"Brilliance" from "Editor" David Holub [view]
Names that also appear in the table of contents:
Stories by Robert Atwan, Courtney Maum, Sophie Kipner, Dan Pope, Timothy C. Dyke and Dan Moreau. Essays by Roxane Gay, Jenny Allen, Sam Allard and Katherine Spurlock. Poems by Ed Curtis, Denise Duhamel, Amy Lemmon, Jessy Randall, Daniel M. Shapiro, David Kirby, Christopher Citro, Mark Cunningham and Buff Whitman-Bradley
See below for excerpts
Robert Atwan: "The Best Poetry Workshop, Ever"
"You'd think that with nearly as many awards as there are published poets, I'd have a chance at one, but, no, I have never even come close, never even received honorable mention. Not even for the Asshole prize."
Courtney Maum: "Allex Scobler Takes an Online Writing Workshop"
"Ohmygod. OK. Barbara. There is this thing called a diary. Or I guess today it's called a blog. This is the place to write about your love of handmade crockery. I mean, I can not, after nearly five minutes of deliberating, find any reason why you think a literate audience of Americans should care about your chipped mug and the view from your kitchen window, and ohmygod, your cat. This is not a story, Barbara! This is a cry for help, and to critique it would only inflate its worth. And so I'm not going to! Good day!"
Sophie Kipner: "The Gymnast"
Listen to Sophie read "The Gymnast"
"The minute I met Doug, though, I realized what the fuss was about. All I wanted to do was to play house with him. To feed each other slices of that fake plastic pizza and chomp the air together, moaning in delight as our eyes locked upon each other with unabating affection. It's ridiculous how good that plastic tastes when you know how to hone your imagination. "Did you make this?" he'd ask me, to which I would happily and coyly reply, "I'm glad you like it. I used all organic ingredients." I'd purposely use the word "organic" so he'd think of the Earth because images of the Earth lead to thoughts of primitivism. Once I'd get him there, he wouldn't need any more handholding."
Dan Pope: "Some People You Meet at the Post Office"
"'Hi there!' She waves from the back of the line. She grabs your hand and brushes your cheek with a kiss. She's wearing gym-clothes and her hair is tied back. She asks about your kids and tells you about her trip to Rome. When the clerk says, 'Next, please,' you excuse yourself. The woman says, 'Toot-a-loo.' You have no idea who she is."
Timothy C. Dyke: "The Apotheosis Of Its Absence"
"As I turn the ram horn to open the door, the witches ask me if I would like to learn Esperanto when I return. I tell them I have never really understood the point of hypothetical utopian languages, and the witches say, 'Brakumojn al chiuj, chefe al tiuj kiuj ne havas iun por brakumi!' I have no idea what this means, but I assume they are totally fucking with me."
Dan Moreau: "In the Paleolithic Era"
"Lena wanted a new cave. "What's wrong with our current one?" I said. Sure, it was on ground level so it flooded during the rainy season and it wasn't as roomy as some of the caves higher up the cliff. But it kept us warm during the winter and generally kept animals at bay not counting that boar which wandered into our cave one night and poked Lena with its snout so insistently she thought I was trying mate with her."
Roxane Gay: "The Art of the Rejection of Rejection"
"I laughed and laughed and then took to Google because I was not familiar with the poet in question. I learned that he was somewhat well known and critically respected. I took another look at his poems, and they were still terrible. I wanted to reject them, a second time, on principle."
Jenny Allen: "Dream On, You Motherfucking Mother"
"Your own teenager is not yet in possession of the holy driver's license, but the friends are, and now all you see is the dust behind the wheels of the friends' parents' cars as the children peel out of the driveway at 90 miles an hour, cans of Arizona Iced Tea the size of fire extinguishers in hand, off on their appointed rounds, for which they do not need you anymore."
Sam Allard: "Assorted Twilights of Romantic Existentialism: American North Coast"
"'...Say you actually had a time machine, and you set the levers and buttons or whatever the fuck it is to 2,000 BC and tell your family and neighbors, sayonara suckers, I'm goin BACK TO EGYPT! And then, you know, boopskedoooskedooop-dedidlyddoodadingdangbaboop. And you open the hatch and walk out and you're like, 'umm... where are all the fuckin' pyramids?' And that's when it hits you. Oh yeah: this is a time machine, not an airplane. So welcome to prehistoric Chicago, man!...'"
Katherine Spurlock: "War and Peace: The Ultimate Guilt Trip for Readers of Anything Else"
"Does War and Peace's very status as the uber-masterwork invite resistance? Yes. Could cracking the spine now subject you to that stigma generally reserved for middle-aged people who admit to training for triathlons? Absolutely."
"Postcards For You"
Denise Duhamel and Amy Lemmon:
"Women Who Think Too Much" and "How to Be an Adult in Relationships"
Jessy Randall and Daniel M. Shapiro:
"Figures 27-33 from Instructions for Machines"
(All drawings are originally from Raymond Bruman's Exploratorium Cookbook: A Construction Manual for Exploratorium Exhibits
(San Francisco: The Exploratorium, 1976), adapted with permission, (c) Exploratorium, www.exploratorium.edu
"Love and Happiness" and "Oklahoma Mixer"
"The Tale of the Clerk and the Miniature Desperado"
"Drawing a Blank"