Author: Katy Haas

  • Ethan Hayes Reads ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’

    Guest Post by Ethan Hayes

    “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” These are the immortal opening lines of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, a novel filled with so many more beautiful lines. The novel is concerning the generational story of Maconda and its founders, the family of Jose Arcadio Buendia.

    I have found the novel to be filled with a wonderful whimsy that has made García Márquez famous. Every line is poetry that flows through the magical story that fills the pages. The main characters are the motley crew of Jose Arcadio Buendia’s family, who range from the dirt-eating Rebeca who wandered into the family to Jose Arcadio, the first-born son of Jose Arcadio Buendia who inherited his strength.

    The novel is told in such a wonderful fairy tale style that blends magic into the storied events that plague this family and the town that they founded. One of García Márquez’s best works.


    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. 1967.

    Reviewer bio: My name is Ethan Hayes. I am a writer from Colorado. I like to write fiction and fantasy as well as short prose. You can find my blog at https://ewwhayes.wordpress.com/.

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  • Poetry – May 2020

    In the May 2020 issue of Poetry, find work by A.E. Stallings, Perry Janes, Raymond Antrobus, Mary Ruefle, D. M. Spratley, Desirée Alvarez, Kelle Groom, Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Safia Elhillo, Janice N. Harrington, Zakia El-Marmouke, Eileen Myles, Lupe Mendez, TC Tolbert, Karen Skofield, Daniel Poppick, Jennifer Barber, Inua Ellams, Stuart Barnes, Travis Nichols & Jason Novak, Kyle Carrero Lopez, Ricki Cummings, Dean Browne, Jennifer L. Knox, Jayme Ringleb, Gerard Malanga, Helen Mort, and Srikanth Reddy. Plus, Vidyan Ravinthrian in the Comment section.

  • Plume – #106

    This month’s Plume featured selection: Reginald Dwayne Betts: On Art, Poetry, the Particular Fucked Up Parts of Incarceration, and the Multitudes of I. Work by the poet is introduced with an interview by Amanda Newell. In the Essays & Comment section, find “Rescuing Ourselves” by Celia Bland. Chelsea Wagenaar reviews Sara Wainscott’s Insecurity System.

  • A Graceful Revelation

    The Off-Season by Jen Levitt

    Guest Post by Heidi Seaborn

    Finishing up my MFA at NYU, I wanted to read a first collection by a poet who had travelled this same path, Jen Levitt. While I waited for the delivery of Levitt’s The Off-Season from my local bookstore, I went in search of her poetry online. When I found “The Reality Show,” I knew I had met a kindred spirit—someone who delivers ironic humor but approaches it without a suit of armor. Her emotional temperature is tempered only by coolness of her cultural references.

    Any poem about physique, about not feeling attractive and the brutality of middle school brings its own pathos, but this poem embeds, “In montage I mourn the boy killed by this classmate / for liking to wear heels & makeup, / also the jury’s devastating hearts / that go out to shooter / because twenty-one years is a lot of time” in the middle, a turn that is both jarring but important to weight this poem. The stakes are suddenly clear. With the line, “like the time it takes to get over middle school,” the reader accepts the burden of living in the speaker’s body, as well as one’s own.

    Body and sexuality dominate this Levitt collection. In the titular poem, “The Off-Season”, the speaker wrestles with the awkwardness of coming of age—made more acute by her growing awareness of her sexual orientation. When I read this poem to my queer daughter, she said the poem was so evocative of that ‘puzzling’ experience. Levitt is piecing together the puzzle that is her—as she matures. She is also coming of age as a poet, under the influence of Elisabeth Bishop and Emily Dickinson. Yet, her poems in conversation with Bishop and Dickinson steer clear of worshipful dialogue, instead they reveal a more naked self. The Offseason is a graceful revelation of body, sexuality, growing into one’s self as a person and a poet.


    The Off-Season by Jen Levitt. Four Way Books, 2016.

    Reviewer bio: Heidi Seaborn is Editorial Director of The Adroit Journal and author of the award-winning collection Give a Girl Chaos (C&R Press/Mastodon Books, 2019) and two chapbooks.

    Buy this book through our affiliate Bookshop.org.

  • Fiction Southeast – May 2020

    Fiction Southeast logo

    This week, check out what new work was published on the Fiction Southeast website during the month of May: work by Marianne Rogoff, Robin Littell, L. Vocem, Charles Grosel, and more. Read more at the Fiction Southeast website.

  • Recommended Meditative Read

    Guest Post by Christina Francine

    The Healing Riverbeds is a sharing of reflections about being human at a time when the world suffers from a pandemic, contains violent unrest, and deals with brutal worldwide environmental concerns. Shobana Gomes considers humans accountability for these “calamities” and examines herself as well. At the same time, she takes a stand as a witness. She thinks about the positives around her too and considers her daughter’s unique way of viewing.

    From a children’s point of the world, the solutions are clear: “The world outside was a messy world. It had become toxic and dangerous, and the ones who would be most affected were the children.” In order for her to continue, she would leave her “coloring for another day . . . till the riverbeds heal, till its waters flow freely once again.”

    Gomes’ examination and reflection is thought-provoking, one that contemplates human’s positive and negative effects on the world. She also contemplates the challenges of being human and questions the “maze” we’ve all been placed into.

    A stirring read that asks the deep questions of life and points toward innocence for answers. The type of read all humans should explore. A recommended meditative read.


    The Healing Riverbeds by Shobana Gomes. Independently Published, April 2020.

    Reviewer bio: Christina Francine is an enthusiastic author of a variety of work for all ages. When not weaving tales, she teaches academic writing at the college level. She’s also a licensed elementary teacher. Picture books: Special Memory and Mr. Inker. Academic: Journal of Literacy Innovation.

  • Never Give Up: The Charmed Circle

    Guest Post by Dawn Corrigan

    As a child I read voraciously, but erratically. When it was time to pick a new Nancy Drew, I made my selection based on the cover art, rather than reading in sequence. I reread old books just as often as seeking new ones. It wasn’t always clear where the books had come from.

    Thus I had in my adolescent collection a copy of The Charmed Circle, a 1962 “teenage novel” by Dorothea J. Snow. Somewhere along the way it disappeared, but in 2014, in a fit of nostalgia, I ordered a used copy from Amazon, sorting through more than a dozen “Charmed Circle” titles until I found the right one. Then I stuck it on a shelf and forgot about it. But recently, in my search for comfort food reading, I took it down.

    I thought I’d read a little and then quickly fall asleep. Instead, I stayed up past two and finished it. That’s how it was when I was a teenager, too. Sometimes I’d finish it, then immediately flip back to the first page and start again.

    Which is funny, because even back then the class stuff annoyed me, and it annoyed me even more this time. For instance, it had not occurred to me previously that our heroine, Lauralee Larkin, is elected Homecoming Queen mainly because her parents are willing to host (and fund) an endless array of pizza parties.

    Nonetheless, there’s obviously something about the book I really like, and this time I figured out what: Lauralee tries things that scare her, and never gives up, even when those things don’t work out.

    It occurs to me now that reading this book over and over again as a youth may have contributed to my ability to keep trying—to keep submitting my writing, to keep applying for jobs that seem like long shots, even to keep asking guys out (right up through my husband). This tenaciousness in the face of much rejection has served me well. It’s pretty much my only move! Fortunately, it’s the only one I’ve needed.


    The Charmed Circle by Dorothea J. Snow. Whitman, 1962.

    Reviewer bio: Dawn Corrigan‘s poetry and prose have appeared widely in print and online. She works in the affordable housing industry and lives in Myrtle Grove, FL.

  • Three Books to Read

    Guest Post William V. Ray

    As a retired teacher, I’m someone whose reading habits haven’t been much affected by the pandemic. I’m usually reading several things at once. Currently, I’ve caught up with Simone de Beauvoir’s Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter. I used to teach one of her novels but had never read this early but nevertheless striking piece of writing. It is a remarkable read not only because one senses on every page the relentlessly probing mind of the author, but also because of the window it provides into the emergence of the individual who is now recognized as breaking ground for the feminist movement. Although she is not alone in being someone who slowly departs from a bourgeois, Catholic background, she is particularly well suited to describe the journey.

    I’ve also been reading Kevin Young’s poetry. At his best, he is one of the poets that makes me wonder at his ability to put together words and images that, while seemingly simple, knock one over with their power to reveal. Blue Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1995-2015 is an excellent survey of his work, showing his range—from searing exposés, as it were, of the enslavement of African Americans to concise universal cries such as the two-line poem ¨Grief¨:  “In the night I brush/ my teeth with a razor.” Cultural icons—Basquiat, Jack Johnson, Miles Davis among others—appear.

    For those of us lucky enough to be able to get out to enjoy nature in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, Sydney Lea’s most recent book of poetry, Here, is a nice companion. You can read my short review on Amazon.


    Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir. HarperCollins, August 2005.

    Blue Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1995-2015 by Kevin Young. Knopf, September 2017.

    Here by Sydney Lea. Four Way Books, September 2019.

    Reviewer bio: William V. Ray is a retired English teacher who has also been a textbook editor, freelance writer, and, of late, a café owner. His published work includes textbooks as well as poetry and poetic prose. His work appears in Poetry East, The Write Launch, Subprimal Poetry Art, Pudding, The Opiate, The Art Bin, Painters & Poets, Mass Poetry, Poetry Pacific, and elsewhere. He is the editor of the online journal The Courtship of Winds. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.  For more detail, please visit his page at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/williamvray

  • A Relevant Classic Inspiring Resiliency

    Guest Post by Kathryn Sadakierski

    Little Women is a timeless classic and remains relevant during unprecedented days. On the surface, the endearing stories of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March may seem to recount simpler times, but greater complexity underlies what appears to be sentimental. At its heart, Little Women is about family, growing stronger despite distance.

    While their father serves as a chaplain in the Civil War, the March daughters, with the loving guidance of their mother, adapt, soldiering on together, each making their own destinies. They support each other through adversities, sharing in triumphs. When Beth falls ill, Amy stays with Aunt March, avoiding catching scarlet fever, but while distanced, she learns about herself, ultimately maturing. Their “castles in the air,” innermost dreams of places far-removed from their Concord home, sustain them, until the Marches realize that the lives they lead are better than anything they could have dreamed, finding beauty even in the bittersweet, as they come of age, surmounting the burdens they once lamented. It is not tangible walls that make up their home, but the love of their family.

    Reading Little Women at home during the quarantine came not to be an escape from reality, so much as a telling reflection of it; the novel captures the ebbs and flows of life and time, which, as the Marches saw, are to be cherished. Being at home, away from their father and the promising reaches of the world they had yet to see was difficult for the spirited March girls, but in time, they turned what were once limits into opportunities, each contributing her own gift to the world, from Jo with her imaginative writing, to Beth with her music and compassionate heart. Challenges they overcame shaped them, becoming a source of empowerment. This message of resiliency continues to inspire.

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. 1868.

    Kathryn Sadakierski is a 20-year-old writer whose work has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Dime Show Review, Nine Muses Poetry, iō Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

  • The Return to Safekeeping

    Guest Post by Christine Noelle

    Months into the pandemic, I found myself longing for “the good ‘ol days” when it felt safe to travel, and I could focus long enough to immerse myself in a story. Once I read a book nonstop, cover-to-cover during a flight from New York to Seattle. If I read the book again, could it bring back a feeling of normal, when COVID-19 made our daily lives feel so foreign? I pulled the book from my shelf and, to my surprise, I liked that the word safe was in its title.

    Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life by Abigail Thomas is a groundbreaking collage-style memoir containing elegantly written vignettes that seem unrelated, but build to a beautiful, meaningful whole. Thomas offers an intimate unfolding of pivotal moments that shaped her life: pregnancy at 18, joys and fears of being a single mother of three by age 26, love and frustration within her marriages, and the tragic death of her second husband. Readers of Safekeeping will bear witness to the art of sensory perspective: the before, the during, and the here-and-now, as told through stories that are poetic, visceral, and universal. The normal of life we all know.


    Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life by Abigail Thomas. Penguin Random House, April 2001.

    Christine Noelle is a writer and marketing consultant living in the San Francisco Bay area. She is a traveler and lover of trees. http://www.christinenoelle.com

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