When I first joined Fictionaut, I was beginning to find out who I am as a writer and what I want to accomplish with my work. From my initial posts—poems on classical music and, oddly enough, eating disorders, to some of my later fiction—I notice a kind of confidence that I don’t think I would’ve achieved without the feedback and support of the people who comment here regularly.

As the editor of Fictionaut, I found it difficult to pick my favorites, for the sheer reason that every piece inevitably does something to capture my attention, whether it’s the perspective of the narrator or the clever language play. To narrow my list of choices, I thought back to the rules I learned in my first creative writing class, since those are the ones that resonate with me most:

  1. Write in a way that feels raw and honest.
  2.  Use language that everyone can understand.

(Or , as my teacher used to say it, “Don’t mix words.”)

By the end of the two weeks, I found six pieces that deserve multiple reads.

“Corners” by Fm Le

Fm Le’s gritty, visceral style can be easily confused with any number of female, confessional  poets from the 20th century. Where Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton created a foundation for anyone who writes from a place that feels intimate and personal, Fm Le’s work elevates the emotional intensity, leaving the reader with a feeling along the lines of a gut-punch.

“Slipstream” by Aline Carriere

A story about the terror that relationships can leave behind, Carriere’s narrator grabs the reader  by the collar from the first sentence and does not let go.

“Cuccoon”– Kait Mauro

The title of this poem, which works both as a plea for security on the part of the narrator, as well as an acknowledgment of the kind of solitary confinement of being in prison, is something of a constant theme in Kait Mauro’s work. What makes this narrator’s plight expand beyond that fear of ‘alone-ness’ is her vulnerability, and, in the narrator’s “hoping not to be strip-searched”, a commentary on the politics of the body.

“Hands” by Phillip F. Clark

It is hard not to read (and enjoy) Philip F. Clark’s poetry for its eroticism ; however, this particular scene, between a father and son, does not sexualize the body as much as it celebrates touch  as a source for human connection. As I read this, I pictured the author’s burning hands reaching mine, everything between us catching fire.

“Sleeping on Route 110” by Carl Santoro

Carl Santoro’s narrator wastes no time or words as he describes his account of a car accident, and the result is haunting. This is how poetry should be done.

“Same Grape, Different Name” by Peter Erich

I could make countless arguments as to why this piece deserves to be read, but I think the writer sums it up best: “If you asked me, am I caged and on display? I would say, yes, at some point, yes, we all are.”


Amanda Harris is a writer, college student and gym rat living in New York. You can find her poetry and fiction in Camroc Press Review, Black-Listed Magazine, madswirl, Postcard Shorts and other fine places. When she isn’t working on her own stuff, she’s either lifting weights or editing her own magazine, The Miscreant.

  1. Gary Hardaway

    Great Choices, Amanda.

  2. Gary Hardaway

    Between a name change and my sloppy curation, this link went cold in the body of Amanda’s presentation:


  3. Michelle Elvy

    Really great selections, Amanda. I like your intro too, how you write about your growing confidence in the context of community, and how you stick to those two basic rules — which seem to work well! Thanks for your selections — great to see these writers brought to our attention here. I love them all, but “Hands” is staying with me — so good.

  4. Matt Paust

    I missed some of these. Thanks for highlighting them, Amanda.

  5. Robert Vaughan

    Nice work with your intro and selection of pieces, Amanda! And I am a fan of your writing also.

  6. Charlotte Hamrick

    Great choices, Amanda!

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