The newest issue of Mudfish, listed at the NewPages Magazine Stand, features the winner of the 14th Mudfish Poetry Prize, judged by John Yau: Mark Wagenaar with “Fluencies.” Honorable mentions G. Hanlon and Stokes Howell are also included. Other contributors this issue: Dell Lemmon, Michael Lyle, Aillie McKeever, Beth Suter, Claire Scott, Vincent Bell, Marjorie Power, Angela Dribben, Yuyutsu Sharma, Holly Day, Jason Koo, James Trask, Jake Bauer, Francis Klein, Neal Zirn, Bob Coles, A. Kaiser, Kristin Entler, Tim Nolan, Kirk Wilson, Toni Hanner, and many more.
Inside our “Liberation” issue, on this week’s NewPages Magazine Stand: First fiction from Thea Chacamaty and Bradley Babendir on Jewish comic novelists. Featuring Heather Christle, Samantha DeFlitch, Patricia Foster, Catherine Gammon, Terrance Manning Jr., Askold Melnyczuk, John R. Nelson, Anya Silver, and Paul Smith.
The “Atention!” issue of The Antioch Review is featured at NewPages this week. This issue includes Heinrich Böll’s “Cause of Death: Hooked Nose” (translated by Robert C. Conard) which captures Nobel laureate Boll’s vivid imagery about the corollary of unfettered hatred, unchallenged propaganda, and fearful inertia for countries, communities, and consciences. Rachel Rose’s “Buccal Swab” airs the concerns and realities families face when a member harmlessly hands over DNA to Ancestry.com or some other DNAanalyses company. Stuart Neville’s thriller “Coming in on Time” unfolds in the eyes of a child naïve to passions that stir so strongly and sting so seriously. Find a full list of contributors at The Antioch Review‘s website.
Book Review by Katy Haas
As a writer who is very prone to anxiety and stage fright, I’ve always turned down the opportunity to participate in readings. I can’t help running all the worst case scenarios through my head. This led me to picking up my copy of What Could Possibly Go Wrong? the pocket-sized anthology edited by Richard Peabody, featuring 36 writers sharing their own readings gone wrong.
The anthology starts off on a more serious note. Brett Axel’s reading devolves into a protest as police crash it, assuming the worst of teenage attendees. Abby Bardi’s publicity tour ends prematurely as it coincides with 9/11.
But a majority of these horror stories are less serious and more humorous. Mark Baechtel walks himself into a corner with one bad decision he commits to. Barbara Esstman has a selection of not one but four bad readings, and, luckily, she approaches each of them with levity. Alma Katsu is interrupted by a loud cheerleading practice. Both good weather and bad weather interfere with multiple readings. Tim Wendel must compete against the midnight release of his nemesis: Harry Potter.
Each writer presents their story with lightness and humor. Things didn’t go as planned, but they made it through and are still around writing and participating in more readings. I now find some comfort in the seemingly universality of readings gone awry. Sure, things might go wrong, but at least the experience will be there to laugh at (and possibly write about) later.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Edited by Richard Peabody. Paycock Press, 2019.
The single-author True Story has released a new issue, which is featured this week at NewPages. In “Plume: An Investigation” by Mary Heather Noble, a former environmental investigator applies her forensic skills to a family mystery. What happens to us when we are exposed to toxicity, both literally and figuratively? Can we change what we pass on to our kids? And at what cost?
Plume‘s February 2020 issue can be found at the Magazine Stand this week. This issue’s featured selection is “Engraved Phrases on Open Seas: Poems and Notes on Translations of Khal Torabully” by Nancy Naomi Carlson. Charles Simic pens an “Essay on the Prose Poem,” and Mark Wagenaar reviews Mark Irwin’s Shimmer. Poets in this issue include Sawnie Morris, William Logan, Mary Jo Salter, Mark Irwin, Kim Addonizio, Andrea Cohen, Adam Scheffler, and more.
Visit the Magazine Stand for the latest issue of Main Street Rag. The Winter 2020 issue includes featured interview “Living for the Day” with Laura Thurston by Richard Allen Taylor. Also in this issue, find fiction by Nancy Bourne, Michael Gaspeny, Nick Gardner, Don Stoll, Laurence Levey, and Michael Washburn; poetry by Joan Bauer, Ace Boggess, Les Brown, Brian Fanelli, Mary Alice Dixon, Sean Thomas Doherty, Vicki Mandel-King, Gerard Sarnat, Sibani Sen, Young Smith, and more; plus a selection of five book reviews.
This year’s issue of HSPR, at the NewPages Magazine Stand this week, is a collection of small things–the way the small things, the things we almost could overlook, often drive art as much as larger considerations. Our 4×4 section this year continues the theme – Richard Kenney, Tobi Kassim, Jessica Fisher and Stephanie Burt all weigh in on the role of small things in both making poems and appreciating them. Contributors include Jena Le, Sandra Lim, KE Duffin, Mary Cisper, Anna Tomlinson, Adam Tavel, Jonathan Wike, Tobi Kassim, and more. A changed logo, different paper, and new fonts are also small physical changes readers can note in this issue.
The Winter 2020 issue of Carve Magazine is at the NewPages Magazine Stand this week. The print issue features short stories by and interviews with Alissa Hattman, Emily Howorth, Sam Simas, and Kate Arden McMullen; poetry by Lucia Orellana Damacela, Jessica Hincapie, Cindy Juyoung Ok, and E. Kristin Anderson; and nonfiction by Brittany Coppla and Joel Clotharp. Additional features include Decline/Accept with “Fit” by Rayne Ayers-Debsksi, a “One to Watch” interview with Brandon Taylor by Anna Zumbahlen, and illustrations by Justin Burks.
In The Way of the Wind, poet and writer Francine Witte’s sparse but packed novella in flash, loss has a dozen names and belongs as much to the present as the past. After being dumped by her boyfriend of five years, the narrator, Lily, finds herself not only overwhelmed with grief but with the memory of other losses and, as she tries to work through them, takes the reader on a frantic, all-too familiar journey.
The Way of the Wind is divided into short, emotionally-charged chapters that grip from the start. Bitter wit provides respite throughout: “Love is a lot like tennis, you know? The ball is everything. Everything. If you’re not watching it, you might as well be sipping tea.”
As is true in the work of any masterful flash fiction writer, the only thing the reader can count on here is the unexpected. As Witte takes the reader on a bumpy ride full of emotional twists, highs and lows, the angst and dramedy feel familiar; the ache, all too real. Lily tries everything to escape her pain, going over the “ifs,” making excuses for the other, fantasizing to keep from acknowledging that her biggest fear—abandonment—has come to pass. The only way out of grief and loss, the narrator seems to suggest, is by uniting with what there is—other humans who care, and acceptance.
The Way of the Wind by Francine Witt. Ad Hoc Fiction, 2019.
Arya F. Jenkins is a poet and writer whose prose has been recently published in About Place Journal, Across the Margins, Cleaver Magazine, Eunoia Review, Five on the Fifth, Flash Fiction Magazine, Metafore Literary Magazine, and Vol. 1 Sunday Stories Series. Her fiction has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Her latest poetry chapbook, Love & Poison, was published by Prolific Press in November 2019, and her short story collection Blue Songs in an Open Key (Fomite, 2018) is here: www.aryafjenkins.com.
The February 2020 issue, included on this week’s NewPages Magazine Stand, features work by Zach Linge, Jesus Govea, and Dasiy Fried. More work by Terese Svoboda, Alison C. Rollins, Mia You, Caoilinn Hughes, Virginia Keane, Francine J. Harris, Angela Jackson, Rodney Jones, David Felix, Dujie That, Talin Tahajian, Partridge Boswell, Lani O’Hanlon, Beth Bachmann, John Lee Clark, Maggie Smith, James McCorkle, Zeina Hashem Beck, Jessica Greenbaum, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Mary B. Moore, Gabrielle Bates, Nome Emeka Patrick, Jack Underwood, and Liz Berry. Plus an essay by Jeffrey Yang.