Archive for May, 2010

Congratulations to Brenden Mathews, Marianne Boruch, Martha Silano, Christie Hodgen, and Micah Riecker for their accomplishments with short stories and poetry.

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Congratulations to Brendan Mathews, whose story “My Last Attempt to Explain to You What Happened with the Lion Tamer” (Summer 2009 issue) will appear in Best American Short Stories.

as well as

Marianne Boruch and Martha Silano, whose poems “The Doctor” and “Love” (Winter 2007 and Summer 2008 issues) have been selected for Best American Poetry.

and in addition

Christie Hodgen and Micah Riecker, whose short fiction “Bedtime Stories for the Middle-Aged” and “The Drowned Girl” (Summer 2009 and Winter 2010 issues) will appear in New Stories from the Midwest.


Thursday, May 20th, 2010

We asked our contributors to comment on the poems, fiction, and nonfiction they contributed to our summer issue.  Here’s what a few of them had to say. We’ll be posting more of these every week or so. Stay tuned.

Angela Ball: Working on “The River Wants Grip” I found myself interested in naming a series of processes stylized in something of the way that natural processes are—and at the same time interested in the unexposed gaps between advertised and true intentions. My sense is that experience is full of displacements, and I wanted this poem to include some of them.

“A Last Stay”: I have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out hospitals—how they take us out of nature to try to restore us to it. How each is a foreign country built into the air. And how it might feel to know that your feet will never again touch ground.

Emma Bolden: I consider this book of poems a gift, and one from the most unlikely and potentially embarrassing of sources. In 2006, I was recovering from extensive reconstructive surgery on my jaw, and my mother bought me a copy of The DaVinci Code—which I devoured quickly and, I admit, with great interest. I was especially captured by the section on the European witch trials; thus I departed on a three-year journey without even realizing it. I discovered much later that I’d done nothing but read about the trials for months. I realized that I was writing about them, too. I realized that a few sketchy lines had become poems. Then a sequence of poems. Then a book. It was an odd thing, to realize that I’d been moving and thinking and working inside this space for so long, without consciously knowing I was—a definite testament to having faith in one’s instincts!

Jim Daniels: “Frostburn” was trying to be a sonnet for a long time, but I just couldn’t get it down to fourteen lines without leaving some tonal gaps. While it’s twenty lines long now, I think working with the sonnet structure was beneficial in helping me to use the stark winter landscape to convey the emotional desperation of the speaker.


Thursday, May 20th, 2010


Brock Clarke: We’ve published two stories by Greg Baxter, “Dead-End MF” and “Two Incidents in the Hindu Kush”—the latter about the war in Afghanistan, and the former about a screw-up who wants to throw a big party. They sound like they couldn’t be more different, but both stories have big things on their minds (war in one, race in the other) and both are entirely irreverent—brutal in places, hilarious in others—in their pursuit of these big things. I loved both of them. They’re exactly the kind of stories we want to publish at CR: stories that have something to say that runs counter to the way these things are normally said, stories that might get the writer and the publisher in trouble.

Greg Baxter: “Dead-End MF” and “Two Incidents in the Hindu Kush” both mark the relative high points of two early phases in my writing. They were composed only months apart but were inspired by different influences and interests. “Dead-End MF” was written during a profound personal low, and was part of series of stories about losers in bad jobs or with no jobs. I spent about eight months working in a TV news station in Baton Rouge as the web guy. Elements of the story, including the fact that I had to change the date on every story every morning, and played video games all day, and the presence of the nappy-headed pot smoker, are entirely true. The fictionalized aspects of the story allowed me to introduce the question of race, which was something I wanted to explore. The personal low, curiously, did not hit until after I left that job and found myself unemployed in Dublin, Ireland, working several even more demeaning jobs. I turn all my personal lows into writing, so I don’t throw myself into the sea wearing a pair of flatirons. “Two Incidents in the Hindu Kush” was written about twelve months later, as part of series of stories about war. I had, like a lot of people, become deadened by headlines, and I wanted, in whatever limited way that was available to me, to try and repersonalize violence.

Click below to read the stories in full: