This issue features the winners of the Flash Fiction & Geri Digiorno Contests. New flash fiction from Frank X. Christmas, Andrea Eberly, Amina Gautier, Katherine Hubbard, Alana Reynolds, and Nicholas A. White. New poetry by Julia C. Alter, Melissa Boston, Jessica Dionne, Chelsea Harlan, and more. Find more contributors at the Mag Stand.
The MacGuffin’s Vol. 37.1 comes at you with an expanded selection of poetry and expanded coverage of our Poet Hunt contest(s) too! We start with Matthew Olzmann’s selections from Poet Hunt 25: Vivian Shipley’s grand prize winning “No Rehearsal” and honorable mention selections from Rita Schweiss and John Jeffire. See what else you can find in this issue at the Mag Stand.
Find the 2021 Dogwood Award Winners in this issue, now at the Mag Stand. Also featuring work by Padya Paramita, Ellen Graf, Sheree La Puma, Christine Chen, Anne Hampford, Vanessa Haley, S.M. Ellis, Willie Lin, Cristina Baptista, Emily Polk, and more.
Special to this issue: The Central New York poet Paul B. Roth in dialogue with John Taylor, with a selection of his poetry included. Also in this issue: fiction by William Nuth, Marilee Dahlman, and more; poetry by Andrea Inglese, Patty Pieczka, Lake Angela, Pedro Serrano, Silvia Scheibli, Fabio Pusterla, and more. Find more contributors at the Mag Stand.
Our spring issue features poems, fiction, and creative nonfiction by Cezarija Abartis, Bryana Atkinson, Robert Erle Barham, Melinda Brasher, Laura Todd Carns, Charlie Clark, and more. See a full contributor list at the Mag Stand.
Featuring new fiction by Michael Beadle and Mary Gulino, an essay by Carl Schiffman, and poetry by Linda K. Sienkiewicz, Giovanni Raboni (translated from the Italian by Zack Rogow), Joseph Fasano, James P. Cooper, Katherine Fallon, Barbara Daniels, and Mark Belair. Cover painting by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Now at the Mag Stand.
Guest Post by Madeline Thomas.
When a combination of a Catholic upbringing and the unforgettable viewing of a commercial for The Exorcist sends a young girl’s mind to the inevitability of a personal demon possession, the first steps are taken on a path to parental disappointment. Jessica Power Braun’s “Black Alpaca” places readers at the intersection of religion, generational conflict, and closet-Jesus nightmares with sharp humor and unflinching honesty.
The essay, published in Hippocampus Magazine, works through the realities of fear and guilt in the Catholic Church, the slow movement away from your family’s religious identity, and the discovery of a poignant black alpaca painting in the context of Braun’s identities as a mother, wife, and daughter. Humor forms the heart of the piece, but the essay makes no attempt to pull away from what is both painful and real—forming a balance that cultivates both emotional impact and investment for readers.
In a time where I feel the need for constant breaks from the mire of news and the world in general, the humor and tone present in “Black Alpaca” provides needed relief. Braun utilizes her power in storytelling to craft something worth connecting with.
“Black Alpaca” by Jessica Power Braun. Hippocampus Magazine, January 2021.
Reviewer bio: Madeline Thomas is a graduate student and writer at Utah State University.
Poor Yorick is continuing their monthly reading series with a virtual open mic and fireside chat! This event features a sneak preview of upcoming special issue in honor of National Poetry Month, “The Poet’s Mask.” Several contributors will present their work on the theme of masks and masking on April 29.
Contact Brianna Paris (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a Microsoft Teams invitation.
“The Poet’s Mask” will be published on Friday, April 30 on Poor Yorick‘s website.
This event is brought to you by the editorial team at Poor Yorick: A Journal of Rediscovery, which is the online literary publication of Western Connecticut State University’s M.F.A. Program. The journal publishes poems, stories, essays, photo essays, and other innovative works about rediscovery, the lost and the found—what we bury, and what we dig up. The editor will be on hand at the open mic to talk submissions, too; if this sounds like your kind of publication, contact us!
In Every Last Breath: A Memoir of Two Illnesses, scholar and memoirist Joanne Jacobson strings twelve independently stunning essays together to create a lyrically compressed contemplation of the always frail body.
The essays detail Jacobson’s heart-wrenching experience of discovering her own chronic illness even as she was writing about her mother’s. Both memoir and biography, the book rejects the linear trajectory of conventional narrative to call the reader “out of time” and into the lives of two Jewish-American women as their diseases, one of blood and one of breath, force them to confront “end of life” together.
With the precision of a poet, Jacobson gracefully and honestly explores the ephemerality of time and breath and speaks deeply to the shared human experience of incremental loss. Every Last Breath is a hopeful and hurting reminder that the body is both singly inhabited and commonly shared.
Every Last Breath: A Memoir of Two Illnesses by Joanne Jacobson. The University of Utah Press, 2020.
Reviewer bio: Kylie Smith is a writer based out of Logan, Utah.
Buy this book from our affiliate Bookshop.org.
Love it. I reckon this to be the best Romance/Young Adult fiction ever. All love stories, fiction and nonfiction, are each unique manifestations unlike none other. But here, the story of love takes a clear departure from your everyday love story. What makes this book a brilliant read is the simple presentation of the power and shortcoming of love in the face of mortality.
Humans have a life to live, and the love to share wholeheartedly with another is the blessedness of being human. That humans will ultimately die, leaving the one bereaved of such felt assurance and aliveness that only the other half could provide, is the nemesis of being human.
Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, bound with the affliction of cancer and then again bound by the Cupid arrow, grapple with the reality of their fate stoically, braving the odds stacked against them. They experience, enjoy, and embrace love, but death, that Grim Reaper, of course, has the final say.
The Fault In Our Stars is a fictitious narration of a story of our lives. Life is transient—a mere finite number within infinity.
We shall not have all the time in the world to experience the profundity of companionship, mirth, eros, and all of the fine attributes accompanied by love. But in that brief expanse of time—cancer-ridden, poverty-ridden, crisis-ridden, virus-ridden—love endures and triumphs over all human vagaries and the finitude of time.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Penguin Group, April 2014.
Reviewer bio: My name is Aramide Salako from Nigeria. I enjoy reading classics and bestsellers. I’ve read some classics that linger in memory, both fiction and nonfiction. I self-published my first book this year: Thoughts in Traffic; 243 Quick-fire Notes to Aid Your Outlook on Self, Life and the Afterlife.
Buy this book from our affiliate Bookshop.org.
Christopher Citro in If We Had a Lemon We’d Throw It and Call That the Sun “makes wildly inventive, exciting, vital poems.”
The Last Unkillable Thing by Emily Pittinos is a journey across landscapes of mourning.
In More Enduring for Having Been Broken by Gwendolyn Paradice, readers can expect stories of children abandoned, forgotten, and ignored as they survive the trauma they experience.
Saturation Project by Christine Hume is genre-defying as it “brings memoir and essay to the land of myth.”
The poems in Aaron Caycedo- Kimura’s Ubasute are detailed, elegiac meditations within a particular American family.