Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Acre Books at Books by the Banks!

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

launchJoin us for the launch of Acre Books—UC’s new small literary press—at the annual Books by the Banks festival, which takes place at Duke Energy Convention Center this Saturday. Doors open at 10 a.m., and panels and other book-tastic events run until 4 p.m.

Our 45-minute program begins at 2:30 in room 209. Nicola Mason, editor of Acre Books, will begin by reading selections from its signature anthology (and first publication), A Very Angry Baby, to be released in early 2017. Come and hear snippets of works by literary powerhouses Julianna Baggott, Brock Clarke, Andrew Hudgins, Margaret Luongo, Erin McGraw, Jamie Quatro, Josh Russell, and more. Devil babies, apple babies, hungry babies, aged babies, monster babies created in a lab—the anthology runs the gamut (and includes poetry and hybrid forms as well as fiction).

Following the reading, Acre Books will launch its YouTube channel. Sit and enjoy the show as we “air” on the big screen a succinct sampling of videos—following a couple of submissions (one poetry, one prose) through the reading/ranking process at The Cincinnati Review, an imagistic rendering of Jeannine Hall Gailey’s poem “Wonder Woman Dreams of the Amazon,” a segment of an interview with Brock Clarke, and some comic, language-centric skits.

Last, we’ll offer the kids some game-time fun with our own version Pin the Tail on the Donkey. We’re dubbing our spin-and-stick offering Pin the Wail on the (Angry) Baby. After the blindfolds come off, participants will be soothed with a candy pacifier.

We’ll entertain you and shan’t detain you . . . long. You’ll have time to stroll through the book fair and check out at the many reader-friendly stations lining the halls of the energy center. Hope to see you there!

Writing & Getting Published

Hink Pink Answers

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Michael Griffith: Congratulations to our puzzle contest winners, Stephanie La Francofille (with help from C.) and Vivian D., both of whom have earned either a year’s subscription to CR or a year’s extension. And thanks to all of you who tackled these tricky puzzles (and, again, to Dylan Hicks and Paris Review for their trailblazing and support). I’m honing and winnowing another batch to appear in our Fall/Winter issue. Look out, too, for new puzzle features—likely an acrostic and a another crossword—this fall.

answer key

  • What the Vienna Secession painter did to his GTO for the auto show (hink pink): Klimt pimped.
  • New NFL instant replay tool sponsored by a pioneering hip-hop label (hinky pinky): Def Jam ref cam.
  • Featured instrument in alt-country band The Beheaded Queen (hinkily pinkily): Anne Boleyn’s mandolin.
  • Internet discussion board for boosters of an ex-Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate (hinkily pinkily): Santorum fan forum.
  • Puzzlemaster is cruising for a lawsuit by wearing those wee denims (hinky pinky—all rhyme): Shortz courts jorts torts.
  • Yale deconstructionist, pony up what you owe to the self-deprecating comedienne! (hinklediddledoo pinklediddledoo): J. Hillis Miller, pay Phyllis Diller!
  • What golfer Michelle insisted on before she married legendary basketball coach Adolph (hinky pinky): Wie/Rupp prenup.
  • Periods of time Assange’s group devoted to divulging web secrets of ex-Monkee Dolenz (hinkily pinkily): Wikileaks’ Mickey weeks.
  • “Friends in Low Places” singer’s metafiction collection (hinky pinky): Garth Brooks’ Barth books.
  • The Man in Black’s soiree for a Greek elevator-music star (hinkily pinkily): Johnny Cash’s Yanni bash.
  • Porous yellow guy’s stint in ‘90s Seattle music (hinky dinky): Spongebob’s grunge job.
  • Wearer of a multicolored belled cap embroidered with an A (hinky pinky): Jester Hester.
  • Postgame Nawlins-style sandwich in Mudville (hinky pinky): No-joy poboy.
  • Poultry Viagra (hinky pinky): Rooster booster.
  • ‘90s sitcom namesake’s Vulcan-style telepathic linking with Tinkerbell (hinklediddle pinklediddle): Jerry Seinfeld’s fairy mind-meld.
  • Part of a cartoon shark’s contract that requires the studio to have soured unpasteurized milk on hand? (hinkily pinkily): Jabberjaws’ clabber clause.
  • Even on his ambulance stretcher, hipster Sanders diehard has Americanos lined up (hinkily pinkily): Bernie bro’s gurney joes.
  • Red-haired obstacle-course competitor, in Boston (hinky pinky): Gingeh ninja.
  • Nubbly bedspread of a 1970s songstress who was the former Mrs. Dragon (hinky pinky): Tennille chenille.
  • Calvin Broadus’ chowder hard-sell (hinky pinky): Snoop Dogg’s soup flog.
  • Basso-voiced villain: “Wayne’s World co-host, adieu!” (hinkily pinkily): Darth Vader: Garth, later!
  • Sharpshooting LA Clipper, first-aid provider to those injured by a current fad dance (hinklediddle pinklediddle): J. Redick, nene medic.
  • Nora Charles, dump that Gentile! (hinkily pinkily): Myrna Loy, spurn a goy!
  • Herb from WKRP haz buttery pizzeria treats (hinkily pinkily): Tarlek gots garlic knots.
  • Superman nemesis who’s paranoid that we’ve all been lied to—LIED TO!—about the birds and the bees (hinkily pinkily): Lex Luthor, sex truther.
  • Onetime prop comedian, now policing European polecats (hinkily pinkily): Carrot Top, ferret cop.
  • Revolutionary leader since 1959 errs in opening a gourmet bar & grill (hinkily pinkily): Castro flubs gastropub
  • Trail mix at sci-fi speed  (hink pink): Warp gorp.
  • Elegant appeal a harem-pants-wearing rapper derives from his fermented Korean side dish (hinklediddle pinklediddle): MC Hammer’s kimchee glamour.
  • “Why did the chicken have sex with the road?”, e.g. (hinky pinky): Diddle riddle.
  • Glass receptacle, located in a Tanzanian archipelago, for money to help a former Who’s the Boss? star now down on his luck (hinkily pinkily): Zanzibar Danza jar
  • NBA’s first great center, on a mountain ramble, snaps photos of mosslike composites with his expensive Japanese camera (hinklediddle pinklediddle—all rhyme): Hikin’ Mikan lichen Nikon (sorry!)
  • Place to which the viewer’s eye is drawn in a painting of a rustic honky-tonk (hinkily pinkily): Yokel joint focal point
  • Colombian pop star’s exodus from Mecca (hinkily pinkily): Shakira hegira.
  • “OK, I’m givin’ up. No more saying ‘nevermore.’” (hinky pinky): Cavin’ raven.
  • Mayberry-born Marine’s designer-knockoff glass tube for a Magus’s resin (hinkily pinkily): Gomer Pyle’s faux myrrh vial.
  • Widespread terror about a communist plot to make us all look as though we’ve just risen from naps (hinky pinky): Bed-hair Red Scare
  • Foxy Brown’s canned-meat phobia (hinky pinky): Pam Grier’s Spam fear.
  • Infamous dognapper’s measles-infected Caddy (hinklediddledoo pinklediddledoo): Cruella DeVil’s rubella Seville.
  • Sorry, duplicate here! Replacement was “Recently expired dictator has possession of onetime Red Sox skip’s Viagra” (hinkily pinkily): Kim Jong Il’s Zim dong pills.
  • Umlaut-happy rock-band frontman’s criminally good bargain on multicolored fabric (hinky pinky): Vince Neil’s chintz steal.
  • Second duplicate. Replacement was “Poker-faced bourbon distiller’s posts about a meat snack have gone viral (hinkily pinkily)”: Grim Jim Beam’s Slim Jim meme.
  • The Human Highlight Film is looking for fanatical devotees of the Wonder Twins’ monkey (hinky pinky): Nique seeks Gleek freaks [or “geeks”]
  • What to say to a budding wizard fencing with Gabe Kaplan (hinklediddle pinklediddle): Harry Potter, parry Kotter!
  • Penny-ante philippic from Ace Frehley or Peter Criss (hinky pinky): Pissant K*i*s*s rant.
  • Moment of maximum shame for a fooled ice defenseman (hink pink): Peak deke.
  • An Austrian logician goes bad in the fridge (hinky pinky): Gödel curdle.
  • Archie Leach’s wedding trousers (hinkily pinkily): Cary Grant’s marry pants.
  • Exercise monitor exclusively for poststructuralists or their ilk (hinky pinky): Lit-crit Fitbit
  • White House scandal: President’s sham South American camelid (hinkily pinkily): Obama’s faux llama.
  • Murray/Merrill portrayer mildly criticizes instances of Jewish prayer (hinkily pinkily): Gavin dings davenings.
  • Von Richthofen, cuttin’ back on his daily pills (hinkily pinkily): Red Baron, med parin’.
  • Group of trucks hauling 007’s ornamental fish (hinky pinky): Bond koi convoy.
  • Part of Lady Spencer’s tennis outfit, that time at the Kennedy compound (hinklediddle pinklediddle): Diana’s skort, Hyannisport
  • S&M equipment purchasable, in spotted-horse pattern, at 30,000 feet (hinkily pinkily—slight cheat in the rhyme): Skymall mag piebald gag.
  • Result of HMS Beagle naturalist’s high bid on a Bundren child’s flivver (hinkily pinkily): Charles Darwin’s Darl car win.
  • A certain Stalag commander’s springtime sexual idiosyncrasy (hinkily pinkily): Colonel Klink’s vernal kink.
  • Lord Greystoke, forbid custard tarts! (hinky dinky): Tarzan, bar flan!
  • Ornithologist has snared an icon of 1970s cool (hinkily pinkily): Audubon’s caught a Fonz.
  • Result of bowdlerizing a famed NYC street photographer’s work to make it safe for children (hinky pinky, all rhyme): PG Weegee.

And a bonus hyper-ridiculous one, this time a hinklediddledoodle dinklediddledoodle: Famed “Omaha”-shouter ties the knot at a bronzing salon in the Wright Brothers’ hometown, in a ceremony that takes place during a publicity stunt modeled on the one made famous by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. (Hint: Use the person’s full name.)



Art Song Video Premiere!

Friday, May 20th, 2016
David Clay Mettens and Mary Kaiser

David Clay Mettens and Mary Kaiser

Don Bogen: With its score for alto flute, bass clarinet, viola, cello, piano, percussion, and soprano, David Clay Mettens’s setting of Mary Kaiser’s “He Dreams a Mother” in our Summer 2016 issue (just released) is one of the most intricate and haunting pieces in our series of art songs. It’s also the first for which we have a video of the premiere. “Hypnotic” is a word the composer uses several times in the score, and it certainly fits what happened on stage this past April. To watch, click here.

Be sure to check out the subtle performance by All of the Above, with soprano Jilian McGreen and all those varied instruments bringing out the calm yet deeply strange vision in Mary’s poem. The ending is particularly striking. Thanks and congratulations go to the composer, the poet, and the ensemble.

The poem and full score are in the issue.  You can find the other four settings we’ve commissioned to date in the art-song category of the blog.


Art Song Live Performance!

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

motherOur art song feature for the spring issue is an extended score of Mary Kaiser’s poem “He Dreams a Mother” by composer David Clay Mettens. We will, of course, post a recording of the score when our spring issue comes out in May—but we’re excited to offer locals the opportunity for a live listening experience. Mettens’s ensemble All of the Above will perform on Thursday, April 28, at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission will be free. For more information, visit We’ll shoot those interested a reminder as the date draws nigh, but mark your calendars!


Frameable Art for AWP!

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

We’ve been working on something special for this year’s AWP conference and book fair in LA. At our request, printmaker and author of the award-winning The Clown Genocide: A Novel in Woodcuts  Billy Simms has created a set of woodblock relief prints to offer new subscribers during the book fair. Modeled after pages in a child’s primer, each print presents a different literary term: A for Allegory, R for Reversal, T for Tone, and S for Symbol. While each print stands alone, when taken together they form the word ARTS (or STAR or TARS or RATS, per your preference). Each also incorporates various symbols that operate in sets of four: the elements, the directions, etc. Printed on heavy paper with hand-torn edges, these 10″ x 10″ works are easily frameable. Subscribers who sign on for two years ($28.00) get to select two; three-year subscribers ($39.00) take home all four. Visit our book fair table (#1141) to see the prints in person and, of course, to say hi!

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Art Song Recording: “The body remembers . . .”

Thursday, September 10th, 2015


Composer and poet Kevin Simmonds has provided us with a recording of his setting of C. Dylan Bassett’s poem “The body remembers . . .”. The score is featured in our current issue. As poetry editor Don Bogen writes in his introduction to the piece: “Music, like poetry, doesn’t belong to just the eyes. Both arts find life also in the ears and in the breath—the body remembers, indeed.”

CR Sampler

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

samplerHey, everybody. The term starts next week, the winter issue is with the typesetter, and we’re already back to considering and reading submissions for our upcoming spring 2016 number. Actually we never stopped. It has taken us all summer to . . . almost . . . catch up. (Only thirty more to go from last term!)

For those unfamiliar with the journal, we urge you to give us a read before submitting. Sample back issues are seven bucks. There’s no fee to submit to CR, but our system prevents you from submitting another piece (or packet) before you’ve heard from us on the last one you sent. With a response time of (usually) three or four months, that means you’ll only get a couple of shots at it in a given reading period. In other words, choose carefully. In other, other words, send us your best stuff.

For a few samples of material that has been published in our pages—and commented upon by our staff and contributors—check out our blog:


The latter story, a marvelous piece by Tom Paine, is included in his new collection, A Boy’s Book of Nervous Breakdowns, just reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly.

CR and Poetry Daily

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Poetry Daily is once again featuring some of our content. Today’s poem: Benjamin S. Grossberg’s “McGuire’s Twenty-Five Minutes” from our newly released summer number.


Song of “Sefiros”

Monday, July 20th, 2015

At last we can present the recording of our “art song” offering based on Jakob Stein’s poem “Sefiros” (both published in our Winter 2015 issue). Contributor and musician Claudia Monpere offers her informed and sensitive response to playing Ellen Ruth Harrison’s score.

Claudia Monpere: I love the fusion of music and poetry, but I’ve never been involved in a collaboration of the two arts. After reading the winter 2015 issue of The Cincinnati Review, I sit at the piano and play Ellen Ruth Harrison’s score of Jakob Stein’s poem “Sefiros.” Oh, what a haunting and lovely composition of a deeply moving poem. Since the parts for both violin and soprano are in the treble clef, I experiment, playing the soprano part an octave higher, then trying the violin section an octave lower. I experiment further, sometimes singing the words, other times reading them silently as I play.

The key of A minor is perfect for this elegy, and the music enhances the poem’s emotional intensity. Holocaust images of fire, bones, and ash are juxtaposed with private loss. As my left hand plays the frequent sequences of triplets, the keys accumulate waterfalls of grief. There are no full chords in this piece. Instead, there are double-stops which heighten the mournful quality. I play slowly, very slowly—“In every abandoned chamber of names charred limbs & leaves read by black flame”—until the tempo quickens and the music turns discordant: “bone-known and written in skeletal verse.”

Stein’s language is replete with consonance and assonance. Harrison’s score lingers on some words and phrases, intensifying the music in the language. With those searing final images: “black plume, bottomless chasm, blazing gate,” my right hand strikes the high A hard—forte—a tied note holding on, gripping through another waterfall triplet,falling downward while the left hand fades—pianissimo. Then the final double-stop of D and A, a long tie, echoes of loss, eons of loss. Silence.


Interview with Fiction Ed, Michael Griffith

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

TrophyRead an interview with Michael Griffith, conducted by Superstition Review.