Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts is collaborating with Black Earth Institute on the publication of a major anthology of contemporary Chicanx writers. Until August 1, 2019, they are accepting submissions of Chicanx poetry and prose from across the country.
The editors for this collection will be Luis Alberto Urrea, Pam Uschuk, Matt Mendez, Beth Alvarado, William Pitt Root, Carmen Calatayud, Carmen Tafolla, Octavio Quintanilla, Theresa Acevedo, Denise Chavez and Edward Vidaurre.
Submission Guidelines: "We are looking for Chicanx writers of poems and prose, from the rasquache to the refined. We want writing that goes deep into the culture and reveals our heritage in new ways. We want experiences, from blue collar gigs to going into higher education and pursuing PhDs. We want work that challenges. That is irreverent. That is both defiant and inventive. That is well-crafted. That is puro Chicanx. We acknowledge Chicanx is an attitude that may intersect with Latinx."
For more information, visit the Cutthroat website.
In response to the recent abortion bans in the United States, Jellyfish Review has been publishing a series of “Pro-Choice stories” with their usual selections. In the days surrounding the bans, my social media accounts exploded with people in my life coming forward with their own abortion stories, each of their needs and wants behind their choices unique. The Pro-Choice stories of Jellyfish Review mimic this: varying voices and points of view from different walks of life, all of them valid.
“Now That I’m Being Honest” by Holly Pelesky is addressed to the child the narrator planned to abort and didn’t, back before she found her voice, highlighting how important the ability to make a choice is in a life. In “A Fetus Walks into a Bar,” Jonathan Cardew’s imagined fetus is cold-blooded and gun-toting, leading readers to consider the rights afforded gun owners vs. uterus owners.
“None of It Was Easy” by Meghan Louise Wagner is a short, thirteen-part nonfiction piece that walks through each step, from the first hint that Wagner is pregnant to the afternoon the day of her abortion, ending with the sentence “I felt sick and empty but, most of all, I felt relieved,” her relief palpable.
Filled with tension is “The Morning After” by Andrea Rinard, a mother supporting her daughter after her daughter’s assault, the desire to protect her battling with the knowledge that she must let her daughter make her own choices.
The stories continue, each different, each important. The editors include links to pro-choice organizations after every piece, inviting readers to continue to support the choices others make for their bodies, all as different and important and valid as the stories Jellyfish Review presents.
Review by Katy Haas
The Courtship of Winds each issue asks five questions of writers whose work has previously appeared in the online publication. The Winter 2019 Digital Forum invited Perle Besserman [pictured], Sandra Kohler, Denise Kline, and Jennifer Page to respond to questions to discuss how they see the #MeToo movement now - post initial profound effect, post backlash, post Kavanaugh hearings, and post Christine Blasey Ford testimony.
The writers each responded to five questions posed by the editors, including the Kavanaugh hearings, Trump's mocking Al Franken's stepping down, "utilitarian calculus" as addressed by Sonia Sadha, the impact of movements like this, and any inherent 'dangers' for men and women in our current climate of accusations and speaking up.
"In my view, writing, at least literary writing, is not just a matter of inventing out of whole cloth or drawing on things we remember, but also of accessing sought-for words and connections. Do we, when we're writing, reach in to actively find the parts of our next sentences, or are those 'given' to us? It often feels like the latter, which naturally makes me wonder through what agency. As Joseph Brodsky wrote somewhere, life is a gift, and where there is a gift there must be a giver."
The cover of Booth’s Winter 2019 issue invites readers in with little square scenes of bright colors and caricatures, with text promising the Nonfiction Prize winners inside. Of the four pieces selected by Judge Brian Oliu, two touched me most: “A Fractured Atlas” by Alex Clark and “Remember the Earth” by Angelique Stevens.
In the first, Clark recounts the fractured memory of being molested as a child by a friend’s father. Points of view are manipulated. “Her” becomes “you” which sometimes slips into first person: “you grow my nails out.” Throughout the piece, names are redacted, reduced to “( )” for the friend and “// //” for the father/abuser. The switches in POV, these redactions, font changes, and layering of text and image parallel the ways memory works. Details are left out, forgotten, rearranged, repeated, layered with other memories. Each page feels like decoding a map, like uncovering a new memory, a truly inventive piece of nonfiction.
In “Remember the Earth,” Stevens explores the idea of death, of what and who we leave behind. After her sister Gina’s suicide, she faces their tumultuous relationship and the years, months, and days that lead up to Gina’s death. She tries make sense of the timeline that brought both of them there. A tender and intimate work, Stevens packs so much raw emotional energy into one short piece, I had to read it in little bursts.
Both deserved of placing in the Nonfiction Prize, Clark and Stevens peel back layers of their memories. While constructed completely differently, both give stark and honest examinations of a moment in each of their lives.
Review by Katy Haas
Having served as editor of Kenyon Review since 1994, David Lynn will be stepping down next spring. The publication board, staff and college will be setting a timeline for the application process to consider candidates this upcoming fall or winter. The submission period for this year will be limited as a result of this transition. "In anticipation of a new editor’s arrival, we must maintain space in upcoming issues, so we will be limiting our open period of submissions to September 15-October 1, 2019," writes Alicia Misarti, The Kenyon Review Director of Operations.
Fortunately, Lynn plans to remain active at Kenyon College, as the college president Sean M. Decatur notes, "We’ve already been in conversations on some ideas about other initiatives involving writing and literature for the College."
Our thanks to David Lynn for his years of commitment to the literary community as editor, and our best to all at Kenyon Review during this time of change.
Spanning four pages of The Southeast Review (37.1), Tiana Clark’s “Gentrification” conjures up hidden details, the poem’s speaker talking in wisps, the ghosts of a summer past haunting the neighborhood in East Nashville where she used to live and which has now been gentrified. The speaker discusses the ways in which her body—a woman of color’s body—fits into this forgotten space:
and I had never tried cocaine before,
until you tricked me [ . . . ]
and other men laughed and you laughed and I laughed too,
but I didn’t know what was so funny. I didn’t know
when something was at my expense. I was the only girl there too.
I’ve always been the only girl there
inside a house with men, being duped by men, waxing their backs [ . . . ]
Repeatedly, she finds herself in moments like this, moments of emotional or physical violence: her boyfriend feeds her then calls her fat, she does drugs in a backseat, she has drunken fights in the street, she reveals the “vulnerable part” of her neck as she once “grasp[ed] at white men for attention,” her body becoming another gentrified space.
The scenes come quickly as if Clark is quickly scrawling these memories down before she can forget them, wrapping readers in the heat and tension of that summer, unflinching as she reveals the underbelly, the ugliness, the truths about her home and herself. Take some time to sink into “Gentrification,” then, like me, check out Clark’s books of poetry: I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, September 2018), and Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016).
Review by Katy Haas
Creative Nonfiction invites writers to follow @cnfonline on Twitter, then tell a true story in the length of a tweet with #cnftweet to have that writing considered for publication in the "Tiny Truths" section of the print magazine.
The Spring 2019 issue includes fourteen tiny essays on a range of topics including 'caregiving for a parent with dementia' (ChrisGNguyen), finding a single cigarette butt in the driveway every day (GitaCBrown), a family's welcome back "as if no time had passed" (MPMcCune2), going home "in my dreams" (sevans_writer), 'a musician explaining his song title' (ZippyZey aka Karen Zey - pictured), doing the hokey pokey so as not to look a fool (by ridiculoustimes) and memories stirred by listening to the news (mjlevan).
It only takes looking at some of the poem titles in The Cape Rock #47 to get that this slim volume published out of Southeast Missouri State University is poetry by and for the people: “Dad’s Skoal Can” and “Song of the Opossum” by January Pearson; “Toilet Cubicle” by Steve Denehan; “Trimming My Father’s Toenails” by Cecil Sayre; “Long Distance Dating for the Elderly” by Mark Rubin. Not meaning to be dismissive in perhaps attributing these works as common, the craft and skill exhibited in them speaks to the draw of the publication and the selective capabilities of a strong editorial staff.
There are many single stunning contributions: Danielle Hanson’s poem titled “How to Tell This Wilted Dogwood Petal From Starlight” continues “Both have fallen from some level of sky. / Lay down and let’s discuss this rationally.” commanding the reader’s experience of the tangible and intangible; the three lines of “Years Later” by Ryan Pickney will leave readers speechless; Jeff Hardin’s “This Only Place” examines a series of moments under the poet’s microscope, opening, “This easy weightlessness along the earth I owe / to having heard the heron‘s wings the moment / it alighted then decided otherwise and lifted off.”
Offering multiple poems by individual writers is a welcome attribute, and the closing four by Claire Scott exemplify the ability of many of the poets included to manage a range of subject and style. Her poignant “At Eighty” reads at a bit of a romp thanks to line breaks like:
spun with mum
of prayer to
At 86 pages, 43 poets, 69 poems: The Cape Rock is a venerable journal of poetry that both makes connections and distinctions.
Review by Denise Hill
Cave Wall 15 includes a focus on revision. The 'artwork' for this issue consists of fifteen early draft images of some of the poems included. The cover art is actually Emma Bolden's draft of "Easter Sunday." Other authors whose drafts are included: Matthew Thorburn, Billy Reynolds, Chelsea Wagenaar, Jessica Cuello, Peter Kline, and Molly Spencer.
In addition, Cave Wall interviewed poets from this issue about their revision process and published those as a PDF on their website. Poets interviewed include Kasey Jueds, Matthew Thorburn, Tori Reynolds, Emma Bolden, Christopher Buckley, Molly Spencer, Billy Reynolds, Peter Kline, Carrie Green, Elizabeth Breese, John Sibley Williams, Chelsea Wagenaar, Lola Haskins, and Celisa Steele.
This issue combined with these Q&As would make an excellent teaching resource!