Author: Cincinnati Review

Documents with the Seams Showing

We’ve noticed an interesting trend here at The Cincinnati Review as we continue to read the poems, stories, and essays uploaded to our submission manager before the March 15 deadline: When we open up Microsoft Word files, we sometimes find ghosts of previous drafts lurking there in electronic form. In these cases, there’s a bright red line somewhere in the margin, and if we change the settings from “Simple Markup” to “All Markup” in the track changes panel, we’re able to see the things you wrote and deleted while you had the track changes feature engaged, as well as...

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excerpt from Lee Martin’s essay, “The Healing Line”

Sundays when I was a small boy, my paternal grandmother watched the faith healer Oral Roberts on our Philco television. She was almost eighty years old at the time and nearly blind with cataracts. I watched with her because I was fascinated with television. An only child, I learned to entertain myself. I loved the stories unfolding on the screen and the feeling of slipping out of my own life and into the lives of others. “Just a made-up story,” my father often said at the end of a program. “Not a word of it true.” I was a timid boy of five who usually tried to avoid my grandmother because she sometimes could be severe, and her tongue could be sharp. “Roy,” she might snap at my father when he did or said something that displeased her. “Roy Martin,” she might say. “Lord-a-mercy.” My normally tempestuous father would immediately become sheepish. Once, after an argument with my aunts about the future care of my grandmother, I saw him leave the house in tears, and he spent a long time away, hidden somewhere on our eighty-acre farm thinking whatever thoughts a man like him would think at such times—thoughts, I imagine now, about regret and shame and a desire to be a better man. I never heard him say he was sorry for his temper, but I could tell...

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Velvet Bag of Bullet Casings, by Maura Stanton

Groping for underwear in my top drawer my fingers brush the velvet bag I shoved far in the back, not knowing where to store spent casings from the guns that fired above my mother’s casket. That was a month ago. Today—deep breath—I spill them in my hand, these hollow fossils from that blast of woe fired in her honor. A woman veteran gave me this bag, then helped with the flag, folded up the way I fold my phyllo, corner by corner. I remember some vague condolences, some snow. Now brass tubes glow and click against each other, tap, tap, tap. I warm them in my palm, then pour them back.     Buy Issue 14.1 in our online...

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John Drury, What Are You Working On Now?

We love hearing about what our esteemed colleagues in the Department of English & Comparative Literature are up to. In the latest installment of our Youtube series “What Are You Working On Now?” John Drury talks about his memoir and poetry projects. A professor of English at UC, John is the author of four poetry collections, The Disappearing Town (2000), Burning the Aspern Papers (2003), The Refugee Camp (2011), and Sea Level Rising (2015), as well as two books about poetry, Creating Poetry and The Poetry...

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Michael Hennessey on The Elliston Project

The University of Cincinnati houses an impressive array of recordings from its reading series, dating back to the 1950s. Though many were in the form of records or audio cassettes, a grant a few years ago allowed us to digitize the entire collection—now available online, for free. This project is called The Elliston Project in honor of George Elliston, whose donation to the Department of English & Comparative Literature has funded many different poetry initiatives over the decades, including a dedicated room to poetry in Langsam Library and an endowed Poet in Residence position, held by the top poets...

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Ethan Chatagnier on Unplayable Music

In Issue 14.1 of the CR, you have a chance to read Ethan Chatagnier’s story, “The Unplayable Études.” (Read an excerpt here.) We love how the story meditates on grief, creativity, and other difficulties through the perspective of an acclaimed concert pianist. Here on the blog, we’re pleased also to share with you Chatagnier’s inspiration for the story: Ethan Chatagnier: When asked how obsessive one must be to learn to play the music of György Ligeti, the first thing pianist Jeremy Denk does is laugh. He says he spent four weeks brewing two pots of coffee each day so...

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excerpt from Ethan Chatagnier’s “The Unplayable Études”

The First of Them The first of the études always reminds her of a day when she was thirteen, though there’s no reason to remember this one day over so many others like it, while things were still good and summer meant beautiful blue skies with her parents lazing on chaise longues near the docks, her mother sipping Coca-Cola and her father a ginger ale whiskey. Her mother was reading Under the Sign of Saturn that month. Occasionally her father would use a copy of a magazine to block the sun from his face, but usually he just turned his head to the side, ambiguously dozing while he baked himself golden. She would have been in the ocher-yellow fiberglass kayak, and her brother, who had the lung capacity, would have been swimming out to the island. This was not the only perfect day, but like any piece of music, she thinks, you can only hear one moment of it at a time. The first of them does not sound impossible. It sounds, simply, like two distinct pieces of music being played simultaneously, perhaps in adjoining rooms. On the top is a lilting, Mozarty pastoral. She plays it and thinks of the gentle wind rolling on the water and the green coast in the distance, freckled with white cottages. Underneath is a gentle thumping march, someone rapping quietly on an...

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excerpt from Katherine Kendig’s “The History of Women’s Suffrage”

Susan B. Anthony had hair as black as soot, skin as white as snow. Susan B. Anthony had a red, red cape that she loved to pieces and refashioned into a banner. Wicked stepmothers tried and failed to force her to go to the ball, marry sensibly, to be the stepmother of the dreaming daughters of her own generation. Susan B. Anthony would not. Susan B. Anthony lived in a house of straw and then a house of sticks and finally a house of bricks. Huffing, puffing men couldn’t blow her house down. Susan B. Anthony once dressed as a boy and destroyed her mother’s china. Susan B. Anthony could talk to animals and steam engines. She had magic dancing shoes. The magic was that they were comfortable.   Diary of Susan B. Anthony, August 14, 1849 Breakfast with Frederick Douglass.           “Women must have equal rights,” I said, spreading butter on toast with great efficiency.           “Yes, of course,” said Frederick, “but slavery must also be abolished.”           “Yes, of course,” I said. “We must all have equal rights.”           “Absolutely,” Fred agreed.           Bit more discussion on that. Then, hard-boiled eggs and baked apples.   Susan B. Anthony was born before railroads. When the railroads came she fixed them with a steely glance. “Do your work, and do it well,” she said. She picked her own train...

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Contest Submissions Now Open!

It’s the first day of June: Cicadas hum loudly in the trees here in Ohio, sunset is later and later (nearly 9 p.m. today), and the trees are in full green. In this spirit of late springtime, we are pleased to announce that we are open for submissions to the Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose! One winner from each category will receive $1,000 and publication in our summer 2018 issue, and all entries will be considered for publication. Each entrant also receives a one-year subscription to the Cincinnati Review. Read more about the contest guidelines...

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