This issue of Big Muddy includes work by Brian Baumgart, August B. Clark, Charlotte Covey, Mark Fabiano, Doris Ferleger, Spencer Fleury, Jennifer Gravely, Ian T. Hall, D.E. Kern, Bronson Lemer, Paul Luikart, Leah Mccormack, Matt Mcgowan, Luke Rolfes, Rosalia Scalia, Christine Stewart-Nuñez, Katie Strine, Rachel Tramonte, Carol Tyx, Christian Vazquez, Daniel Webre, Adam D. Weeks, Holden Tyler Wright, and Kirby Michael Wright.
Big Muddyhas proven to be one of my most favorite journals to read. The topics of its many stories and poems speak to that downhome, simpler type of life, even if sometimes it may not be a positive image or experience for those involved.
Within its pages, you’ll find fiction, poetry, and essays that really make you think about life and the situations we find ourselves in. Most of the work and topics are directly related to the ten states bordering the Mississippi River, all the way from the U.S./Canada border to the Gulf Coast through Louisiana.
Southeast Missouri State University’s Big Muddy Editor Jame Brubaker announced in the introduction to issue 18.2 that “Due to budgetary contraints and restructuring at our university, we’ve had to modify our plans a bit. So, going forward, Big Muddy will be printed once, annually. Additionally, in early 2019, we will begin publishing weekly work on a new website that is still being developed (keep your eyese peeled for updates on that!).” We wish Big Muddy the best in this time of transition, and though times may be tough, we hope SMSU will continue to support the arts through this exceptional publication.
Published out of Southeast Missouri State University Press, Big Muddy showcases works and authors “related to the Mississippi River basin and its bordering ten-state area.” While that might at first seem limited, there is no sense of that limitation in reading this publication. On the contrary, the genre styles, subject matter, and author backgrounds are so broad, “big” is even an understatement. More like its river’s namesake, this Big Muddy meanders, rages, roils, and gently laps through the gamut of literary creative expression.
This issue of Big Muddy contains a lot of technically very good writing. Descriptive pieces of fiction and poetry are showcased throughout its pages. The glossy cover photo of a filthy rider by Bradley Phillips should be interpreted as an invitation to explore in detail the trails that others have forged. I am left feeling the pages are a little devoid of emotion compared to a number of other publications I’ve reviewed, but that is the wonderful thing about the wide world literary magazines: there is a venue for all types! Speaking of trails, one of the 18 poems included is titled “Trails Are Trials” by James Valvis. The poem speaks to giving over to circumstances in life and surviving, regardless. I especially enjoyed the following lines, “Each step I could not be sure / the ground would catch my foot. / The trail grew muddy, treacherous.” Continue reading “Big Muddy – Spring/Summer 2014”
The Mississippi River holds a special place in American literature. Mark Twain wrote extensively about it in his memoir, “Life on the Mississippi”: “The Mississippi is well worth reading about. It is not a commonplace river, but on the contrary is in all ways remarkable.” Big Muddy, a literary journal published by the Southeast Missouri State University Press, is as remarkable as the mighty river it is named after. This journal delivers stories, poems, and essays related to the Mississippi River Basin and its bordering ten-state area, but you don’t have to live in this area of the United States to enjoy the writings collected in this issue. Continue reading “Big Muddy – 2013”
This journal reads like a road trip. Its rich landscape left me with a lingering sense of journey as I found characters and imagery replaying in my mind like saturated photographs. Continue reading “Big Muddy – 2010”
The newest issue of Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi Valley features the Southeast Missouri State University Press’s 2010 Fiction Contest Winners. Kel Munger (“Missus Finn”) won the Mighty River Short Story Contes and Erica Lehrer won the Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest. James H. Crews, Jr. is this years winner of the Copperdome Chapbook Contest for What Has Not Yet Left to be published by MSUP.
This journal defines itself as “a unique collection of issues, events, & images from the Great River Road,” and it publishes works of history, the sciences, business, photography, and creative writing. Works are not classified in the Table of Contents, so it can be a little difficult to distinguish between genres in some cases. Not in the case, however, of Phil Harvey’s short story, “Tomato Only,” which is typical of much of the poetry and prose in the issue, accessible, readable, and what, for lack of a better term, I’ll categorize as natural. Harvey’s story begins: “Albert had asked for tomato on his tuna salad sandwich, no mayonnaise, please. He had been very specific, very precise, taking extra care because the man behind the deli counter at the American Grill looked oriental and probably didn’t speak English very well.” Continue reading “Big Muddy – 2009”