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Denise Hill

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Rounding out its first year of publication, Crab Fat Literary Magazine has four print issues (August, November, February, May) and a 'best of' anthology in addition to its online collection from posting new writing every other Sunday of the year.

Founding/Managing Editor Caseyrenée Lopez and Fiction Editor Ella Ann Weaver oversee the publication of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, flash fiction, interviews, art/photography, and experimental/hybrid work. They will consider audio/video of readings, but it's not something they've published regularly.

The motivation for starting CFLM, Caseyrenée tells me, was "to join the conversation. My educational background is focused on queer writing/publishing, and supporting minority voices was the next step for me. I also wanted to see what was out there; starting Crab Fat has provided me with interactions and experience I wouldn't have gained otherwise."

Most intriguing to me is that name – Crab Fat. Where on earth did that come from? Caseyrenée says, "I wanted something memorable and cool, but was struggling to find something that would vibe with my goal of highlighting awkward/experimental/queer prose and poetry. A few days before I committed to buying a domain, my husband and I were at breakfast and started calling out random phrases and obscure words. He suggested 'crab fat' because we'd been listening to Crudbump's Illuminati Shit. Our favorite line in the song is 'rock a big gut, that's my crab fat' and we'd been making jokes about his chubby belly being 'crab fat.' So really, the name Crab Fat is a weird mashup of rap lyrics and body positivity."

In keeping with the unique name, readers can expect to find "a little bit of this and a little bit of that," Caseyrenée tells me. "We feature a wide variety of voices and offer an eclectic mix of contemporary content. We are progressive and like to publish work that goes against the grain of mainstream." To that end, during their first year CFLM has featured writing from Adam Kuta, Edward A. Boyle, D.S. West, Haley Fedor, Alana I. Capria, Philicia Montgomery, and Susannah Betts.

The future for CFLM will include pushing the genre limits and incorporating more experimental work into the magazine. "We want work that breaks conventions and makes us question what we know about genre" says Caseyrenée, "so we are actively reaching out to a wider audience than before. We are also trying to raise money through tip-jar submissions, a GoFundMe campaign, a cool image prompt contest, and sales of our print anthology. We want to pay writers for their work, even if it is just a token payment, to show that we appreciate all of their hard work." Crab Fat also actively works to recognize writers through nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

CFLM's print anthology is published under the Damaged Goods Press imprint. Caseyrenée is the founder of both, so in a sense, they're sister sites/publications. The quarterly magazine is available as PDF and print, and the every other Sunday installments on available online. Submissions are accepted a rolling basis using Submittable.
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charlotte-morgantiAmidst all the debate about the "value" of higher education and the "overabundance" of MFAs being turned out of programs these days, it was refreshing to read Charlotte Morganti's Eight Reasons to Considering Pursing an MFA on Fiction Southeast. What a great reminder that it's okay to want to go to school to LEARN not just to EARN. Morganti writes, "Initially I enrolled in my MFA program for two reasons – to learn the craft and to hang out with some really cool people. By the time I earned the degree, I had benefited in many other ways as well." She invites readers in or pursuing MFAs to give their own reasons for enrolling in a program, as well as responses to these two questions: Did your MFA give you benefits you dind't expect when you first enrolled? If you opted no to pursue and MFA, what were your primary reasons?

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sara-marronThe Lucy cell
the stock exchange creating a consciousness
the computer, functioning on man-made algorithms
corrects its own mistakes
error-correction is a sign of
(to a computer)
a sign of its own conscious
its own identity...

From [Language] CSS and HTML [/Language] by Sara Marron and Michael Reich
Chagrin River Review, Issue 6 (Spring 2015)

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As I head into my "summer off" I can honestly say I appreciate this hardcore look at teaching. I'll use this as my retrospective for the month:

"At age 26, your first teaching assignment shattered your dreams. Your students preferred other forms of entertainment such as talking on their cell phones or discussing who was sleeping with whom to studying Shakespeare and dangling participles. Most had no clue how to express themselves using a complete sentence, and if you'd had a whisky shot for every time you read an essay containing the word 'cuz,' you would have become a fine drunk, which in retrospect doesn't sound so bad."

From "A Guide for the Burned Out Teacher" by Kelly Charlton published in Crab Fat Literary Magazine online content, July 2, 2015.
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emily-steinberg"First sort through Emily Steinberg's A Mid Summer Soirée in quick succession," writes Tahneer Oksman, Graphic Narratives Reviews Editor of Cleaver Magazine, "Then go back and read it slowly."

I did just that, and found that as I progressed through the images with accompanying text, I became more and more amused by the story of each whimsical character.

"He thought his Linen Suit was the way to go."
"She wondered if her new Coif was appropriate for an evening soiree."
"He'd received the invite only a day before and felt decidedly B-listed."

There's no transition to connect the images and stories to one another, other than the overall title. As Oksman writes, "Trying to fill in the narrative gaps is part of the pleasure of the journey, as is, on the contrary, moving past those gaps in favor of experiencing the piece's seductive rhythm."

Going back through it slowly allows time to absorb the artwork, which is fantastic collage/sketch design work. Using newspaper, with lots of crosswords sections, some of Steinberg's images have almost an exquisite corpse feel to them that makes it both disconcerting and impossible to look away.

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chariton-reviewThe Spring 2015 issue of Chariton Review features the winner and finalists of their 2015 Short Fiction Prize, judged by Christine Sneed. This winner of this annual award for the best unpublished short fiction on any theme up to 5,000 words in English receives a prize of $500 and two or three finalists will receive $200 each. All U.S. entrants will receive a complimentary copy of the Spring prize issue in which the winners are published.

2015 Winner
"Sugar Bowl" by Jo DeWaal

Finalists
"Delivery in Göteborg" by Mike Lewis-Beck
"Die Laughing" by Kim Norris
"Big Sisters" by Louise Kantro


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themaLooking for an idea to get your writing started today? Try THEMA literary journal! Each issue of THEMA is based on a different unusual theme. The journal is designed to provide readers with a unique and entertaining collection of artistic theme interpretations, in the form of stories, poetry, black-and-white artwork, and photography. It also provides a stimulating forum for established and emerging literary artists and serves as source material and inspiration for teachers of creative writing.

Upcoming themes and dealines for submission:

The Neat Lady and the Colonel's Overalls
November 1, 2015

Drop the Zucchini and Run!
March 1, 2016

Second Thoughts
July 1, 2016

"The premise given," the editors write, "must be an integral part of the plot, not necessarily the central theme but not merely incidental." For more information, visit THEMA.

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samsun-knightWriter Samsun Knight explores the role of conversational dialogue in fiction: "...in reality, nobody ever talks to anyone else. What speech actually achieves is a communication between one person and that person's idea of the other. Most of the time there is no difference, no discernible difference, between such verisimilitude and the truth. But the best dialogue will manifest this disparity in subtle, slender ways. It will show how, in speaking, we fail to speak."

Read the rest of his commentary in Glimmer Train Bulletin #102 along with other craft essays from authors recently published in Glimmer Train Stories.
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tishman-reviewThe Tishman Review gets its name from Tishman Hall, located on the campus of Bennington College where co-founding editors Maura Snell and Jennifer Porter gave their graduate lectures and readings as students in the Bennington Writing Seminars. They are joined by Joanne Nelson, editor for creative nonfiction.

Publishing quarterly fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and art, including cartoons, the current issue of The Tishman Review is available for free online. All issues are available to purchase as an e-book and in print-on-demand.

Porter tells me they started a magazine "to be DIFFERENT. We wanted to pay our contributors, we wanted to be hands-on editors—not only reading everything that comes in (and often providing feedback) but also editing accepted pieces, we wanted to be open to what authors are creating rather than having pre-determined ideas of what they should be writing."

As a result of their up-to-elbows approach, readers can expect to find a selection of poetry, prose and art that "speaks to the human condition" and "hopefully elicits a response, whether it be emotional or intellectual."

There have been no preset themes for submissions, though themes have appeared from among the works once they have been selected for publication. The editors shared, "We do like to publish work that challenges the 'isms of sex, race, age, etc."

Among those writers whose works have been selected, in poetry: Lauren Davis, Ace Boggess, Barrett Warner, Karla Van Vliet and Jennifer Martelli; in fiction: Tamas Dobozy, Amanda Pauley, Laura Jean Schneider, Lee L. Krecklow, James English, and Mercedes Lawry; in creative nonfiction: Robert Vivian, Jayne Guertin, and Kerrin O'Sullivan.

For the July issue, The Tishman Review will begin mini-contests in which readers (on our website) and the staff vote for their favorite piece in each genre and contributors will win prize monies. The editors hope to continue working on the publication's financial standing so as to increase contributor payments.

All poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions can be made through Submittable. There is a fee to submit works, which the editors felt a need to comment on: "There is a lot of controversy surrounding submission fees. On our website we've posted a Code of Ethics for our journal as we do charge a submission fee. We want each submitter to see what they are paying for. We also host regular no fee submission days that we announce through social media. We do not charge a submission fee for art or craft blog posts."

The Tishman Review also accepts submissions of book reviews and craft essays for the Craft Talk Blog (there is no pay for these contributors, but the byline is worth it – the blog already has some excellent content that has been featured on NewPages), as well as cover art, interior black and white art, and cartoons.

Ricochet Review

July 08, 2015
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ricochet-reviewStudent poets guided by faculty and editorial editors at Chicago's Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center comprise the editorial board of Ricochet Review, an annual poetry magazine that strives to publish both established and emerging writers who work in poetry and/or poetry translations from various languages and various forms of art. The newest issue (#3) features translation from both underrepresented and major languages, as well as through ekphrasis.

Ricochet Review is unique among literary magazines because of its "Apprentice Poet and Master Poet Mentorship Exchange." This is an opportunity for high school poets to hone their craft through a guided, workshop-style collaboration between experienced, published, and talented master poets, who understand the art of poetry and how to convey it. High school students who wish to be mentored should highlight their interest in their cover letter when submitting their poems. The editorial board will then contact chosen participants.

Ricochet Review is currently accepting national and international submissions from high school students, college students, and non-students. The theme for their next issue: "Macabre and Grotesque." The editors write, "We are looking for any type of poetry and translation directly or indirectly inspired by the macabre and/or grotesque." The reading period ends February 1, 2016.
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