It’s never easy to say good-bye, but readers should still take the time to say their farewells to the fiction monolith Glimmer Train. The Fall 2019 issue is here, marking the end of an era for the literary magazine.
The final issue features stories by Stanley Delgado, Rachael Uwada Clifford, Marian Palaia, Douglas Kiklowicz, Erika Krouse, Victoria Alejandra Garayalde, Arthur Russell, Robin Halevy, Peter Parsons, Christa Romanosky, Sindya Bhanoo, Alex Stein, Karen Malley, Ed Allen, Emily Lackey, Ashley Alliano, Aleyna Rentz, Kevin Canty, and Arthur Klepchukov. Also in the final issue: interviews with Matthew Lansburgh and Danielle Lazarin.
Stop by the Glimmer Train website to give them a proper send-off. Grab a copy of the last two issues, check out story excerpts, and pick up copies of available back issues.
The Fall 2019 issue of Carve Magazine features the winners of the 2019 Raymond Carver Contest, guest-judged by Claire Fuller. These can be found online, as well as in the print issue. An interview with each writer can be found after their stories in the print edition.
“Private Lives” by April Sopkin
“Gravity House” by Carolyn Bishop
“The Enchanted Forest” by Brian Crawford
“The Ghost Rider” by Erica Plouffe Lazure
Volume 12 Number 2 of Diode Poetry Journal shows the variety of sources poets draw inspiration from, whether it’s musical artists, medical documentation, or other poets.
Lip Manegio draws from one of my longtime favorite musical artists—Death Cab for Cutie—in “you tell me about your childhood memories of death cab for cutie, and i imagine every future and past we will ever get to live through.” Using Death Cab song titles as a way to jump into each stanza and light, beautiful language, they create a new song for themselves and the person the poem is addressed to.
Charlie Clark turns to “I am the beast I worship,” a line from the song “Beware” by Death Grips as he conjures his own beast, one that “speaks vulgar French,” “his whole demeanor muscle-thick and pissed.” The piece reads like a slow burn, a fiery anthem.
“[Infect this page]” by Hadara Bar-Nadav is an erasure poem made from the drug information for the antibiotic Ceftriaxone. Bar-Nadav creates art through the dissection of medical text and examines both sickness and art, urging the reader to action, to “Infect,” “Inject,” and “Kill / your need to / question / this / garbage art.”
Both of John Allen Taylor’s poems draw inspiration from other poets. “The boy thinks of after,” is written after Laurie Lamon, and “Dear Friend,” is written after and for Brionne Janae. Not only were his poems enjoyable to read, but they also open a door to introduce readers to other poets they may not be familiar with.
The latest issue of Diode shows the many ways writers draw inspiration from the media they consume and offers its own inspiration to readers.
Review by Katy Haas
From the introduction to the final sentence, Leslie Jill Patterson’s flash essay,“Study in Self-Defense: Lubbock, Texas,” published in the September 2019 issue of Brevity (Issue 62), kept me on the edge of my seat. A perfect read for this October, Patterson tells the story of the tense moments that follow her dog’s ferocious reaction to something, or someone, outside her house at one in the morning—an event that gives her “a lesson in self-defense.”
Patterson sets the scene by painting a sense of isolation: a woman living alone, lurking shadows, the man she is afraid might come after her. She then fully engages the reader’s fight or flight response through dark strokes of impending danger, her dog’s protective instincts engaged. From the moment of her dog’s jolt from a sound sleep to an adrenaline punched awakening, the reader finds themselves breathless as her “lesson” unfolds.
Patterson’s essay brings the scene to life with detailed imagery and an all too relatable reaction to terror. You can hear the furious barking of the dog as he “pinball[s]” from room to room, see the woman hiding as if to play “peek-a-boo,” and feel afraid even to look up from your own screen, your “covers,” and catch that terrifying glimpse. A thrill to read.
Review by Kelsie Peterson
According to William J. Doan’s visual narrative “Dear Family and Friends,” in Issue 27 of Cleaver Magazine, “17 million adults had a major depressive episode last year.” Despite affecting so many people, it can be hard to articulate the experience, and even harder for the people around them to understand, especially when the sufferer is wearing a mask of “normality,” a mask of laughter and smiles. As Doan says, “Sharing what it’s like to live with anxiety and depression is a lot like undressing in front of strangers. It’s AWKWARD.” But after a while, masking began to feel like lying to Doan, and “Dear Family and Friends” is an attempt at breaking that silence and “coming out” to those around him.
By using visual means of communication, Doan offers a more concrete way of explaining and understanding the feelings of depression and anxiety. His images are grayscale, with smudges of cool colors creeping into some panels. Scribbles and dots of ink show how it feels to be filled with anxiety, to have your brain feel weighed down and blotted with dark ink.
“I’ve barely reached the heart of the matter in this brief letter,” he says of his eighteen panels, “But it’s a start.” Not only is this piece a start for Doan, but it’s a good way to start difficult conversations with our own friends and family as we remove our masks.
Review by Katy Haas
The works in the latest issue of Runestone Journal, which publishes writing by undergraduates, is splashed with color.
In nonfiction, Eli Rallo harnesses the power that a change in color brought to her as an eleven-year-old struggling with anxiety. A touching piece on family, “Color the Walls,” plays back moment from her past when her hardworking, serious father allowed his children to paint the walls red and green for Christmas, a gesture of pure silliness that gave her stillness during a difficult time.
In fiction, Whitley Carpenter captures colors in “Memories of Green,” with narrator Pell taking care of Ella, an older relative whose memories come in and out of focus as dementia starts to set in. From the blue veins beneath her skin to the green surrounding the farmhouse, Whitley’s details stand as a strong backbone to the characters’ struggles. In the same section, Renata Erickson creatively imagines a world where color is something that can be physically taken from its source in “The Color Crisis,” the narrator learning where they belong in this new type of environment and how they’ll contribute to it.
There is no shortage of color in the poetry section, however. Damaris Castillo’s “The Passing of Marigolds” brings us “a golden road to home.” Cole Chang’s “In the late Afternoon” brings a summer day in the wetlands to life in hues of brown and green, purple and gold. In “An Evening at Inch Strand Beach Just Outside Dingle, Ireland,” Emilee Kinney describes a sunset, the “Deep pink” and the “sunlit-stained shores.” Mariah Rose turns “flamingo-pink,” sunburnt in “NOLA,” then describes “Muddied water the color of chocolate milk” in “Sedona, AZ.”
Carve out some time to check out Volume 5 of Runestone Journal. It will be sure to give your day the pop of color it needs.
Review by Katy Haas
Gabriela Garcia’s “Mrs. Sorry” can be found in the latest issue of ZYZZYVA. Focusing on class and gender, the short story is narrated by a young woman working at a cosmetics counter. At work, she helps rich women (and one in particular who comes to be known as the titular character) pick out skincare products. At home, she feels herself slipping away from herself and her boyfriend, who begins offering her the Roxicodone pills he’s been stealing from his work at a pharmacy.
As the story progresses, we see Mrs. Sorry’s husband, a man who gaslights her in front of and with debatably inadvertent help from the narrator. While Mrs. Sorry and the narrator are leading entirely different lives, they’re both women who are being manipulated by the men they trust most, the difference in their social and economic classes keeping her from speaking out on Mrs. Sorry’s behalf. “Nothing cracks in my presence,” the narrator thinks at one point as she considers her weaknesses and the futility with which she handles both her home and work life.
Eventually she finds the strength and the weight to make cracks, the ending a defiant fist in the air. Just long enough to create tension, Garcia masters her narrator’s voice in four short, satisfying pages.
Review by Katy Haas
Beautiful Things is a weekly column of "very brief nonfiction that find beauty in the everyday" published on the River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative website. Edited by Michelle Webster-Hein and Sarah M. Wells, the inspiration for the column was Michelle Webseter-Hein's essay, "Beautiful Things," published in River Teeth 15.1 and appearing in a series of excerpts on the website.
Contributors to Beautiful Things include Stacy Boe Miller, Andrea Marcusa, Dina Relles, Kelly Morse, Carolee Bennett, Christopher Bundy, Andrea Fisk Rotterman, Pamela Rothbard, Steven Harvey, Allen M. Price, Nikki Hardin, Emily James, and many more.
Writers are invited to contribute flash, nonfiction of 250 or less to be considered for publication. Readers are welcome to comment on the stories using Disqus.
Maa, along with Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, founded the Asian American Literary Review in 2009 and has been serving as editor-in-chief. In his introduction to Georgia Review readers Maa writes, "A print periodical—dare I say here—is capable of cultivating communities in ways that no other medium can. To open up a journal—break a spine, perhaps—to carry a volume, or run your fingers over your name printed on a page is very special. But to congregate around a print journal is also special in its own right."
The Fall 2019 issue is Corey's final as editor, and in it, he offers what Maa calls "a valedictory essay that should not be missed." Indeed. Reading it, I unexpectedly found myself overwhelmed with emotion. Corey marvels as he remembers first accepting the job as editor, looking back now having "published polished and mature work by writers not yet born - and I don't mean born as writers, I mean born - when I started working at GR both excites and spooks me." Likewise, the end of such a great era for GR readers does not go unnoticed nor lightly in our hearts.
As Corey refrains in his final farewell: "Good literary-magazine editing is an intimate act."