In this issue, find a featured interview with Ellen Birkett Morris by Beth Browne. Fiction by Ellen Birkett Morris, Lawrence F. Farrar, Michael Graves, Kathie Giorgio, and Steve Cushman. Poetry by Carrie Albert, Diana Anhalt, Rose Auslander, Joan Barasovska, Brenton Booth, Raymond Byrnes, Robert Cooperman, Rachel Dixon, Richelle Buccilli, Angela Gaito-Lagnese, Martha Golensky, Kari Gunter-Seymour, Ted Jonathan, Elda Lepak, Anne Hall Levine, Vikram Masson, Ken Meisel, David Mills, Randy Minnich, Harry Moore, Gail Peck, Ann Pedone, Gary V. Powell, Charles Rammelkamp, David Rock, Seth Rosenbloom, Russell Rowland, Tom Wayman, and more. See more contributors at the Mag Stand.
The Main Street Rag
The Main Street Rag forwent their usual beautiful photographic cover art for a cartoon version of Donald Trump behind bars with the Fall 2020 issue. It seemed pretty appropriate, then, that I ended up opening the issue at random to find Bethany Bowman’s “Sometimes After Getting Off the Phone,” which begins with the speaker getting off the phone with their father “who confesses to voting for / Donald Trump to reverse Roe v. Wade” and observing a friend being confronted about her right to choose with her abortion in the 70’s.
The poem begins in a tense spot but we’re given relief, along with the speaker, in the form of animal facts given by the speaker’s son. These facts lead to biblical lessons and connections being “fed to the dogs” as the speaker realizes “you’ve always been filled with the spirit— / no external male force, no deity can grant it / or take it away.” There is power in this realization, a freedom granted from the sins stacked on women’s shoulders from the beginning of time.
While Trump may be behind bars on this issue’s cover, there is freedom to be found in the writing which Bowman graciously reminds us of.
This issue’s featured interview is with Doralee Brooks, whose poetry is also included. Also in this issue: creative nonfiction by Frederick W. Bassett; fiction by Nathan V. Baker, Mari Carlson, Linda Griffin, Alan Nelson, and Eudora Watson; and poetry by Joan Barasovska, Rachel Barton, Ranney Campbell, Maria Ceferatti, Sally Dunn, Caroline Goodwin, Cleo Griffith, Dorinda Hale, Dennis Herrell, Zebulon Huset, Craig Kittner, Mike Jurkovic, and more. Visit the Mag Stand to see more contributors.
I like a piece of writing that piques my interest and leads me to do even more reading. Gail Peck’s “The Minister of Loneliness” in the Summer 2020 issue of The Main Street Rag managed to do just that for me.
The poem is introduced with a note: “The U.K. created the position of Minister of Loneliness, two years before COVID-19.” The title “Minister of Loneliness” was enough to interest me on its own, and even more so learning that it’s a real position. Peck’s poem addresses the minister in the days of COVID-19, women calling with their moments of loneliness. “It was bad enough before,” they admit, and now it’s gotten worse, their loneliness filled with uncertainties: “should they let the delivery boy in?”
The poem is touching and relevant. In addition to giving me something further to read about, it also gave me a point of connection as someone who lives alone and spent the early days of my state lockdown feeling incredibly lonely. What more could one ask from a poem about loneliness but a moment of connection and understanding? Peck’s poem itself works as a listening ear, a kind voice in the emptiness.
This issue’s featured interview: “Digging for Gold,” an Interview with Don Kesterson by Terresa Cooper Haskew. Fiction by Ethan Forrest Ross, Michael L. Woodruff, NV Baker, and Rita Ariyoshi. Poetry by Steven Ablon, Mark Burke, Chris Capitanio, Llyn Clague, Shutta Crum, Darren C. Demaree, Craig Evenson, Barbara Greenbaum, Angela Gregory-Dribben, Katrina Hays, Scott T. Hutchison, and more. Also in this issue: a selection of book reviews. Find more contributors at the Mag Stand.
Don’t forget that Main Street Rag seeks poetry and prose (fiction/nonfiction) for an anthology with a mental health recovery theme; uplifting stories of overcoming mental health challenges and trauma from writers who have experienced a mental illness or love someone who has. Length: up to 6,000 words (prose) or 5 poems. Reading Period: May1-August 1. Simultaneous submissions and previously published considered, however, authors must own the rights (no third-party permissions). Questions may be directed to editor Erika Nichols-Frazer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should be sent to: mentalhealth.submittable.com/submit.
I’ll Be Here For You: Diary of a Town by Robert McKean is made up of interconnected stories and takes readers to the hardscrabble western Pennsylvania mill town of Ganaego.
In Johnny Cash International: How and Why Fans Love the Man in Black, Michael Hinds and Jonathan Silverman examine Cash’s fan communities and the individuals who comprise them, revealing new insights about music, fandom, and the United States.
Eric Pankey’s Alias: Prose Poems investigates the flexibility and possibility of the prose poem.
Demon Barber by Ruth Bardon explores the grace notes we celebrate in life, and the absences that makes those celebrations ache.
Kari Gunter-Seymour’s A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen explores beyond the boundaries of feminism, science, and spirituality, and renews a sense of understanding and discovery of today’s Appalachian woman.
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/.
In the Spring 2020 issue: fiction by Jarrett Kaufman, Emily Alice Katz, J.T. Ledbetter, John Mancini, David Pratt, and Timothy Reilly; poetry by Jeffrey Alfier, Tobi Alfier, John Azrak, Tara Ballard, Chris Bullard, Dorritt Carroll, Ricks Carson, George Bishop, Sudasi J. Clement, Joan Colby, and more; and six book reviews. Be sure to check out our featured interview with Tim Bascom by Beth Browne. See even more contributors at this week’s Magazine Stand.
Don’t forget that the deadline to submit poetry and art that evokes the spirit of the Carolinas from the Outer Banks and Low Country to the Piedmont and Appalachia is May 18. Anyone can enter. Entry fee: $12 for 1-3 poems or 1-3 images. All entries considered for publication. All contributors will receive one copy for each item selected for publication. Prize money ranges from $300 to $20. Details can be found on the Kakalak contest page of the www.MainStreetRag.com website.
Open: May 1–June 15
Prize: $1000, publication, 50 author copies. Reading Fee: $15 (electronic submission $17). Length: 28-40 pages of poetry. First round judging done blindly by Main Street Rag editors. Final Judge: Cathy Smith Bowers, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina. 2019 Contest winner, Doralee Brooks of Bridgeville, PA for her book, When I Hold You Up to the Light. All entries considered for publication. Details: www.mainstreetrag.com.
Main Street Rag seeks poetry and prose (fiction/nonfiction) for an anthology with a mental health recovery theme; uplifting stories of overcoming mental health challenges and trauma from writers who have experienced a mental illness or love someone who has. Length: up to 6,000 words (prose) or 5 poems. Reading Period: May 1-August 1. Simultaneous submissions and previously published considered, however, authors must own the rights (no third-party permissions). Questions may be directed to editor Erika Nichols-Frazer at email@example.com. Submissions should be sent to: mentalhealth.submittable.com/submit.