Wrap up your summer and get ready to head back to school with Zac Thompson’s “The Water of Life” a stage/screenplay in Qu #10. The characters, Leah and Carrie, are young, romantic partners at the close of their two-month summer relationship, each preparing to go to college—Carrie away to university and Leah to the local junior college. Leah, a preacher’s daughter, has set up a baptistery so the two can bind their relationship with a ritual. The dialogue is subtly quick and revealing, Leah being the pragmatist and Carrie the comic; Leah the “intense” dramatist and Carrie the lighthearted, “afraid to express [her] feelings.” It’s an intimate scene, full of the love and subsequent gut-churning realism young people face when their paths are on the verge of separation. A memorably bittersweet read.
Review by Denise Hill
If you love rules and regulations, following forms and formulas to make something work, gnashing your teeth and pulling out your hair to meet perfection - and you love poetry - then you're going to love this free Prime 53 Summer Challenge Poetry Contest.
Press 53 Poetry Editor Christopher Forrest [pictured] and Publisher and Editor in Chief Kevin Morgan Watson devised a new poetic form: the Prime 53 poem.
Robb T. White’s lead story “A Civilized Man” is provided as a sample of the July 2019 Thriller Magazine (2.1). White’s narrator opens the story with, “What is a civilized man?” and walks readers through his fiancé’s disappearance and ultimate discovery of her brutalized dead body. The predictable dead-end investigation is offset by the narrator’s unexpected choice of action as he lays down his own justice. “It’s odd that I feel no guilt or shame.” The narrator confesses, “Quite the opposite. I feel . . . pleased, if that’s the right word.” Likewise, in reading the objectively detailed sequence of events, I felt no guilt or shame in his actions either. Pleased ? Maybe that is the right word.
Review by Denise Hill
Two whirlwind prose poems by Leslie Marie Aguilar in the May 2019 issue of wildness online speak in abstractions melded with concrete symbols, creating a contemporary mythology of the self. “Bone Altar” begins, “Legends begin with valerian root, red clover, & a touch of tequila.” and instructs the reader to call upon ancestors. “Cartography,” just at the moment I think the poem’s speaker is deeply troubled, assures me, “If this sounds like a cry for help, like shouting into a canyon & hoping to hear a voice different than your own, it’s not.” Two dizzyingly brief works with lasting impact.
Review by Denise Hill
Issue 18 of Dogwood features the winners of the 2019 Dogwood Literary Awards:
Dogwood Literary Award in Fiction
Judge Phil Klay
"Whom the Lion Seeks" by Annie Lampman
Dogwood Literary Award in Poetry
Judge Lia Purpura
"The Cancer Menagerie" by Gillian Vik [pictured]
Dogwood Literary Award in Nonfiction
Judge Lia Purpura
"The Taste of It" by Nikita Nelin
The deadline for the 2020 contest is September 5, 2019. Winners in each genre receive $1000 in addition to publication. See full guidelines here.
With the Spring/Summer 2019 issue, Ecotone Editor Anna Lena Phillips Bell [pictured] introduces a new "department" to be included in each issue of the journal, "Various Instructions, in which writers and artists will offer lists, prompts, formulas, how-to's, and the like."
Drawing inspiration from Eric Magrane's "Various Instructions for the Practice of Poetic Field Research," Bell writes that "these instructions are an invitation to think deeply in and with place. They have proved enduring; I’ve been glad to use them in teaching and in my own poetic practice."
". . . about a year from when this issue arrives off the press, I’ll be stepping down as editor. The decision came to me rather suddenly, I confess, and several years earlier than I’d previously imagined. What had long seemed a comfortable bike ride, despite occasional potholes and sudden challenging hills that maintained my interest and attention, was now unexpectedly weighing in my legs and on my shoulders. I was growing a bit weary and impatient for other vistas, other challenges."
In discussing the role and responsibilities of editor, Lynn responds to the label of gatekeeper :
"It’s hostile and resentful, suggesting that the role of literary editors is to maintain high barriers. With all my heart, however, I believe that the appropriate charge for an editor of the Kenyon Review is to resist any such notion of guardianship, of excluding any class or set of writers. Rather, whoever is appointed to follow me, she or he or they, should continue to seek to include, to aggressively search out new voices and new talents and even new media with which to publish them, while also nourishing and supporting many of those talented authors we have discovered and honored for the past two decades and more."
We wish Lynn a smooth transition away from his wonderful work with Kenyon Review - may he indeed be met by beautiful vistas and invigorating challenges.
Based out of Schoolcraft College in Michigan, The MacGuffin Spring 2019 features the winners of the Detroit Working Writer’s MacGuffin Poetry Prize, awarded at the group’s annual conference last Fall:
“Ann Arbor" by Diana Dinverno [pictured]
“I Thought I Couldn’t Take It With Me” by Vicki Wilke
"Whispers" by Jack D. Ferguson
Also included in this issue is a biographical sketch and selection of poems from The MacGuffin’s 24th Poet Hunt Contest Guest Judge Richard Tillinghast. Winners of the Poet Hunt Contest will be published in the next issue of The MacGuffin.
Sorry coulrophobics, and pretty much anyone creeped out by clowns, but this still from Kate Durbin's portrayal of "the trickster figure of the clown and white box of the Facebook timeline" in her short film Unfriend Me Now! (2018) is just one of many images also included in the Summer 2019 issue of The Massachusetts Review.
Such an iconic image of summer on the cover of Parhelion #5. This photo by Anne Eastman is one of many featured in her portfolio in this issue. Read her artist's statement to learn about her approach to photography, which includes evenings dancing as as "Little Miss Funshine" at the Fantasy Bikini Club in LA.
Court Green Summer 2019 made me laugh out loud: images of Elizabeth Taylor are used to link to each writer on the publication's home page. Other publications commonly use the writers' photos here, but Court Green's spin on that is hilarious. Since moving from print to online, this use of themed circles has become their hallmark.
The newest issue of Ruminate Magazine (Summer 2019) features the first and second place winning entries of their 2019 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize selected by final judge Jessica Wilbanks:
"The Foundation Above Us" by Porter Huddleston [pictured]
"The Proctor’s Manual" by Kristin Leclaire
"The Emperor’s Clothes, The Empire’s Language" by Jamila Osman
For a full list of finalists and judge's comments about the winning entries, click here.
In addition to publication, this annual prize awards $1500 to the first-place entry and $200 to the second-place entry. The deadline for entry is October 27, 2019. See full guidelines here.