Here at the CR office we read a lot of submissions. And we like doing it—and even though we can’t take every piece that strikes our fancy, every week we take note of a well-drawn scene, a lovely line, or a pleasingly complex character.
Sometimes we let you in on trends we see in the submissions pile (this winter, we noted a lot of stories set in foreign countries). Our latest? Promising premises that fail to pay off. (Something like this: Man realizes that his wife is slowly turning into a dragon. Files for divorce, moves to the West Coast, considers going to culinary school despite his fear of both fire and really large squashes.)
But! Lucky you: Today, we are NOT looking for a premise that pays off—in the form of a complete piece, anyway. We’re looking for . . . well, a good premise. A really, really good one. Give us your best set-up for a story or poem. We’ll choose our favorite funny premise and the best overall premise.
Winners will get their choice of free back issue, CR thermos, or CR slingpack. To play, leave a comment on this post (click the post’s title) by next Friday, April 13.
CR’s own prodigal editor, Don Bogen (who also goes by the monikers “The Bogues,” “Bogedy,” and “Dr. Bojangles” ) was in San Francisco last Monday for the CR reading at the Stable Cafe. Here’s Don’s account of the event:
By sheer coincidence, I had a chance to attend the first Greetings from Cincinnati Review reading last Monday, March 26, in San Francisco. Thanks to the imagination and tireless energies of Nick Johnson, a poet and contributor to our most recent issue (8.2), I found myself among some sixty people huddled around space heaters in the courtyard of the Stable Cafe–things cool off at night in San Francisco. Nick read along with two other poets in 8.2—Dan Bellm and Rebekah Bloyd—and the evening came to a close with some short prose sketches by Ian Tuttle, who, though not yet a contributor, cajoled his listeners with some satiric looks at the yuppified cafe crowds at various spots in the city, including the Stable itself. We kept warm with wine, beer, snacks, and great writing, and though the outside lamp failed as the sun set, Dan Bellm’s trusty pocket flashlight saved the day—or the night. Many books sold, much conviviality, and many toasts raised to the magazine and its contributors.
There are more writers than you can shake a stick at in the Bay Area, and a good number of them have been in The Cincinnati Review. Rebecca Foust, who was in issue 5.2, made the trip down from Marin, and others sent regrets: D. A. Powell (7.1) and C. S. Giscombe (5.2) were out of town doing visiting stints at the University of Iowa and Temple respectively, Randall Mann (7.2) was flying to Zurich for his job, and Dean Rader (7.2) was in the blurry time zone of life with a newborn.
Fortunately, there are rumors of a repeat event on the Berkeley side of the Bay sometime later this year, and, further north, talk of taking the show to Seattle, another hotbed of contributors. Jeff Von Ward, who came up with the truly great Cincinnati poster for the reading—postcard, technicolor stripes and all—has been kind enough to offer it as a template for later events. So contributors and friends beyond the West Coast who wish to do their own version of a Greetings from Cincinnati Review reading have things all set up. It’s a great way to get the word out about the fine work we publish from all over.
Also, there are videos of the reading on youtube. Here’s one of event organizer and CR contributor Nick Johnson: