The Common postcard auction advertisement

Series Archive

The Formal Imagination of Oulipo

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
Founded in 1960 by a collective of French mathematicians and writers, Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (Workshop of Potential Literature), or Oulipo, was established to identify new forms of writing using numerical and alphabetical constraints. Early member Georges Perec, for example, structured his novel Life A User’s Manuel according to

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Radical” by Brock Clarke

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
A few weeks ago I wrote about the risky ending of Mary Helen Specht’s “Night Island,” and how her switching perspectives at the end turned a potentially good story into a great one. In “The Radical” (The Cincinnati Review 11.2), author Brock Clarke also take his story to another

The Virtue of Stillness

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series, Writing No comments
The lesson I look forward to most in the creative writing for new media class I teach at the University of Iowa involves me giving an unconventional lecture as a series of texts (complete with abbreviations, typos, and emoticons) projected on an overhead while I forbid speaking of any

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “All Lateral” by Matt Sumell

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
When we speak of a story as “voice-driven,” that typically means it’s written in first person and that the narrator has attitude. Instead of quietly striving towards general objectivity, the narrator—à la Holden Caulfield—gives us a unique angle on the world that keeps our eyes fixed to the page.

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Edna in Rain” by Marie-Helene Bertino

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
Marie-Helene Bertino, in her short story, “Edna in Rain,” (Gulf Coast Winter/Spring 2015), goes to great lengths to make every aspect of her fictional world ordinary, in order that it might more clearly illuminate the absurdities of our own contemporary world. And making her fictional world ordinary is no

This Winter’s Must-Reads

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction, Series No comments
There is no better way to pass the coldest season of the year than by cozying up with a good book, and 2015 has started off with a bang. Here are our picks for this winter’s best literary offerings. Disgruntled Asali Solomon FSG, February 3 $26 Buy: book ∣ebook  

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “This Place of Great Peril” by Mel Bosworth

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
When we meet the main character of Mel Bosworth’s “This Place of Great Peril” (Hayden’s Ferry Review Fall/Winter 2014), he’s just beginning to suffer from acute oxygen deprivation, or as editor Dana Diehl puts it, the author “drops us on top of the 84th tallest mountain in the world,

Do-Overs: Reflecting His Story

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
Recently, Carolyn Kellogg wrote her 6 Wishes for Books and Publishing in 2015 in the LA Times. Number three: “No more novels based on literary figures.” Amen, sister. Lately there’s been a glut of stodgy novels dedicated to backwards-mapping literary lives. Though the work might benefit from proximate popularity

The Physical Body in the Psychological Novel: On Knut Hamsun’s ‘Hunger’

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
Norwegian author Knut Hamsun’s Hunger (1890) is widely regarded as one of the pioneering works of Modernist fiction. Telling a semi-autobiographical story of a starving writer’s decent into madness, the novel is celebrated for its deft explorations of the mind. Notably, Hamsun’s innovative use of internal monologue and stream-of-consciousness

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Ritualist” by Anne-Marie Kinney

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
A few weeks back I wrote a column about “Optimism” by Angie Kim. In her story, the main character suffers a recent traumatic event, and in her grief, produces a ritual around it. Anne-Marie Kinney’s wonderful story “The Ritualist” (Alaska Quarterly Review, Fall/Winter 2014) explores the nature of rituals