Author: Cincinnati Review

miCRo: Doris Cheng’s “Earthling”

[Editors’ note: The miCRo feature will take a month-long hiatus, with the exception of a special New Year’s Day poem. Thank you for your support in 2017; see you in 2018!]   Managing Editor Lisa Ampleman: As we told her when we accepted “Earthling,” Doris Cheng clearly trusts her readers as she weaves her flash fiction pieces. In this one, she invokes the pop-culture nonpareil E.T. at the perfect time—so that it grounds us but does not overpower the narrative—and finds just the right figure (taffy, an airport runway, fish scales) to inject the ornate and beautiful into the story....

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“Scones: A Recipe,” from Siân Griffiths

    In our current issue, we feature a story by Siân Griffiths, “Wooden Spoons,” which describes a man watching his estranged daughter on a cooking competition. Today, to accompany the story, we offer you Griffiths’s “Scones: A Recipe,” just in time for baking for Saint Lucia’s Day or your next holiday party. Enjoy!     “Scones: A Recipe” Your British father tells you that traditional scones are made with currant, and the recipes you look up one after another agree, but you’ll dismiss this idea because you’re American, and though tradition may have gotten you as far as...

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excerpt from “Wooden Spoons,” by Siân Griffiths

Leonard hadn’t seen his only child since the night ten years ago when he pulled her out of a flaming car. His wife had been dead for a week and he’d been tired for years, but as Leonard pulled Leslie from the fire, he felt strong. He could barely remember that feeling now, any more than he could recall whether the car was a Ford or a Toyota or some other make. Leslie never forgave him for saving her life. She snuck out that night and disappeared, and now Leonard knew Leslie was alive only because of the postcards she sent. The last, postmarked Seattle, said just will be on tv. mixing it up. thursday the 14th 8pm. Mixing It Up. Leslie and Dee’s program, now in its seventeenth season of baking showdowns. It seemed wrong and incredible that the show continued without his wife, the dramatic violin and bass drum thundering on even though the television’s light no longer played across the vacant screen of Dee’s face. Leslie hadn’t written “love” or “yours.” She hadn’t signed her name. The picture showed the Space Needle at sunset. He would have preferred something less sharp. Pike Place or the Sound. —No, he corrected himself. No, he wanted exactly what she’d sent: an opportunity to see her, even if merely as pixels on television transmitted across a great distance. This was...

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miCRo: Mahreen Sohail’s “Iddat”

  Assistant Editor Molly Reid: In Mahreen Sohail’s hybrid piece, “Iddat,” a definition evolves. What seems initially to be prohibitive—a list of men a widow is required to avoid during the prescribed Islamic period of mourning—becomes celebratory, a reclamation of self. With incantatory grace, Sohail takes us into a pleasantly shaded corner of what might be called The Current Disappointment with Men.   To hear Mahreen read her piece, click below:   Iddat by Mahreen Sohail A widow’s act of not seeing, meeting, talking to, or coming close to men she could one day marry or could have...

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What We’re Reading: Thomas Pierce’s “Hall of Small Mammals”

Editorial Assistant Alex Evans: The realities of being a graduate student in creative writing are such that I have very little time to read outside of my coursework. However, for the past few months, I’ve been using whatever spare moments I can find to revisit some of my favorite novels and collections of the past few years. The first among that bunch has been Thomas Pierce’s 2014 short story collection Hall of Small Mammals. Pierce grew up in South Carolina and received an MFA from the University of Virginia. Hall of Small Mammals is his first book, but stories in...

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Nominations Season

  It’s that time of year again, when across North America leaves fall from deciduous trees, people gather together indoors to eat more food than they should, and literary journals compile nominations for the Pushcart Press and other important anthologies. We find this to be a tough season: less light, expanding waistlines, and having to choose between the pieces in our issues, which sometimes feels like picking a favorite child. We’re glad that there’s often a second round of nominations for the Pushcart from the contributing editors, and we look forward to sharing those sometime in 2018. In the...

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miCRo: Hugh Martin’s “Iraq Good”

  Assistant Editor Caitlin Doyle: In “Iraq Good,” poet and veteran Hugh Martin presents a scene that bristles with tension. As an American soldier stationed in Iraq, the poem’s speaker paces with his fellow servicemen outside of the Sadiyah police compound while several small Iraqi boys linger nearby. The children engage in pretend fights (they “chop each other, gently, with knife-hands”) and practice their English with the soldiers, who respond to them in a playful and encouraging way. But even while the American men and the Iraqi boys participate in a spirited back-and-forth, we feel with increasing intensity the many...

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miCRo: Kristine Ong Muslim’s “Holocene: Microfilm Reel 82”

  Assistant Editor Molly Reid: In Kristine Ong Muslim’s devastating piece, she doesn’t allow the reader to look away, and what she shows us—a timeline of human “advancement,” from early hominids to our eminent extinction—is part-history lesson, part-prophesy, and all gut-punch stunning. In her own words, “Holocene: Microfilm Reel 82” is “a conceptual piece, a recitation of historical facts, possibilities, and improbabilities—woven in such a way that they elicit digital distrust, thus evoking a critical period in the era of fake news when machine-learning capability for recognizing fake content gets overwhelmed by the rapid spread of digital misinformation and...

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Reflections on Zadie Smith’s Niehoff Lecture

(Editors’ note: Every year, the Mercantile Library, a local membership library, sponsors the Niehoff Lecture, a black-tie fundraiser that brings a literary star to Cincinnati for a dinner and lecture. For this year’s event, novelist Zadie Smith was interviewed by Jim Schiff, a professor of English at the University of Cincinnati and a great friend of the CR. Thanks to a donor, several UC students, including Claire Kortyna, were guests at the dinner.) Editorial Assistant Claire Kortyna: “He couldn’t have been more horrified if I’d have said I wanted to go into porn!” The crowd erupted into laughter as...

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What We’re Reading: Holly Goddard Jones’s The Salt Line

Editorial Assistant Sakinah Hofler: When I first saw my reading list for my Forms class, I noted the usual suspects—Woolf, Austen, Elliot, Zadie Smith—then I paused at one title, The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones. Knowing Jones from her collection of realistic stories (Girl Trouble), I was surprised by the first line of description for her latest book: “After the country’s borders have receded behind a salt line—a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks—a group of adrenaline junkies pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature, no longer held captive by...

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