, at its thorniest, frame problems that cannot be reduced to partisan accolades, commodification, claptrap. It can render the crisp shadows of power under the thorns.
But this is work. Like most hard work, it is also humbling, if not downright humiliating."
Primarily an online publication of fiction, poetry, nonfiction and photography, Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices also provides the community with unique essays on its SolLit Blog. Recent features include:
"A Writer-Photographer’s Poignant Essay about Smelter Town" by William Crawford
"Women Writers’ Roundtable: Judy Juanita, Melinda Luisa de Jesús, and Dr. Raina J. León on Life-Changing Art" by Rochelle Spencer
"Misogyny and the Acceptance of Violence Against Women" by Patricia Carrillo [pictured]
"The Immigrant Experience Then and Now — and Hope for the Future" by Diane O'Neill
"Neurodiverse Students Need Creative Arts" by Donnie Welch
"Protesting Police Brutality: From Taking a Knee in the U.S to Striking in Catalan" by Chetan Tiwari and Sandell Morse
"Writing, Meditation, and the Art of Looking" by Marilyn McCabe
Guest bloggers are invited to contribute: "We seek inspirational and informative content from diverse voices on writing craft, writing process, diversity (or lack thereof?) in the lit world, recent trends in writing and/or literature, brief author interviews, and more." See full submission guidelines here.
Bellevue Literary Review Editor-in-Chief Danielle Ofri welcome readers to the 35th issue with a newly redesigned journal, "a remarkable collaboration with students at the Parsons School of Design, under the direction of their teacher, the incomparable Minda Gralnek. The students were given free rein" to change the seventeen-year-old design that has been slowly morphing over the past few years: ". . . we moved from archival photos on the cover to contemporary art, in order to broaden our reach."
Ofri assures readers that "it's the literary content that really makes the journal, and we'd never conflate content with presentation. Cooks, though, know that food is always just that much tastier when you pull out the special-occasion china. So we offer up this first course to you, and hope that you find it savory - inside and out."
This issues theme , "Dis/Placement," brings together an introductory essay by Ha Jin, as well as new writing from Barron H. Lerner, Myra Shapiro, Hal Sirowitz, Sue Ellen Thompson, Eric Pankey, Dan Pope, Rachel Hadas, Prartho Sereno, and others, as well as cover art by Jonathan Allen.
BLR is looking for submission on the theme "A Good Life" - deadline January 1, 2019.
In his introduction the the Fall 2018 issue of Creative Nonfiction, Editor Lee Gutkind writes on the theme Risk as it relates to a writer's life: ". . . although we may be safe from physical harm, all of us who write know that every hour we devote to our notepad or keyboard, every moment we stop and think and dwell on the thoughts and ideas that will, in one way or another, find life on a page or computer display, involves monumental risk."
Read the full essay here.
"And the question is why are people so numb? I think they are awakening, and I’m very happy about that. But awakening has been so slow. And that’s the dark age. People are having a hard time gaining knowledge and wisdom. The educational systems are completely unreliable and full of land mines for most people. So, yes, it is a dark age, and you can only hope people will come out of it, but they have to turn off gadgets and start to talk to people. And the time is very short."
From "A Conversation with Alice Walker" by Erik Gleibermann, World Literature Today, November-December 2018.
The issue also includes an excerpt from Walker's "My 12-12-12" and a web exclusive interview “Translating Alice Walker: A Conversation with Manuel García Verdecia,” by Daniel Simon.
To better understand what they are looking for, the editors note that some of their favorite graphic artists are Jaime & Gilbert Hernandez, Joe Sacco, Brecht Evens, Taiyo Matsumoto, Anders Nilsen, Jillian Tamaki, Christophe Chaboute, Eleanor Davis, Gipi, Simon Hanselmann, Michael DeForge, David Lapham, and Inio Asano.
Interested writers/artists are asked to submit a sample, partial, or full manuscript. The publishers do not match up artists/storytellers. This is a traditional, paid publishing contract arrangement.
For more information, visit the Driftwood Press graphic novels submission page.