Author Archive

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Cafe con Leche” by Joanna Lynne Ponce

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There are as many names for the sun as there are languages; it might be tempting to believe that each of those names, then, means the same thing. Joanna Lynne Ponce’s story “Café con Leche” (Clackamas Literary Review XIX) exposes how critical language can be in giving definition to

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Day Trip” by Noelle Catharine Allen

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There’s a wonderful history of short stories where a character’s physical ills work as a metaphor representing larger problems, both personal and societal. For instance, in Julio Cortázar’s “Letter to a Lady in Paris,” the protagonist regularly vomits live rabbits, a reality we come to realize not only provides

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Miniature Lives of the Saints” by Anthony Wallace

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Physical beauty is like an innate talent or gift in that it can provide wonderful opportunities to its possessor that aren’t as easily available to others, if at all. But every blessing can also be a curse. In “Miniature Lives of the Saints” by Anthony Wallace (Missouri Review 38:1)

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Lips the Teeth the Tip of the Tongue” by Jessica Richardson

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There is some form of self-expression in everything we do. Within the arts—writing fiction, for example—there is a spectrum to how overtly that self-expression is shown. Some authors prefer to make their authorial voice as invisible, or “objective” as possible, while others make quite clear through various means that

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Thank You For the _______” by Becky Adnot-Haynes

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Some stories get their complexity from the weaving of plot twists, some from the myriad of possible outcomes facing a character making a tough decision. Some—Raymond Carver’s “Fat” for instance—gain their complexity by the layering of different stories on top of each other. Becky Adnot-Haynes, in “Thank You For

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Know-It-All” by Jeff Spitzer

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  Some narrators announce their unreliability in the opening sentences of a short story (see Matt Sumell’s “All Lateral”), and in this way their skewed vision of the world serves as a stylistic lead, drawing readers in. In “The Know-It-All,” from the latest New Ohio Review, Jeff Spitzer creates

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Dark Season” by Maya Sonenberg

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Over the last few decades, it has become more and more common to find mythical narratives such as fairy tales alongside realist fiction in academic and mainstream literary journals and magazines. More publications have also opened up to stories that blend storytelling elements that previously were dismissed as “genre”

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “A Prerogative” by Rolf Yngve

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We humans as a species have difficulty accepting that our heroes are made of the same plain stuff as the rest of us, which is why it can be so difficult to write a hero story in which the protagonist’s heroic actions appear, well, human. Rolf Yngve’s story, “A

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Anna George” by Melissa Goodrich

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The traditional short story’s primary building blocks depend heavily on logic. A character’s desire meets with a series of escalating obstacles until finally a climax is reached and that desire is fulfilled (or not) in a satisfying, plausible way. Melissa Goodrich’s “Anna George” (Passages North, Issue 36) flows far

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You” by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

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I’ve grown to feel that the direct address of second person point-of-view—you—feels like a forced intimacy. There’s an insistence that isn’t necessarily requited, a desperation that meshes perfectly with the plight of the main character of Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s compelling “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” (The