Friends From the Past

Pembroke cover.jpg

My story, “Friends From the Past,” is in the new issue of Pembroke Magazine.  The editor in chief, Jessica Pitchford, was really wonderful to work with, and it was an extra bonus to share these pages with Scott Gould, a great writer and the chair of the creative writing department at South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.


Jeanne Bryner’s “Breach Calf”

Years ago, when I was a student at The Hindman Settlement School’s Appalachian Writers Workshop, I met Jeanne Bryner.  We became instant friends, bonding over poems written about cows and calves, both of us having lived on or near cattle farms for much of our lives.  Jeanne is an award winning poet, fiction writer and playwright.  She was born in Appalachia and grew up near Warren, Ohio.  She has a beautiful new book (her 7th) called Both Shoes Off, published by Bottom Dog Press.  The book is filled with many wonderful poems, but here is one of my favorites from this new collection:

Breach Calf by Jeanne Bryner

The calf’s hind feet point to barn rafters.
Inside his mama, he dreams a baby brother,

how they sit the moon’s lap for a story.
Climbing down, he does a somersault, lands wrong.

And now, this farmer, his gloved arm pushes him
back and back and back, his mama strains at her plow.

Then, other rough men, special chains, metal wrapped
just below his knees, not wanting a cripple,

a calf who cannot run or play. Mama’s fresh blood,
pain’s awful hands squeeze, no breath for his whistle.

The beautiful boy asleep in clean straw,
but all in the manger are still,

save the bawling mother
washing her son, calling his name to the moon.

Submission Calls for Writers 3/2/2017


March came in with a roar.  So act like a lion and get your words out into the world. Here are 12 new opportunities for writers.  Good luck submitting!  And if these lists are helpful to you, I’d love to hear about your successes.

Poetry Magazine

Poetry Magazine is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. We consider original works written in the English language as well as translations of poetry into English. Please note that submissions are limited to four poems (1 file), and should not exceed ten pages. Poems should be submitted in a single file, with poems separated by titles or page breaks. We accept submissions year round.


The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program

Now in its fifth year, the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program is an entirely free, entirely online summer program that seeks to pair high school writers from around the world with established writers in poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. The ideal mentor is organized, is knowledgeable about either contemporary poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, has experience in the classroom with creative writing (whether as a student, a teacher, or both), and anticipates being reachable for the duration of the program (late June to early August). The aim of the mentorship program is not formalized instruction, but rather an individualized, flexible, and often informal correspondence.  Apply to be a mentor today.



Booth was established in 2009. Our staff is comprised of MFA faculty and students in the Butler University graduate writing program. Booth publishes one new piece or author every Friday, square on our home page. We are now open to new submissions in all genres. All accepted work will appear on our website and may appear in our subsequent print issues. We will close the submission portal on March 31, 2017. Submit up to 3 poems or up to 7,500 words of fiction or creative nonfiction.


Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream accepts submissions of fiction (no more than 5,000 words), non-fiction, poetry (up to 5 poems in a single document), artwork and graphic narratives. Our current reading period ends March 31, 2017.



Jubilat welcomes submissions of poetry and art, as well as other forms of writing on poetry, poetics or subjects that have nothing to do with poetry. All art submissions must either be in black and white or publishable in grayscale. We do not publish short stories. The magazine’s reading period is September 1 – April 1. Submissions should include up to four poems (up to six pages), in one .doc, .rtf, or .pdf file, and individuals are encouraged to submit no more than three times a year.


minnesota review: a journal of creative and critical writing

The minnesota review seeks submissions of poetry, short fiction, and scholarly critical writing. We read creative work January 1-April 1 of each year. Due to the large number of submissions we receive, we must limit submissions to one short story submission (5,000 words maximum) or four flash fiction pieces (1,000 words maximum each) per reading period for fiction and/or five poems per reading period for poetry.


The National Poetry Review

The National Poetry Review is an annual online journal of poetry (previously a print journal published from 2003 to 2015 by our sister press, The National Poetry Review Press). Our reading period is January 1 – April 1 annually. Please submit all poems in one file. Include a brief bio with previous publications.


Whiskey Island

Whiskey Island is a nonprofit literary magazine that has been published in one form or another by the students of Cleveland State University for over 30 years. It is named for the island-turned-peninsula found at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio. Recent contributors have included: Mary Ruefle, Maggie Smith, Steve Almond, Denise Duhamel, Roxane Gay, Matt Hart, Bob Hicok, and many others. Whiskey Island seeks original poetry and fiction from now through April 15th.



Blackbird is published twice a year. Our reading period is from November 15, 2016 to April 15, 2017. For poetry, send up to six poems at a time. Single-space, please; set your poem as you want it to appear on the printed page. (If submitting online, put all poems into one document, as the submissions software will not allow you to submit individual poems separately.) Fiction should be double-spaced, please. We primarily look for short stories, but novel excerpts are acceptable if self-contained. Nonfiction should be double-spaced, please. We primarily look for personal essays, but memoir excerpts are acceptable if self-contained. Unsolicited book reviews and criticism are not considered.


Cider Press Review

CPR editors are now reading new work. Please send up to five original poems or translations (10 page total maximum) or our online journal through May 31, 2017. CPR also welcomes reviews of poetry books of approximately 500 words. Reviews are accepted year-round.


Gettysburg Review

Published quarterly, the Gettysburg Review considers unsolicited submissions of poetry, fiction, and essays, from September 1 through May 31 (postmark dates). Poetry submissions should consist of one to five poems, depending on length, formatted either single- or double-spaced. Fiction is generally in the form of short stories, although we often accept short-shorts, as well as lengthier pieces, which we have serialized on a couple of occasions. We also publish novel excerpts. To complement the poetry and fiction we publish, we look for essays on a wide variety of subjects, including but not limited to literature, art, film, history, science, and contemporary thought. All we ask is that the subject be treated in a literary fashion—gracefully and in depth. No prose submission should exceed 10,000 words.


Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review accepts submissions through June 30, 2017.  As a rule, critical articles should be about 1200 to 2500 words, Table Talk items 1000 words or less, stories and memoirs 4000 words or less, and poetry 100 lines or less. (Exceptions are occasionally possible, but longer pieces will have a much harder time getting accepted.) We prefer to read prose submissions that are double-spaced; poetry can be single-spaced or double-spaced. Critical articles that deal with books, films, theater performances, art exhibits, etc. should cite these occasions at the front of the article.  Threepenny Review does not accept simultaneous submissions.


Recommended Reading 2/26/2017

If you’re looking for something good to read or listen to, here are some suggestions!

K.L. Browne wrote about the podcast A Phone Call from Paul over at Entropy

Susan Ishmael wrote a beautiful essay about religion at Parabola  Be careful reading if you’re afraid of snakes.

Kate Jayroe has a new story in Juked:

Gail Tyson has a beautiful new poem in the February issue of Art Ascent, which is a really cool journal worth exploring

There’s a wonderful interview with Barrett Warner over at Tethered By Letters:

The always funny Corina Zappia writes about 50 Shades Darker and “asinine dating choices” online at Salon

And the Best of the Net awards have been announced! Congrats to Cassie Pruyn for making the list with her poem, “Traveler’s Monologue,” originally published in Border Crossing.  And congrats to Adam Clay who’s on the list with his poem, “When the People We Know Become the People We Don’t,” originally published at Jet Fuel Review.  You can see the whole list here:


Finally, check out this story about how Danny Judge faced some pretty incredible difficulties while creating of The Indianola Review

Submission Calls for Writers 2/25/2017


Here are 10 new opportunities for writers working to submit to journals and magazines.  If you find any success with these lists, I’d love to hear from you.  Good luck!

Pithead Chapel Seeking Volunteer Nonfiction Readers

Would you like to be a nonfiction reader for an online literary journal? Pithead Chapel is seeking volunteer nonfiction readers to join our staff. Interested candidates should send the following information: a paragraph or two stating why you’d be a good fit with the journal, along with the approximate amount of time you can devote to the journal each week/month. Thank you for your interest!


Poetry City, USA

Poetry City, USA is open for submissions until February 28, 2017.  Submit three previously unpublished poems in a single Word file (.doc,. dox). Do not include your name anywhere in the file.


riverSedge: A Journal of Art and Literature

Since 1977, riverSedge has published the very best art and literature from the South Texas region and beyond. Past artists and authors include Larry McMurtry and Naomi Shihab Nye. In celebration of our 40th anniversary, all submissions (except reviews and interviews) will be eligible for contest prizes in three categories: Poetry, Prose, and Art. 3 prizes of $300 will be awarded in poetry, prose, and art. $5 submission fee for all genres (except reviews and interviews). Deadline: March 1, 2017. Each submission should be uploaded as a separate entry; in other words, one story/essay/art piece/etc. per $5 entry fee. For poetry, three poems per entry.


Psychopomp Magazine Accepting Previously Published Work: Breathe New Life to Your Stories

Every year, Psychopomp accepts previously published stories (not currently available online) in an effort to provide an audience for work that has only appeared in print or has disappeared online due to a publication closing its doors. These reprint publications will appear directly on our website. As with any of our submissions, please explore our issues and previous reprints to get a sense for our aesthetic. Word limit: 5,000.  Deadline: March 4, 2017.


Apple Valley Review

Submissions for the Spring 2017 issue (Vol. 12, No. 1) of the Apple Valley Review are open through March 15, 2017.  We accept unpublished personal essays and short fiction (preferably between 100 and 3,000 words, though the word count is flexible) and poetry. Prose poetry, translations, flash fiction, and writing with genre elements (such as fabulism/magical realism) are all welcome. All published work is automatically considered for our annual editor’s prize. Several pieces from the journal have appeared as selections, finalists, and/or notable stories in Best American Essays, Best of the Net, Best of the Web, New Poetry from the Midwest, storySouth Million Writers Award, and The Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions.  To submit, please send 1-6 poems or 1-3 essays/short stories, all pasted into the body of a single e-mail message, to our editor: editorATleahbrowningDOTnet. The current issue, previous issues, subscription information, and complete submission guidelines are available online. There are no fees.


2017 Prairie Schooner Book Prize Contest

Winners will receive $3000 and publication through the University of Nebraska Press. Manuscripts will be accepted until March 15, 2017. We prefer that fiction manuscripts be at least 150 pages long and poetry manuscripts at least 50 pages long. Novels are not considered; we will consider manuscripts comprised either entirely of short stories or one novella along with short stories (please do not send a single novella or a collection of novellas). The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. All entries will be read anonymously. A $25 processing fee must accompany each submission, payable to Prairie Schooner.


$5000 Masters Review Anthology VI Featuring Roxane Gay

Submissions are open until March 31, 2017. This year stories will be selected by Roxane Gay who will choose ten winners from a shortlist of thirty. This category is open to ALL EMERGING WRITERS. Anyone who has not yet published a novel at the time of submission or whose work has had a circulation below 5000 copies. Submit fiction and narrative nonfiction, 8000 word count maximum. Previously unpublished work only. Emerging writers only: cannot have a novel published at the time of submission (self-published authors and writers with published story collections are free to submit. Authors with a contract for a novel are also free to submit.)  $20 reading fee per story


The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction

Each year from December 1 – April 1 we accept submissions of full-length poetry (50-100 pp.) and fiction (30,000 word minimum) manuscripts for The Orison Prizes in Poetry and Fiction. This year’s judges are Carl Phillips and David Haynes. All manuscripts will be read “blind;” do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file, but only in your Submittable profile and cover letter. Fiction manuscripts may consist of short stories, a novel, a novella, flash/micro fiction, or any combination of forms, as long as they meet the 30,000 word minimum. Entry Fee: $30.


Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Volume 20: Appalachia: Stay or Go

We invite you to submit work by April 15, 2017, to Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Volume 20: Appalachia: Stay or Go? This theme was recommended to us by Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative writers watching their friends, neighbors and family members struggle with this question. Many writers within our community were once part of the Great Migration from Appalachia in the mid-twentieth century and have written (or may choose now to write) about their own or their family’s choice to leave the region. Others are facing similar decisions now. We at PMS&G like to take a fairly broad approach to our themes—what else might be the subject of a “stay or go” decision? (Jobs, relationships, parties, churches, social groups, schools….) Unpublished work is preferred, but we aren’t sticklers. We do, however, have specific requirements for how to submit work.


Harvard Review

Harvard Review publishes short fiction, poetry, essays, and book reviews. Writers at all stages of their careers are invited to apply. We are currently accepting manuscripts. Our reading period will close on June 1, 2017. Manuscripts must be paginated and clearly labeled with the author’s name on every page. Please submit no more than 5 poems or 7,000 words of prose.

Submission Calls for Writers 1/31/2017


I’m convinced that one of the most important ways that writers can fight back against the injustices of our current political climate is to pour our hearts into our work and then to share it with the world.  Here are 11 new opportunities for writers.  Send your words out and be heard. Good luck!

The Tishman Review Seeks Volunteer Layout Editor

The Tishman Review is seeking a layout editor. This is a volunteer position. Anyone interested can email for details. We are a quarterly journal and hope to have someone in this position for April issue. We are dedicated to providing a fun and collaborative environment for all our staff and hope to add like-minded people to our ever-growing team.


The Summerset Review

The Summerset Review is primarily an online publication. Print issues are generated periodically. Prose writers are invited to submit literary fiction and nonfiction of up to 8,000 words, and poets may submit up to five poems.



We at Waccamaw welcome you to submit your stories, poems, and essays for our Spring 2017 Issue! We are interested in regular submissions, and also work that interests itself in visibility. Ocular or social. Micro or Macro. Your interpretation is what we’d love to see. Waccamaw is published online twice a year, in the fall and spring, from The Athenaeum Press at Coastal Carolina University. We feature contemporary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. We nominate contributors for Pushcarts and PEN Awards and they have won Best of the Net and other accolades. We love publishing beginning and emerging authors as much as seasoned writers. Waccamaw accepts unsolicited submissions of poems, stories, and essays from January 15 through February 15. Send 3-5 poems, one story, or one essay (prose submissions preferably under 7,500 words).


Gigantic Sequins

Gigantic Sequins is a black & white print literary arts journal. We’re known for the quality fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, art, & comics we print as well as our unique design & aesthetic. We publish two issues each year, one in the summer and one in the winter. Submit a short story/novel excerpt (up to 3500 words) OR one essay/memoir (up to 4000 words) OR up to 3 short pieces of flash fiction/micro fiction/flash nonfiction (1000 words each) OR 3-5 previously unpublished poems. Our current reading period ends February 15, 2017.


Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference – Scholarships available!

Conference dates are June 19-25, 2017.  Scholarship Application Deadline is February 20, 2017. This summer, the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, which prides itself on its award-winning teaching faculty, will offer intensive weeklong workshops. We’re offering two poetry workshops led by Elizabeth Bradfield and Janice N. Harrington. Ravi Howard will lead our fiction workshop. We’re also offering two creative non-fiction workshops—one led by Ernestine Hayes and the other led by Ander Monson. And Tracy K. Smith is our Distinguished Visiting Writer!  The conference takes place at Bemidji State University—a small university on a big lake in a small town in northern Minnesota—the perfect place to write and be in the company of others committed to learning and teaching the craft of writing. The Conference Fee is $550 before April 5 and includes a daily workshop limited to 13 participants, daily craft talks, publishing and editor Q&As, afternoon events, and five conference meals. Half hour manuscript consultations with workshop faculty are available for $45. Several $300 scholarships will be awarded toward the conference fee. Stay within walking distance to the beach and all conference activities in modern and air-conditioned Linden Suites on campus for only $28 per night (housing options begin at $21/night). and


Superstition Review

Superstition Review is the online literary magazine published by Arizona State University twice yearly in May and December. We welcome submissions of art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The deadline for submission for issue 19 is February 28, 2017.


Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest

First Prize for the eighth annual Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest is $1,000 while the entry fee is just $5. Second prize is $100 and there will also be three honorable mentions ($25 each). We have no restrictions on subject, style or length, and all entries are read blind so everyone gets an equal chance. Deadline: March 31, 2017. Enter by email or snail mail. All five finalists will be published online in the June 2017 issue of Gemini.


Ninth Letter Web Edition

Ninth Letter will be accepting submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a special online edition to be published at in Summer 2017. Submissions will be open from January 20 to April 1.

The theme for this issue is Margins. Physical spaces have margins, as does the social world. In fact, anything that can be contained or has limits might have margins of some kind. This issue will feature work that evokes margins or the marginal.  You may submit up to three poems, or one piece of short prose (fiction or nonfiction) of up to 3500 words; please also include a cover letter that briefly explains how you see your work connecting to the theme.


Belmont Story Review

BSR invites submissions for its second issue. We’re looking for submissions of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction from emerging and established writers. Also, we’re open to submissions of narrative journalism in the areas of music, publishing, creativity and collaboration, as well as faith and culture. The reading period for Issue two is now through April 1, 2017. A cash honorarium of $50 for prose and $25 for poetry or flash fiction will be awarded to authors who have accepted submissions. Located in Nashville, Tenn., Belmont University is the only university with an undergraduate major in Publishing. Belmont Story Review is produced through the Publishing Program under the auspices of assistant professor Richard Sowienski, a 30-year publishing veteran, which included a five-year stint as managing editor of The Missouri Review. To submit, email with the genre of your work in the subject line and attach a Word document. In the body, please include a brief bio.


Asheville Poetry Review

Submission period is from January 15, 2017, through July 15, 2017, for regular submissions. Please send 3–6 poems of any length or style with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and biographical information.


The Writer’s Chronicle Seeks Articles on the Craft of Writing

The editors read submissions for the Writer’s Chronicle from February 1 through September 30 of each year. All craft essays must analyze an element of creative writing. Articles should not overlap with topics covered in recent issues of the Chronicle. Craft essays should contain concrete examples to illustrate the writerly advice they offer. Many of our published essays combine appreciations with a study of elements of craft. Using more than one author to illustrate your analysis is recommended. A query on a specific topic is always welcome. Craft essays run between 2,000 and 6,000 words, depending on the topic.

Life as a Shorty

Many thanks to Keith Lesmeister for featuring my story, “How the Mammoth’s Blood Flows” on this blog, “Life as a Shorty.”  There’s a short interview there also where Keith asked some questions about the story and my writing process.  “Life as a Shorty” is a great forum that Keith publishes online everyweek to talk about short fiction.  I hope you’ll follow his blog to be part of the discussion.

Submission Calls for Writers 1/17/2017


Here are 11 opportunities for writers to get their work out into world.  Good luck submitting in the new year!

Harvard Advocate

The Harvard Advocate accepts submissions of poems, fiction, essays, and art of any form or length created by members of the Harvard community, as well as outside contributors at our discretion. All submissions are considered anonymously. All submissions should be original work that has not been previously published.


Concho River Review

CRR is published biannually. We welcome submissions of high-quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry year-round. CRR welcomes fiction on all subjects, although we tend to publish traditional stories with a strong sense of conflict, finely drawn characters, and crisp dialogue. Length of manuscripts should be 1,500–5,000 words. CRR welcomes submissions of creatively told personal narratives and innovative approaches to the essay form. We also consider thoughtful, researched articles; especially those that explore areas that are part of our southwestern landscape and heritage. We reveiw manuscripts of all lengths, up to 6,000 words. CRR welcomes original poetry submissions from all poets, established or emerging. Length and form are open, but shorter poems (one page or less) are preferred. Please send three to five poems at a time.


Lime Hawk

Lime Hawk, a quarterly independent online journal of culture, environment, and sustainability, seeks new, unpublished submissions of short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art for its first issue of 2017. Read past issues at then send us your fresh new work! No deadline to submit. No reading fees.


Porkbelly Press Seeks Chapbooks

Porkbelly Press is an independent press based in Cincinnati. We’re a queer-friendly, feminist press open to all, and we encourage works from poets & writers all along the identity spectrum. All of our titles are bound by hand. We’re currently reading chapbook manuscripts: 12-28 pages in manuscript format. Our catalog is carefully curated. We’re looking for 3 chapbooks for 2017. Our queue is fee-free until it overflows. We read via Submittable. Brief guidelines: – poetry or prose poems – collections of flash or micro fiction – creative nonfiction such as lyric essays & flash essays – graphic narratives, sequential artwork (in black & white) – combinations of the above (linked by theme, image, voice, etc.). Submit no more than 1 chapbook in each genre until you receive a reply. No more than 3 manuscript submissions for a given reading period. Simultaneous submissions considered. or


At Length Magazine

At Length is currently looking for music essays of at least 5,000 words. Personal stories are welcome, as are diverse voices, lyric/cross-genre essays, and writing about music not often covered in the music press. No reviews, please. Send work to music editor Danny Caine: music [at] We’re open for submissions until January 31, and our response time is typically around 2 months.


Arts & Letters

Our New Year’s resolution is to read more of your great work—help us out by submitting to Arts & Letters while you still can! Arts & Letters is a national literary journal operating out of the MFA program at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia. Our reading period closes January 31st.  We Accept Unsolicited Submissions of: Poetry (4-6 poems); Fiction manuscripts up to 25 pages; Flash Fiction manuscripts up to 1,000 words; Creative Nonfiction manuscripts up to 25 pages.


Windmill, the Hofstra Journal of Literature and Art

Windmill is already to get rollin’ for 2017! Our inaugural issue is packed with pieces from Mark Brazaitis, Yardenne Greenspan, Taylor Larsen, Alix Ohlin, Bridget Potter, and a Q&A with Phillip Lopate. We are accepting submissions for our Spring 2017 print issue on the theme of identity.  For our print issue, we are accepting fiction and nonfiction pieces between 3,000 and 5,000 words. Pieces with higher word count, up to 10,000 words, will be accepted but judged at a higher standard. Submissions for the print issue are open until March 1, 2017.  Our February online issue is also all about identity. Who we are, how we relate to the world, is tied up in our identity… gender, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation.  This month, we explore the difficulties, drama and delight of identity politics – how we clash and how we come together. We are accepting both creative nonfiction and fiction pieces of 1,500 to 2,500 words. Submissions for the online issue are open until February 6th.


Jack Kerouac House Residency

The Kerouac Project of Orlando is set to open for 2017-2018 writer-in-residency applications through March 12, 2017. The Kerouac Project provides four residencies per year to writers living anywhere in the world. Each resident will live alone in the house for three months, where they may work on their writing project in uninterrupted peace. Writers stay free at the Kerouac House and their utilities costs are covered. Each writer also receives a $1,000 food stipend for use during their residency. The writers are only required to participate in two events, a welcome potluck dinner held in their honor, and a final reading of their work at the end of their residency.


Prime Number Magazine

Now accepting submissions in Poetry and Short Fiction for Issue 109 (July 2017). Guest poetry editor, Joseph Mills, is reading now until March 31. Guest short fiction editor, Jen McConnell, is reading now until March 31. Our guest judges will select three poets and three short fiction authors for Issue 109, July 2017. No submission fee.


The National Poetry Review

The National Poetry Review seeks submissions through April 1, 2017, of previously unpublished poems for its second online issue.


Palooka Press Chapbook Contest

We take great pride in reading every word and giving each manuscript its due attention. We consider manuscripts of all types, styles, and genres and aren’t looking for a particular aesthetic. We’re willing to give anything a fair chance. Please send your best fiction, poetry, nonfiction, graphic narrative, or hybrid genres. Manuscripts should be roughly 35-50 pages, but we’re flexible. The $10 entry fee comes with an electronic issue of Palooka. THE WINNER RECEIVES Publication by Palooka Press (a perfect-bound book with a glossy color cover), $200 honorarium, 20 free copies of the book, bio and photo featured on our website. Winning Chapbook will be sent out for review and promotion. DEADLINE: May 15, 2017. All submissions are read “blind” to ensure pure contest ethics. The contest judge is Jonathan Starke, the founding editor of Palooka. For questions, e-mail the editor at palooka [at]

Recommended Reading 1/16/2017

I just finished reading Lincoln Michel‘s collection, Upright Beasts.  One of my favorite stories is “Things Left Outside,” which also appears online at Weird Fiction Review


An essay of Walter Robinson’s that was originally published in The Sun has now been picked up by Reader’s Digest, and you can read the whole piece here: (Check out Walter’s new website for more of his work:

Corina Zappia has a new piece, My Sandwich Is Going to Eat Me, at The Stranger:

Kate Jayroe has an essay online at JMWW:

Keith Lesmeister interviewed Susan Pagani on his blog (Life as a Shorty) about her story, The Fledgling, in The Rappahannock Review:

Finally, I was excited to read Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s thoughts about the English poet Stevie Smith in this review:! I didn’t know much about Smith’s poetry before reading this piece, and Lynne Sharon Schwartz continues to be so smart.  I admire her more all of the time.

Alison Stine’s “Ohio Violence” and “On Poverty”

Recently my friend William Kelley Woolfitt sent me an essay he thought I should see: Alison Stine’s “On Poverty” at The Kenyon Review.  This essay was a response to an essay by Claire Vaye Watkins’ called “On Pandering.”  Watkins’ essay received a lot of attention in literary circles, and there were many responses.  But Alison Stine’s response is the best I have seen, and I wish more people would read it.

Earlier this week, I railed about J. D. Vance’s ignorant and stumbling assessment of Appalachia, the Rust Belt and the wider world in his poorly named memoir Hillbilly Elegy. One of my chief complaints about the book is that Vance addresses shockingly little about class structures and dynamics.  Stine says infinitely more in her short essay than Vance says in his entire book.


When I asked William to tell me more about Stine, he recommended her poetry collection, Ohio Violence, which I read this week and which I highly recommend. Ohio Violence was the 2008 winner of the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, and she’s written three books since it.  Stine’s website links to a number of individual poems and essays, but here is one from Ohio Violence that I especially like.  This poem, “When I Taught Mary to Eat Avacado,” is also found at Verse Daily.  I hope you’ll enjoy her work as much as I do.


When I Taught Mary to Eat Avacado

                      She didn’t understand.

You couldn’t cut straight through with the big knife
because of the pit, or heart, or stone.

                      We gave it many names,

and when it was revealed, bone-shade,
heavy-bottomed, she wanted to keep it.

                      She washed it, and the skin

dried and crackled, lost shards. I taught her to salt
the pebbled rim, and dig with the tip

                      of a spoon, which is like a knife.

The flesh curl surprises, but it’s a taste you’ll miss.
When she stole the story I told then,

                      how the Aztecs locked up virgins

during the avocado harvest, how this was repeated
to others in her own language,

                      I knew we were bound to take

what we could from each other and go.
I didn’t tell her what the name

                      for avocado meant, its connection

to the male body, which she wanted no part of,
which I am now a part of.

                      Perhaps that is the end

of the story, his flesh in my mouth. Perhaps
the women were not locked up,

                      but went, willing.