Archive for the ‘Literary News’ Category
Our sincere thanks to those who submitted work to The Cincinnati Review’s summer contest. This year’s field was wildly varied in form and content, and it was difficult to choose from among the many quality entries. In addition to the winning pieces, we have a distinguished list of finalists and honorable mentions, as well as the editors’ comments on the entries and the prize poem and story. Please visit our blog on Monday for more contest content.
Those who participated in the contest will receive a year’s subscription to The Cincinnati Review, beginning with our winter issue, due out in early December, and also including the spring/summer prize issue.
Jaime Brunton for her poem “Chase”
Robert Long Foreman for his story “Awe”
Ondrej Pazdirek: Last week, Mary Szybist returned to UC for her second and final stint as our 2015 Elliston Poet. She left her students at Lewis & Clark College and flew into town on Tuesday, February 24—with the airport crew still clearing off the remnants of a busy snow week—and jumped right back to work with her temporarily adopted students: nine of us in John Drury’s graduate poetry workshop. From what I came to know about Mary, I now assume she was writing comments in the margins of our poetry packets even on the plane. She met with our class on Wednesday, and on Thursday met with each of us individually to discuss our work. She concluded her visit by delivering a second Master Class lecture, titled “Repetition and Resonance,” on Friday evening to a packed Elliston Room.
As the Elliston Poet-in-Residence, Mary was prepared for and fully devoted to her time in Cincinnati. An exceptionally attentive workshop leader, she was willing to consider each poem on its own terms, and on the terms of the writer, in addition to considering what it could be. As a poet, Mary struck me as someone who treasured each word, took a rare, quiet patience with every syllable, a poet serious about poetry, its success. In our January workshop, she quoted Ezra Pound’s alleged remark that it does not matter who writes the great poems; what matters is that they get written.
I believe I can speak on the behalf of my classmates, and perhaps even on behalf of other people who have had the chance to come into contact with Mary Szybist during her (albeit brief) stay, when I say that her two visits in Cincinnati were truly wonderful, and resonated with each one of us.
Mary Szybist is most recently the author of Incarnadine, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. Her first book, Granted, won the 2004 GLCA New Writers Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A native of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, she now lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches at Lewis & Clark College.
We’re thrilled to announce that poets and contributors Jessica Greenbaum (4.2, 6.1); Shara Lessley (6.1, 10.2); and Eliot Khalil Wilson (1.2) have been awarded Creative Writing Fellowships in Poetry from the National Endowment of the Arts. We hoist our glasses, beat our drums, raise the roof, and kick up our collective heels to Jessica, Shara, and Eliot on this much-coveted and well-deserved honor.
Jessica Greenbaum’s first book, Inventing Difficulty (Silverfish Review Press, 1998), won the Gerald Cable Prize. Her second book, The Two Yvonnes (2012), was chosen by Paul Muldoon for Princeton’s Series of Contemporary Poets. She is the poetry editor for upstreet and lives in Brooklyn.
Shara Lessley is a poet and teacher. The author of Two-Headed Nightingale (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2012), she is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Shara’s awards include an Artist Fellowship from the State of North Carolina, the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, an Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship from Colgate University, the Reginald S. Tickner Fellowship from the Gilman School, and a “Discovery” The Nation prize. She is the 2014 Mary Wood Fellow at Washington College.
Eliot Khalil Wilson is the author of The Saint of Letting Small Fish Go (Cleveland State Poetry Press, 2003). He has received a Pushcart Prize, a Bush Foundation Fellowship, the Hill-Kohn Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and the Robert Winner Prize from the Poetry Society of America.
VIDA, the organization that tallies gender inequality in book reviewing and literary journals, has just published their 2013 count, and we’re happy to report that although The Cincinnati Review isn’t perfect, we are relatively gender equal.
The Breakdown: In overall gender balance for 2013, we had 73 pieces by women and 84 pieces by men. Our poetry tally was almost 50/50, with 56 poems by women and 57 poems by men. Our fiction count came in a little less equal with 6 stories by women and 9 stories by men, but for nonfiction we had one essay by a man and 2 by women. For our reviews, we featured mostly female book reviewers (6 to 4), but we reviewed mostly works by men (3 female and 13 male). However, in our 2014 Winter issue, we have an special review feature dedicated to debut short story collections by women (Jamie Quatro, Kate Milliken and Marie-Helene Bertino). Check it out.
The Cincinnati Review believes that VIDA is doing important and necessary work, and we support their mission for gender equality in publishing and reviewing. You can see the infographs here.
More Pushcart Nominations: We both love and hate nominating pieces for the Pushcart Prize. With our allotment of a mere six selections, there are so many excellent stories and poems that we must leave unheralded. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce more Pushcart Prize nominations from the Pushcart contributing editors. They’ve nominated three more poems from CR’s 2013 Winter issue:
Ruth E. Dickey, “In My Wallet”
Regina DiPerna, “Death, Naked”
Alan Feldman, “A Message from My Mother”
Congrats to these worthy poets and thanks to the editors for nominating these marvelous poems.
We’re thrilled that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet C. K. Williams is spending this week in Cincinnati. As the Elliston Poet for the 2013-14 academic year, Williams gave a master class yesterday on “First Drafts, Last Drafts,” illuminating the nuances of his exhaustive revision process. In line with old masters like Horace and Alexander Pope (Horace recommended that poets withhold their work from publication for ten years), Williams equated his practice with the act of being physically beaten—repeatedly—and confessed to spending twenty years on a single piece. As proof, Williams offered several scrawled-on drafts of poems that eventually became “Newark Noir” and “Wall,” both from his most recent collection, Writers Writing Dying (2012). Most striking was the formal recasting Williams performed in each draft, how a meditative lyric like “The Economy Rescued by My Mother Returning to Shop,” for example, began as a brief prose memoir and eventually settled into the sprawling, Whitmanesque lines Williams has become famous for.
Williams will read his poetry at 4:00 this afternoon in the George Elliston Poetry Room, located in Langsam Library 646. This reading is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there.
Our own Brian Brodeur has just learned his chapbook “Local Fauna” won the 2013 Wick Poetry Chapbook Prize judged by Peter Campion and will appear from Kent State University Press next year. Big congrats, Brian!
We just received our lovely copy of contributor Dawn Lonsinger’s Whelm, which won the Idaho Prize for Poetry Prize in 2012 (selected by Nance Van Winckel). Dawn writes that “Whelm is part wildness and part witness, part love song and part lament, an elegy to former times and selves that admits fear of a future where humanity, community and strangeness are lost to manmade systems. It is also an ode to oddity and intricacy. The poems attempt to understand how difficult it is to be a thinking, feeling, speaking being in a largely impenetrable world—both wordless and written over with various conflicting narratives.”
We’ve received some delightful news from contributor Katherine Bode-Lang, who just learned her poetry manuscript “The Reformation” has been awarded the 2014 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. All three of the poems published in our pages are included in the collection, which will be available for purchase in September. The selection was made by Stephen Dunn. Congrats, Katie!
Alice Munro has been named the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. Way back in 2006, The Cincinnati Review featured three reviews of her collection The View from Castle Rock. Did our prescient Managing Editor Nicola Mason call it early for Munro, knowing that a mere seven years later, she would win the big one?
She is claiming “yes.” In fact, she bet on it and has been gloating since yesterday. Assistant Editor Sara Watson bet big on Phillip Roth, and will be forking over part of her UC stipend to buy office pizza every other Friday. Assistant Editor Brian Brodeur thought Haruki Murakami was a shoo-in, and now has to shave his precious New England beard. Associate Editor Brian Trapp thought the day would belong to Bob Dylan, and now has to sing in a whiny, gravelly, late -Bob Dylan voice “Blowin’ in the Wind” whenever Nicola claps twice. If they’d read the reviews in CR 4.1, they would have known: Don’t ever bet against Munro. In her twelfth collection, she mines her own ancestral and personal history to create fiction that spans centuries and comes closest to her own life. Here are brief excerpts of what our astute reviewers had to say:
Dika Lam: Though Alice Munro doesn’t immediately come to mind as a spinner of costume dramas, I believe her work already carries the weight of historical record—born of another era entirely, when it was scandalous for a girl to ride a bike past the age of thirteen, when ladies didn’t smoke, when one had to burn sawdust in the furnace for heat (as the cash-strapped Laidlaws do in “The Ticket”). Though The View from Castle Rock opens and closes with images of graveyards, it is far from moribund, reminding us that fiction, no matter how closely aligned to real life, is as compelling as anything promoted with the authority of memoir.
Scott Kaukonen: Perhaps the writing of such stories is an attempt to validate that family history, that personal history, but writing it as fiction, gives us—as writers, as storytellers—the freedom to reach for something more. We seek significance, meaning, understanding—of those early settlers, of our fathers and mothers, of ourselves—and it is in stories that we work this out. It’s a refusal to leave the stories untold, the lives unacknowledged, as though those lives—our lives—had nothing to tell us.
William Pierce: But this hypothetical revue, this story-by-story lineup, would eventually reach the second half of the book. And there I’d drop to my knees. The stories of part two—those germinating from details of Munro’s life—show a major figure of world literature at work. They stand among the best Munro has written, and to comment on them, to point out a few of their strengths and shocks and techniques, feels like standing by the ocean and attempting to describe why the water calls to us and how the waves curl. They spark the writer in me, wow the editor, and shrink the critic to a healthy irrelevance—all without depressing me in the least, though they balk at nothing.