The cover of the MacGuffin’s Vol. 37.2 is a postcard, painted by featured artist Kathleen Frank, sent from summer vacation. Travel stories abound: hike to ESSNWNAU-AL in Gracjan Kraszewski’s “First Impressions” and fly out to Saskatchewan on a brief hunt for truth and a certain mythological creature in Alexander Wentzell’s “Big Feet.” Check out what other pieces are in this issue at the Mag Stand.
Jewish Fiction .net announces a beautiful new Rosh Hashana issue! Here you’ll find 12 delightful stories, as refreshing as apples and as sweet as honey, originally written in five languages: Czech, Hungarian, Yiddish, Hebrew, and English. The Czech story, “Luck,” is the first one we’ve published translated from that language, and this brings to 17 the number of languages represented in Jewish Fiction .net. See what else is in this issue at the Mag Stand.
The September issue of The Dillydoun Review is here! Short stories by Chaya Kahanovitch, Amelia Kleiber, Liam Strong, and A. Whittenberg; flash fiction by Catherine Chang, Sarah Enamorado, Bob McNeil, Marcelo Medone, Mark Putzi, Gary Reddin, and Sky Sprayberry; flash nonfiction by Wendy BooydeGraaff, Marco Etheridge, Melanie Kallai, and Maggie Walcott. Find this issue’s poetry contributors at the Mag Stand.
In this issue of Cutleaf, Peggy Xu remembers the joy of culinary whiplash that results when food and culture combine in “Yam’Tcha.” David B. Prather shares three poems beginning with one that takes us into the beautiful mind of “The Boy in the High School Science Room.” And Ray Trotter depicts a scene of speculation and frustration when two men wonder what’s inside a locked workshop in “Scavengers.” Learn about this issue’s images at the Mag Stand.
Our own Editor-in-Chief Denise Hill had a conversation with Trish Hopkinson for Hopkinson’s Tell Tell Interview Series. The two talk about “importance of community and process for writers and poets,” as well as the equally important topic of which IPAs to try out.
On the value of literature: “But when I just think about the value of literature and our society, Why doesn’t it have a greater place? Why doesn’t it have a greater value where there’s millions of us? So where is the movement for this? How do we get that?”
Check out the entire video interview at the Tell Tell Poetry website where you can also find a transcript of the conversation.
Issue 27 on the theme of ‘Geography’ is now online. Poetry by D A Prince, Lynne Lawner, George Moore, Ruth O’Callaghan, Rebecca Gethin, Finola Scott, Phil Vernon, Grant Tarbard, John Grey, Simon Perchik, Alistair Noon, Kelley White, Kristine Johanson, Chris Pellizzari, Joe Crocker, Caroline Davies, Philip Burton, Paula Aamli, Stuart Mckenzie, Toby Jackson, and more. See a full list of contributors at the Mag Stand.
Sometimes after reading a story, I want to know more about it—what the inspiration was and what went into writing the piece. Southern Humanities Review quenches that thirst for answers in their “Features” section on their website, providing the occasional interview with a contributor of their print journal. Right now, readers can find an interview with Leslie Blanco, whose short story “A Sane Person Doesn’t Do Something Like That” is in Volume 54 Number 2 of Southern Humanities Review. The story “examines the strain in the marriage of Yvelis and Hector during the Cuban Revolution.”
Blanco and interviewer Caitlin Rae Taylor discuss the motivations behind the actions of the story’s characters, and the research that went into writing this piece. Here’s what she says about her attitude toward research:
The truth is, I love research. I love the melodrama of history and the magic of stepping mentally into another time, so I did a ton of research. Even as I type the answers to these questions, a vast “sensory” landscape covers one wall of my office, representing research for a novel set just after the revolution. It is a map of Havana with pushpins in all intersections of significant historical moments, surrounded by photos depicting the everyday people swept up in those events, complete with their glorious beehives or their iconic beards.
The interview finishes in a more general area. Taylor asks Blanco what she’s currently reading, what current projects she’s working on, and what advice she’d give to writers “who want to write fiction set against historically significant events,” making this interview an interesting read even for those who have yet to take in “A Sane Person Doesn’t Do Something Like That.”
“Write like a human” has been my advice to university students for years; imagine my delight to see those same words from Kurt Vonnegut to his pupils in Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style. For any writer, novice or not, advice on the craft from someone like Vonnegut is well worth your time. Fans of his will wince a bit at my purposeful use of a semicolon in my opening sentence.
The book’s cover lists Kurt Vonnegut and Suzanne McConnell as authors, though he’d been dead for 12 years by the time this book was published. The attribution is appropriate. McConnell includes so much of his work and words, it’s only fair he gets top billing.
McConnell was a student of Vonnegut’s at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and went on to a lifelong friendship with the storied writer and his family. Not meant to be a biography but so much of his life and personality inspired or surfaced within Vonnegut’s writing, this book wouldn’t be complete without those details. With her close connection to the family, McConnell includes rare photos and reproductions of letters, marked-up drafts and—my favorite—assignments and notes to students. I now need to up my game with my university course materials.
McConnell gives us bite-sized reading, with attention to page layout that would bring a sly smile to Vonnegut. It’s an organized primer—inspiration, mechanics—up to and including how to build community and take care of oneself in this solitary business we call writing.
Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style by Kurt Vonnegut & Suzanne McConnell. Seven Stories Press, 2019.
Reviewer bio: Lisa Graham-Peterson is a freelance writer and adjunct professor at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. More about Lisa at lisagrahampeterson.com.
Buy this book from our affiliate Bookshop.org.
“The Ties That Bind” by Tammy Delatorre
“What You Don’t Know” by Claire Fielder
“Catalogue for a Coming of Age” by Liz Harmer
Editors’ Choice Selections
“The Untimely Collaborators” by Sara Davis
“Face, Velvet, Church, Daisy, Red” by Marilyn Hope
These placing pieces can be read on CRAFT‘s website. There, you’ll also find a list of finalists, the rest of the longlist, and honorable mentions, as well as information about this year’s judge.
Did you know River Heron Review offers workshops? These virtual workshops create an encouraging writing environment with a supportive community open to offering and receiving feedback. The Fall 2021 workshops include “Witnessing and the Poetics of Social Justice,” “(Re)Discovering Your Writer’s Voice,” and “Write the Story of Your Life,” among others. The dates and prices vary, so don’t miss out on your chance to attend these workshops—go check out the Fall 2021 offerings here.