Reflecting on the 1974 publication Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers and the work of its editors, Frank Chin, Jeffrey Paul Chan, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shawn Wong, the Winter 2018 issue of The Massachusetts Review is an ambitious special issue dedicated to Asian American Literature: Rethinking the Canon.
Cathy J. Schlund-Vials [pictured] and Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, editors for this issue write in the introduction, "[. . . ] the present-day terrain of Asian American literature is characterized by a profound geopolitical diversity that encompasses to varying degrees and often divergent ends the multifaceted experiences of native-born, immigrant, and refugee subjects. Such diversity by way of location is matched by a complexity with regard to histories of racialization, war, displacement, and resettlement. Last, but certainly not least, as the work in this special Massachusetts Review issue makes abundantly clear, Asian American writing — despite conservative claims 'otherwise' — is an integral part of the U.S. literary canon." Read the full introduction here.
In addition to the full TOC, which can be seen here, the editors have included A Poetry Portfolio, "in the spirit of" poet Fanny Choi's address, "(B)Aiiieeeee!: The Future is Femme and Queer" (included in the issue). To the "cis-het male vision of Asian American literature," the editors offer: "this folio invokes a decidedly different Asian American poetic landscape than [. . . ] Aiiieeeee! Its expansive focus includes queer, femme, gender nonbinary, mixed race, refugee, and adoptee poets of East, South, Southeast, West and Central Asian descent; its poems span diverse aesthetics, intersectional politics, and contradictory subjectivities. The guiding impulse is not merely illuminatory or inclusive, but decolonial. It asks us to see not only the erased but the practice of erasure and our respective roles in undoing that canonical violence - what more responsible reading and publishing practices might look like."
The Fall/Winter 2018 issue of The Chattahoochee Review is themed on "Lost & Found." Editor Anna Schachner [pictured] writes in the editorial: "In many ways, this issue's special focus of 'Lost and Found' is an homage to the writing process itself - the many slivers of ourselves we concede when we write and the inevitable discovery via writing. That emphatic 'and' is important because it suggests an organic progression: that to lose something is to also create space to find something else, not just in writing, but in our thoughts, our expectations, our relationships. So many of the submissions we received seemed to concur, as did so many of the pieces ultimately chosen and featured herein."
Contributors include Cooper Casale, Margaret Diehl, John Hart, Lindsay Stuart Hill, Raina Joines, Timothy Krcmarik, David Rock, Sophia Stid, Brian Phillip Whalen, Jennifer Wheelock, Erica S. Arkin, John Brandon, Kieran Wray Kramer, Michele Ruby, Kevin Wilson, Ginger Eager, Jennifer Key, Caitlin McGill, Marilyn F. Moriarty, Raul Palma, and Rachel H. Palmer.
An online journal "dedicated to short fiction," Fiction Southeast features a monthly series of articles under the label of "Suggestions & Advice for Writers." Recent essays include "On Writing" by Devin Matthews, "Death of the Short Story" by G. D. McFegridge, "I Denigrate Myself" by Evan Dunsky, "A Time for Fantasy" by Abagail Becastro [pictured], and "On The Artistic Temperament and a Writer's Need for Privacy" by Pamelyn Casto.
Fiction Southeast essays/articles section also includes Writers Talking About Writing, which features author interviews, "The Story Behind the Story" and "Why I Write." Other sections are Conference/Residency Spotlight, Developing a Writing Life, Editing/Publishing, Fiction & Culture, Reading Lists, Reviews, and the most unique essay grouping: Storytelling in Contemporary Video Games.
A lot going on for writers in this publication!
Based on Editor Victor David Sandiego's intro commentary, it sounds like the Winter 2018 issue of Subprimal will be its last: ". . . this is the final issue of Subprimal Poetry Art/Music, at least for a while. I have decided to take a hiatus from publishing Subprimal for 2019, and – with truth to be told – perhaps forever. It’s been a lot of fun during the last five years connecting with so many wonderful authors and artists, but I want to spend more time concentrating on my own work."
If you've not given this publication a look, do it now while you can. The time and effort put into visual and audio is astonishing. Not only do authors read their own works, but Sandiego creates musical compositions to accompany them. It's one of the most unique publications I've experienced in my time with NewPages. While I'm sorry to see Subprimal cease, I wish Victor the best and look forward to seeing where his creative energies lead him!
In addition to the print annual, Mom Egg Review, offering "the best literary writing about mothers and motherhood," also offers readers MER VOX, an online quarterly of creative writing, interviews, craft essays and more that focus on "motherhood and on the life experiences of women." The December 2018 installment, Silver Linings, is one I think we can all appreciate, as Editors Jennifer Martelli and Cindy Veach introduce it:
"Since the 2016 election, the news has been mostly terrible. Both online and offline we have been barraged 24/7 by an overwhelming level of toxicity. We’d like to offer our readers a respite, however brief. For our December folio, we’re featuring poems that celebrate silver linings wherever they may be found: in those we love, in nature, in literature, in sisterhood, in memory."
Featured poets include: Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Jen Karetnick, Allia Abdullah-Matta, Catherine Esposito Prescott, Radhiyah Ayobami, Julia Lisella, and Keisha Molby-Baez.
The Winter 2019 issue of Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices online is dedicated to reviews and interviews, from authors of a wide range of genres. Included in the issue are interviews with Ana Jelnikar, Genia Blum, Serina Gousby, Tenzin Dickie, Jennifer Martelli, and Adriana Páramo, and reviews of Then Again by Ben Berman, Bad Harvest by Dzvinia Orlowsky, Rewilding by January Gill O’Neil, The Raincoat Colors by Helena Minton.
Cover photography, in addition to a portfolio inside this issue, by Keith Flynn, which documents "the effects of the Great Recession on the individual lives of people living in Appalachia, within a 75 mile radius of Asheville, North Carolina."
About Place Journal Editors Lauren Camp and Melissa Tuckey write in their introduction to the October 2018 issue themed "Root and Resistance":
"As artists and writers, part of our task is to pay attention to and distill what is happening around us. In witnessing, we’re called to both lift what is beautiful and name what is unjust, to reclaim language from the powerful and give it back its humanity. For this issue, we were interested in works that get at the root of our current political disaster. We also wanted work that explored and reveled in our sources of support, interconnection, solace, and strength. We wanted work that could be useful to those of us engaged in this challenge who, on many days, feel exhausted, overwhelmed and disheartened. We wanted work that would challenge us to learn from perspectives outside of our own, that would help us understand history and how we arrived at this moment."
Ultimately, they write, "The work we have received reminds us that we all need to nurture ourselves as much as we need to resist the threats to our culture. We need to hold to our strong communities, and also build new ones. Part of our efforts must be a turning back to ancestry and history, to see the germ of a struggle and the start of our futures. We need to look to the past to find the roots of the efforts to amend the present."
A good way to start the new year.
"Alabama for Beginners," Jean Ryan's featured essay in a recent issue of bioStories caught my attention; as the editor describes it, "a love letter to her new home and the unexpected welcome she has found there."
Ryan moved from San Francisco to Lilian, Alabama where she hopes her "modest savings will last longer" and she and her wife will "unearth the gay community—there must be one, some brave little enclave waiting for reinforcements." But then, "On deeper reflection," she continues, "maybe there is no enclave here, no separate community at all. Maybe these pockets are going the way of gay bars, no longer needed in this age of sexual fluidity, borders and labels all slipping away—now there’s a happy thought." (I'm hoping those happy thoughts with you!)
As I age, I also consider other places to resettle, and for anyone who is contemplating a move, this essay of discovering a new place - especially one so different in so many ways - was a nudge of encouragement. Learning the people, the places, the flora and the fauna, and, most essentially, the rediscovery of your own being amid a new environment:
"Each morning my wife and I have coffee on the back patio and watch the sun come up through the pines. As we often come out before dawn, I sweep a flashlight beam across the cement, making sure we don’t step on something that, like us, is not looking for any trouble, just a place to call home. The other day I saw a black wasp fly out of a small hole in the frame of my deck chair, reminding me of the swallows next door that made a nest in the open sewer pipe of the home under construction. You can find at least three wide-eyed frogs perched inside my hose reel box any time you lift the lid. Not for a minute does even the smallest crevice go to waste. There is panic in the air, the hum of a million creatures trying to stay alive."
bioStories is an online pubiication of nonfiction that publishes a new feature every week then collects them into two semiannual issues.
The Greensboro Review Editor Terry L. Kennedy writes in his introduction to issue #104 about trying to determine what makes "a good story" and the idea of creating a checklist for submissions:
"A checklist for 'a good story' might make my editorial deliberations easier, but it wouldn't be good for my staff or for the magazine. And I'm not so sure readers really want exact restrictions on a story, not anymore. What if a story has a memorable setting but there's no plot, nothing happens? A la Seinfeld. Where does that leave us? There are too many intangible aspects with which to blur the lines. . . I guess what I'm working my way around to is this: it's not that I'm incapable of creating a checklist as that I don't really believe, in my editorial heart of hearts, that I should. In the end, the best stories might just be the ones that do the things we thing a short story writer shouldn't attempt. But by doing them well, they win our hearts and make us shout, 'This one; this is the one!'"