Author: Cincinnati Review

miCRo: Kristine Ong Muslim’s “Holocene: Microfilm Reel 82”

  Assistant Editor Molly Reid: In Kristine Ong Muslim’s devastating piece, she doesn’t allow the reader to look away, and what she shows us—a timeline of human “advancement,” from early hominids to our eminent extinction—is part-history lesson, part-prophesy, and all gut-punch stunning. In her own words, “Holocene: Microfilm Reel 82” is “a conceptual piece, a recitation of historical facts, possibilities, and improbabilities—woven in such a way that they elicit digital distrust, thus evoking a critical period in the era of fake news when machine-learning capability for recognizing fake content gets overwhelmed by the rapid spread of digital misinformation and...

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Reflections on Zadie Smith’s Niehoff Lecture

(Editors’ note: Every year, the Mercantile Library, a local membership library, sponsors the Niehoff Lecture, a black-tie fundraiser that brings a literary star to Cincinnati for a dinner and lecture. For this year’s event, novelist Zadie Smith was interviewed by Jim Schiff, a professor of English at the University of Cincinnati and a great friend of the CR. Thanks to a donor, several UC students, including Claire Kortyna, were guests at the dinner.) Editorial Assistant Claire Kortyna: “He couldn’t have been more horrified if I’d have said I wanted to go into porn!” The crowd erupted into laughter as...

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What We’re Reading: Holly Goddard Jones’s The Salt Line

Editorial Assistant Sakinah Hofler: When I first saw my reading list for my Forms class, I noted the usual suspects—Woolf, Austen, Elliot, Zadie Smith—then I paused at one title, The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones. Knowing Jones from her collection of realistic stories (Girl Trouble), I was surprised by the first line of description for her latest book: “After the country’s borders have receded behind a salt line—a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks—a group of adrenaline junkies pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature, no longer held captive by...

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miCRo: Kathryn McMahon’s “Boom”

  Associate Editor James Ellenberger: “Boom” reads like a vivisection of a Studio Ghibli film. It’s magical, beautifully rendered, and haunting. What strikes me the most is the piece’s aural effect: McMahon layers vowels (“Now it looms, quiet, as water should be”) in a manner that’s reminiscent of waves overlapping and erasing themselves. The alliterative movements, of which there are many, blur the boundaries between individual words and further emphasize the liminal space between the girl and the ocean, the reader and the text. To hear Kathryn read her piece, you can click below:   “Boom” By Kathyrn McMahon...

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Why We Like It: “Family Photo of America” by Lynne Potts

Assistant Editor Caitlin Doyle: Exploring the intersection between nation and citizen is never an easy undertaking for an artist, and poet Lynne Potts braves the task with startling skill in “Family Photo of America” (in our most recent issue, mailed to subscribers just last week!).  From the very beginning, via the piece’s title, she invites us to blur the line that separates the personal (“family photo”) from the national (“America”), suggesting the possibility that an ineffable force binds all Americans into something resembling a familial unit. The title, like much of the poem, works both as a tongue-in-cheek appraisal of patriotism’s...

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miCRo: Brian Ma’s “Shadows on the Korean Peninsula”

  Assistant Editor Caitlin Doyle: Brian Ma’s nonfiction piece “Shadows on the Korean Peninsula” artfully engages difficult political material via evocation, juxtaposition, and figurative suggestion. Moving between a lyrical meditation on Moon Joon-yong’s art piece Augmented Shadow and fact-driven vignettes about Korean culture, past and present, Ma refuses to let us shield our eyes from the nuclear standoff between North Korea and the United States. “Shadows on the Korean Peninsula” invites us to look at life through the lens of art, and we’re left haunted by the view.  To hear Brian read his piece, you can click below:   “Shadows...

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“My Beast Made of Gold is My Vocation,” by G. C. Waldrep

My beast made of gold is my vocation; it walks with me and makes a peaceable sound. It has no wings and it has no clay. I never touch it, if I can help it—though sometimes, knocked roughly, I brush it by accident. That is when the pain comes and the great poems cover their famished faces. Which is the true prison: the church, the garden, the body, or the mind? My beast doesn’t answer, but I detect a slight modulation in its earthy hum. I cannot leave it and it, evidently, will not leave me. I wish I had a cord with which to bind it up. Bless the rain, which washes the eye clear and remembers nothing but what we have discarded in the skies. It wraps my golden beast in its wet hands. I want to return the earth’s broad phylacteries, which it left in my care. This is the furthest I will get from love and love’s children, adrift in the blue-eyed grass. My beast prepares a place for me. It is not the place I wanted, but I recognize myself in its contagious mysteries. Oh beast surrender I call into the night’s tight coin. It remains beside me, unblinking. It is a beast, and I am a man. Together we make our worship.     See more poems from Issue 14.2 by purchasing it...

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“Rail,” by Andrea Cohen

By the time we’d built the hand- rail, the hand had vanished— but still there was a sky to rail at.     See more poems from Andrea Cohen by purchasing Issue 14.2 in our online store. Digital copies only...

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excerpt from Sonja Livingston’s “Miracle of the Eyes”

In 1985 statues across Ireland began to move. On Valentine’s Day, in the village of Asdee, seven-year-old Elizabeth Flynn was saying Hail Marys when a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus beckoned her with a curled finger. The Blessed Mother followed suit. When Elizabeth called to her sisters to tell them what she’d seen, other children flooded into the church. Yes, they said, we see it too. A few weeks later two girls in Ballydesmond reported a statue moving in Saint Patrick’s Church. A woman from the village fainted after witnessing the same but refused to talk about it, saying: If there’s a message, it will come again and more than me will see it. In the seaside town of Courtmacsharry a group of tourists saw a statue move. Another in a grotto on the Waterford-to-Kilkenny road was said to breathe, her hands moving from center to right. In Waterford two boys reported a statue shifting her eyes outside the Mercy Convent School, while back in Asdee an eighty-year-old farmer saw the statue of the Virgin blink three times. In Cork city three children said a statue rocked so hard they feared she’d topple. In Rathdangan Mrs. Haddie Doyle observed Our Lady smile. In Kilfinane Geraldine O’Grady noticed the throat of the Blessed Mother’s statue move while Oliver Herbert witnessed her veil fall away to reveal a girl...

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