In her craft essay in the February 2018 #133 issue of Glimmer Train's Bulletin, Danielle Lazarin tells readers to "Question Everything" as she does in her own drafting process. Her essay opens:
"On some days, my writing notebooks look like an inquisition, my pages topped and ended with questions: in all-caps, underlined, circled. Many are small: What do the kids want to be called? What is her work? Handwriting=obsessive or careless? Maybe she cries on the subway home, after dinner? But they're big, too: What is true, the memory of it, or the moment? Is she lacking? DO WE REQUIRE HOPE? Though they may appear frantic, a series of scribbled questions aren't signs of confusion or desperation but of sufficient curiosity on my part to propel a story forward. At every stage of my work, questions are my most essential writing tools. I use them to move through to the other side of murky. It's only by stepping into that unknown and uncomfortable space repeatedly during my process that I can become more deliberate in the story I'm telling."
Also included in this month's GT Bulletin are Thomas Fox Averill's "Writing Archival Fiction" and Aline Ohanesian "On Rejection." The Bulletin is free to read online and have delivered monthly to your e-mail.
The Missouri Review v40 n4, 2017 features intriguing cover art by Su Blackwell entitled "Heroines of Literature," a finely crafted paper sculpture. More of Blackwell's work can be viewed on her website.
According to Editor and Founder Robert Stapleton, Booth 11 is a "stunning collection of contemporary femal writers. The issue includes new fiction, nonfiction, poetry comics, lists, and interviews by such esteemed authors as Emily St. John Mandel, Joyce Carol Oates, Marya Hornbacher, Elizabeth Strout, Krista Christensen, Aubrey Hirsch, Brenda Shaughnessy, and so many more. This full-color literary journal offers a powerful argument for the strength of female authors working in American letters." Beginning it all: cover art by Tara McPherson.
The cover image by Lucy Engelman made me open Issue 15 of Creative Nonfiction's monthly publication, True Story, the opening paragraph of "This Is My Oldest Story" by Emily Brisse made me drop everything and just read. It begins: "In May of 1992, a little before the end of fourth grade, my best friend Kristy and I and a few others from our street - Ryan, Tim, Tom, maybe Naomi - hopped on our bikes and started riding. Most of us had younger brothers, and we left them at home. We didn't tell our parents we were going. They thought we were in the basement of Tim's house, playing Tetris, and although their anxiousness had relaxed by inches over the past two and a half years, we knew that any request to bike farther than the outlined boundary of our street would receive a firm no. So we just went."
Willow Springs Issue 81 features this brightly colored image, originally a 13 x 13 silkscreen. The "inside cover" replicates this image, but with "Spokane Garbage Goat" replacing the issue number. I had no idea what this was, so promptly headed to Google, where I learned of the iconic status of said goat. Absolutely delightful, as is artist Chris Bovey's work, more of which can be found at Vintage Prints.
Keeping with vibrant colors, The Fiddlehead Winter 2018 (# 274) issue features Monika Wright's "With Powerful Intention" acrylic on canvas. In her artist's statement, Wright comments, "With organic shapes, fluid light, lines and circles, I am employing universal symbols of unity, wholeness and infinity connected by lines, representing the boundaries which separate us, but which also highlights our shared path." See more of her work here.
Olives are a succulent fruit, each containing a seed with which to grow more nourishing deliciousness. What better inspiration, then, for MORIA, the new literary publication from Woodbury University, where an olive grove once stood on the land that now houses this Californian educational institution.
Faculty Editor of MORIA Literary Magazine, Dr. Linda L. Dove, tells me MORIA refers to a special type of olive tree in ancient Greece that is protected by the government. “As a tree sacred to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, the original ‘Moria’ was believed to have been planted by her at the Parthenon and includes the meaning ‘to be part of’ something larger than itself. Here at the literary magazine, we recognize and celebrate that Woodbury University is a part of a tradition of learning that is larger than itself, just as literature and the writers who make it are part of a tradition of creative engagement and cultural production that is larger than any one individual alone.” Beautiful.
The Florida Review Editor and Director Lisa Roney in the 41.2/2017 issue Editor's Note writes in a recurring thread about the U.S. prison culture, her early experiences knowing young people who went in and out of jail, and - of all things - changing the publication's submission policy to accept traditional postal submissions from those without Internet access, "whatever the circumstances might be." This, of course, would open submissions to our nation's incarcerated population who are not allowed access to the Internet.
About the Special Section on Prison, Roney writes, "we include writing by prisoners, as well as their family members and friends. It is the presence of this Triumvirate (victims, prisoners, family and loved ones) that testifies to the widespread tragedy that violence, addiction, and poverty and their results have become in this country - and our constant sense that there must be some better way. Writing, of course, is one of those better ways."
The Malahat Review issue #201 (Winter 2017) includes two prize winning works:
Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction
Selected by Steven Price
"Faster Horses" by Katherin Edwards
Constance Rooke CNF Prize
Selected by Brian Brett
"Flaubert's Hummingbirds" by Nancy Holmes [pictured]
Read more about The Malahat Review prizes as well as interviews with each of the winners here.
Winners and finalists for the 2017 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry and Fiction are featured in the Winter 2017 issue of Able Muse: A Review of Poetry, Prose & Art.
Write Prize for Fiction
Final Judge: Jill Alexander Essbaum
Winner: "Target" by Leslie Jill Patterson
Write Prize for Poetry
Final Judge: Annie Finch
Winner: "Fall Rewinding" by D. R. Goodman [pictured]
Finalists: Ann M. Thompson; Scott Ruescher; Rob Wright
For a full list of honorable mentions and short list selections, visit the Able Muse 2017 Write Prize announcement page.
The Winter/Spring 2018 issue of Gulf Coast features the winners of their 2017 Gulf Coast Prizes contest:
Judged by Cate Marvin
"The Weather Underground" by sam sax
Judged by Diane Roberts
"The Peacock and the Bell Captain" by Spencer Wise
Judged by Chinelo Okparanta
"That Boy Could Run" by Rudy Ruiz [pictured]
For a full list of honorable mentions and biographical information on each writer and judge, visit the Gulf Coast Prize page.
I was relieved to see it wasn't just me who heard the Bee Gees in my head when I saw the cover of Bennington Review Issue Four themed "Staying Alive." Editor Michael Dumanis opens the "Note from the Editor" with these two lines from the 1977's classic, "Life goin' nowhere, somebody help me / Somebody help me, yeah, I'm stayin' alive."
Dumanis explains, "As we were reading the poems, stories, and essays submitted to Bennington Review in 2017 for this, our fourth issue, we noticed a word that come up with remarkable regularity - the verb 'survive' in all its various permutations. In Issue Four, it occurs - frequently as a directive, occasionally as the noun 'survivor' - twenty-eight times. The word 'living' can be found twenty-one times, an the word 'alive' shows up an additional twelve."
A "tonal shift" from their previous issue, themed "Threat," Dumanis notes that "something has shifted in the cultural landscape. An acceptance of threat has bred a series of reactions - resistance, perseverance, even a measure of optimism . . . there's now a restored sense of agency."
Readers can find works by Patrick Williams, Erin L. McCoy, Marco Wilkinson, Ian Stansel, A. Molotkov and many more, with several contributors' works available to read online.
Stayin' alive? I'm all for it.