The winner of the Goldenberg Prize for Fiction, "Autobiography" by Carla Hartenberger—chosen by judge Chang-rae Lee—follows a set of Canadian conjoined twins who must wrestle with the physiology and psychology that both keep them together and wrench them apart.
The winner of the Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction, "I Must Have Been That Man" by Adina Talve-Goodman, was selected by judge Anne Fadiman. In her winning essay, Talve-Goodman navigates college-age independence, her recent heart transplant, and the challenges of compassion when she comes upon a man lying on the side of the road on a rain-drenched night.
The winner of the Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry—"Dysesthesia" by Hannah Baggott, selected by judge Major Jackson—is a vivid look at the sensory mayhem of dysesthesia: "I want to know why I am always wanting," Baggott writes, "why my body is never quiet..."
The winner of the inaugural Daniel Liebowitz Prize for Student Writing is Philip Cawkwell's haunting poem "The Dinosaur Exhibit." This award recognizes one outstanding literary submission from the Medicine Clerkship at the NYU School of Medicine.
Honorable mentions (also published in the issue):
Fiction: "Bystander" by Jen Bergmark
Nonfiction: "Torso" by Leslie Absher
Poetry: "Damaged" by Colby Cedar Smith
In starting a literary magazine, Myers and Clifton say they like the juxtaposition inherent in those publications. "When reading one, you never know what will be on the next page--your new favorite poem? your best friend from childhood? a plot that destroys everything you though about storytelling? The possibilities are endless. We wanted to create a space in which this excitement could live and grow. Part of the fun for us is putting each issue in order and seeing how the text and images converse with one another. In a phrase, our mission is to keep our readers guessing."
And while the name Bear Review might seem to invite eco- or nature-themed writing, the inspiration expresses a more complex metaphor. When Myers was a teenager, he went hiking and came across a bear face-to-face. The experience was full of beauty that turned into danger and fear. Myers writes, "As readers, we crave that specific sort of encounter from each poem or flash piece we happen upon. Our favorite pieces, like literary bears, have a mix of beauty and danger that leaves us with a greater respect for what's real. And we want to share this vital wonder with our readers. "
Reader of Bear Review can expect to find this mix of beauty and danger throughout, though since the editors are both poets, the publication is bias to that genre. ("But we do love micro-prose," says Myers.) In both prose and poetry, Myers assure me that readers can expect to find a wide breadth of styles and contemporary modes as well as visual art from critically acclaimed photographers, illustrators, and painters.
Some recent contributors include Moikom Zeqo, Mathias Svalina, Jordan Stempleman, Lisa Russ Spaar, DA Powell, Rusty Morrison, Wayne Miller, Emily Koehn, Megan Kaminiski, Miriam Gamble, John Gallaher, Drew Cook, and Hadara Bar-Nadav.
Myers tells me that future plans for Bear Review are to continue making the journal "a beautiful place for the poems and prose we love; we want to continue to bring an audience there. We want to provide a place where established and soon-to-be established writers can share the same stage." A chapbook contest, website expansion for close readings, and book reviews and interviews are all in the works.
Bear Review takes submissions year round via submittable, and Myers and Clifton say they read each submission out loud. All work done as a labor of love, Bear Review is a welcome addition to the literary arts community.
[Cover: "Victim of Explosion" by August Sander, 1930]
Adam Scheffler, "Contemporaries"
Murray's comment: "It's a very accomplished accretive poem that pays off our anticipation with specifics and surprises, and lets us chuckle right through the inevitable."
Brian Patrick Heston, "Overtime"
Murray's commen: "It's a jewel-like yet gritty poem that lifts a dark moment to the light and pulls us inside with curiosity, reluctance, and empathy."
Suzanne Cleary, "Making Love While Watching a Documentary on Lewis and Clark"
Murray's commen: "It's an appealingly drowsy meditation on expectation, imagination, and disappointment—in history, on TV, and in bed."
Myra Shapiro, "Put the Kettle On"
Structo Editor Euan Monaghan starts the newest issue commenting on the work of editing a literary magazine, ". . . not always fun and games. Sometimes, when I've had enough of chasing invoices or wrestling software, I pull up on screen something that we are about to publish: a piece of writing so new that it's not yet been committed to paper. Something only a few people have seen. And the excitement returns. I remember why I'm doing this - it's because I want to share this feeling of excitement with the whole world. The writing we publish is really good."
In addition to their own "really good" selections, the UK-based Structo has been invited by Faber & Faber and Arts Council English to publish one poem from each of the 2013-2014 Faber New Poet Award Winners. The Faber Poets receive mentoring, financial support, and a debut pamphlet published by Faber & Faber. The poets are Declan Ryan, Zaffar Kunial, Rachael Allen, and Structo's own Will Burns. Burns also talks with Kunial and includes the interview in this issue.
Under the editorial guidance of Willard Spiegelman since 1984 (when the editorial responsibility was returned to a faculty member for the first time in forty years), Southwest Review has emerged as "one of the best literary quarterlies in the United Sates," according to PEN American Center. Having won the PEN Nora Magid Award for Literary Editing in 2005, Spiegelman and his editorial staff have shown a true lifetime commitment to publishing "luminous and unfamiliar names, so long as the writing is genuine."
Also featured in this anniversary issue are the 2014 Morton Marr Poetry Prize Winners. This year's judge was Elizabeth Spires.
First Place Kyle Norwood "Landscape with Fountain and Language"
Second Place Lisa Rosenberg "To the Makers"
Second Place David Landon "Ash Wednesday: Coffee At Starbucks"
From the publisher: "One day, in a burst of loyalty, Hendrik reveals that his name is in fact Jakob and he is Jewish. It is a choice with drastic consequences. It not only puts his whole family in danger but it also severs his ties with his best friend Ivan, whose father is a high-ranking military official. Throughout the horrific months that follow in the Auschwitz concentration camp, it is Jakob's passion for revenge against Ivan that fuels his will to survive. However, unknown to Jakob, Ivan had made a choice of his own on that fateful day – a choice that changes everything."
The Choice is Kathy Clark's second book in the Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers, and is based on the experiences of her father, a Holocaust survivor.
[ISBN 9781927583654 / Ages: 9-13 / 200 pages / paperback / b&w photos]
First place: Christa Romanosky [pictured], of Pittsburgh, PA, wins $1500 for "Every Shape That the Moon Makes." Her story will be published in Issue 96 of Glimmer Train Stories.
Second place: Adam Soto, native Chicagoan now living in Austin, TX, wins $500 for "The Box." His story will also be published in an upcoming issue, increasing his prize to $700.
Third place: Katy E. Ellis, of Seattle, WA, wins $300 for "Night Watch."
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Deadline coming up! Family Matters: April 30. Glimmer Train hosts this competition twice a year, and first place receives $1500 plus publication in the journal. It's open to all writers for stories about families of all configurations. Most submissions to this category run 1200-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. Click here for complete guidelines.
Clive Barker, a contemporary of author Neil Gaiman, first rose to fame in the eighties, with the Books of Blood. At the time, Stephen King called Barker "the future of horror"; a prophecy that proved true, as Barker's talent easily translated across major films (Hellraiser, Candyman, Gods and Monsters) fine art and more fiction, with the bestselling Abarat series.
Now an elusive figure who makes few public appearances, Barker is baring his imagination for Zymbol readers, and offering some lucky Kickstarter patrons autographed prints, reproduced directly from the pages of his bedside notebook.
Other rewards on offer include rare autographed books and Zymbol Magazine subscriptions. The Kickstarter is underway now.