Author: Cincinnati Review

A Playlist for “Second Best”

Kelly Kathleen Ferguson helped us think about the “second best” (gymnasts, runners, but especially drummers) in her essay of that title in Issue 14.1. We loved reliving our memories of the music mentioned in her piece and are glad to share with you a companion playlist to accompany her essay (read an excerpt here): Kelly Kathleen Ferguson: In my essay “Second Best,” I grapple with my time as a drummer in a rock band, and how drummers Pete Best (the Beatles) and Chad Channing (Nirvana) haunted me, since they were fired and replaced right before their former bands skyrocketed...

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excerpt from “Second Best,” by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson

. . . Pete Best was going to be a teacher before Paul McCartney persuaded him to join the band’s Hamburg tour. There they played four shows a day, seven nights a week. Between sets they slept next to the toilets behind the cinema screen of the Bambi Kino theater. When the Beatles returned to Liverpool, Best’s mom helped launch them to local fame. She ran the Casbah, which gave the band a much-needed venue for shows. They practiced in her basement and she cooked them dinner. A small mob of followers formed, many of them hysterical girls hurling panties. Their favorite, a dreamy James Dean type, was Pete Best. Labels began taking interest.   Like everyone, I grew up with the Beatles, but it was Kurt Cobain’s war cry that knocked me flat. His open-souled anguish freed the silver tape from my mouth, allowing me to voice all the suburban angst I’d been hoarding my entire life. The Pete Best of Generation X was Chad Channing, the drummer for Nirvana before Dave Grohl. Like Best, Channing paid his dues with the band for two years, hauling his drums over three US tours and seventy thousand miles. He played when the band came down with the flu and drank forty-ouncers so they could pass out in the van. He endured a brutal European tour, thirty-six shows in forty-two days....

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One Week to Go!

Poets, wordsmiths, scribes, people of letters: This is your one week’s notice! We are accepting entries for our fabulous Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose through next Saturday, July 15. For only $20 per entry, you could win $1000 (two prices will be awarded: one for poetry and one for prose). On top of that, you receive a one-year subscription for each entry, and all submissions will be considered for publication. Need I say more? See our guidelines for the contest here, and send us your poetry and prose through our online submission...

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Unearthing Absence

We love that contributor JP Grasser’s poem “excavate” is featured on Poetry Daily today! To complement the poem, here’s his reflection on its origins: JP Grasser: I’ve spent the last three years trying to understand the nature of griefwork, its seeming paradox: You strive to dig up loss, dust it off, and bring it into the light. Put it on display. Frame it, bind it, make of it an objet d’art. But absence is not a thing you can hold and you cannot remove removal from the ground where it’s buried. And it is work—the slow process of sifting through each discrete...

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Documents with the Seams Showing

We’ve noticed an interesting trend here at The Cincinnati Review as we continue to read the poems, stories, and essays uploaded to our submission manager before the March 15 deadline: When we open up Microsoft Word files, we sometimes find ghosts of previous drafts lurking there in electronic form. In these cases, there’s a bright red line somewhere in the margin, and if we change the settings from “Simple Markup” to “All Markup” in the track changes panel, we’re able to see the things you wrote and deleted while you had the track changes feature engaged, as well as...

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excerpt from Lee Martin’s essay, “The Healing Line”

Sundays when I was a small boy, my paternal grandmother watched the faith healer Oral Roberts on our Philco television. She was almost eighty years old at the time and nearly blind with cataracts. I watched with her because I was fascinated with television. An only child, I learned to entertain myself. I loved the stories unfolding on the screen and the feeling of slipping out of my own life and into the lives of others. “Just a made-up story,” my father often said at the end of a program. “Not a word of it true.” I was a timid boy of five who usually tried to avoid my grandmother because she sometimes could be severe, and her tongue could be sharp. “Roy,” she might snap at my father when he did or said something that displeased her. “Roy Martin,” she might say. “Lord-a-mercy.” My normally tempestuous father would immediately become sheepish. Once, after an argument with my aunts about the future care of my grandmother, I saw him leave the house in tears, and he spent a long time away, hidden somewhere on our eighty-acre farm thinking whatever thoughts a man like him would think at such times—thoughts, I imagine now, about regret and shame and a desire to be a better man. I never heard him say he was sorry for his temper, but I could tell...

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Velvet Bag of Bullet Casings, by Maura Stanton

Groping for underwear in my top drawer my fingers brush the velvet bag I shoved far in the back, not knowing where to store spent casings from the guns that fired above my mother’s casket. That was a month ago. Today—deep breath—I spill them in my hand, these hollow fossils from that blast of woe fired in her honor. A woman veteran gave me this bag, then helped with the flag, folded up the way I fold my phyllo, corner by corner. I remember some vague condolences, some snow. Now brass tubes glow and click against each other, tap, tap, tap. I warm them in my palm, then pour them back.     Buy Issue 14.1 in our online...

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John Drury, What Are You Working On Now?

We love hearing about what our esteemed colleagues in the Department of English & Comparative Literature are up to. In the latest installment of our Youtube series “What Are You Working On Now?” John Drury talks about his memoir and poetry projects. A professor of English at UC, John is the author of four poetry collections, The Disappearing Town (2000), Burning the Aspern Papers (2003), The Refugee Camp (2011), and Sea Level Rising (2015), as well as two books about poetry, Creating Poetry and The Poetry...

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Michael Hennessey on The Elliston Project

The University of Cincinnati houses an impressive array of recordings from its reading series, dating back to the 1950s. Though many were in the form of records or audio cassettes, a grant a few years ago allowed us to digitize the entire collection—now available online, for free. This project is called The Elliston Project in honor of George Elliston, whose donation to the Department of English & Comparative Literature has funded many different poetry initiatives over the decades, including a dedicated room to poetry in Langsam Library and an endowed Poet in Residence position, held by the top poets...

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