Archive for the ‘Games, Contests, & Diversions’ Category

Robert and Adele Schiff Awards, 2015

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

moolah
Writers: Polish up your best poems, stories, and creative nonfiction, because we’re gearing up to read entries for the 2015 Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose. One winning poem and one prose piece (fiction or creative nonfiction) will be chosen for publication in our 2016 prize issue. The entry fee of $20 includes a year-long subscription.

Submissions will be accepted from June 1 through July 15.

Please note that we consider only online submissions (through our Submission Manager).

Here’s all the official Schiff Awards information:

One winning poem and one prose piece (fiction or creative nonfiction) will be chosen for publication in our 2016 prize issue, and winning authors will receive $1,000 each. All entries will be considered for publication in The Cincinnati Review. (And yes, we occasionally publish work that does not officially win.)

RULES

Writers may submit up to 8 pages of poetry or 40 pages of prose (consisting of a single story, essay, or linked microfictions), per entry. Previously published manuscripts, including works that have appeared online (in any form), will not be considered. There are no restrictions as to form, style, or content. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable under the condition that you notify us if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

TO ENTER

Entry fee is $20, which includes a one-year subscription to The Cincinnati Review. All entries will receive equal consideration. And every time you enter, you receive a year’s subscription . . . so if you enter three times, you are a subscriber for three years, and so on. Note: You have the option of giving any of your subscriptions as gifts to delightfully lit-hungry significant others.

Entrants will be notified October 1 on our website, and the winning pieces will be published in the Summer 2016 issue.

That’s the basic stuff. We’ll send out another email with some particulars about setting up your entry in Submission Manager (e.g., there are some tricks for international entrants) next week.

Puzzle Solution

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

solutionAll you crossworders who didn’t quite manage to fill in the blanks, click here for the solution to last week’s puzzle (created by fiction ed Michael Griffith). Congrats to Juliana Gray for getting us her completed grid in record time! Remember, there will be a real doozy of a crossword on the last page of our summer issue, due out in July.

Crossword Challenge Continued

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

eveYep, the brain-tickling never ends here at Cincinnati Review. Today fiction editor Michael Griffith presents you puzzle-doing types with another upper-works workout. Click here for Eve’s Puzzle. Michael describes the difficulty as “moderate,” but we’re printing a real killer of a crossword on the last page of our summer issue (out in July).

As always, the first person to send a correctly completed grid to editors [at] cincinnatireview [dot] com receives a free issue (mailed to the person of his/her choice).

On an unrelated note: We’re gearing up for our summer contest. Look for details here next week!

Crossword Key

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Gold keyFor those who haven’t yet puzzled through this month’s puzzle—or for you crossword whizzes who just want to check your answers—click here for the key. The winner (submitting her solution approximately an hour after we posted He Hath No Fury) is Katherine Karlin, whose remarkable story “We Are the Polites” appears in our current issue. Congrats, Katy. Look for another puzzle next month. . . .

Crossword #3: He Hath No Fury

Monday, April 6th, 2015

bali-pirate-mapA post for our passionate puzzlegoers—“goers” because working a puzzle is a bit like taking a journey, both physical (you cross spaces, traverse territory) and mental (you explore both your mind and the puzzle-maker’s). Not to mention, there’s a map—a tricky one, rather like those soiled and tattered bits of parchment in pirate movies, with signs that even intrepid adventurers can’t parse until they’re in the thick of things (dangling from unraveling rope bridges, in the clutches of cannibals, etc.). The title of this month’s puzzle (by, yep, fiction ed. Michael Griffith) is He Hath No Fury. (And yes, there’s a clue in that there adjusted adage.) As before, the first person to send the correct key to cincinnatireview[at]editors[dot]com gets a free issue! Time to head into the volcano, friends. Watch out for the glowing red stuff.

Crossword Solution

Monday, March 16th, 2015

pencil-happyThe first puzzle-solver to send us answers was the ever-so-sharp Laura Somerville (who won many—perhaps all—of our blue pencil prizes some years ago). Congrats, Laura! And the runner up (around 3 hours shy of first place) was contributor Katherine Karlin, whose haunting story “We Are the Polites” is in our current issue. Thanks for playing, Katherine!

Click here for the crossword key.

The CR Crossword Challenge . . . continued

Monday, March 9th, 2015

braincrossIn the spirit of our Games, Contests, & Diversions category, we give you—our bloggy wogs (i.e., followers of our blog; and yes, we just made that up)—a second crossword challenge by come-lately cruciverbalist (and fiction editor) Michael Griffith. Regarding this month’s puzzle, Michael says, “Clues in the ‘ham//board’ format are after-and-before clues. You’re looking for the word that ends a two-word phrase beginning ‘ham’ and starts a two-word phrase that ends with ‘board.’ In this case, the answer is ‘sandwich.’”

As before, the first person to solve the puzzle will receive a free issue of his/her choice. Submit your entry by commenting on this post (click the title) or contact us at editors[at]cincinnatireview.com. Good luck, word wonks!

Click here to view (and print) the crossword.

Crossword Key

Friday, February 6th, 2015

As promised, and hopefully in time to save the remaining hairs on your head, here is the key to Michael’s first crossword.

Stay tuned for the next puzzle!

From Our Winners

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

We’re on a bonus-material kick, so here’s some good stuff related to our contest—statements from the readers of your many amazing entries and a bit from the winners on their moolah-worthy works.

NOTE on the POETRY: We were impressed with the formal variety of this year’s contest submissions. The things you’ve done with a page!  There were sonnets, of course, and even sestinas (a few!). There were poems about water in very long lines stretched out like rivers. There was a series of LA Haiku. There were prose poems, prose poems with holes to fall (or think) in, lineated proselike poems in which every line was end-stopped. There was a “Poem as a Field of Action.” There were elegies, histories, taxonomies, narratives, and lists. There were tiny, itty-bitty, microscopic lyrics. And the content! There was a poem for Thelma & Louise and one for Charlie Chaplin. There were pomegranates, epidemics, vibrators, and snow. You sent us your most romantic love poems, the finest tributes to your very best friends, your brightest joys, your deepest heartbreaks. And having to choose just one winner, for us, was the biggest heartbreak of all.​

Chelsea Jennings (on her winning poem, “Elegy”): Birds appear often and with great symbolic power in elegies. Watching the birds that perch on the telephone wires outside my window or that have nested in my kitchen vent, I wondered what it might mean to live among these creatures that harbor our losses. I began to imagine every bird as bearing the weight of someone’s grief. “Elegy” is a record of the world created through that perspective—when the feeling of loss collides with the peculiar, everyday magic of birds.

NOTE on the PROSE: It was a pleasure to read so many well-crafted and accomplished stories. We got absurd and surreal stories, like the one featuring absurd postcards from D. H. Lawrence’s trip to Mexico in which Frieda has a prosthetic head. We received imaginative, magical realist stories—one starring a spell-casting farmer creating magical problems for encroaching suburbanites. You sent us meditative and emotionally moving personal essays, telling us (for example) about loving the film Father of the Bride and your conservative father when you eloped into same-sex marriage. We got lyrical and psychologically acute realist stories, like the one where a man has an existential crisis at a bird fair with a much younger girlfriend.  You send us so many wonderful stories that to pick just one winner was downright traumatic. We had to do it, but we’ll never be the same again.

Tom Howard (on his winning story, “The Magnificents”): I started with the little scene in the beginning of the story: a dumbshow in which the character of Death is savagely beaten in front of cheering spectators on someone’s front lawn, as part of an extravagant birthday celebration.  And I imagined this strange middle-aged guy standing and watching, hopelessly out of place—kind of lonely, holding a bottle of meat-flavored champagne, with his head halfway in the clouds. I didn’t think this world had much use for someone like him, someone without any real talent or ambition or ruthlessness. But I liked him. And it became (among other, stranger things) a story about giving him a chance to show what he, or anyone, is really worth.

News from the Crypt

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Hey, CR followers. We’re breaking our summer skeleton-crew silence with a reminder, an update, and a treat.

First, don’t forget our summer contest. There’s some lovely moolah attached to the Schiff Prizes—and even if the eds don’t pick your piece to win, they may still want to publish it at our usual per-page rate ($30 for poetry, $25 for prose). In the event that we don’t opt to publish your stuff this time around, you still get a full year’s subscription to the mag, which includes bonus music features AND the 64-page, full-color graphic play MOTH, which we plan to mail out with our November issue. Illustrator Gable Ostley is hard at work and sending us new “rough inks” almost daily, and playwright Declan Greene is supplying captions and dialogue for Gabe’s sketches. The finished product is going to be amazing.

Now for the update: We just approved the final proof for our summer issue and expect the shipment in the next week or so. Our TEN-tacular issue includes last year’s Schiff Prize winners, three reviews that meditate on the staying power of the classic Moby-Dick, the usual complement of terrific stories and poems, another great translation feature,  and—bonus—it will be accompanied by our latest music feature, composer Sarah Hutchings’s score for Jeff Gundy’s poem “March Ode.”

Today’s treat comprises a last delightful look at our winter number in the form of our (relatively) new blog feature Pas de Deux, in which contributors to a given issue interview each other about what intrigued, puzzled, or impressed them in the another writer’s story, poem, or essay. This installment features an exchange between Daniel A. Hoyt and Douglas Silver on the latter’s story  “Found Peoples.”  Check back in a couple of days for the switcheroo: Doug’s questions and Dan’s responses!

Daniel A. Hoyt: I have lots of questions about bodies and lots of questions that seem to beget more questions. “Found Peoples” starts with such gripping, visceral language as Feng, the story’s protagonist, examines a dead body he’s fished from the river. I was immediately convinced by the body; I was there with Feng as he “pinched the green eye, and the contact lens peeled off.” How did you create these artful and disturbing states of decay? What kind of research did you do? Is this a feat of imagination, of medical textbooks, of Google?

Douglas Silver: Google is generally my first stop—be it for a spicier Massaman curry recipe or the particulars of each stage of human decomposition. Numerous websites and academic journals provided an indispensable foundation in the science of decay. I read a lot and emailed a few experts and saw many images I would like to unsee. From there, it was a matter of backtracking—from ashes to animation—and deciding upon those details that provide a glimpse into the lives of the deceased.

DH: How about your depiction of China? How did you go about imagining and creating the physical setting and the rich sociological dynamics underpinning the story?

DS: China’s abysmal record on human rights and personal expression is infamous the world over. It is a dreadful place to be writer and a fascinating place to write about. Much of the societal and physical depictions were the product of research, but the narrative atmosphere was strongly influenced by my visit to China after graduating high school. When I arrived at the airport in Beijing, I noticed a sign that read Warning: Drug Trafficking is Punishable by Death in the R.O.C. Being 18 and an idiot, I thought this a superb photo-op. Before I could put away my camera, two officers approached me. One took my luggage and emptied it in front of everyone while the other demanded my passport. When they didn’t find drugs, they repacked me (admittedly neater than I had packed myself) and welcomed me to the country. When I told someone I met about this interaction, an American who had lived in China for years, she explained how lucky I was, how much worse it would have been if I were Chinese. I sought out that airport photograph when I began the story and kept asking myself what becomes of the unlucky.

DH: Because these questions are for a Pas de Deux feature, this question seems almost mandatory: Will you discuss the way you use foils in “Found Peoples”?

DS: One of the challenges of the piece was providing the reader a palpable sense of Feng’s former life. It seemed the most organic method to achieve this was through Feng’s encounters with those who were devoted to his family, and leveraging this juxtaposition for the benefit of both characterization and narrative tension. At some point, it occurred to me that it is Feng’s contact with the living through which the reader derives the clearest prospective into Feng’s past, i.e., the life he lost. Conversely, it is his dealings with the dead that most clearly render his present life—a paradigm that is upended by his time with the young woman’s body.

DH: There’s a strangely mundane yet magical moment in “Found Peoples” when Feng thinks of and explains the story of the prodigal son. To many members of a western audience and to many western characters, that explanation is unnecessary, but Feng has to think about it in a different way. How did you discover Feng’s point of view? How do you go about shaping point of view in your stories?

DS: I’m of the belief that the surest way to figure out a character is to determine what he or she most desires. If my character doesn’t have an urgent need, then I don’t have a character. At least not one I have any right to expect readers to invest in. I start by asking myself the basics: What does CHARACTER want? Why does CHARACTER want it? What is preventing CHARACTER from getting it? In Feng’s case, while he spends his days working vigilantly and dishonorably to afford basic human necessities, he desires at his core the safe return of his family and the communal acceptance that carries. But he is powerless to achieve that desire; his sole option is faith—something he has never possessed, what divided him from his family prior to their incarceration and what he can’t acquire without them. Once I realized the paradox of Feng as a man who doesn’t believe and therefore isn’t believed in (and therefore can’t believe), I felt like I might have character worth following.

DH: This one may seem like an assignment rather than a question, but I wish more people would read Our Mutual Friend (you too, Gentle Reader of The Cincinnati Review blog!), so here goes: As I first read “Found Peoples,” I immediately thought of Gaffer Hexam, the “night bird” in Our Mutual Friend, who, like Feng, fishes corpses from a river and strips them of valuables.  Here’s a link to the opening chapter, when we first meet Gaffer and his daughter, Lizzie. Doug, I know you were initially inspired by a news article about men who retrieve dead bodies from rivers in China, but had you read Our Mutual Friend? What kind of dialogue do you see between your story and the opening of Dickens’s novel?

DS: I’m embarrassed and grateful that I had not heard of Our Mutual Friend. Having now read the first chapter, I am not sure I would have had the confidence to write the piece had I known that none other than Charles Dickens had employed a similar conceit, especially given that both stories start out in medias res. While it appears Gaffer and Feng are not driven by similar desires, both have no qualms about plundering the dead. Gaffer’s rhetorical statement “Has a dead man any use for money? Is it possible for a dead man to have money? What world does a dead man belong to? ‘Tother world. What world does money belong to? This world. . . .” places a premium on corporeality similar to that of Feng, whose ken is viewed through the lens of materialism. Again, I have read one chapter, so my analysis might prove to be total bunk. (But I’m enjoying it thus far, as might you, Gentle Reader of The Cincinnati Review blog!)