Our spring issue showcases the 2020 Open Season Award winners: Joshua Whitehead (cnf), Patrick Grace (poetry), and Ajith Thangavelautham (fiction). Also featured: Manahil Bandukwala, Ayaz Pirani, Christine Wu, Rob Taylor, Edward Carson, Matthew Gwathmey, Tania De Rozario, Hollie Adams, Emi Kodama, Bradley Peters, Kevin Shaw, Emma Wunsch, Glen Downie, and more. Find other contributors at the Mag Stand.
The Autumn issue of The Gettysburg Review is at this week’s Mag Stand. 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 latest issue includes poetry by Lisa Zimmerman, Sally Rosen Kindred, Jennifer Bullis, Carolyn Oliver, Andrea Potos, Michael McFee, Patricia Clark, Cathy Smith Bowers, and more. Art by Andis Applewhite. Find a full list of contributors at NewPages.
This issue includes short stories by and interviews with Ashley Hand, Chris Vanjonack, Reece McCormack, and David J. Wingrave; poetry by Kimberly Thornton, Andrew Szilvasy, Bruce Lowry, Ryan Meyer, and Jose Hernandez Diaz; and nofiction by Gregg Williard and Greg Oldfield. See what else is offered in this issue at the Mag Stand.
Find the Spring issue of The Baltimore Review at NewPages. It features poems, fiction, and creative nonfiction by: John Blair, Shevaun Brannigan, Naomi Cohn, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Katherine Gekker, Matthew Henry, R. Dean Johnson, Yume Kitasei, Andrew Kozma, Avra Margariti, Rita Mookerjee, Glen Pourciau, Ellen Skirvin, David Urbina, and M. Drew Williams.
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 Mag Stand.
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.
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.
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.
Audubon’s Sparrow: A Biography-in-Poems by Juditha Dowd is an indelible portrait of an American Woman in need of rediscovery. The biography-in-poems focuses on Lucy Blackwell and John James Audubon.
Gerry LaFemina’s Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping pauses time, letting us examine the world with love and intelligence.
Back to the Wine Jug: A Comic Novel in Verse by Joe Taylor is a cross-genre title following Hades as he teleports to Birmingham, Alabama.
Frank Paino’s Obscura sheds light on the most obscure corners of history and human nature, a hagiography of unorthodox saints.
You’ve Got Something Coming by Jonathan Starke is the winner of the Black Heron Press Award for Social Fiction and follows a down-and-outer and his young daughter across the country.
You can learn more about each of these New & Noteworthy books at our website. Our featured titles can also be found at our our affiliate Bookshop.org. You can find out how to place your book in our New & Noteworthy section here: https://npofficespace.com/classified-advertising/new-title-issue-ad-reservation/.
Pulitzer Prize winner John Hersey is probably best known for his books dealing with China, where his father served as a missionary, but in The Conspiracy, he takes readers back to the first century AD and Nero’s imperial and mainly insanity-tinged reign.
Like the works of Robert Graves or Leon Uris, Hersey uses a historical backdrop to present a political thriller of the first order. Employing two main characters—Tigellinus, co-consul of the Praetorian guard, and Paenus, tribune of the Roman secret police, along with a series of memos, assorted notes, intercepted letters, and interrogation transcripts—the two members of Nero’s intelligence community try chasing leads concerning a potential assassination attempt against their emperor.
The primary suspects involved in this plan?
The philosopher Seneca and a cadre of poets, artists that Nero had earlier supported and entertained, are surveilled, bringing up images from the Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others.
However, as the layers of the plot open, it begins to reveal Nero’s descent into madness.
Soon, the reader begins to wonder if this is an actual investigation or a means to create a paper trail pointing to others in order to establish scapegoats while the members of Nero’s own security people become the real perpetrators.
One interesting aspect of this book is that it was released in 1972, when news and revelations of the Watergate incident dominated worldwide media and occupied American minds. Hersey’s story produced numerous parallels between the subterfuge and hidden messages of the novel with the events of those days. If readers want to make those connections or draw any parallels with current events is their choice, of course, but the fact that it’s possible only verifies what a relevant story Hersey concocted in any age when he conceived and delivered The Conspiracy.
The Conspiracy by John Hersey. 1972.
Reviewer bio: Bill Cushing writes and facilitates a writing group for 9 Bridges. His poetry collection, A Former Life, was released last year by Finishing Line Press.