After twenty-six years as editor-in-chief of Salamander, Suffolk University's literary journal, Jennifer Barber has announced she is "stepping down to pursue other projects."
"The magazine will continue to be housed in and nourished by the Suffolk University English Department," she assures readers. The spring/summer 2019 issue will be guest edited, and any further information about future issues will be announced in the fall issue.
Our best wishes to Jennifer as she embarks on her new live adventures!
Regular readers know I'm a sucker for signed broadsides, and these are no exception. They are gorgeous, quality prints on solid stock and carefully packaged for secure shipping. I own every one in this series and FULL DISCLOSURE: I have paid for every one. This is NOT an ad, but an honest "I LOVE THESE and want to share this with you" post.
"Narcissus on the Hunt" by Rachel Bullis can be read here (Issue 6, Winter 2018), and was particularly striking to me as a teacher of mythology. I will definitely be sharing this one with my students.
The journal is free to read online; the broadsides cost $10 each or 3 for $25 with proceeds going to support Under a Warm Green Linden's Green Mission reforestation efforts. To date, the publication has "planted 205 trees in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Forest Foundation."
With each new quarterly issue, Asymptote online publication of poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction, interviews, and translations offers "an educator’s guide for those wanting to teach pieces from that issue. Each guide offers a thematic breakdown of that issue’s content, relevant information about the context of various pieces, and possible discussion questions and exercises."
The guides offer lesson plans on topics which incorporate the pieces from the issue, indicating appropriate learner level (middle school, high school, upper-level high school, college/undergraduate, etc.) as well as discipline when applicable (such as AP History, Beginner French Students).
Asymptote also invites educators to "Lend a Hand" assisting with pedagogy and feedback on the lessons provided.
It was a bit shocking to see a 2019 dated publication already, but it's true: We're there.
2nd River View offers a selection of poetry online, some with author-recorded readings, as well as a current and full archive of their chapbook series. These chapbooks can be read online, downloaded in full-page PDF, or "Chap the Book," which opens as a PDF in booklet form (for printing and saddle stitch fold/staple). What a great (FREE) resource for teachers! Things Impossible to Swallow by Pamela Garvey is their latest chapbook.
Here's a sampling of some of the works from their Winter 2019 issue:
I want to stay in the house all day
and read poetry from a time
when people rowed out in little boats.
From "Accident" by Nancy Takacs
January sleek gray sky, the clouds diffuse
the sun to one dull eye, & my body quiet
with goat milk skin, makes a slim seed
in thin sheets and cotton bedspread.
From "On Sunday Morning, Church Bells" by J.J. Starr
. . . I wonder if
the evening stars will be
missing behind the clouds.
I want to tell the clouds
to be gone or to get out of the way.
I want to wrap my hands
around them so badly
without hurting them.
From "Behind the Clouds" by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
[pictured: portrait by Karen J. Harlow]
In her editorial to The Fiddlehead's Autumn 2018 issue, "Whatever We Need It To Be," Creative Nonfiction Editor Alicia Elliott opens the publication's first "all creative nonfiction issue" with a story about presenting on a panel with three other CNF writers. Asked the opening question: What is Creative Nonfiction?, "All four of us exchanged a look. I laughed nervously, as I tend to do when I’m not sure how to answer a question. The seconds passed."
It's not that they weren't prepared for the question, Elliott explains, or hadn't joked about the challenge of defining the form. "Unfortunately," she tells readers, "I still don’t have a very good definition."
But, like so many of us, she goes on to share, "Ever since I fell into Creative Nonfiction a few years ago, I’ve been enthralled by the genre’s possibility, its malleability, the way it requires you to push beyond what’s in front of you and see what’s hidden underneath."
This all-CNF issue, with works chosen from over 600 submissions should indeed provide us all with a broadened understanding of CNF, as Elliott hopes, but at the same time, "ironically, will probably make defining CNF as gloriously fuzzy for you as it is for me. That's okay, though. It's part of the genre's charm."
Read the full essay here.
"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."