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.
I often run across commentary related to writers' frustrations with submitting to literary magazines, running into the Wall of Rejection, and rants against The Establishment perceived in many long-standing publications/academically-connected journals. Often, new publications are started by writers attempting to break down the barriers for other writers, promising to give consideration to those totally-unknown authors as well as those who do not come with a highly-acclaimed workshop/colony/MFA pedigree. Stick around literary publishing long enough, and the repetitions become easy to sort, but nonetheless, heartfelt and real for those going through them for the first time.
Anette Gendler, in her post "The Year I Gave Up Submitting to Literary Magazines" in Women Writers, Women['s] Books, took a look at her publishing record a few years back, "As 2015 drew to a close, I reviewed my submissions log and noted that 25 submissions to literary magazines had yielded zero acceptances." After considering the usual self-blame ("not enough effort, I should have submitted more"), Gendler considered her record for the years prior: 32 submissions/0 acceptances; 68 submissions/0 acceptances.
For many reading this, I know the first thought: Maybe she's just not that good.
Consider her previous publication credits: Bella Grace, Washington Independent Review of Books, Tablet Magazine, Thread, Wall Street Journal, and, for a period of time before this 'dry spell': Flashquake, South Loop Review, Under the Sun, Bellevue Literary Review, Kaleidoscope, Natural Bridge, and Prime Number Magazine.
She's been published. She just wasn't seeing the results that would encourage her to continue banging her head against that Wall. Yet, she asked herself, "Could I abandon the mothership?" She did, and instead, "I focused on the publications whose work I truly admired and loved to read, and that’s where I kept submitting."
The result? "It’s not that suddenly all my work gets accepted, but the rate is much higher," Gendler writes. "I now look at my submissions in terms of publications I want to get into. I think about what I could write for them."
After reading Gendler's commentary and seeing it had been a few years, I wondered, "Where is she now?" with her stance on lit mags, so I reached out to her to ask.
"My approach has pretty much stayed the same since then," she wrote, "I don't submit to literary magazines anymore. Not doing so was essentially a course correction for me. Literary magazines are just not the right market for my work, even though I write literary nonfiction and memoir."
As well, since that time, she has published her first book, Jumping Over Shadows: A Memoir. Ironically, a lit mag editor, having read her post, asked her to submit something for their journal. She did, and they published The Flying Dutchman, an excerpt from her book.
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.
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."
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.
The January/February 2019 issue of Kenyon Review features the winners of the 2018 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest selected by Judge Melinda Moustakis, with an introduction by Fiction Editor Kirsten Reach. The winning entries can be read online here, and each includes a video or audio of the author reading the work.
Laura Roque [pictured], “Dientes for Dentures”
Tyler Barton, “Spiritual Introduction to the Neighborhood”
Christopher Fox, “Breaking”
Jena Chapman Andres, “Unter den Linden”
Alex Burchfield, “Taxidermy"
The Winter 2018 issue of Spoon River Poetry Review includes winners of the 2018 Editor's Prize Contest with Final Judge Li-Young Lee. Winning works can also be read online here, while the new issue is still current.
Mark Svenvold [pictured], “Immigration Algorithm (Application Form D (3) b (1) a)”
David Wright, “There is Another Book”
Chad Foret, “That Which Shines”
Ed Frankel, “Singing Lullabies in Dangerous Places”
Timothy McBride, “Soudure”
Lan Duong, “In This House”
The SRPR Editor's Prize Contest is open annually until April 15. In addition to publication, the winner receives $1000, first and second runners-up receive $100. Honorable mentions and finalists may also receive publication.
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.
Just what fans of Jane Austen need: Our own society of Austen lovers!
Started by Henry G. Burke, J. David Grey, and Joan Austen-Leigh, the great-great grand niece of Jane, the Jane Austen Society of North America "is dedicated to the appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing. Join us in celebrating her life, her works, and her genius."
JASNA hosts a three-day conference each fall that includes lectures by Austen scholars and JASNA members, exhibits, workshops, and a banquet and Regency ball. Yes, a ball! Each year, the conference is themed with a reading list provided in advance.
The 2019 conference (200 Years of Northanger Abby: "Real Solemn History") will be held in Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia on October 4-6, and the 2020 conference (Jane Austen's Juvenilia: Reason, Romanticism, and Revolution) will be in Cleveland, Ohio, October 9-11.
In addition to the conference, JASNA publishes peer reviewed journals, a newsletter, book reviews, and holds an annual student essay contest. JASNA also has an International Visitor Support Program which provides a $3,250 fellowship to assist with travel and research expenses.
For more information, visit the JASNA website.