Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Visit from Sandra Cisneros

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

cisnerosOur new literary nonfiction editor, Kristen Iversen, is thrilled to welcome Sandra Cisneros to UC for a Q & A and public reading on Wednesday, September 28.

For those with blinders on and earplugs in, Cisneros just won the prestigious PEN Center 2016 Literary Award for her latest book, A House of My Own: Stories from My Life.  (She was asked to be in New York to accept this award on September 28, but recorded a video acceptance so she can be here in Cincinnati that evening.) And if that’s not enough to entice locals and others within driving distance to our humble (actually, it’s quite nice) campus on a Wednesday afternoon and evening, we’ll mention that this popular and critically acclaimed author has just been awarded the National Medal of Arts. President Obama will present this award to Cisneros on September 22. She will join us just a few days later!

Details for the events on September 28 are as follows.

2-3 PM: Q & A with students and faculty, Tangeman University Center 400A

7 PM:  Public reading, Tangeman University Center 220 (Main Street Cinema)




microreview/interview: A. Molotkov’s The Catalog of Broken Things

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by José Angel Araguz


In my reading of The Catalog of Broken Things (Airlie Press, 2016) by poet and 13.1 contributor A. Molotkov, I found a thematic thread made up of moments within longer lyric sequences where the given speaker of a poem gestures toward a spirit of assessing the nature of “broken things.”

We dive right into the catalog, so to speak, with the poems in the first sequence, “The Catalog of Broken Things,” which approach family narratives with a surrealistic sensibility. The opening poem begins:

I let my dead mother in.
She’s lonely out there on her own.
Her ears are seashells
empty of sea.

Reading these lines, I get a sense of a poetry that feels out the world through images. This aesthetic creates a reading experience where the reader is carried into the meaning-making process through sensation as much as language. The following section is another example of this sensibility at work:


My aunt, a shadow without a landing.
In her chest, small
streams fight for the chance to be
called river.
I list her in my catalog under tumors.
She deserves more attention.
We all do, we keep
telling the moon,
but it’s dead. It doesn’t listen.

I listen.

The concept of a catalog implies a sense of order and control; what is being wrestled with here is the lack of both. By proceeding to pit themselves against the image of the moon, who is seen as “dead” and unable to listen, the speaker, and, in a way, the poem, are in the role of providing “more attention.” This is a gesture not of repair but of acknowledgement. Life cannot be controlled and ordered beyond our personal understanding, our “listening.”

This acknowledging/cataloging voice appears again in the later sequence, “The Melting Hourglass.” In this sequence, the reader is presented with the story of Zungvilda and Goombeldt as narrated by a disembodied speaker. This speaker alternates from sounding like a family member, complete with shared memories, to sounding like the voice of the hourglass of the sequence’s title. This variation in voice and narration add to the reading experience; one gets a sensation of the lyrical line as live wire. The following section of the sequence presents the kind of torque available through this imaginative conceit:

Zungvilda shares her thoughts
I have no choice but to listen
after all she lives inside my head

she asks why men are so difficult
don’t generalize I say
but she can’t hear me in there

I’m afraid it’s a monologue
I’m afraid it always is

she wonders why every day seems to start
with wild yanking and smoke
like an old lawn mower
she muses about the interchangeable
questions and answers

she suspects that the new crater
that just formed on the moon
might be her early grave
she remembers the time

when she was a girl
lost in the forest

I remember it too
even though I was
too young to remember

The narrative turns developed in the speaker’s mediation here provide a fruitful disorientation in that the reader has to follow the lyric sense of the line as it develops. In the first two stanzas, the speaker is shown to be privy to Zungvilda’s thoughts while also being at a remove; this tension of intimacy and distance is paralleled in the last two stanzas where one of Zungvilda’s memories begins to take shape, but is quickly turned away from by the speaker.

These two moments are variations of the “broken things” theme of the book. When the speaker states “I’m afraid it’s a monologue / I’m afraid it always is,” a moment rich in metanarrative and self-awareness occurs; the “monologue” here is not only a metaphor for time and existence, but also poetry. In the same way that poetry is able to provide “attention” in the poem discussed above, poetry here is seen as able to acknowledge its limits and “broken” nature. Seen this way, the title of this collection becomes its own mission, writing as a way to catalog the broken things around us.



amolotkov2J: Were there any challenges in writing these poems, and  if so how did you work through them?

A. M. : The challenges of balance. Once I commit to a longer work, the next question becomes: is it going to be five pages, or fifty? Working with recurring themes and motifs, it’s tempting to keep going. How to choose the length that keeps the tension, helps me avoid repeating myself, and allows for a substantial investigation? Once I settle on an approximate length and write my selections, their order becomes both an opportunity and a challenge. Ultimately, any poem could have emerged in many different ways, but happens to be the way it is, not optimal in any objective sense, but a compromise between intention and the infinity of possibilities. If we consider the many points of view and tastes the readers will bring, it’s easy to see that each word shivers with fear and anticipation for the unlikely connection it may fail to make.

My tendency in poetry is to push the text outside my own comfort zone. Often, I end up distanced from the capability to evaluate my own poems. I am in three writers’ groups in order to compensate for my myopia and my personal obsessions. Almost thirty people had their eyes on some or all of the poems in The Catalog and provided a wide variety of suggestions. I’m indebted to them for breathing their reality into my work.


The Catalog of Broken Things is available for pre-order from Airlie Press.

Special thanks to A. Molotkov for participating! Check out his poem “Obituary” in issue 13.1.

Find out more about his work at his website.

A Very Angry Baby

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

devilbabyOnly a little over a month left to submit your Very Angry Baby material for our new press’s themed anthology. We’re pretty much full for fiction but still seeking poetry and hybrid forms. Remember: the baby need not be young, need not be small, need not be human. It does need to be angry. VERY. Contributors thus far include Julianna Baggott, Allison Campbell, Brock Clarke, Andrew Hudgins, Margaret Luongo, Erin McGraw, Jamie Quatro, Josh Russell, Changming Yuan, and more. Deadline for submissions (through our Submission Manager—Very Angry Baby category) is the end of October. Send us your brawling bundles, your seething teethers, your diapered devils, your newborns gone nuclear. We can handle it . . . we hope.

Coming Soon . . . v13n2

Thursday, September 8th, 2016


A sneak peek at our Winter 2017 cover (featuring mixed-media art by Leni Newell). The issue is due out this November!

You Know What We Did Last Summer

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Juan Felipe Herrera at a CantoMundo reading in Austin.

Proofs for our winter number are due tomorrow, so we must consider ourselves officially immersed in the new term, caught in the craw of the here and now. No more riding on summer’s shimmering coattails, no more lingering (and especially no malingering) in the liminal . . . Well, maybe just one more itty bitty glance back before the plunge into autumn, or into pre-autumn, or into whatever September presages.

How We Spent Our Summers

José Angel Araguz: Along with teaching this summer, I released my new chapbook, The Divorce Suite, published by Red Bird Chapbooks. I also attended this year’s CantoMundo conference, where I got to participate in readings and workshops led by US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and Texas State Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla.

James Ellenberger: I hung out at my family’s house in western Pennsylvania, began reading for my exams (animal-based mysticism and LGBT canon), and wrote a fair number of poems, some in the voice of a war-forged bard from a Dungeon and Dragons campaign I participated in. I also saw a lot of neat bugs, including dragonfly nymphs and a few gorgeous polyphemus moths, and got more ticks than I wanted to.


James hanging with his moth friend.

Gwen E. Kirby: I spent the summer in Sewanee, working for the Young Writers’ and Writers’ conferences. I also visited my husband in Maryland, where he works while I study at UC.

Nicola Mason: I relocated to the coast of North Carolina for a couple of months, where I put together the winter issue of CR and began excitedly reading submissions for the Very Angry Baby anthology (soon to be published by our budding press, Acre Books). Included: a monster baby created by Marie Curie in her lab, a baby that hatches from an apple, a baby in the form of an elderly man, and a baby who’s the result of a rape. Amazing work!

Matt O’Keefe: I went to England, where I drank a pint in Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, a London pub patronized by Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and (allegedly) Dr. Johnson, and also stood on the moors near the Brontë Parsonage and screamed my wife’s name—to get her and our children to stop walking in the wrong direction.

Submissions: The Rising Tide

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

keep-calm-and-all-hands-on-deck-3We’re back in action here at the office. Actually, we’ve been back since Monday, but this is the first chance we’ve had to say hey. Our reading period began August 15, and already we’ve received upwards of 600 submissions. We’ve been reading like mad—not to mention welcoming a new slew of volunteers and showing two new staffers the ropes. Yep, Assistant Editors James Ellenberger and Gwen Kirby are on the job . . . and the amazing José Angel Araguz returns as Associate Editor. Rounding out the office staff,  we have Nicola Mason and Matt O’Keefe (Managing Ed and Senior Associate Ed, respectively). Poetry and Fiction Eds Don Bogen and Michael Griffith are, of course, old hands—but we have an exciting new addition to our team in the delightful form of Kristen Iversen, who now selects all our literary nonfiction. Her first issue is our Fall/Winter number, due out in November. We’ll get back to our regular blogging schedule soon, but for now . . . we gotta tackle a few more submissions. Keep ’em coming, writer types, and thanks for sending us the good stuff!

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.)



Schiff Awards: A Few Days Left to Enter!

Monday, July 11th, 2016

clockFor just one more week, The Cincinnati Review will be accepting entries for the 2016 Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose. One poem and one prose piece (fiction or creative nonfiction) will be chosen for publication in our 2017 prize issue, and the two winners will each receive $1,000.The entry fee of $20 includes a year-long subscription (two issues), and submissions will be accepted until 11:59 PM EST on July 15. All entries will be considered for publication. Please submit up to 8 pages of poetry or one story/essay of up to 40 pages per entry. All entries should be submitted through our online submission manager. For complete contest guidelines, please visit

Schiff Awards: Open for Your Best Lit Business!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

It’s that time again! We are officially accepting entries for our summer contest—the Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose. The purse is a cool grand for each winning piece. AND in honor of her namesake, Adele has agreed to sing at our celebratory backyard BBQ for the winners. (Not really, but you knew that, right?) For details, click here. Don’t forget to check out the winning poem and story from last year’s contest—written by Jaime Brunton and Robert Long Foreman—featured in our current issue!

Spring/Summer Issue Has Shipped!

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

13.1 is here! We just shipped the last, lovely issue, so if you’re a subscriber, expect . . . the expected. Hope you enjoy the wonderful work therein by the likes of Steven Sherrill, Cary Holladay, Dan Bellm, Barbara Hamby, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Beth Ann Fennelly, Brock Clarke, and other literary, er, leviathans? No. Lemurs? No. Llamas? Yes! Many more literary llamas. Not to mention the winners of (in poetry and prose) of the Robert and Adele Schiff Awards—Jaime Brunton and Robert Long Foreman. Have fun, readers!

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