Number 25 in the 2River Chapbook Series, Inscape, is a collection of poems by members of the Summer Poetry Workshop at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vermont. Facilitator and retired English lit prof Bill Freedman introduces the collection, talking about the past four summers he has spent leading the poetry writing workshop, Poetry as Personal Expression.
"There is brotherhood here," Freedman writes, "the camaraderie of proud men similarly confined, some insist unjustly, stripped of agency and entitlement, vulnerable to an array of humiliations, yet determined to make this time not a suspension of their lives, but, if possible, a useful and worthwhile part of it. Their writing, this workshop, is, I think, for many, an important part of that."
As with all 2River Chapbooks, readers can find this fully available online, downloadable as a PDF, and in the form of "Chap the Book," which provides a PDF download that can be printed and folded into a chapbook.
Throughout 2018, Basalt Magazine "committed to publishing a selection of poems from each month of Ian Boyden’s manuscript A Forest of Names. Over the course of a year, Boyden translated the 5,196 names of schoolchildren crushed in the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. He then began a collection of poems, each written on the day of each child’s birth. An in-depth discussion of these poems can be read in Fault Line: An Introduction to A Forest of Names.”
In his discussion, Boyden explains how, had it not been for Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the names of these children, and the government being held accountable for the shoddy construction of the schools where these children were killed, would have been lost.
As part of the curation of Ai Weiwei's work related to the earthquake, Ian Boyden papered a wall with the children's names, "a massive work on paper consisting of 21 scrolls, together measuring 10.5' by over 42' long."
Boyden then discusses his work, taking the name of each child, the Chinese characters, and translating these into poetic renderings: "Holding the hopes implicit in each of these names in tension with the tragedy of the children's deaths has also been a translations of one grief to another: perhaps this is the most accurate translation of all."
The newest issue of The Malahat Review (#205) features LGBTQ2S?+ writers in a celebration of "Queer Perspectives." Featured authors include fiction by Nathan Caro Fréchette, Christine Higdon, Matthew J. Trafford; creative nonfiction by Darrel J. McLeod, Anaheed Saatchi, Neal Debreceni, Deborah VanSlet; poetry by A. Light Zachary, Arün Smith, Kayla Czaga, Adèle Barclay, Arleen Paré, Nisa Malli, Charlie C. Petch, Sun Rey, and gorgeous cover art by Kent Monkman.
Malahat Lite, the publication's virtual newsletter, features interviews with Billeh Nickerson, who discusses his poem/lyric essay "Skies," and Francesca Ekwuyasi, who talks about her story "Good Soil," both pieces included in this issue.
Over the past several months, writer Michael Nye [pictured] has been working to resurrect Story, which had originally been founded and edited by Travis Kurowski, and ceased publication in 2016. After working out the details with Travis, Michael laid all the groundwork to continue the publication in strong steed.
Nye's experience with other publications has helped him understand the intricacies and necessities of running a quality journal. Previous managing editor of The Missouri Review and associate editor with Boulevard, Nye has had plenty of experience "steering ships"; this will be his first venture "building them." He says, "I've always wanted to run a literary magazine and over the last fifteen years, I think I’ve learned enough to pull it off." Travis has worked closely with Michael on the transition and remains involved as the editor-at-large.
In addition, Nye has drawn in a solid staff: Associate Editor LaTanya McQueen; Staff Andrew Bockhold, Brandon Grammer, Robert Ryan, and Brianna Westervelt; as well as a Board of Directors with Ruth Awad, Valerie Cumming, Keith Leonard, and Maggie Smith; and an Advisory Board with David Althoff, Jürgen Fauth, Stephanie G’Schwind, Roxane Gay, Jonathan Gottschall, Andrea Martucci, Speer Morgan, David Shields, Randi Shedlosky-Shoemaker, Jim Shepard, and Marion Winik.
Nye has put his full faith and effort into this venture: "There is a tremendous amount to look forward to in the coming year. I am beyond thrilled to bring Story back. I do hope you'll join us: we plan on being here for a long time to come."
Readers can look forward to Story #4 released this February featuring new stories by Anne Valente, Claudia Hinz, A.A. Balaskovits, Phong Nguyen, Brett Beach, Jordan Jacks, Dionne Irving, Katherine Zlabek, and Marilyn Abildskov and debut fiction by Yohanca Delgado.
Frank O'Hara fans will appreciate the January 2019 issue of Poetry, which includes excerpts from A Frank O’Hara Notebook by Bill Berkson: "A fascinating account of Frank O'Hara in the prime of his creative life in New York, told through notes, images, and poems by his friend Bill Berkson." Published by no place press, an imprint of MIT Press.
The print version includes pages in full color and is also available for viewing online here.
In his essay "Dialogue: Something to Talk About," Gregory Wolos writes: "Like everything else in a work of fiction, quoted words and phrases are inventions created to serve the purposes of the author. Paradoxically, because the meaning behind spoken language may be subtle, understanding it might demand more, not less, of the reader."
"Playing the Odds" by Melissa Yancy [pictured] is a uniquely grounding and encouraging perspective on writers keeping their eye on their own hidden gems rather than the prizes of others: "We read author bios, convinced that Iowa, the Stegner, or the right borough in New York City will increase the odds. Then what is already in hand becomes currency that we trade in for that gamble."
Readers can access the most current as well as a full archive of the Glimmer Train Bulletin here.
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!