A Sabermetric Note from Your Submission Manager Manager

March 3rd, 2017


As we ease into March (and Spring Training), we find ourselves in the final stretch of our reading period, which ends March 15th. Here’s Senior Associate Editor Matt O’Keefe offering up some play-by-play on submissions patterns he’s noticed over the years.

Matt O’Keefe: Six to three to one. What is that? A somewhat decisive community council vote? One of your rarer and more exciting double plays (shortstop to first base to pitcher)? The outcome of consecutive games of HORSE (or a single game of HORSEHORSE) between three players, one of whom is significantly better/luckier than the others? Sure, could be. But at The Cincinnati Review, and maybe lit mags the world over [It would be interesting to know–Ed.], it is also a ratio that persists with the force of natural law: for every ten submissions we get, six are fiction, three are poetry, and one is nonfiction.

Of course, like nearly everything one says or writes, this is not literally true. Sometimes in my Submission Manager queue I see things like twelve stories in a row, or combinations that go fiction-poetry-fiction-poetry-nonfiction-nonfiction-fiction-poetry-poetry-fiction, and there was that one day when the next five submissions were all nonfiction, and I just had to get up from my chair, smiling inwardly, and walk around a little. But over time, and usually not much time, a couple weeks at most, nature reasserts itself and leaves us with that classic 6-3-1 distribution. I guess it’s just the frequency with which you guys write the stuff [It would be interesting to know–Ed.]!

Be sure to get your submissions in by March 15th!

More Pushcart Nominations!!!

March 1st, 2017

2016_cover_bigWe 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, this time stemming from the Pushcart contributing editors’ choices. They’ve nominated six more additional pieces from our recent issues: two poems and four stories.

from issue 12.2 (Winter 2016)
fiction: Wendy Rawlings, “Restraint” & Josh Russell, “Our Boys”

from issue 13.1 (Summer 2016)
poetry: Andrea Cohen “Happiness” & “Tip”
fiction: Robert Long Foreman, “Awe” & Steven Sherrill “excerpt from The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time

Congrats to these worthy writers, and thanks to the editors for nominating these marvelous pieces!

March 1st, 2017

Ever wonder what our staff reads when they’re not reading your submissions or reading for exams or reading for academic papers they’re writing? Assistant Editor Gwen Kirby gives voice to one of her favorite pieces of flash fiction in this episode of Staff Picks.


Good News for Some Former CR Staff

February 27th, 2017

As we work here at CR to scrub, tighten, and clean our accepted submissions into another carefully copy edited issue ready to send to the typesetter, it’s always nice to hear good news about the accomplishments of those who have served us as editors and readers in the past.

Matt McBride, an assocMcBride-Picture-300x300iate editor from 2010-2012, will be publishing his first full-length book of poems, Polis, through Black Lawrence Press. Visit this link to read two poems (City of Motels and City of the Vulnerable) from the manuscript.



Christopher Collinchristopher-collinss served as a volunteer for the journal in fall 2016. His first full-length poetry collection, My American Night, has won the Georgia Poetry Prize and will be published by the University of Georgia Press in early 2018. This year’s judge, David Bottoms, said this about Christopher’s poems: “Seldom have I ever read such a brutally honest depiction of warfare.”



Congratulations again to Matt and Christopher! We can’t wait to read these wonderful books!

A Peek at Acre’s Premiere Publication

February 24th, 2017

At Acre Books, we’re working through the proofs of our first publication, A Very Angry Baby: The Anthology. Here’s a peek at some of the wailing within its pages.



Interviews: Poets of Instagram part 1

February 22nd, 2017

by José Angel Araguz

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share interviews with #poetsofinstagram, that is, poets who have chosen the social media site Instagram as the forum to share their work. Interviews range from poets who work with erasure/blackout poetry and found poems, to poets who combine their own artwork with their text. These interviews will focus on the writing itself as well as the sense of community to be found among poets on social media.

nomadic 3For this first interview, @nomadic_words shares with us a few poems as well as insights into craft and style of her poetry on Instagram. I was drawn to the work of nomadic_words for its lyrical play. Each poem works on the level of its own inner logic, building with the same engines as aphorisms and proverbs. Beyond wordplay, these lyrics seek to establish a sense of emotion in a brief space.

José: Can you tell us a little bit about your introduction to poetry and the journey to where you are today?

nomadic_words: My introduction to poetry was, unsurprisingly, in the classroom. I enjoyed my creative writing English lessons more than others as it was an hour every other week I could sit and express myself more at school. I wrote my first real poem for a national poetry competition that was being advertised around school with the theme of journeys. It wasn’t really something I took seriously, but thought I’d try it and that afternoon sat on my aunt’s doorsteps writing out a poem inspired by Joseph Turner’s “Steam-boat off a Harbour’s mouth.” I didn’t win, but I put a lot of where I am now down to that day where I thought I’d try my hand at something new. My poetry has undergone a fair transformation since then, but if I’m publishing a poetry book this year I know exactly how it started and for that I’m grateful.

José: When did you get started with your Instagram account?

nomadic_words: I actually only started it in September! I’ve been accumulating poems properly over the past two years, writing pieces—or sometimes pieces of pieces—and only really started venturing onto social media with it around a year ago. Whatever your creative passion, it’s nerve-racking to go public, so I would occasionally drop poems on my personal Instagram as a way of dipping my toe into the water. After a few months I felt it was time to give my work more identity and made nomadic_words and now here we are.

José: Who or what influences you?

nomadic_words: My journey through life influences me and I find I’m writing the most when things aren’t so easy; when life makes you rethink the assumptions and ideas you have about people, yourself, love, and the world. It’s kind of a strange comfort, finding something good in the bad and it’s my way of documenting my thoughts and feelings as and when they come. Reflecting on these experiences is what makes you grow, I just do it through writing and it really makes it worthwhile when someone you’ve never met before reads it and identifies with the feeling.

José: In three words, how would you describe your poetry?

nomadic_words: Quiet. Personal. Me.

José: What ideas of craft do you find yourself working with, both in terms of linguistic expression and visual presentation?

nomadic_words: I tend to keep my vocabulary and structure fairly simple; these are my thoughts and most of the time I jot them down in the notes on my phone before the phrase fails me. From there, if necessary, I can flesh it out into its final form. If I have to keep coming back to a poem I usually abandon it because I think it speaks for something about the power of the message. I like to use a lot of enjambment as this can be used to create a play on words or change the path of the poem. Sometimes we rush through things and end up missing the detail between the lines and I love subtleties, it’s fairly metaphorical of life, I feel.

José: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of writing for Instagram? What do you find most positive about it?

nomadic_words: The uncertainty of not knowing whether what you’re about to post is going to be understood or received by people was the biggest for me, but I think as a result of this there’s definitely a tendency across Instagram writing to write what you think people want to read or feel, but most of the time I find it’s glaringly obvious when the poem has been put together for a general audience looking to identify with any quote. There is a lot being said about a little and sometimes nothing at all, which is a real shame to see. However, Instagram is great for bringing poets together, just check out one of the many hashtags such as #poetsofinstagram and you have a whole feed of people putting out their work which is lovely. From there, people who would’ve never discovered your work sometimes stumble across poems which put into words everything they wish they could say or reflections they didn’t even realize were worthy of recognition. You sometimes get messages from people on the other side of the world telling you your work made them feel some type of way and there are really no words to describe that feeling, it’s ineffable.

José: What advice do you have for anyone interested in writing poetry (for Instagram or in general)?

nomadic_words: This is your work, a product of everything that has made you you, so take pride in it, take your time, be honest with yourself, and never, ever, adulterate your voice because you don’t think it’s powerful enough to be heard by someone else out there. Somebody else speaks your language and they may need to hear what you have to say. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read as much poetry as I would’ve liked to, but inspiration comes from everywhere—my first poem was inspired by a painting, my second, a dream, my third, a daydream . . . you get the picture. Find what inspires you and be open-minded to what that may be; you might just tap into something totally new. Finally, I cannot stress the importance of making sure you write down anything that crosses your mind and makes you wonder; I’ve sometimes found odd phrases and sentences I’ve jotted down complement each other perfectly. So don’t be afraid to be messy behind the scenes!

José: What are you future plans in terms of writing projects?

nomadic_words: I’m very excited to be publishing my debut book this year! It’s at the editing stage and it feels right to do it now. It’s a big milestone for me and something I want to share with the world as other peoples’ work has inspired and helped me through tougher times. Stay tuned!


Follow @nomadic_words to keep to up to date with her work.

Also, be sure to check out José’s current Instagram poetry project, @poetryamano, which focuses on handwritten poems.

The Second C of Good Copyediting: Consistency

February 20th, 2017

Another episode in our YouTube series on the Five C’s of Good Copyediting. Nicola Mason discusses the second C: Consistency

Staff Picks: Favorite Poems and Prose Passages

February 16th, 2017

We’ve begun asking CR staff and volunteers to read their favorite poems and passages of prose. Exciting stuff. First up, here’s Assistant Editor James Ellenberger reading Paul Celan’s “So Many Constellations.”

Going Down the Rabbit Hole in Issue 13.2

February 16th, 2017

alice in wonderThese days it’s easier to fall down the rabbit hole than ever. To see an interesting morsel of information, and grabbing it, is like a kind of reverse fishing; we put the lure into our mouths, bite down, and get yanked into the binaric seas of the information age. Once we see information that we’re interested in, it’s easy to lose track of time completely, remembering little of it but the search, and waking with more in our heads but not necessarily more to say. Here are a few authors from 13.2 that fell down the rabbit hole, sure, but invented some marvelous little songs along the way.

Leslie Miller on “Cutaneous Rabbit Illusion”: I have long been fascinated by the way science names things, and though contemporary scientists themselves seldom have the luxury of expanding the metaphors they reach for, poets do have that luxury, even that obligation. When I read about the “Cutaneous Rabbit Illusion,” a tactile illusion wherein a few successive taps on one’s forearm produce the illusion of additional taps “hopping” up the arm after actual touch stops, I found the rabbit vehicle fascinating and wanted to explore additional dimensions of the rabbit metaphor: for example, the fact that rabbits are vulnerable, easy prey, and the fact that we sometimes involuntarily remember or imagine touch when we’ve lost access to a loved one. Ultimately, loss, and even the possibility of it, makes easy prey of us all.

Jennifer Moore on “Skeleton Clock”: Last summer I spent a month in rural Wyoming where I was able to work on a new manuscript of poems. My interests and research were pretty divergent while I was there. One week I studied local birdsong; another, I pored over poems by Zen monks in China. Then my obsession turned toward skeleton clocks—watches or timepieces which expose the intricate mechanisms that guide their design and operation. I found so many examples—antique, classical, Victorian, contemporary—exquisitely designed, meticulously crafted. The more research I did, the more I fell in love with the idea of making clear the inner workings of any kind of art. In that sense, the poem’s a bit of an ars poetica.

AWP, We Hardly Knew You!

February 14th, 2017

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Cincinnati Review booth at this year’s AWP! The conference passed in a blur of old friends, new faces, and wonderful conversations. We also got to meet some of our contributors, including Aaron Coleman, whose poem “Very Many Hands” won this year’s Seventh Annual Robert and Adele Schiff Award in Poetry and will appear in issue 14.1.


Aaron Coleman is ready for his close-up!