Autumn is high tide for literary magazines. Luna Park assistant editor Marcelle Heath has picked out some of the highlights:
> kill author‘s Dorothy Parker issue features work by Audri Sousa, Jason Jordan, Mel Bosworth, Michelle Reale and others. Ajay Vishwanathan’s “A Serial Killer’s First Day in Medical School” and Amanda Marbais’ “Horns” channel Parker’s devious humor. Mississippi Review‘s Nonfiction Nonpoetry Issue includes works by David Shields, Gary Percesepe, Nicole Walker, Megan Mayhew Bergman, and our own Nick Ripatrzaone. “Friendship, A Semiotics” by Kristen Iskandrain’s captures the inherent ambivalence in social interaction. The Collagist offers excellent work by Matthew Derby, Kelley Evans, Roxane Gay, Catherine Ziedler, Ross White, and two novel excerpts: Hesh Kestin’s The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats, and Shadowplay by Norman Lock. Scott Garson’s interactive story “About Me and My Cousin” is featured at matchbook. Finally, the current issue of The Northville Review includes work by Gillian Grimm, Gary Moshimer, Michelle Reale, and Lydia Copeland, plus Tara Laskowski’s “Dendrochronology” and an encyclopedic assemblage of Inside Jokes around the world wide web.
Laura van den Berg’s first collection of fiction, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, is out this month from Dzanc and has been receiving some great reviews, such as in The Believer and The Rumpus. In the first part of our interview with van den Berg, she discusses plausibility in fiction:
I haven’t been to a lot of the locales in the collection, though I used to live in Boston and have been to Paris a few times. This seems to disappoint people sometimes, probably because “autobiography” and “authenticity” are so often conflated—“But then how do you know X detail was real?” I’ve been asked. Fair enough, I suppose, but what does it mean for something to be “real” in a story? My feeling is that the only reality that matters is that story’s reality, so as long as the details, whether factual or invented, are things the reader can believe in, I have no qualms about making things up.
Blake Butler writes on HTMLGIANT: “It’s become a pretty popular complaint here and elsewhere: writers getting upset because there’s a literary magazine or journal who isn’t being up front about who they are and how they work.” I didn’t know it was such a complaint—though I suppose Butler is talking about the New Pages post a while back, probably some other stuff, too. Maybe some interesting things to think about though: the ease of publishing, the temperaments of writers and editors, etc.
Seems Rosalind Porter is just another in the long line of editors leaving Granta.
A new magazine I haven’t said enough about yet, though I have received both issues in the mail: Birkensnake. (Any reviewers out there?) Each issue is handmade. The latest one (pictured at right)—well, I can only say it smelled like spray paint when it arrived and I had to set it across the office until the odor subsided. In some ways, the most monstrous magazine I’ve pulled out of the mailbox. I show it to everyone, and some are afraid to touch it. This latest issue has work from Blake Butler, Matt Briggs, Joyelle McSweeney, Matthew Pendleton, etc. Here’s from Pendleton’s “Someday on Planar Surface”:
From 144D all the way to 336G, past the 321, 322, 323, 324 all-aisle enclave whispering to a forebear each from behind, Julian kept straight and on the task at hand. His tray out before him steady as could be, with an open-topped coffee-juice and a canned warming milk and a tube of bananas. The walk took a long time. He couldn’t remember how long since he had last made it, whether the lights had been up or down, or the outside sheathed away so tightly.
Utne Reader noticed an interesting essay by Curtis White from the latest Tin House issue—an essay Utne sums up as “Sustainability as Status Quo.” The entire essay “Without Light” by White is available online at Tin House, and an interview with the author is up on their blog.
A riveting new issue from PEN America came out today, the Make Believe Issue. New fiction from Evenson and Nunez, poetry from Ponsot and Xiabo. Richard Ford talks with Nam Le. Evenson, Mobilio, Kjaerstad, Anastas, and Aslam all talk together. Below are images from the disturbing comic “Alan’s War” by Emmanuel Guibert.