Discovering New Poetry and Fiction Markets

If you have the time, resources, energy (or general privilege) for self-improvement during the pandemic, you may be looking to get some writing done. You may be looking to get some writing submitted. You may be looking for some new journals to read and reach out to.

Creativity may be an essential way you interact with the world, and you may be frustrated because there’s not a lot of time or energy for that right now. You may be experiencing trauma. You may be exhausted, even though it feels like you’re not doing much.

But you’re probably doing a lot. This is what trauma feels like. It’s real, and it’s important to recognize.

I have a dozen tabs open, a dozen journals I’m going to submit to. At some point. At some point today. Maybe after I finish this post. Maybe after I take a walk. Maybe after I take a few minutes.

Here are some I have discovered recently:

Cream City Review

Midway Journal

Blood Orange Review

Contrary

Little Fiction Big Truths

Alien

Kissing Dynamite

Orange Blossom Review

Porter House Review

The Stinging Fly

Salt Hill

Jellyfish Review

Submit yourself to staying home. Submit your work if you can.

The Long, Complex Sentences of Ernest Hemingway

So they sat there in the shade where the camp was pitched under some
wide-topped acacia trees with a boulder-strewn cliff behind them, and a
stretch of grass that ran to the bank of a boulder-filled stream in front
with forest beyond it, and drank their just-cool lime drinks and avoided
one another’s eyes while the boys all knew about it now and when he
saw Macomber’s personal boy looking curiously at his master while he
was putting dishes on the table he snapped at him in Swahili. The boy
turned away with his face blank.

People who say Hemingway only wrote in terse, simple sentences forget passages like this one. That whole graph is just two sentences, and the first sentence has three hyphen-words spaced in such a way that they balance and even out like lines of parallel Hebrew.

A Real Live Webpage from 1996, Preserved In Its Natural Habitat; Fiction as Public Engagement

Christopher Cocca

No, not the official Berkshire Hathaway page. I’m talking about the Periodic Table of Comic Books! If you’ve been trying to cross reference an element with its appearances in various comics over the last few decades, I’ve just given you the last resource you should ever need.

If you’re trying to explain the internet of the 90s to your kids between Legends of the Hidden Temple reruns on TeenNick, this will also come in handy. See if they can find the rotating “under construction” graphic before you do.

It’s funny: in some ways, the web has always been about the compilation of trivia (personal or otherwise) and the cataloging of human interests. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook enhance and also undermine that instinct: instead of Angelfire web sites and Tripod accounts with spinning pictures and MIDI music, we give our strange fascinations over to a few centralized social networks who keep meticulous, obsessive track of everything we say we love. While these services have been used powerfully for activism, there’s an argument to made about the ways we’ve regressed as owners of our ephemera. It’s easier, I suppose, to curate our interests with posts and tweets and likes and shares than to build the online shrines that once defined the consumer internet. But those repositories had what Mike Schmidt might call a certain charm that social media doesn’t capture. Maybe I’m remembering the world that seemed possible before we got the world that came. I don’t mean that cynically. Commitment to social action X over social action Y might mean no flying cars or jetpacks, but we have no way of knowing, really, in the short term.

More knowable, it seems, are the outcomes of politics devoid of concern for environmental regulations, economic justice, the sanctity of life, and the generative renewal of our communities. If you thought I wasn’t going to get from the Periodic Table of Comic Books to public ethics in a few short steps, you might not know that The New School (MFA ’11) just announced organizational changes to some of their graduate programs. The writing program, of which I am a proud graduate, is now part of the newly-named School of Public Engagement. TNS is making a bold cultural and political statement here: poets, fiction writers, and essayists trade in public engagement as a matter of vocation and as a matter of fact. It’s probably no coincidence that former TNS president Bob Kerrey shared similar sentiments with my entire class on the first night of our program.

Bloggers, artists, writers, musicians, comic book creators, coders, scientists, actors, preachers…the list goes on and on. We are enlisted in the craft, and it is a craft, of public engagement. The evolution of the social web from siloed shrines of quirky interest to the integrated platforms of curation, criticism, and creation shows just how powerful our drive to contribute something back to the avalanche of corporate politics, media, and culture-making really is.

It’s ironic and subversive that we do it on the corporate platforms of companies that make millions delivering targeted ads based on the content we create and share in resistance to the monolithic messages of people with vested interests in framing these conversations in very specific ways. That’s the world we live in, for better and for worse.

Let’s keep making it for the better.  And when you need a break, check out the Periodic Table of Comic Books.  And don’t forget to sleep.

Manny Pacquiao Speaks to a Butterfly in California

John Bengan

It’s not every day that one of my wonderful friends gets a short story printed in a major publication.  But it is today.

I met John Bengan in our MFA program at The New School, and he is part of a cadre of writers I feel especially close to and whose work I particularly admire.

Today, his fantastic vernacular story, “Manny Pacquiao Speaks to a Butterfly in California,” was published in the Philippines Free Press, his native country’s longest-running newsweekly.

This is very, very exciting on many levels, not the least of which being how good the story was the first time I read it in an amazing seminar led by Robert Antoni and how great it remains.  John, we are all very, very proud of this success!

 

My Dog Can Read (Stanley Fish and Leo Strauss)

I’ve been writing and workshopping a story about a group of people living on a block of rowhomes and the glimpses they get of each other in passing. To the right you’ll find an excerpt.  Who wouldn’t want a dog like this?

Earlier this morning, I came home from a jaunt outside to find my own dog clearly wanting a walk.  It’s icy and raining here.  My coat and shoes were off.  Then I took a look at what he’d brought me immediately after sensing this thing might not go his way.  It was a typed of piece paper.  The final line of the page?

My dog is smarter than your dog.

I haven’t worked on that story in a while.  I couldn’t even tell you where the manuscript was if I needed to. I’ not saying (I’m just saying.)  He got the walk, of course.  He earned it.

Another of his literary adventures, here.

 

 

(Update: The excerpted piece is collected in What Other People Heard When I Taught Myself to Speak.)