Talking Fiction with Venita Blackburn, 2016 Pushcart Prize Nominee

Bridget Dooley (BD): First of all, thanks so much for allowing me to ask you questions! I was struck by your story in our Summer 2016 issue, “Ravished,” particularly in how humor creates intimacy and in how complicated the sisters’ …

Bridget Dooley is a PhD student in creative writing and literature at the University of Georgia and a graduate of Western Michigan University’s MFA in fiction. Her writing has appeared in Word Riot, Apt, The Electronic Encyclopedia of Experimental Literature, Goddessmode: a collection of video game writing by women and nonbinary artists, and is forthcoming from Cream City Review and The Atlas Review. You can find her work at

on The Other One by Hasanthika Sirisena

Sarah Blakley-Cartwright is the New York Times bestselling author of Red Riding Hood (Poppy, 2011). The recipient of awards from the Aspen Writers Institute and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she lives in New York City.

on The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes’s 1989 novel A History of the World in 10½ Chapters includes an essayistic meditation on love in which he brilliantly considers the meanings and ramifications of history and our tendency to turn life into a narrative:


Jonathan Russell Clark is a literary critic and the author of  Skateboard (Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2022) and An Oasis of Horror in a Desert of Boredom (Fiction Advocate, 2018). His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Tin House, Vulture, Rolling Stone, the Atlantic, and numerous others.

(In)justice of the Place: Design and Pattern in Contemporary Political Poetry

Recent racial violence in the United States and abroad makes poetry books that take up social justice ever more urgent. Books with explicit political content often eschew the lyrical in favor of “documentary” materials, while others manage to twine them. …

Robin Becker’s new book of poems, The Black Bear Inside Me (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), appears in the Pitt Poetry Series. Her previous books with Pitt include Tiger Heron (2014), Domain of Perfect Affection (2006), All-American Girl (1996), The Horse Fair (2000), and Giacometti’s Dog (1990). Recent poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker. The Liberal Arts Research Professor Emeritus of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State, Becker serves as contributing and poetry editor for the Women’s Review of Books.

Feasting on Surprise, Caught Fast in Pictures (on Rachael Z. DeLue’s Arthur Dove: Always Connect; Robert Walser’s Looking at Pictures, translated by Susan Bernofsky, Lydia Davis, and Christopher Middleton; and Julian Barnes’s Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art)

Luke A. Fidler is a doctoral student in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. His scholarly work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Art Journal, Peregrinations, and postmedieval.

Crossroads of America

In our green Plymouth station wagon, we crisscrossed the map. My mother let me choose our destinations. “Any state but Georgia” was Eve’s rule, though I still memorized the Georgia motto: Wisdom, Justice, Moderation. 

Her other rule: we couldn’t stay …

Dana Fitz Gale won the Brighthorse Prize in Short Fiction for her debut story collection, Spells for Victory and Courage (Brighthorse Books, 2016), which was also a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award and the Ohio State Book Prize. She has received numerous other awards for her fiction, which has recently appeared in the Hudson Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, and elsewhere. 

This Is a Creation Story

This fall, multidisciplinary artist Merritt Johnson joined thousands of Indigenous people and their non-Indigenous allies at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota to peacefully resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The proposed pipeline—which through the …

Merritt Johnson’s work is in numerous private collections in addition to the permanent collections at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art and the Birmingham Museum of Art, and has been published in Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, and Salish Seas: An Anthology of Text + Image (Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, 2011). Johnson was born in West Baltimore and spent her childhood navigating between trees, tarps, and concrete. She earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art.

So you will never find me


So you will never find me—

In this life—with a sharp and invisible

Fence, I encircle myself


With honeysuckle, bind myself,

With hoarfrost, cover myself.


So you will never hear me

At night—with a crone’s subtlety:


Marina Tsvetaeva (1892–1941) was born in Moscow. Widely considered one of the most renowned poets of twentieth-century Russia, she also wrote verse plays and prose pieces. Tsvetaeva lived through and wrote about the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Moscow famine that followed. In an attempt to save her younger daughter Irina from starvation, she placed her in a state orphanage in 1919, but the plan failed and Irina died of hunger. Tsvetaeva left Russia in 1922 and lived with her family, in increasing poverty, in Paris, Berlin, and Prague before returning to Moscow in 1939. After her husband Sergei Efron and her older daughter Ariadna were arrested on espionage charges in 1941, Sergei was executed and Ariadna was sent to a work camp. Later that year, Tsvetaeva took her own life.

After Chemo

Cleopatra Mathis, author of seven books of poems, has seen her work appear widely in anthologies, magazines, and journals, including the New Yorker, Poetry, Best American Poetry, TriQuarterly, The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, and The Extraordinary Tide: Poetry by American Women. She has been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Jane Kenyon Award, the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Robert Frost Award.

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