Find Willow Springs Fall 2021 issue at the Mag Stand. New poetry by Roy Bentley, John Blair, Bruce Bond, Kathryn Hunt, Melissa Kwasny, Sandra McPherson, Melanie Tafejian, Lyuba Yakimchuk, and more; fiction by Robert Long Foreman, Amanda Marbais, and Wendy Elizabeth Wallace; and nonfiction by Andrew Farkas, Jeremy Alves da Silva Klemin, and Holly Spencer. Plus closing the issue: an interview with Kevin McIlvoy.
Featuring some wonderful poetry, fiction, and narrative nonfiction from: Katie Berta, Krysta Lee Frost, Huan He, Laetitia Keok, Alyse Knorr, Kyle Liang, Zefyr Lisowski, lisa luxx, Livia Meneghin, Meghana Mysore, and more. See additional contributors at the Mag Stand.
The Summer 2021 issue of Snapdragon is at the NewPages Mag Stand. This issue is filled with poetry, creative nonfiction, and photography from around the globe. This year, we’re focused on the stages of grief and using art to explore the various complexities of grief. This is our second issue of the series, and the theme is “anger.” But, rest assured, though the issue explores the raw pain of anger, it explores it beautifully and artistically
The latest issue of Hole in the Head Review features work by Sheleen McElhinney, Cindy Buchanan,, David Dixon, Miriam N. Kotzin, Jocelyn Ulevicus, Kenneth Rosen, Cal Freeman, Jefferson Navicky, Julio Maran, Jill DeGroff, Lisa Bellamy, Tania Runyan, Jacklyn Hogan, JC Reilly, Cynthia Good, Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith, Dan McLeod, Jean Kane, and more. Find a full list of contributors at the Mag Stand.
The Louisville Review, Volume 89, Spring 2021, includes poetry, fiction, art essays, and book reviews from the following authors: Julie Beals, D. A. Becher, Carl Boon, Christopher Buckley, K. J. Bundy, Roger Camp, Peter Cooley, Todd Davis, Anastasia Dreval, Halina Duraj, Lynn Gordon, Lily Greenberg, Kathleen Gregg, Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Ken Holland, Elizabeth Hughey, Marcia L. Hurlow, Emily Jennings, Bonnie Omer Johnson, Hallie Johnston, Brandon Krieg, Peter Leight, Gabrielle LeJeune, Robin Lippincott, Elmo Lum, Sofia Machado, Melissa Madenski, and more. See what else you can find in this issue at the Mag Stand.
Magazine Review by Katy Haas.
128 words. That’s what Cathy Ulrich gives us in “I Do Not Want to Live Without You.” Just 128 words. And somehow that’s exactly enough.
We’re introduced to characters in a motel and the motel’s swimming pool, a quick snapshot but a vivid one. The narrator says, “maybe later there will be consequences and police cars, maybe later it will be like our parents said,” and this is the perfect amount of information to allow readers to put together a backstory for this snapshot.
Is it the backstory Ulrich imagined when writing this piece of flash? Is the backstory you assign it the same as mine? Maybe or maybe not. And that’s what I love about it. There’s beauty in the language used and beauty in what’s kept from us.
“I Do Not Want to Live Without You” by Cathy Ulrich. Fkash Frog, June 2021.
What if there existed a span in your memory that wasn’t really your memory at all?
Jeff Ewing goes through this in “Impermanence,” his account of experiencing Transient Global Amnesia (TGA), “a temporary condition marked by the sudden onset of anterograde amnesia, a disquieting inability for a period of 5-12 hours to make any new memories.” During this time, “the brain resets every 30 seconds or so, the slate is wiped clean, [ . . . ].”
Due to TGA, Ewing loses eight hours of his life. While his body moved around an ER and underwent tests, he doesn’t really remember it. And the faint memories he does have may not even be his. Ewing goes on to talk about the ways our memories fail us. We perform “memory thefts,” sometimes subconsciously taking someone else’s memory and believing it’s our own. What he remembers could actually just be what has been told to him. Suddenly intimately aware of this fallibility of memory, he tries to savor moments in his life post-TGA, to “fasten it all down for good.”
This piece of nonfiction is an interesting look at memory and TGA, something I had never heard of before. Ewing’s writing style is inviting, and he casually yet carefully explains TGA and memory, making sure the reader is following along. He doesn’t bask too long in the emotional, but leads us there gently, wrapping up this piece with a reminder to take stock of what it is we’d want to “fasten down” in our own memories.
“Impermanence” by Jeff Ewing. Zone 3, Spring 2021.
I teach writing in an MFA program and have recently begun using Kathy Flann’s book WRITE ON: Secrets to Crafting Better Stories in the classroom. I appreciate the readable humor, relatability, and stealthy brilliance of her advice. Flann’s creative observations and essential recommendations make writing a strong, authentic narrative more achievable—sooner.
One grad student told me that her instruction helps him to ask the big story questions earlier than he might otherwise. I use the book in my own writing life as well. It’s a smart, comforting how-to for anyone drafting a new work, which all writers, at every career stage, must do.
WRITE ON: Secrets to Crafting Better Stories by Kathy Flann. Stay Thirsty Publishing, August 2020.
Reveiwer bio: Betsy Boyd directs the Creative Writing and Publishing Arts MFA program at the University of Baltimore. Her fiction has been published in Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, Shenandoah, Eclectica, Del Sol Review, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere.
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Reviewer’s Note: I know Kathy Flann as a Baltimore-based colleague and friend. We are in a longstanding writing group together. Because I admire her work and her critique methods so much, I feel comfortable both using them in my teaching realm and writing a review—totally unbiased. I am especially picky about the craft books I’ll bring into a workshop.
“U. Vulgaris” by Mary Alice Long
“The Swing” by t.m. thomson
“Natures Mortes” by Katherine Cart
“escape” by L. Kardon
“Downpour” by Lorette C. Luzajic
“How to Make a Shroud” by Kristen Roach
“If This Is the Truth” by Sean Rys
“Plums” by Ann-Marie Brown
“The Jellyfish Invasion of Asbury Park” by Joe Lugara
“Blithe #2” by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad
You can check out these nominated pieces at the journal’s website.
First, a confession. I had to look Namibia up on the map. That’s where Katie Crouch’s fourth novel, Embassy Wife, is set. This funny, insightful, thought-provoking romp will entertain you, inform you, and get you thinking about things you might not normally think about.
The novel follows three women—newly arrived former Silicon Valley COO Amanda Evans; Persephone, the tipsy former southern belle queen bee of the Expat crowd; and Mila, the statuesque, ebony skinned wife of the Minister of Transportation. All are what’s called “trailing spouses.” Add to the mix their respective husbands, children, and household staffs, and you’ve got quite a cast of characters. Not surprisingly, their lives intersect in surprising ways both in the present and the past.
There’s a lot of commentary on everything from the legacy of Colonialism to marriage to genocide and gem smuggling embedded in the story. One key driver of the plot: animal poaching, one rhino and one stake-out in particular. The story is told from the third person omniscient point of view, allowing the author to deftly dance between the characters.
Part satire. Part Expat story. Always surprising. You will laugh out loud at some of the references (“the Great Orange Oompa Loompa”) and find yourself quoting many of the lines, including the acronym FIGJAM (read the book to find out).
Embassy Wife by Katie Crouch. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, July 2021.
Reviewer bio: Cindy Dale has published over twenty short stories in literary journals and anthologies. She lives on a barrier beach off the coast of Long Island.
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This month’s feature includes a selection of Veronica Golos’s work. The poet is also interviewed by Amy Beeder. Sonia Greenfield reviews Finding Token Creek by Robert Alexander. In nonfiction: “The Only Critic” by J.T. Barbarese. Check out some of this issue’s poets at the Mag Stand.