New Book :: Writing While Parenting

Writing While Parenting by Ben Berman published by Able Muse Press book cover image

Writing While Parenting
Essays by Ben Berman
Able Muse Press, March 2023

Ben Berman’s Writing While Parenting explores what it means to pursue one’s creative passions while also raising a family, how having children can make us more vulnerable and imaginative as artists. Given how hectic parenting is, it is possible to balance a career and family let alone find two minutes to pee without someone tugging your leg and asking to watch you make bubbles? How do we possibly find the time or energy to be creative? Spanning five years, these essays range from humorous beginnings (the seven-year-old daughter complaining that she just got kicked in the weenie) to more serious moments (finding two swastikas etched into the slide at the playground, a few blocks down the street from the family home). No matter the genesis, each piece examines the overlaps and dissonance between the creative life and the procreative one. This is a witty, inspired, and illuminating collection for the writer and/or the parent.

Book Review :: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow a novel by Gabrielle Zevin published by Knopf book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

While Gabrielle Zevin’s title might initially make readers think of Shakespeare, she sets her story in the 1990s and 2000s video game culture. Her title refers to the ability to start over in games, to continue playing the game until one figures out how to win. Life, though, doesn’t present that same opportunity, and, while lifelong friends Sam and Sadie are still relatively young at the end of the novel, they have come to the clear realization that they are mortal. They are unable to start over during their experiences of loss, which, at times, paralyzes them; their differing approaches to those occurances often leads to the conflict between them. Sam and Sadie recognize each other’s gifts, but they also know each other better than most spouses, so they also see the other’s shortcomings. They thus often seem Shakespearean, star-crossed lovers who come together to create games, then drift apart, often over miscommunication and misunderstandings. Zevin’s novel explores creative friendships and the conflicts that come with them, but, more importantly, she creates characters one wants to spend time with, even when they are at their most frustrating. In other words, she creates characters who behave like humans, for better and worse.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. Knopf, July 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or

If you are interested in contributing a Guest Post to “What I’m Reading,” please click this link: Reviewer Guidelines.

New Book :: How Much?

How Much New and Selected Poetry by Jerome Sala published by NYQ Books cover image

How Much? New and Selected Poems
Poetry by Jerome Sala
NYQ Books, November 2022

How Much? New and Selected Poems by Jerome Sala offers a panoramic view of a poet whose work has often been a cult-pleasure until now. Spanning Sala’s early years as a punk performance poet in Chicago to his career as a copywriter/Creative Director in New York City, these poems offer satiric insights from the “belly of the beast” of commercial and pop culture. Sala’s books of poetry include cult classics such as I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent, The Trip, Raw Deal, Look Slimmer Instantly, Prom Night (a collaboration with artist Tamara Gonzales), The Cheapskates, and Corporations Are People, Too! His poetry and criticism have appeared widely. Before moving to New York City in the 80s, Sala and his spouse, poet Elaine Equi, did numerous readings together, helping to create Chicago’s lively performance poetry scene. He has a PhD in American Studies from New York University.

New Book :: Girl Flees Circus

Girl Flees Circus a novel by C W Smith published by University of New Mexico Press book cover image

Girl Flees Circus
Fiction by C. W. Smith
University of New Mexico Press, September 2022

Girl Flees Circus, the newest release by C. W. Smith, follows nineteen-year-old aviatrix Katie Burke after she crash lands her biplane on the only street in No Name, New Mexico. Her arrival changes her life and the lives of everyone around her. As Katie and her craft need repair, locals take her in and help her, including a schoolteacher who longs for Katie’s friendship, an interracial couple who own the town’s diner, a handsome young mechanic who lives in a teepee, and a shell-shocked veteran of World War I. As her story unfolds, Katie’s mysteries deepen—revealing shocking secrets, a scandalous past, and a future in true peril. Girl Flees Circus takes flight the moment Katie crashes to earth, promising a journey into the lives of a glamorous, redheaded stranger and the people she will change forever.

New Lit on the Block :: Gleam

Gleam Journal of the Cadralor online literary magazine logo image

In conversation with Jonathan Bate about Stephan Fry’s book The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within and the value of poetic form, Stephan Fry encouraged writers to “Just try out writing in that form. I think people will amaze themselves when they do that.” For writers willing to explore new forms and challenge their development of craft, and for readers who appreciate seeing the variety of poetic expertise that a single form can produce, Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor is your next stop.

Developed in August 2020, the cadralor is a portmanteau of the names of the two co-creators of this poetic form, Christopher Cadra and Lori Howe. The rules of the form are explained on Gleam’s website, but in brief, this is a five-stanza poem with each stanza containing a consistent number of lines, up to ten, and each stanza able to stand alone as a complete poem. It cannot be narrative, though the stanzas should be contextually related. They must be imagist, vivid poems without cliché that are “a feast for the senses.” The fifth stanza acts as the crucible “illuminating the gleaming thread (Thus, the ‘gleam’ in the name.) that runs through the entire poem,” pulling the poem “into a coherence as a kind of love poem,” and answering the compelling question, “for what do you yearn?” The poem does not need to be a traditional love poem, as the editors explain, “Yearning takes many forms,” but it is characteristic that a “successful cadralor end on a note of hope rather than hopelessness.”

Poets ready to tackle the form can expect their work to be well received by seasoned writers who want to engage the community in a supportive way. Editor in Chief Lori Howe is author of two books of poetry, Cloudshade, Poems of the High Plains, and Voices at Twilight, was Executive Editor of Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers, and formerly Editor in Chief of Clerestory: Poems of the Mountain West, and Open Window Review. She holds an MFA in Poetry from University of Wyoming, where she is also Professor. Founding Editor, Christopher Cadra is a poet/writer whose work has appeared in The Cimarron Review and elsewhere. His criticism has appeared in Basalt and a journal he edited, The Literati Quarterly.

Publishing two to three issues per year, Gleam accepts submissions via email, and, as Howe points out, “We offer a great deal of feedback on submissions, and often offer ‘revise and resubmit’ options, which we believe is somewhat rare among poetry journals. We do this because the form is both new and especially challenging to embody. We like to encourage poets to keep working on cadralor until they get there.”

There is a growing list of contributors whose cadralor have arrived to provide readers “the finest examples of this form anywhere in the world,” including Louise Barden, Rachel Barton, Robert Beveridge, Susan Cole, Kate Copeland, Jane Dougherty:, Scott Ferry, Malcolm Glass, Joanna Grisham, Georgia Hertz, Marie Marchand, Bob McAfee, Julia Paul, Charlotte Porter, Nick Reeves, Michelle Rochniak, Anastasia Vassos, Sherre Vernon, Sterling Warner, Ingrid Wilson, and Jonathan Yungkans.

In starting this new form as well as taking it onto a public platform, Howe shares, “My greatest joy is in reading submissions of cadralor from all over the world and discovering that this form is being taught in MFA poetry workshops around the country.”

As Cadra and Howe state, Gleam is THE flagship journal for the new poetic form, the cadralor, and the plan is for it to continue to hold that well-deserved place in our literary community.

Magazine Stand :: Wordrunner eChapbooks – Summer 2022

The Satisfaction of Longing stories by Victoria Melekian book cover image

With its 46th and newest issue, Wordrunner eChapbooks‘ Summer 2022, The Satisfaction of Longing by Victoria Melekian, the number of fiction collections published in their free, online or epub format is 24. Add to this 5 memoirs, 5 poetry collections, and 12 anthologies, and visitors will find plenty to keep their reading needs satisfied, indeed!

Melekian’s stories are considered “emotionally rich and ethically complicated. . . suffused in longing and loss.” The collection of seven stories opens with the chance encounter of a woman and man who had once endured unbearable tragedy. A fatherless woman with an imprisoned husband has a mysterious benefactor. Two sisters conflict over what to do with their father’s ashes. In the final story, a woman and her son flee her estranged husband, who never wanted children.

This collection may be read free online but can also be purchased as an ebook edition ($2.99) from Amazon or Smashwords with authors receiving 50% of all royalties. ALL Wordrunner Authors are paid, and this also supports an indie press!

Later this year, Wordrunner will be publishing their 25th fiction collection, Death in the Cathedral by Malcolm Dixon. Look for it in December.

The theme for the Spring 2023 issue will be announced by December and submissions open January 1 through February 28, 2023. Guidelines may be found here.

Events :: Poetry Foundation Library

Maya Marshall poet head shot Poetry Foundation Library

You don’t need to live in New York to take advantage of the many free events offered by the Poetry Foundation Library. Their calendar is peppered with community activities that include in-person with a virtual option as well as virtual-only events. Events like a Book Club with small group discussion online, moderated by library staff, with all participants residing in the U.S. offered a complimentary copy of the book; Forms & Features, which is billed as “part discussion, part poetry workshop,” online monthly series; and numerous Readings and Lectures, Screenings, and Performances.

The two upcoming Book Clubs are All the Blood Involved in Love by Maya Marshall [pictured] on September 30 and Somebody Else Sold the World by Adrian Matejka on October 21. Participants are welcome to sign up for one but not both club events. Closed captioning is available via Google Meet and an ASL interpreter will be provided upon request.

Magazine Stand :: december – vol. 33.1

december literary art magazine Spring Summer 2022 issue cover image

From its founding in 1958, december has remained true to its founders’ declaration, “We are humanists…far more concerned with people than dogmatic critical or aesthetic attitudes.” And showing this by publishing cutting-edge fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and art. Now on the cutting edge in print as well as online, december readers will find much to entertain: twice a year print journal, contests, online extras including contributor interviews, “From the Vault,” and “Poetry With Purpose.” This newest print edition features Poetry by Sean Cho A., P. Hodges Adams, Jennifer Atkinson, Jessica Barksdale, Brenda Beardsley, John Blair, Evana Bodiker, Lisa Cantwell, Christian J. Collier, Sally Lipton Derringer, Daniel Donaghy, Dagne Forrest, Rebecca Foust, Ariel Friedman, Karen Holman, Romana Iorga, Judy Kaber, Susanna Lang, Jim McGarrah, Melissa McKinstry, Karen McPherson, Linda Michel-Cassidy, Michael Montlack, Kristina Moriconi, Barbara Mossberg, Alicia Rebecca Myers, David Oates, Lizzy Peterson, David Anthony Sam, Sarah Sousa, Paula Stacey, Richard Stimac, Anne Dyer Stuart, Shelly Reed Thieman, Alden Wallace, John Sibley Williams, Ariana Yeatts-Lonske; Fiction by Annelise Hatjakes, Michelle C. McAdams, John Paul Scotto, Timothy Wojcik; Nonfiction by Kierstin Bridger, Jennifer Dupree, Erin Langner, Mark Liebenow, Clancy Tripp; Art by David Humphrey; Robert Lowes Haiku Society: An Interview with Ben Gaa; Cover art by Joan Hall.

New Book :: Myopia

Myopia graphic novel by Richard Dent published by Dynamite Entertainment book cover image

Graphic Novel by Richard Dent
Dynamite Entertainment, August 2022

A homeless man is mysteriously abducted. A journal is left on the edge of a subway platform, filled with stories about a world that doesn’t exist. Not far from here a scientist is murdered in cold blood. The only clues are his burned-down lab. A magnetically propelled motorcycle, and a man walking around New York City with the last living falcon on the planet. Imagine a world where your every thought, your every move, is filtered through The Central Lens Network. Now imagine being a twelve-year-old boy and discovering a special pair of lenses that allow you to access this network undetected. This is exactly what happens to Matthew Glen the day his father is murdered then two years later mysteriously appears back in his life. In a style that echoes back to the Dark Age of Comics when graphic novels were coming into an art form of their own, Myopia merges science fiction with noir steampunk into a thrilling alternative reality, where government and big business use entertainment devices to cover up a new authoritarian landscape.

Event :: National Write Out 2022

National Writing Project Write Out October 9-23, 2022 logo image

Write Out (#writeout) is a free two-week celebration of writing, making, and sharing inspired by the great outdoors. It is a public invitation to get out and create that is supported with a series of online activities, made especially for educators, students, and families, to explore national parks and other public spaces. The goal is to connect and learn through place-based writing and sharing using the common hashtag #writeout.

This year’s Write Out is STEAM-Powered (STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and will run October 9-23, 2022. To support this theme, Write Out will be organized around the use of notebooks and journals that inspire observing, describing and annotating just like STEAM professionals do!

Write Out encourages all participants to get outdoors, write, create, reflect, share, and connect with one another on and offline. Your time commitment and level of participation in Write Out is flexible; you can use any of the content created in your own way, at your own pace, for and with your own community—you are also welcome to create your own!

Sign up now to receive information to support your planning and participation: