Posts Tagged ‘reading period’

Submission Period Closing Soon!!! Special Call for Nonfiction

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Just a quick reminder that our Submission Period will close on March 15th (at 11:59pm, EST – to be technical).

Due to trends discussed recently by our esteemed Senior Associate Editor Matt O’Keefe, we especially welcome literary nonfiction submissions. So if you’ve got a lyric essay, travel narrative about your last trip to Mongolia, flash-style memoir, personal essay told via bullet points, or nonfiction hybrid form, send it our way; we’d love to see it!

Poets and fiction writers, we’d love to see your work too–just don’t miss the deadline . . .

Find your way to your Submission Manager here.


A Sabermetric Note from Your Submission Manager Manager

Friday, 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!

Revising our Reading Period: August 15 to March 15

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Nicola Mason: It’s Trepidation Day here at the mag—the day we designated to make it known that we are (deep breath) shortening our reading period. We’ve gone back and forth. There’s been heated discussion. Fisticuffs, even. Okay, not fisticuffs, but brow furrowing and such. Definitely brow furrowing and one incipient case of TMJ. In other words, we don’t want to do it, but we have to do it. Weirdly, it’s to be fair to all the talented writers submitting—who are waiting longer and longer to hear from us because of the steadily climbing number of quality manuscripts we receive. Each day we get an email from an irritated, perhaps slightly more than irritated, writer whose work has been under consideration for, basically, ever. This most often means that one reader dug it and passed it on to someone else, who dug it and passed it on to someone else (repeat two more times), and it has reached the head eds, who must read it, and maybe even reread it, before deciding if it goes into the upcoming issue. Sad to say (reality rears its pattern-bald pate) we can publish less than 1%  of what we receive.

We most definitely don’t want to speed up the actual process of reading submissions. We don’t want to give anything short shrift. In fact, we rather pride ourselves on supporting that underserved set of writers, the emergers. We are excited, for example, to have discovered John William McConnell’s story “House of Wine,” forthcoming in our fall/winter issue. It’s his first publication, and it’s amazing. We are painfully aware, however, that we are not being kind to hold onto the work—for, basically, ever—of wonderful writers who are trying to take the lit world by the nape and give it a sharp shake. In other words, to be fair to those who submit, we have to restrict the number of submissions we receive. We realize this is something of a catch-22, and that there will be strong feelings and opinions about our long-considered and considerably fraught decision.

Of course, we would love for some beneficent donor to appear before us with a sack of crisp bills so we could a.) work full time, or b.) hire more kick-ass staffers. If you know such a person—if you ARE such a person—we’d be thrilled to hear from you. In the meantime, we are shortening our reading period—with regret—in the hope that we will be more speedily responsive in the future.

I leave you with this delightful passage from the story mentioned above. Thanks, John William McConnell, for sending your stuff our way.

John’s mind jump-started awake. Lilith asleep next to him, snoring. Dim bars of light leaned across the bedroom, beamed through the slats from a disco-ball moon. John immediately understood he would not be sleeping that night, only by the sobriety of his awakeness, its painful edge and the ache behind his eyes.

John frowzed upright and frowzed his brow; he frowzed, then frowzed his eyes and frowzily frowzed out of bed. He really wanted to utter an obscenity but had forgotten them all. He pulled on his pants and shuffled around shirtless in a world of gunmetal blue, and gray, and lurking blacknesses in the corners. Out of the bedroom. Through a blank hall. To a menagerie of couches and furniture that had borrowed from the night a glister of comatose hate. Fuck you, said the couches. On the table was a bottle of wine, number four, and praise the lord: still half full. He poured into a glass and raised it. There was very red lipstick on the rim. Lip, John thought. John glanced around. What the fuck was this? He just wanted to. Yeah, he was gonna do it. John pressed his mouth over the lipstick, her lipstick, cherryblood red. Drank the wine with his mouth precisely over the lipstick and enjoyed the lipid roundness of the stuff adhering to his mouth. The sticky fat. He held the glass and listened. Sometimes there was the shorelike sound of a car spinning around the cul-de-sac, lost in the suburbs, probably, and how the high beams arced like the flash of a lighthouse through the windows. Vase, picture, couch, plant. He drank again, smacked his mouth.

Putting the Period on Our Reading Period

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Nicola Mason: As they say in the auction world when something is about to go, Fair warning! In this case, our Submission Manger is about to go offline  for the usual issue-filling bits of poetry and prose. If you want to shoot us something for consideration, do it this weekend.  The hammer falls on April 15. Please note, however, that we will open up on June 1 for submissions to our contest, The Robert and Adele Schiff Awards. Important info: You can submit and pay the entry fee online AND ONLY ONLINE.

As we’ve mentioned in blog posts past, our reading period has shifted this year for the first time since the mag was born. Wanna know why? Read our apologetic explanation.

I should emphasize that we actually read year round; there are just fewer of us poring over submissions during the summer. If anything, reading is more fun then because there are fewer interruptions, so I can really get in a groove with it, and also because, without a staff to oversee, I can spend time with your stories and poems on my porch swing, in coffee shops, even (oh glory) at the beach. I happily recall the moment, last July, when I first read D. J. Thielke’s “Frantic Hearts,” upcoming in our May issue. I was in the passenger seat of my mother’s car. She had picked me up from the Raleigh airport, and I was getting a bit of reading in during the three-hour ride to my folks’ house on the NC coast. I picked up a new submission—an actual sheaf of paper, not an electronic submission—and encountered these lines:

The funny thing about the mastectomy was that Laine had already lost a part of her left breast, years earlier, to a brown recluse spider bite. While the right remained resiliently healthy and slightly larger, that treacherous left now housed a small collection of tumors, like bright porcelain trinkets shelved in the vaporous gray mammogram images.

“Some luck,” Dr. Kirzinger said after giving her the news. He didn’t specify whether he thought it good or bad.

She knew it wasn’t funny, but the more he talked, the funnier everything seemed: the flyers he forced on her for all-female gyms and one-sided bras. The name of a tattoo parlor with an artist who specialized in fake nipples. The way he casually reached across his desk and patted her breast, like a small, naughty child they were talking about.

I admire “Frantic Hearts” for myriad reasons: the skillful and affecting way Thielke blends the comic and tragic, her gift for metaphor and telling detail, the care with which she explores the nuances of character, and the way she sneakily turns what one initially thinks of as a cancer story into a searching struggle between older mother and adult daughter. “Frantic Hearts” succeeds in presenting not just a fraught situation, but in revealing a complex consciousness thrust into an uncertainty and granted, finally and through harrowing difficulty, a slant sort of grace.