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Denise Hill

Good Story Checklist?

December 27, 2018
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terry kennedyThe Greensboro Review Editor Terry L. Kennedy writes in his introduction to issue #104 about trying to determine what makes "a good story" and the idea of creating a checklist for submissions:

"A checklist for 'a good story' might make my editorial deliberations easier, but it wouldn't be good for my staff or for the magazine. And I'm not so sure readers really want exact restrictions on a story, not anymore. What if a story has a memorable setting but there's no plot, nothing happens? A la Seinfeld. Where does that leave us? There are too many intangible aspects with which to blur the lines. . . I guess what I'm working my way around to is this: it's not that I'm incapable of creating a checklist as that I don't really believe, in my editorial heart of hearts, that I should. In the end, the best stories might just be the ones that do the things we thing a short story writer shouldn't attempt. But by doing them well, they win our hearts and make us shout, 'This one; this is the one!'"

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jennifer barberAfter 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!

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jennifer bullisWith each new issue of its online poetry journal, Under a Warm Green Linden issues one of the poems as their featured broadside, signed by the author, available for purchase.

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."

Asymptote for Educators

December 21, 2018
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asymptote fall 2018With 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.

ARC Poetry Walks

December 20, 2018
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arc walkApproached by Canada's Arc Poetry Magazine, with a grant from the Community Foundation, rob mclennan created four, hour-long literary walks - Arc Poetry Walks - that take participants on a tour of several Ottawa neighborhoods, each featuring poetry-related sites. Following each IRL event, mclennan posted the text from the walk on his blog along with photos and related links. Above/Ground Press created a broadside "poem handout" for each event. A great resource for those interested in learning more about Ottawa literary culture/history, and a helpful blueprint for others who might be interested in replicating this kind of event. [Photo by Chris Johnson]
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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

luis c berriozabal. . . 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]

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dave harrisThe December issue of Rattle features the winner of their 2018 Poetry Prize: "Turbulence" by Dave Harris [pictured].

Harris receives $10,000 in addition to publication. Ten finalists are also included in the issue, and subscribers to the publication can vote on who receives the $2000 Readers' Choice Award.

Finalists include: Katie Bickham, Destiny Birdsong, Debra Bishop, McKenzie Chinn, Steve Henn, Courtney Kampa, Michael Lavers, Darren Morris, Loueva Smith, and Mike White.

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carolyn oliverIn collaboration with Louisville Literary Arts, the Fall 2018 (#84) issue of The Louisville Review features the winner of the 2018 Writer's Block Prize in Poetry: "Nine Minutes in June" by Carolyn Oliver.

This contest is held in conjunction with the Louisville Literary Arts Writer's Block Festival held in November at Spalding University.

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alicia elliottIn 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.

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missouri reviewFrom Speer Morgan's "Forward: Practical Living," which opens the Fall 2018 (41.3) issue of The Missouri Review:

"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.

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