Author: Christian Moody

“Before I Offer Myself to the Birdmen”: Why We Like It

Once a day or so, at least one of us here in the office will suddenly jerk awake, lift her head off her desk and—with a long string of drool still attached to a submitted manuscript—speak a line or two from a story or poem before clunking her head back to the desk again. Then the rest of us will carefully slide the manuscript out from under our sleeping coworker’s face, clean the story or poem of drool, and read it. Because we know that good literature haunts your dreams. It’s a perk of the job. However,  we were...

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Winter 2011 Issues Are In the Mail! (Plus Caption Contest)

This is how we do it. I don’t know what else to say. Tell you what, I’ll send the writer of the best caption for this photo a free back issue of your choice. Leave your caption as a blog comment (You have to click on the post title above, then you’ll see the comment box. We get a lot of spam, so you’ll have to wait for the comment to be approved). Be sure to check back in a week or so to see if you won! Judging will be entirely subjective, flawed, and at my whim. PS,...

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“The Drowned Girl”: Why We Like It

As promised last Monday, here’s our most recent installment of “Why We Like it.”  It was almost a full month ago that graduate student and fiction writer Ian Wissman break-danced into our office because he was excited about a story. There’s nothing unusual about this. It’s a tradition in our office. Except this time Ian’s break dancing morphed into something we’ve never seen before. At first we thought it was an especially mournful blend of Vaganova method pointe work and vintage electric boogaloo. However, when we studied the video footage backward at high speed, we realized that Ian was...

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“Ghazal for Aurora Chasing the Deer”: Why We Like It

We’re already up to a month’s worth of “Why We Like It,” a weekly blog feature that highlights work from recent issues and provides a glimpse into the minds of the interesting volunteers who open your submission envelopes. This anonymous blogger’s mind resembles an overfed hamster on a rusty, cobweb-draped wheel, but thankfully poet and UC PhD student Lisa Ampleman is on staff. A green spectral glow flickers above her head when she reads a poem, especially a ghazal by Dana Koster. Lisa is not allowed to sit near the computers or electrical outlets. Here are her thoughts, transmitted...

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“Something Ancient”: Why We Like It

Enjoy our third weekly installment of “Why We Like It.”  Our first and second posts explain what it’s all about, so scroll down and check those out.  This week, we ran into fiction writer and PhD student Leah McCormack at the Cincinnati Zoo, wearing a hi-tech headband, talking excitedly to the simians. We asked the gorillas to transcribe what she was saying, and this is what they typed: Leah McCormack: I recall last year an animated conversation among some graduate-student volunteers about a story submission: According to them, the piece was, in a word, fantastic. The narrator was a...

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Hailey Leithauser’s “Schadenfreude”: Why We Like It

Here’s the second installment in the weekly blog post we’re calling “Why we Like it.” The first post, by Jason Nemec, explains what it’s all about. This week, poet and UC PhD student Les Kay perched on top of our swaying, manuscript-stuffed filing cabinets to sing the praises of Hailey Leithauser’s “Schadenfreude” from our summer issue. Les Kay: If I were to write a poem about the too-long tradition of taking pleasure in the pain of others—Schadenfreude—the result would either be some perverse analogue of a Bugs Bunny cartoon or a self-important plea for compassion when faced with the...

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Submission Trends

Just for kicks, here is a list of trends that we’ve been noticing in our submission stacks lately: Stories set in the 50s and 60s: It’s fun to insist that this is due to the popularity of Madmen, even if it’s not true. Stories about ghosts: And we published one of these—Micah Riecker’s “The Drowned Girl”—and it is going to get its own special blog post here in a week or so. Nonfiction about incest. We don’t have any poetry trends right now because we’re experiencing a weird dearth of poetry submissions. What gives? Of course, this isn’t meant...

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“In-Between Places”: Why We Like It

Here in our dusty corner of McMicken Hall, our ragtag group of editors, faculty, and graduate-student volunteers spend a lot of time passing around and discussing the work writers send us. Sometimes one of us stands on a rickety chair and effuses ebulliently about a manuscript he or she likes. Those are fun times, and it’s always helpful to hear what it is about a story or poem that butters someone’s biscuit. We wish everyone could hear these things. And now you can. We’re going to start putting them up here on our blog. Recently, fiction writer and UC...

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Summer Issue Bonus Material: Laura Van Den Berg, Ron Wallace

As you already know, if you’ve been following, we’ve been posting bonus material all month, to hold our readers over until the winter 2011 issue arrives (any day now!). We asked all the writers in our summer issue to tell us about the ideas that lead to their poems, stories, and essays. Below are the final two, by Laura Van Den Berg and Ron Wallace. If you missed all the others, scroll down and check them out. Laura Van Den Berg: I loved having the opportunity to delve into Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City and to craft my impressions into...

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