Katy Haas

The Gettysburg Review – 33.4

The Autumn issue of The Gettysburg Review is out. The issue features paintings by Jared Small, fiction by Jennifer Anne Moses, Jared Hanson, Darrell Kinsey, and Sean Bernard; essays by Andrew Cohen, K. Robert Schaeffer, and Christopher Wall; poetry by Jill McDonough, Max Seifert, K. A. Hays, Albert Goldbarth, Mary B. Moore, R. T. Smith, Jill Bialosky, Katharine Whitcomb, Corey Marks, Kimberly Johnson, Margaret Ray, Danusha Laméris, Linda Pastan, Christopher Bakken, Christopher Howell, and Margaret Gibson.

The Adroit Journal – May 2020

The May 2020 issue is here with poetry by Jenny George, Arthur Sze, Jessica Abughattas, Melissa Crowe, Jamaica Baldwin, C.X. Hua, Kara van de Graaf, Hala Alyan, Mark Wunderlich, Raymond Antrobus, Stephanie Chang, and more; prose by Scott Broker, Alyssa Proujansky, Maura Pellettieri, and Mina Hamedi, with a prose feature by Dima Alzayat. See what else the issue has in store for you at The Adroit Journal website.

James Braun Brings Readers Back to Winter

Magazine Review by Katy Haas

Everything is green and warm outside my window right now, but James Braun takes readers back to winter in his story “The Salt Man” from the Spring 2020 issue of Zone 3.

The story centers on two young sisters mid-winter. They are sent outside to wait for the salt man to come salt their roads before they’re allowed to play outside their yard. This is a dark piece. Poverty hangs heavy over the story. What once was green and beautiful has been covered by rocks. They have no heat in the house. Their neighbor loses fingers to frostbite. A woman cries on a couch while they go door to door asking if they can shovel driveways for cash to pay for a doctor bill. And the person they’re told will bring them a level of safety—the salt man—ends up being a source of danger in himself.

I enjoyed Braun’s writing style. There’s a level of flippancy with all the characters who view their lifestyle as ordinary. The story is short but holds a lot inside it. We’re able to discern as much meaning in what isn’t said as in what is clearly stated. And even though it is warm enough that I have my window open, a warm breeze blowing into my living room as I write this, Braun’s writing still makes a reader feel that inescapable cold of winter.

David Chorlton Interviewed in The Bitter Oleander

The Spring 2020 Issue of The Bitter Oleander includes a special feature. Editor Paul B. Roth interviews poet David Chorlton. Readers can also find a selection from Chorlton’s Speech Scroll. Below, check out an excerpt from the interview and visit The Bitter Oleander website to get a taste of Speech Scroll.

PBR: In your Speech Scroll, a sampling of which follows this interview, you’ve put the urban and the desert world together so expertly over some 158 poems. Did this particular project start off with that in mind or was it just your current ongoing consciousness of where you were in that environment and who you are that brought it forth?

DC: . . . While there are the times I sit down to commit words to paper, the actual writing of poetry is never turned off. Without placing a title or thinking of a poem’s shape, I had an ongoing path to follow and that helped me shift a little in the way I see images come together. Thinking about the political happenings of our tumultuous time might become too consuming, and for some people it is. Others seem to remain oblivious to anything that goes on in that realm. Writing poetry, being the most natural form of communication for me, has been a good place in which to scatter comments and observations that, I hope, provoke more thought than argument. Life encompasses a wide range of pleasures and frustrations, comfort for the fortunate and responsibility toward those who are not, and so with the help of various bird and animal species, plus a view of the sunrise from our front door when I’m up early to see it I take, as I mentioned earlier, what is given, and transform it the best way I can.

Emi Nietfeld Investigates Her Past

Magazine Review by Katy Haas

Opening the Spring 2020 issue of Boulevard is the winner of the journal’s 2019 Nonfiction Contest for Emerging Writers: “My Mom Claims I Had a Drink with My Rapist. I Investigate.” by Emi Nietfeld.

In this piece, Nietfeld looks back to June 28, 2010 when she was raped while in Budapest and to the conversations she had with her mother immediately after and eight years later about the incident. This investigation focuses on the drink that Nietfeld did or didn’t have and the influence the drink had on her mother’s reaction to the rape.

Nietfeld breaks the piece up into sections, investigating in-person conversations, emails that were sent in 2010, and her old computer documents. After she presents the “evidence,” she breaks it down and discusses it. I found this approach to be interesting and impactful as she turns a critical eye on past conversations, her memory, and her relationship with her mother.

Not only is this piece a strong start to the issue, but it demonstrates why Nietfeld deserves to have won the Nonfiction Contest for Emerging Writers.

Feel the Pulse of LitMag

Guest Post by Jamie Tews

LitMag is a literary magazine published annually from New York City. The magazine’s pulse is found on page sixty-three with a quote from Aryeh Lev Stollman’s fiction piece “Dreams Emerging,” which states “true art is the condensation of ineffable yearning.” An ineffable yearning is a longing so strong it cannot be described; however, this issue’s work attempts description, and through writing, pieces of the unsaid become real. With fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and tributary letters, LitMag’s third issue holds work that embodies the condensation of ineffable yearning.

Meghan E. O’Toole’s fiction story “Abditory” carries the loudest pulse. It is a hazy and dreamlike exploration of how longing can manifest in dreams and become necessary for engaging with reality. O’Toole uses the image of milk to connect the main character’s past and present with their dream-images, and it is in the way the milk moves, the way it rises in the bedroom or pools on the road, that the story supplements the issue’s character of yearning. O’Toole’s story successfully employs elements of magical realism, which create a vivid sense of place that is consistent in every scene. I instantly believed in the fictional world she created, and this lack of hesitancy to trust and settle into the story’s place drew me back for a second and third read.

The magazine’s cohesion comes from every piece having its own sense of magnetism, and I read the magazine in one sitting. Each piece easily pulled me into the next, and it is for this ease and sense of connectivity that recommend LitMag.


Reviewer bio: Jamie is an MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has contributed work to Appalachian Voice, Appalachia Service Project, and has work forthcoming in the Chestnut Review.

Sponsor Spotlight: Mom Egg Review

Mom Egg Review - Spring 2020Mom Egg Review is an annual print journal focused on motherhood. Their issues featured varied voices at all career phases.

This year’s issue is on the theme of “Home,” an apt focus for all of us currently staying at home and practicing social distancing. It’s a nice reminder that we’re not alone. Like many other journals at the moment, the editors have put together a virtual reading for readers. “Voices from HOME” links to contributors inviting everyone into their homes as they explore the theme.