The newest issue of AGNI continues the celebration of fifty years of publication, opening with William Pierce’s Editor’s Note “On the Fraught Subject of Value.” Co-editor Sven Birkerts and Founding Editor Askold Melnyczuk each contribute their own “Reflections at 50” essay, in addition to Fiction by Caren Beilin, Teju Cole, Jesus De La Torre, Tamas Dobozy, David Hayden, Emmelie Prophète, Ellen Wiese; Essays by Ariirau, George Estreich, Karl Kirchwey, Eileen Myles, Sofia Oumhani Benbahmed, Jessie van Eerden; Poetry by Kristina Andersson Bicher, Hannah Baker Saltmarsh, Michael Bazzett, Cyrus Cassells, Robert Cording, Daniela Danz, Diana Marie Delgado, Matt Donovan, Steven Espada Dawson, Chanda Feldman, Julien Gracq, Heo Nanseolheon, Mark Irwin, Preeti Kaur Rajpal, Wayne Koestenbaum, Janiru Liyanage, Alexa Luborsky, Oksana Maksymchuk, Corey Marks, Carol Muske-Dukes, Nicholas Pierce, Diane Seuss, Natalie Shapero, Elena Shvarts, Nomi Stone, Michael Torres, Tristan Tzara; and a retrospective art featuring images of agni/fire by Gerry Bergstein, Christopher Cozier, Katherine Jackson, Deepa Jayaraman, Wosene Worke Kosrof, Anne Neely, Rosamond Purcell and Anna Schuleit Haber with an essay by Associate Editor Shuchi Saraswat. Many works from the issue can be read in full on the publication’s website.
The newest issue of AGNI (95) opens with Editor’s Note, “Interiors,” by Sven Birkerts, in which he reflects upon a recent period of confinement and offers readers this thought, “Our particular period – where we are right now – feels too vast and unresolved to be called a phase. It is changing everyone, creating a new zeitgeist, and insuring that the fantasy of a return to former ways is just that. When it recedes from us, the scars will be visible.” I have personally always been a fan of scars, knowing they have stories to tell, and always hoping for a good one. In keeping with good stories to tell, this issue of AGNI is full to the brim, with Fiction by Linda Mannheim, David Moloney, Iheoma Nwachukwu, Lindsay Starck, Mariana Villas-Boas; Essays by Nin Andrews, Charley Burlock, Carrie Cogan, J. Martin Daughtry, Sarah Gorham, Kelle Groom, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Andrew Zubiri; Hybrid Form by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa translated from the Japanese Ryan Choi, Khairani Barokka; Poetry by Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí, Jacques J. Rancourt, Vasiliki Albedo, Emma Aylor, Emma Aylor, Jan Beatty, Don Bogen, Bruce Bond and Dan Beachy-Quick, Fleda Brown, Victoria Chang, Charlie Clark, Leslie Contreras Schwartz, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Mariela Dreyfus translated from the Spanish Carmen Giménez and zachary payne, Liza Flum, Kimiko Hahn, K. A. Hays, Nâzim Hikmet adapted Steve Kronen, Saba Keramati, Hailey Leithauser, Alejandro Lemus-Gomez, Chloe Martinez, Jenny Molberg, Yuliya Musakovska translated from the Ukrainian Olena Jennings and the author, Lynette Ng, D. Nurkse, Jacqueline Osherow, Catherine Pierce, Robert Pinsky, Ellen Rogers, Bruce Snider, Becky Thompson, Issam Zineh; and an Art Feature by Andrea Chung with commentary Shuchi Saraswat.
From the publication: “AGNI was founded fifty years ago, in 1972, by a Ukrainian-American writer and a group of his fellow writers at Antioch College. During Askold Melnyczuk’s thirty years at the helm, he infused the magazine with an abiding commitment to the work of Ukrainian writers and translators. Now, in response to the Russian invasion—and with Askold’s coordinating help—we will publish Ukrainian dispatches as we receive them.” In conjunction with this, AGNI has created an index of every publication written by Ukrainians and Ukrainian Americans. The list extends from AGNI 3 in 1974 to the upcoming AGNI 95. All linked titles are available to read online, and they will gradually be digitizing more of these.
If you like themed lit mag issues, we’ve got some recommendations!
Each issue of THEMA focuses on one themed prompt. The Autumn 2021 issue’s theme is “Which Virginia?” Twenty contributors try their hand at exploring this Virginian theme.
While not quite a theme, Hanging Loose does feature a selection of high school aged writers in each issue. Issue 111 includes work by eleven different high school writers who close out the issue.
Bennington Review‘s Summer 2021 issue focuses on a theme that’s probably on most of our minds right now: The Health of the Sick. Michael Dumanis’s note from the editor explains, “Many of the pieces in this issue of Bennington Review display a keen awareness of the vulnerability of the human body, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.” The theme “borrows its title from Argentine writer Julio Cortázar’s underappreciated 1966 short story . . . “
Issue 22 of The Common includes a portfolio of writing from the Arabian Gulf introduced by Deepak Unnikrishnan. This includes fiction by Tariq Al Haydar, Farah Ali, and others; essays by Mona Kareem, Keija Parssinen, and Priyanka Sacheti; and poetry by Hala Alyan, Rewa Zeinati, Zeina Hashem Beck, and more.
AGNI Number 94 brings readers a portfolio of work in translation. You can expect to find work by Azzurra D’Agostino translated by Johanna Bishop, Yi Won translated by E. J. Koh & Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Ananda Devi translated by Kazim Ali, and much more.
Finally, The Missouri Review asks the question “How did I get here?” in the Fall 2021 issue, the theme inspired by “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads.
Visit each literary magazine to show some support and learn more about these issues.
Featured art by Harald Gaski and Máret Ánne Sara. Essays by Melissa Chadburn, Ananda Devi, Moncia Judge, Worapoj Panpong, George Sand, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs & Shuchi Saraswat, and Isaac Yuen; and fiction by Cristina Rivera Garza, Diaa Jubaili, Tasnim Qutait, Barbara Sutton, Che Yeun,and others. Check out poetry contributors at the AGNI website.
Shoshana Akabas begins “By the Creeks of Wyoming” with just a hint of what’s happening: “Aspen leans over and says, ‘You know, Natalie’s telling everyone about your brother,’ [ . . . ].” Who is Natalie and what’s going on with the narrator’s brother? Akabas hooks us into the story and then reels slowly, the answers appearing one by one, so brief they could almost be overlooked.
While the story of what happened to the narrator’s brother becomes distorted through the gossip of Natalie, the narrator’s friend who is slowly drifting in a different direction now that they’re in high school, it becomes clearer for the readers each time the narrator responds to the classmates who have heard the gossip. I loved this slow burn, the piecing together of the puzzle until the full picture is revealed.
The narrator’s brother plays a large role in the story, but Akabas chooses never to actually place him in the story. He’s always on the other side of the door or wall, an unreachable and almost legendary figure.
Melancholy and rife with the emotional ups and downs of high school, “By the Creeks of Wyoming,” is a quick yet beautiful read.
“By the Creeks of Wyoming” by Shoshana Akabas. AGNI, 2021.
Unforeseen urgencies, heightened introspections. The long Covid siege has put pressure on everything, not least the expressive arts. AGNI 93, with its unsettling cover and art portfolio by Deepa Jayaraman, channels the mood of the times. The issue includes poetry by Rafael Campo, Hope Wabuke, and others, and more. Check out the AGNI website to see what else is in this issue.
In Number 92 of AGNI, find an art feature by Sandra Brewster. Essays by Patrick Clement James, Bailey Gaylin Moore & Donald Quist, Nafis Shafizadeh, and My Tran; fiction by Kirstin Allio, Vanessa Cuti, and more; and hybrid work by Nin Andrews, Matt Donovan, and more. Poetry by Bruce Bond, Abby Caplin, Tarik Dobbs, and more.
With AGNI #91 we welcome a roster of new editors. Collectively chosen work explores impending crises as well as acts of mitigating goodness; elegies marking losses sit side by side with expressions flashing pure surprise. Cover and portfolio artist Christopher Cozier captures the sly globalized vectors of use and misuse, tracing a long history forward to now. Poems by Sandra McPherson, Steven Sanchez, Emily Mohn-Slate, Colin Channer, and others offer the sensory grab of the immediate, as do stories by Shauna Mackay, David Crouse, and Aurko Maitra and essays by Debra Nystrom, Jiaming Tang, and Ann Hood.
AGNI is currently offering something really special for readers: the Virtual Launch of AGNI 91.
Here, the editors present videos from their contributors from all over the world and invite readers (or viewers!) to join the audience. All the pieces from the new Spring 2020 issue are available online, most of which have an accompanying video of the writer reading their work.
This is great not only for people who might not be able to spare extra cash to get their own copy (though if you can, please do consider it), but it’s also great for those of us who are having a hard time sitting down and concentrating on reading while we’re social distancing, and those who currently miss attending readings in person.
You can also learn more about the editors who have put this fantastic project together at the AGNI website.
I for one can’t wait to hit “play” and start hearing quality reading in my own home.