Nonfiction

Cutleaf – 1.23

Cutleaf celebrates the end of our first year with this all-nonfiction issue featuring three must-read essays. Elise Lasko speculates on the potential for relapse into old habits while imagining her mother’s death and funeral, in “Relapse Fantasy.” Carter Sickels realizes that “the universe keeps moving, surprising you with what it drops in your path,” in “Rescued.” Greg Bottoms recounts how his father and grandfather expressed—or didn’t express—emotion, in “One Summer Morning.” Learn about this issue’s images at the Cutleaf website.

The Malahat Review – Autumn 2021

The Autumn 2021 issue is here featuring the winner of our 2021 Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction. Poetry by Y. S. Lee, Laurie D. Graham, Yuan Changming, Sebastien Wen, Allison LaSorda, Danielle Hubbard, Elisabeth Gill, Rozina Jessa, Sue J. Levon, and morej, as well as fiction by Jenny Ferguson, Sara Mang, and Cassidy McFadzean. Find more contributors at The Malahat Review website.

Creative Nonfiction – No. 76

In this newly redesigned issue of Creative Nonfiction we explore the roots of the genre and celebrate the spirit of rebellion that’s always infused it. And we consider where we are now at this moment that feels pivotal for so many. Plus, new essays about the limitations of identity labels; what we can (and can’t) learn from dinosaur tracks; how to reintegrate after two military tours overseas; the challenges of translation; and how to approach a sibling who’s taken a deep dive into conspiracy theories. Essays by Valerie Boyd, Margaret Kimball, Bret Lott, Marisa Manuel, Brenda Miller, Clinton Crockett Peters, and others.

More info at the Creative Nonfiction website.

Crazyhorse – Fall 2021

Featuring the 2021 Crazyhorse prize winners in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Mary Clark, Jung Hae Chae, and Mark Wagenaar; a debut story from Nancy Nguyen; fiction from Nicole VanderLinden, Weston Cutter, and Timothy Mullaney; an essay from A.C. Zhang; and poems from Lisa Low, Michael Prior, Mary Kaiser, Jose Hernandez Diaz, and Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad, among others. Now on Crazyhorse website.

Plume – No. 124

This month’s featured selection: “Jewish American Women Poets” by Sally Bliumis-Dunn featuring Jennifer Barber, Jessica Greenbaum, Judy Katz and Nomi Stone. In nonfiction: “All These Red and Yellow Things: Short Papers on Art by Lesle Lewis.” Jeri Theriault reviews Devon Walker-Figueroa’s Philomath. See a selection of this month’s poets at the Plume website.

Taking Stock of America’s Two Decades in Afghanistan

Guest Post by Marc Martorell Junyent.

The border between current events and history is a blurry one. David Kilcullen and Greg Mills tread on both sides of this imaginary boundary in The Ledger: Accounting for Failure in Afghanistan. The co-authors have a long experience in Afghanistan working for the international military coalition in the country.

Throughout the book, they manifest their frustration for the chaotic evacuation of US citizens and Afghans that unfolded in August 2021. In their own words, “it would not have taken a rocket scientist to devise a better, more orderly, system.”

Their criticism extends to a much longer time period, however. According to the authors, the West never had a clear strategy in Afghanistan. By focusing on short-term goals, the troops and economic aid deployed to the country did not help build solid structures, but only delayed the collapse of a system based on clientelism, corruption, and the inclusion of former warlords.

Kilcullen and Mills argue that not inviting the Taliban to sit at the negotiation table in the 2001 Bonn Conference, convened right after their overthrow from power, was a key missed opportunity. The US ended up negotiating with the Taliban in the 2020 Doha Agreement from a much weaker position.

The Ledger is particularly strong in the anecdotical evidence it presents, based on the authors’ wide range of contacts among Afghan elites and Western officials. On the contrary, the reader would probably have welcomed a more consistent book structure. The continuous chronological and thematical shifts are often confusing and lead to redundancies.

When it comes to the immediate future of Afghanistan, Kilcullen and Mills defend the idea that the restoration of aid flows to the country is needed for both humanitarian reasons and maintaining a certain influence with the Taliban.


The Ledger: Accounting for Failure in Afghanistan by David Kilcullen and Greg Mills. Hurst, January 2022.

Reviewer bio: Marc Martorell Junyent graduated in International Relations and currently studies a joint Master in Comparative Middle East Politics and Society at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and the American University in Cairo. His main interests are the politics and history of the Middle East (particularly Iran, Turkey and Yemen). He has studied and worked in Ankara, Istanbul and Tunis. He tweets at @MarcMartorell3.

Hippocampus Magazine November/December 2021

Let’s take a peek inside the newest issue of Hippocampus Magazine; inside, you’ll find essays and flash CNF such as: “Up” by Michelle Bailat-Jones, “Seeing Bone” by Emma Bruce, “Teeth” by Gavin Paul Colton, “How to Preserve a Body” by Lauren Cross, “What I Took After She Died in the Memory Care Wing” by Irene Fick, “Rewind” by Jennifer Fliss, “German Lessons” by Sue Mell, and more. See what else to expect in this issue at the Mag Stand.

Baltimore Review – Fall 2021

New issue of Baltimore Review with new poetry by Iqra Khan, Gerry LaFemina, Caroline Pittman, Dannye Romine Powell, Emily Franklin, Merna Dyer Skinner, John Glowney, and Janet Jennings; fiction by J.T. Robertson, Madison Jozefiak, Nicholas Maistros, and Justine Chan; and creative nonfiction by Brandon Hansen, Morgan Florsheim, and Kerry Folan.

More info at the Baltimore Review website.