As part of the Texas State University MFA program, Front Porch Journal publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, reviews, and interviews. I’ve perhaps come across it too late to enjoy on those final summer afternoons as the editors suggest (especially since I swore I saw snow this morning), but it’s never too late to enjoy the writing.
As I do with most journals, I gravitated to the nonfiction section first. The first of the two selections is Wendy C. Ortiz’s “September 1986,” which was first published in issue 10 and republished here to honor the publication of her collection of essays, Excavation: A Memoir. After reading it, I certainly wanted to pick up her book. Set in a junior high classroom, this essay explores a moment in which, despite her desire to come off as disinterested, Ortiz is first recognized for her writing.
Amber Paulin’s “The Spinster of Atrani” is inspiring as she talks about her travels overseas on her own: “The only plan I had made before traveling was that there was no plan; where I went, what I did, was guided by my whims and desires, precarious things.” When she comes to Atrani (small city in the south of Italy), she ends up staying with a ‘spinster’ who tells her stories of a man she used to love, and why she will never be married or live with a man. Even more inspiring is reading her bio that shows she’s still in Italy, writing. I would love if she, too, would publish a book with more of her ‘adventures.’
Sarah Kokernot’s fiction contribution has a killer first paragraph, starting with, “Tuesday afternoons between three and four o’clock are the slowest time at Wings of Isis New Age Gifts, so that’s when my sister Lula goes into the backroom to conjure the dead.” Each line is a treat; it continues: “My sister speaks in two voices. One is her own, calm as a 911 operator and sunny as a tour guide. The second is the voice of the dead, nasal and throaty, like she’s recovering from the world’s worst sinus infection.” When their Mimi dies, she sets a test to see if Lula really can speak with the dead. It’s unpredictable, original, and well-crafted, a must-read.
Also in this issue is savory poetry by Rachel Mindell, Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco, Emily Carr, Mackenzie Jarvis, Alyse Knorr, and Dillon J. Welch. Having not read the publication before, I was happy to have stumbled upon Front Porch Journal. And if you read it, I’m sure you’ll be happy you did, too.