Archive | TMR Posts RSS feed for this section

Fall Reading Period Opens August 1!

11 Jul

Our fall reading period opens August 1, and we’re looking for your best fiction and poetry. Please remember that we won’t be reading creative nonfiction during this reading period, and we never publish reviews of creative work.

We will be accepting creative writing submissions via our new online submission system. Critical authors may still send submissions via email to editors@theminnesotareview.org.

Please consider our submission guidelines before sending us your work:

  • We only consider unpublished work. Please do not submit previously published material, including work published in anthologies, chapbooks, or online.
  • We read creative work August 1-November 1 and January 1-April 1 of each year. Submissions may be uploaded at any time.
  • Simultaneous submissions are permitted. Please notify us immediately if a work is accepted by another publication.
  • Due to the large number of submissions we receive, we must place a limit on submission of new work until three months after your last submission, regardless of whether we’ve made a decision on your most recently submitted work. If a work is still under review, you may withdraw it and submit new work, up to the limits already mentioned.

If you have any questions about the submission process or our new submissions manager, please email Lorin Shellenberger at support@theminnesotareview.org.

[From the Archives] A Memoir of Feminism: An Interview with Nancy K. Miller

26 Jun

“A Memoir of Feminism: An Interview with Nancy K. Miller,” excerpted below, was first published in Issue 68 (Spring 2007) of the minnesota review. The interview took place on 10 February 2007 in Nancy K. Miller’s office at CUNY. It was conducted by Jeffrey J. Williams, then editor of the minnesota review, and transcribed by David Cerniglia, then an editorial assistant for the review while a PhD student in literary and cultural studies at Carnegie Mellon University. You can access the full interview via our online archive, available through Duke University Press.

 

Nancy K. Miller’s work represents, in some ways, the itinerary of contemporary criticism. She was trained as a structuralist, in the 1970s became a feminist, and since the 90s has moved to memoir. She has been one of the most astute commentators on the rise of personally-inflected criticism and on the longer tradition of autobiography, in a series of books: Getting Personal: Feminist Occasions and Other Autobiographical Acts (Routledge, 1991), Bequest and Betrayal: Memoirs of a Parent’s Death (Oxford UP, 1996), and But Enough About Me: Why We Read Other People’s Lives (Columbia UP, 2002). Currently she is completing her own memoir of living in Paris in the 1960s, Out of Breath.

Miller’s early work is part of the feminist revision of the canon and creation of a new literary history. Her first book, The Heroine’s Text: Readings in the French and English Novel, 1722-1782 (Columbia UP, 1980), examined the fate of women characters in canonical eighteenth-century French and English novels; drawing on her dissertation, it shifted focus from the devices of plot to the representation of women. Thereafter, Miller was in the thick of things, directing the Women’s Studies program at Barnard College through the 1980s, organizing conferences (one of which resulted in the influential collection The Poetics of Gender [Columbia UP, 1986], which she edited), and continuing her writing on fiction and feminist theory, in Subject to Change: Reading Feminist Writing (Columbia UP, 1988) and French Dressing: Women, Men, and Ancien Régime Fiction (Routledge, 1995). She also co-edited the collections (with Joan DeJean) Displacements: Women, Tradition, Literatures in French (Johns Hopkins UP, 1991) and (with Jason Tougaw) Extremities: Trauma, Testimony, and Community (U of Illinois P, 2002).

 

Williams To start, I want to ask about the trajectory of feminist criticism in the US. It seems that you were at key places at key times—you studied French at Columbia in the early 70s when structuralism was in its heyday, but you were part of a cohort that developed if not invented feminist literary criticism. How did you come to do the work you did?

Miller I went to graduate school for a PhD in 1969. It was really the beginning of the widespread development of feminism in the United States, and I started a women’s group with my friend Hester Eisenstein in January 1971. By then I was getting ready to write my dissertation, and there had already been the March for Equality, Sexual Politics was published in August 1970, and the first issue of Ms. Magazine came out in New York Magazine in 72. So there was this sense that something was happening. It wasn’t particularly happening at Columbia, but it was happening in New York, and I felt that I was part of something. I certainly did not take any classes that had anything to do with feminism or women writers.

In any event, there was almost nothing recognizable as feminist criticism. When I told my advisor that I was very excited about Sexual Politics because it was a model for reading men’s writing, which is what I was going to be doing in the dissertation, he said—I will never forget— “Don’t be a second-rate Kate Millett, she wasn’t first-rate to begin with.” She was a Columbia PhD and had gotten her PhD, I think, in 69 or 70, so that certainly set a tone.
Williams Who was your advisor?

Miller That was actually my second reader, Otis Fellows, who dominated eighteenth-century studies. People felt free to say things like that then. My actual thesis director was Michael Riffaterre, as you may know, and I think he was amused. The only reason that he tolerated my working on the question of the representation of women was that I was a structuralist, which is this sort of bizarre fact of my history as a feminist. I had been trained as a structuralist, that’s what we did there: semiotics and the structural analysis of narrative, narrative theory and the Russian Formalists. While I was still at Columbia, in part through the Maison Française, Lacan came to speak and Derrida, and poststructuralism started to emerge. But the line with Riffaterre was structuralism, and his particular take on it, structural stylistics. Because I was considered at the time to be a “theory person,” the fact that I was also interested in heroines was tolerated. But it was just barely tolerated, and it was seen as something that would pass, an emotional reaction possibly.

 

Williams In the beginning of The Heroine’s Text, you distinguish between “euphoric” as opposed to “dysphoric” narratives, euphoric being when the heroines are integrated into society and dysphoric ones when they die, which seems to happen to a lot of women characters in novels. I can see a connection with structuralism, in staking out the generative opposition.

Miller Okay, but here’s the thing: between the time I wrote the dissertation, which I defended in December 73, and the time I finally transformed it into a book, important feminist literary criticism had been published. That was partly why I shifted from an organization that had categories of structural analysis to more thematic categories. By then I had precursors— there was Literary Women by Ellen Moers in 1976, and Elaine Showalter’s A Literature of Their Own in 1977. I had already finished my book when Madwoman in the Attic came out in 79—I was kind of glad because, well, it would have just changed everything.
Williams So, in other words, it was part of what was going on, and you were part of a group that was discovering this.

Miller I taught my first course on French women writers in 1977. The Committee on Instruction had to approve all the courses, so when I proposed the seminar, I probably benefited from the fact that I was the only person in the department asking to do this. It was like, “How threatening could it be? We’ll allow her to do this one course.” When we met for the first time, we felt like terrorists. When we shut the door and said we were there to read women writers, the students and I were filled with a sense that we were doing something truly transgressive. I don’t know whether every movement has this feeling, whether the first time people taught African- American or queer literature it was the same thing, but we thought we were being very daring.

Issue 82 Now Available on Project Muse!

19 Jun

Our current issue (82), is now available through Project Muse, and you can also access the issue via Duke University Press. Click on one of the links to check out the following creative and critical pieces featured in our latest issue!

Creative Work from:

H. L. Hix
Jonathan Veach
Corey Miller
Nick Lantz
Ed Skoog
Edmund Sandoval
Whittney Jones
Joe Wilkins
Jay Udall
Brent Goodman
Alan Michael Parker
Douglas Trevor
Adrian Matejka
Amorak Huey
Kathryn Levy
Sandra Beasley
Verónica Reyes
Catherine Pierce
Ben Merriman
William O’Daly

Critical Pieces from:

Revaluation

José Felipe Alvergue   “The Material Etymologies of Cecilia Vicuña: Art, Sculpture, and Poetic Communities”

Wang Jinghui   “Hallucination and Madness: The Impact of Censorship on Mo Yan’s Writing”

Surveying the Field

Madigan Haley   “The Novel at the World Scale”
Review of David Palumbo-Liu, Bruce Robbins and Nirvana Tanoukhi, eds. 2011. Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: System, Scale, Culture (2011); Jon Hegglund, World Views: Metageographies of Modernist Fiction (2012); John Marx, Geopolitics and the Anglophone Novel, 1890-2011 (2012); Elizabeth Anker, Fictions of Dignity: Embodying Human Rights in World Literature (2012).

Lisa Fluet   “‘Ask me if I care’: Work, Injustice, and Other People’s Happiness”
Review of Sara Ahmed, The Promise of Happiness (2010)

Joseph Darda   “Old Left, New Class: Literary Anxiety in the Consumers’ Republic”
Review of Stephen Schryer’s Fantasies of the New Class: Ideologies of Professionalism in Post-World War II American Fiction (2011); Michael Szalay’s Hip Figures: A Literary History of the Democratic Party (2012); Alan Wald’s American Night: The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War (2012)

 

If you don’t already have a subscription to the minnesota review, access the Duke University Press website, available here. Subscription rates are only $30 per year for individuals and only $20 per year for students. In addition, you can also access the minnesota review through Project Muse if your institution carries a Project Muse subscription.

Sneak Peek: Issue 83, Writing the Anthropocene

12 Jun

We’re wrapping up the details on our latest issue, and we can’t wait for you to see it this fall! In the meantime, here’s a quick peek at what you can expect from issue 83, which features a special focus section on Writing the Antropocene. If you don’t have a subscription yet, you can subscribe here to make sure you won’t miss:

Creative Work from:

Nicholas Wong
Julia Koets
Jessica Rae Bergamino
Philip Jason
Melinda Wilson
Matthew Yeager
Aaron Apps
Eunsong Kim
Sara Watson
John Hogan
Nance Van Winckel
Shaun Barbosa
Jill McDonough
Jim Warner
Marty Cain
Matthew Null
Robert Wrigley
A. Minetta Gould
Chad Reynolds
Natalie Lyalin
Aaron Gerber
Portia Elan
Jason Bredle

Special Focus Section: Writing the Anthropocene, guest edited by Kate Marshall and Tobias Boes

Including critical essays from:

Kate Marshall and Tobias Boes
Jesse Oak Taylor
James Pulizzi
Tobias Menely
Margaret Ronda
Gabriele Dürbeck
Nicole Merola
Derek Woods
Noah Heringman
Calina Ciobanu
Joshua Shuster

Contributor Update: Jessica D. Hand

5 Jun

Jessica D. Hand‘s “Blind Gods, Human Braille,” excerpted below,  first appeared in issue 69 (fall/ winter 2007) of the minnesota review. Since then, Hand’s work has been published in Redactions, The Cortland Review, and Barrow Street, among others. She won first place in the Agnes Scott Poetry Competition in 2011, judged by Arda Collins, and in 2008, judged by Martín Espada, and she was a finalist in 2007, judged by Yusef Komunyakaa. Hand is currently working on a PhD at Georgia State University. You can read the rest of “Blind Gods, Human Braille” via our online archive, available through Duke University Press.

Blind Gods, Human Braille

In the beginning, the earth was flat.
Blind gods sat between the cushions of galaxies,
palming the earth’s smooth surface.

Dust covered everything.
The world was a forgotten chore.

The gods wanted to fill this blank page of a planet.
They raised the dust into arms and legs,
sexes and heads. They bled their blood
into human bodies, and people started to move.

Every movement was a new word.

The movement of Eve’s mouth pressing
into her first apple was an entire sentence:
Thank you for choice.

Every flick of Leonardo’s painting hand said
I am awed to be alive.

The inward pull of Gandhi’s hungry flesh
was courage.

My daughter Sarah, my two year old,
loves to swim naked.
She moves like freedom.

Mrs. Smith from 808 Main Circle
walks her dog every night at seven,
reads the Bible, pays taxes early.
Her body feels like duty.

I think of Brian in Iraq.
He was only a syllable in the word
repetition.

[From the Archives] Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Animals in New York City

28 May

“Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Animals in New York City” by Mark B. Feldman first appeared in issue 73-74 (2009) of the minnesota review as part of our Feral Issue. You can read the full essay via our online archive, available through Duke University Press.

On top of the cantilevered entrance to Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum of American Art, an elegant modernist box, rests an unruly eagle’s nest (Fig. 1). Made of interlocking sticks and approximately six feet in diameter, this biological artifact contrasts dramatically with the urbane form of the building it sits on. Outside the Whitney and inside in the sculpture garden there is more evidence of animal activity that might seem out of place in this vast city, often assumed to be a place where “the natural [has] ceased to exist” (Koolhaas 10). A flying squirrel nesting box surveys Madison Avenue, while in the courtyard a lattice of gourd-shaped purple martin nesting structures rises out of a stark reflecting pool, in a setting where we would expect a Calder sculpture (Fig. 2).

Are these dwellings a sign that New York City might be partly reclaimed by animals, not in an end-of-the-urban scenario, as detailed in Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us (2006), but through a more benign mutualism, a sharing of space (Fig. 3)? For a few months at least, the answer to this question was yes. The animal homes described above were part of Fritz Haeg’s Animal Estates 1.0 project for the Whitney Biennial (on view from March to June of 2008 and extended through the middle of August), a series of model or prototype dwellings for animals that have historically resided in Manhattan. Part site-specific sculpture, part environmental education, and part habitat restoration Animal Estates aims to “provide a provocative 21st century model for the human- animal relationship that is more intimate, visible and thoughtful” (Haeg). Haeg’s project is ongoing, involving not only multiple cities (including San Francisco and Utrecht) but also many associated activities: animal-inspired music and movement, tours of the animal estates, and lectures on urban ecology. Animal Estates shares the contrarian and whimsical utopianism of Haeg’s earlier, but ongoing body of work: Edible Estates. For these projects, Haeg reclaimed the sterile anti-environmental space of the suburban front lawn, replacing grass with high-density, multi-species edible landscapes. While Edible Estates pushes us to think about the place of nature and agriculture in the suburbs, Animal Estates prompts us to consider where animals belong in the contemporary metropolis.

Haeg’s work can help us reconsider not only where we find animals in vast cities, but also how urban space might be shared more fully and what some of the effects of this sharing might be, not just in terms of ecology but also on attitudes and values. Although it is important to welcome actual animals back into the metropolis, it is equally important that we make space for certain sorts of representations of animals. My primary goal is not to describe or advocate the ways in which we might literally re-wild New York City, repopulating it with animals, although the return of hawks and coyotes, seals and owls strikes me as hopeful and important. Rather, I am concerned with how both real and represented animals can change public discourse about nature and nonhuman life in the metropolis. While it is possible to dismiss actions that merely acknowledge animals figuratively as ecologically beside the point, these sorts of interventions are valuable in their ability to change public sentiment. In other words, representations of animals can have very real effects. It is also difficult to neatly separate real animals from their representations. For example, a zoo animal is both real and representational. While I will argue that Haeg’s work can help us rethink the place of animals in the contemporary metropolis, I also have a healthy skepticism about his project and I certainly don’t think that by itself it will usher in an equitable animal-human metropolis. But environmentalism must coordinate the real and the representational so that natural and discursive ecologies work together to establish a balance between human and nonhuman life.

Issue 82 Out Now!

21 May

We’re excited to bring you our latest issue, available online now through Duke University Press! If you don’t have a subscription yet, you can subscribe here to make sure you won’t miss:

Creative Work from:

H. L. Hix
Jonathan Veach
Corey Miller
Nick Lantz
Ed Skoog
Edmund Sandoval
Whittney Jones
Joe Wilkins
Jay Udall
Brent Goodman
Alan Michael Parker
Douglas Trevor
Adrian Matejka
Amorak Huey
Kathryn Levy
Sandra Beasley
Verónica Reyes
Catherine Pierce
Ben Merriman
William O’Daly

Critical Pieces from:

Revaluation

José Felipe Alvergue   “The Material Etymologies of Cecilia Vicuña: Art, Sculpture, and Poetic Communities”

Wang Jinghui   “Hallucination and Madness: The Impact of Censorship on Mo Yan’s Writing”

 

Surveying the Field

Madigan Haley   “The Novel at the World Scale”
Review of David Palumbo-Liu, Bruce Robbins and Nirvana Tanoukhi, eds. 2011. Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: System, Scale, Culture (2011); Jon Hegglund, World Views: Metageographies of Modernist Fiction (2012); John Marx, Geopolitics and the Anglophone Novel, 1890-2011 (2012); Elizabeth Anker, Fictions of Dignity: Embodying Human Rights in World Literature (2012).

Lisa Fluet   “‘Ask me if I care’: Work, Injustice, and Other People’s Happiness”
Review of Sara Ahmed, The Promise of Happiness (2010)

Joseph Darda   “Old Left, New Class: Literary Anxiety in the Consumers’ Republic”
Review of Stephen Schryer’s Fantasies of the New Class: Ideologies of Professionalism in Post-World War II American Fiction (2011); Michael Szalay’s Hip Figures: A Literary History of the Democratic Party (2012); Alan Wald’s American Night: The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War (2012)

Books Received, Issue 83

24 Apr

the minnesota review welcomes proposals for reviews of these and other recent books as well as journals, significant articles, and other works reflecting cultural and intellectual currents.  For reviews, we much prefer overviews to reports on specific books. For examples, check the review essays in recent past issues, available here. Please submit review essays to Janell Watson at submissions@theminnesotareview.org.  We do not publish reviews of creative works.

Ari, Waskar. 2014. Earth Politics: Religion, Decolonization, and Bolivia’s Indigenous Intellectuals. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Beckman, Karen Redrobe, ed. 2014. Animating Film Theory. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Berlant, Lauren, and Lee Edelman, eds. 2014. Sex, or the Unbearable. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Brinkema, Eugenie. 2014. The Forms of the Affects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Campbell, Timothy C., and Adam Sitze, eds. 2013. Biopolitics: A Reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Davis, Oliver, ed. 2013. Rancière Now: Current Perspectives on Jacques Rancière. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Forst, Rainer. 2013. Justification and Critique: Towards a Critical Theory of Politics. Translated by Ciaran Cronin. Cambridge: Polity Press.

García Canclini, Néstor. 2014. Imagined Globalization. Translated by George Yúdice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Holloway, Karla F. C. 2014. Legal Fictions: Constituting Race, Composing Literature. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Illouz, Eva. 2013. Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation. Chichester, UK: Wiley.

Irr, Caren. 2014. Toward the Geopolitical Novel: U.S. Fiction in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Columbia University Press.

Lyotard, Jean-François. 2013. Why Philosophize? Translated by Andrew Brown. Cambridge: Polity Press.

McBride, Cillian. 2013. Recognition. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

McCann, Bryan. 2014. Hard Times in the Marvelous City: From Dictatorship to Democracy in the Favelas of Rio De Janeiro. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

McCormack, Derek P. 2013. Refrains for Moving Bodies: Experience and Experiment in Affective Spaces. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Miller, Marilyn Grace, ed. 2014. Tango Lessons: Movement, Sound, Image, and Text in Contemporary Practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Milton, Cynthia E., ed. 2014. Art from a Fractured Past: Memory and Truth Telling in Post “Shining Path” Peru. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Negra, Diane, and Yvonne Tasker, eds. 2014. Gendering the Recession: Media and Culture in an Age of Austerity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Scott, David. 2014. Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Sharma, Sarah. 2014. In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Stolz, Robert. 2014. Bad Water: Nature, Pollution, and Politics in Japan, 1870-1950. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Thompson, Peter, and Slavoj Žižek, eds. 2013. The Privatization of Hope: Ernst Bloch and the Future of Utopia, Sic. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Tinsman, Heidi. 2014. Buying into the Regime: Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Villarejo, Amy. 2014. Ethereal Queer: Television, Historicity, Desire. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Wang, Dorothy J. 2014. Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Žižek, Slavoj. 2014. Žižek’s Jokes: (Did You Hear the One About Hegel and Negation?). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

[Call for Papers] Special Issue: Katrina- A Decade After

17 Apr

the minnesota review invites submissions for a Special Issue on “Katrina – A Decade After” to be guest edited by Gaurav Desai (English/African and African Diaspora Studies, Tulane University). Our aim is to reflect on the hurricane, the measures that could have been taken to prevent the massive devastation caused by it, and the immediate and long term response by the government, private industry, and civil society. How has Katrina left a permanent mark not only on the Gulf South, but also on our larger national imaginary? What lessons, if any, have we learned and what actions and policies have we adopted to better mitigate against future disasters? Haunting though the images may be, the impact of Katrina was not limited to flooded homes and emergency rescues from rooftops – it altered fundamental social contracts in cities such as New Orleans – from public education to public housing. It also awakened a new activism focused on calls for better levee protection to addressing the loss of wetlands in coastal communities.

We invite contributions that chart these changes and their significance to larger policy debates that confront the nation and indeed the world. In the spirit of the legacy of the journal, the best contributions will be those that take a stand, however controversial, and are prepared to make the argument in no more than 4000 words. In keeping with the multi-genre nature of the journal we welcome position papers, review essays, interviews with key figures involved with the hurricane, poetry, fiction, and photo-essays. Potential contributors are invited to consult with the editors before submission. The issue will be published in April 2015 to mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August 2015. Final submissions are due on June 1, 2014. For further information and consultation, please contact editors@minnesottareview.org.

Contributor Update: Sam J. Miller

10 Apr

Sam J. Miller’s “Operation Skunk,” excerpted below, first appeared in Issue 70 (2008) of the minnesota review. Since its publication, Miller has also released Horror After 9/11 (2011), a critical anthology co-edited with Aviva Briefel, along with pieces in The Rumpus, Slice Magazine, Arts and Letters, Strange Horizons, and Electric Velocipede. Miller also has work forthcoming in Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Shimmer. You can read more about Miller and his work here. To read the rest of “Operation Skunk,” please visit our online archive, available through Duke University Press.

 

Operation Skunk

Pastor handpicked us, three of his best girls for the man from CBS to speak to. Earlene, who’s seventy-five; me, who’s forty; and Shelley, who’s seventeen. Pastor called me up and told me to orchestrate the whole thing, our outfits and posture and perfume, and how to coach the girls beforehand, and said I had to host it because Shelley’s mom’s trailer smelled like burned plastic and Earlene’s house was too big and fancy. I got rid of all my Glade Plug-Ins because Pastor said city folks think they’re tacky, and bought a tube of cookie dough and timed the baking so the whole house smelled nice when the CBS man came.

Pastor had called me after midnight the night before.

“Remember, this is our chance to show America what good work we’re doing,” he said. “You three are our ambassadors. Be
friendly and humble. Don’t answer his questions—respond with our message. He’s going to try to paint us a certain kind of way, and you cannot fall into his trap. So if he asks you What do you think of the War in Iraq or something along those lines, you answer All I know is, the government wasn’t doing its job out here on the highways of Kentucky, and good Christians stepped up and did it. Okay? Like we said. He’s not your audience—you’re talking to America tomorrow. You know things need to be perfect for the next phase of Operation Skunk.”

“I know it.” I was as close to exasperated as I could ever get with Pastor. My ear hurt from holding the phone against it with my
shoulder. My hands, slick with mayonnaise, drummed at the kitchen table. I’d been mixing up a batch of tuna for sandwiches and the wooden spoon wasn’t getting it done fast enough so I started using my hands. When I’m stressed out I need to seize hold of something. It’s a reflex, left over from a million nights where loneliness hit me so hard I snatched up a bottle or some man’s forearm.

“You’ll call me when it’s over?” he asked. He could sound so small sometimes. Up in front of five hundred people, his voice was wide and rich as Gabriel’s must be. Other times he’d call me up just inches short of crying. “The man said it would take about an hour, but you know how these people are. So call me when they leave and I’ll come over and we’ll talk about how it went.”

“Sure thing, Pastor,” I said. “Now I got to get back to fixing the spread for tomorrow.”

“God bless you, Sister Schram,” he said. “Helen.”

February wind made a baby-crying sound outside. I’d been out back til ten p.m., picking up the yard so it looked less trailer
trash. Where had they come from, those ruptured garbage bags and waterlogged cardboard boxes and faded plush and plastic Easter bunnies? I picked this little house for its loneliness, for how far it was from the squalid backyards I’d grown up in, but they’d followed me.

The tuna fish sandwiches would go on the sunflower tray; the peanut butter and jelly on the cow tray. I focused on what they’d
look like: crusts snipped off, cut into quarters, the tiny white bread triangles and the pitcher of milk and the cookies and the bowl of apples. The room full of bright lights and camera equipment and men munching on my food while the famous man from television interviewed us. Shelley, sitting on my couch, bracketed by me and Earlene, her chubby arm calm and dry against mine. In AA they tell us to focus on today, and not to worry about the ugly days behind you or the long dry days in front of you. Pastor, on the other hand, says think about Jesus, and think about the future. Think about your mission. Everyone has a mission, Pastor says, although most souls spend a lifetime just wondering what it is. My need was so great I got two of them. Shelley was my little mission; Operation Skunk was my big mission.

Horror After 9/11, University of Texas Press (Fall 2011). Critical anthology, co-edited by myself and the amazing Aviva Briefel. Reviewed in The New Republic, with a review forthcoming in Film Quarterly, and featured in New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix as “brilliant/lowbrow”!!

“Boy on the Rocks,” forthcoming in Lightspeed.

“Alloy Point,” forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

“Kenneth: A User’s Manual,” forthcoming in Strange Horizons.

“Allosaurus Burgers,” forthcoming in Shimmer.

57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides,” in Nightmare Magazine. Also published in the ebook version of Lightspeed, and on FearNet, and released in an audio version recorded by an actual actor who, among other things, has played Nazis on two separate Star Trek series. Accompanied by an interview with me, in which I somehow come across remotely not an idiot. AVAILABLE ONLINE

The Beasts We Want To Be,” in Electric Velocipede Issue #27. Soviet human experimentation, brotherly love, bloody revenge, and a maybe-magical painting. Reviewed in Locus Magazine, who named it a “Recommended” story!! “…The heart of it is this: How can ordinary people be brought to do acts of routine brutality? Or that there is something human in the worst of us?…” Later also cited in their year-end best short fiction post. AVAILABLE ONLINE

Sabi, Wabi, Aware, Yugen,” in Daily Science Fiction. December 6, 2013. Nanotech bad-assery, Westerners trying to adopt Zen aesthetics as a template for corporate dystopian survival. AVAILABLE ONLINE

“The Luke Letters” in Upstreet #8. Cited in Best American Essays 2013 as an “Other Notable Essay.” And lest I feel inclined to pity myself for not making it into the winners’ circle, I have only to look around and see that my fellow runners-up include Jhumpa Lahiri, David Sedaris, Jeff Vandermeer, Andre Dubus III, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jonathan Franzen, Malcolm Gladwell, Roxane Gay, Donald Hall, Nick Hornby, Ann Patchett, Colson Whitehead, and tons more great and/or famous writers.

“The Country of Dead Voices,” in Icarus, Spring 2013. Here’s a great summary that came along with a really nice review from 365shortstories.livejournal.com! “It revolves around a simple phone call to a phone sex line, and in the process of a conversation lays bear the narrator’s troubled past and feelings of guilt associated with former lovers. Is the voice on the other end of the call a ghost from his past or something quite different and equally as disturbing? I won’t spoil the outcome. I’ll just say that Miller’s narrator’s voice felt real and personal and the sense of unease that permeates the story is pitch perfect.”

“Who Killed Thomas M. Disch?,” in Strange Horizons. Sept. 22 2008. Essay about the suicide of one of my science fiction heroes, including interviews with his friends and colleagues. AVAILABLE ONLINE

“Black as the Sea,” in Arts & Letters Issue #25. Told by a little Jewish boy during the Odessa Pogrom of 1905, a sort of meta-Isaak-Babel piece, if Babel was writing with a full knowledge of all the horrors that the Soviet 30s and 40s would bring.

“Black Babe,” in Slice Magazine Issue #7 - Fall 2010. Noir-style short story set in 1948, about a sex worker who has evidence that Babe Ruth was Black, and the conspiracy of gangsters out to silence her before she can spread the word….

“Sex, Death, Facebook,” in The Rumpus. September 2009. Creative nonfiction about how sex and social networking sites help us process grief. “Fucking and dying—these two things everyone has in common, that no one wants to talk about.” AVAILABLE ONLINE

“The Last Sleepover,” in Gargoyle Magazine, Issue 56. 2010.

- See more at: http://www.samjmiller.com/publications/#sthash.Ag28JT9i.dpufH

Horror After 9/11, University of Texas Press (Fall 2011). Critical anthology, co-edited by myself and the amazing Aviva Briefel. Reviewed in The New Republic, with a review forthcoming in Film Quarterly, and featured in New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix as “brilliant/lowbrow”!!

“Boy on the Rocks,” forthcoming in Lightspeed.

“Alloy Point,” forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

“Kenneth: A User’s Manual,” forthcoming in Strange Horizons.

“Allosaurus Burgers,” forthcoming in Shimmer.

57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides,” in Nightmare Magazine. Also published in the ebook version of Lightspeed, and on FearNet, and released in an audio version recorded by an actual actor who, among other things, has played Nazis on two separate Star Trek series. Accompanied by an interview with me, in which I somehow come across remotely not an idiot. AVAILABLE ONLINE

The Beasts We Want To Be,” in Electric Velocipede Issue #27. Soviet human experimentation, brotherly love, bloody revenge, and a maybe-magical painting. Reviewed in Locus Magazine, who named it a “Recommended” story!! “…The heart of it is this: How can ordinary people be brought to do acts of routine brutality? Or that there is something human in the worst of us?…” Later also cited in their year-end best short fiction post. AVAILABLE ONLINE

Sabi, Wabi, Aware, Yugen,” in Daily Science Fiction. December 6, 2013. Nanotech bad-assery, Westerners trying to adopt Zen aesthetics as a template for corporate dystopian survival. AVAILABLE ONLINE

“The Luke Letters” in Upstreet #8. Cited in Best American Essays 2013 as an “Other Notable Essay.” And lest I feel inclined to pity myself for not making it into the winners’ circle, I have only to look around and see that my fellow runners-up include Jhumpa Lahiri, David Sedaris, Jeff Vandermeer, Andre Dubus III, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jonathan Franzen, Malcolm Gladwell, Roxane Gay, Donald Hall, Nick Hornby, Ann Patchett, Colson Whitehead, and tons more great and/or famous writers.

“The Country of Dead Voices,” in Icarus, Spring 2013. Here’s a great summary that came along with a really nice review from 365shortstories.livejournal.com! “It revolves around a simple phone call to a phone sex line, and in the process of a conversation lays bear the narrator’s troubled past and feelings of guilt associated with former lovers. Is the voice on the other end of the call a ghost from his past or something quite different and equally as disturbing? I won’t spoil the outcome. I’ll just say that Miller’s narrator’s voice felt real and personal and the sense of unease that permeates the story is pitch perfect.”

“Who Killed Thomas M. Disch?,” in Strange Horizons. Sept. 22 2008. Essay about the suicide of one of my science fiction heroes, including interviews with his friends and colleagues. AVAILABLE ONLINE

“Black as the Sea,” in Arts & Letters Issue #25. Told by a little Jewish boy during the Odessa Pogrom of 1905, a sort of meta-Isaak-Babel piece, if Babel was writing with a full knowledge of all the horrors that the Soviet 30s and 40s would bring.

“Black Babe,” in Slice Magazine Issue #7 - Fall 2010. Noir-style short story set in 1948, about a sex worker who has evidence that Babe Ruth was Black, and the conspiracy of gangsters out to silence her before she can spread the word….

“Sex, Death, Facebook,” in The Rumpus. September 2009. Creative nonfiction about how sex and social networking sites help us process grief. “Fucking and dying—these two things everyone has in common, that no one wants to talk about.” AVAILABLE ONLINE

“The Last Sleepover,” in Gargoyle Magazine, Issue 56. 2010.

- See more at: http://www.samjmiller.com/publications/#sthash.Ag28JT9i.dpuf

Horror After 9/11, University of Texas Press (Fall 2011). Critical anthology, co-edited by myself and the amazing Aviva Briefel. Reviewed in The New Republic, with a review forthcoming in Film Quarterly, and featured in New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix as “brilliant/lowbrow”!!

“Boy on the Rocks,” forthcoming in Lightspeed.

“Alloy Point,” forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

“Kenneth: A User’s Manual,” forthcoming in Strange Horizons.

“Allosaurus Burgers,” forthcoming in Shimmer.

57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides,” in Nightmare Magazine. Also published in the ebook version of Lightspeed, and on FearNet, and released in an audio version recorded by an actual actor who, among other things, has played Nazis on two separate Star Trek series. Accompanied by an interview with me, in which I somehow come across remotely not an idiot. AVAILABLE ONLINE

The Beasts We Want To Be,” in Electric Velocipede Issue #27. Soviet human experimentation, brotherly love, bloody revenge, and a maybe-magical painting. Reviewed in Locus Magazine, who named it a “Recommended” story!! “…The heart of it is this: How can ordinary people be brought to do acts of routine brutality? Or that there is something human in the worst of us?…” Later also cited in their year-end best short fiction post. AVAILABLE ONLINE

Sabi, Wabi, Aware, Yugen,” in Daily Science Fiction. December 6, 2013. Nanotech bad-assery, Westerners trying to adopt Zen aesthetics as a template for corporate dystopian survival. AVAILABLE ONLINE

“The Luke Letters” in Upstreet #8. Cited in Best American Essays 2013 as an “Other Notable Essay.” And lest I feel inclined to pity myself for not making it into the winners’ circle, I have only to look around and see that my fellow runners-up include Jhumpa Lahiri, David Sedaris, Jeff Vandermeer, Andre Dubus III, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jonathan Franzen, Malcolm Gladwell, Roxane Gay, Donald Hall, Nick Hornby, Ann Patchett, Colson Whitehead, and tons more great and/or famous writers.

“The Country of Dead Voices,” in Icarus, Spring 2013. Here’s a great summary that came along with a really nice review from 365shortstories.livejournal.com! “It revolves around a simple phone call to a phone sex line, and in the process of a conversation lays bear the narrator’s troubled past and feelings of guilt associated with former lovers. Is the voice on the other end of the call a ghost from his past or something quite different and equally as disturbing? I won’t spoil the outcome. I’ll just say that Miller’s narrator’s voice felt real and personal and the sense of unease that permeates the story is pitch perfect.”

“Who Killed Thomas M. Disch?,” in Strange Horizons. Sept. 22 2008. Essay about the suicide of one of my science fiction heroes, including interviews with his friends and colleagues. AVAILABLE ONLINE

“Black as the Sea,” in Arts & Letters Issue #25. Told by a little Jewish boy during the Odessa Pogrom of 1905, a sort of meta-Isaak-Babel piece, if Babel was writing with a full knowledge of all the horrors that the Soviet 30s and 40s would bring.

“Black Babe,” in Slice Magazine Issue #7 - Fall 2010. Noir-style short story set in 1948, about a sex worker who has evidence that Babe Ruth was Black, and the conspiracy of gangsters out to silence her before she can spread the word….

“Sex, Death, Facebook,” in The Rumpus. September 2009. Creative nonfiction about how sex and social networking sites help us process grief. “Fucking and dying—these two things everyone has in common, that no one wants to talk about.” AVAILABLE ONLINE

“The Last Sleepover,” in Gargoyle Magazine, Issue 56. 2010.

- See more at: http://www.samjmiller.com/publications/#sthash.Ag28JT9i.dpuf

[From the Archives] The Wiggle Room of Theory: An Interview with Samuel Delany

3 Apr

“The Wiggle Room of Theory: An Interview with Samuel Delany,” excerpted below, first appeared in issue 65-66 (2006) of the minnesota review. This interview was conducted in writing between September 19 and October 4, 2005 by Josh Lukin, a Lecturer in English at Temple University. You can read the full interview via our online archive, available through Duke University Press.

To many, Samuel Delany is the radical gay black New York critic who has written on the roles of race, sexual orientation, New York City, and semiotics in his life and in American society. He has appeared in documentaries about the city. In 1993 he won the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a Lifetime’s Contribution to Lesbian and Gay Writing and won the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 2006. His 1987 book The Motion of Light in Water is a classic of African-American autobiography, and his bestselling volume of sexual memoir and urban sociology, Time Square Red, Times Square Blue (1999), is a staple of queer theory courses. But Delany is probably best known for his novels. Styling himself a Marxist, but deeply influenced by Foucault and deconstruction, his class-conscious and poststructuralist sensibilities are reflected in his science fiction and fantasy works, such as Dhalgren (1975) and the four- volume Return to Neveryon (1979-87).

Lukin Your first teaching gig occurred in 1959, when you taught remedial reading to young Puerto Rican men at your local community center in New York City; you taught your first creative writing class in 1967 at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop; your first university visiting professorship was at SUNY-Buffalo in 1975; you started your first permanent teaching position, a full professorship at the University of Massachusetts, in 1988. You have only spent one year in college, and, if I’m not mistaken, never had to apply for a teaching job. How does that happen to a person?

Delany The process is simple—and probably self-evident. Someone in a university, a dean or a significant portion of the faculty of one department
or another, who is in a position to hire, must think highly enough of your intellectual accomplishments to want to retain you despite your lack of formal education. In 1975 Leslie Fiedler recommended me for a term as the visiting Butler Chair Professor at SUNY-Buffalo. There I met Marc Shell and Murray Schwartz, then both junior faculty. After my term at Buffalo was up, I saw neither for a baker’s dozen years; but during that time both followed at least some of my work. When, in 1987, Schwartz became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Massachusetts and Marc was hired as chairman of the university’s Comparative Literature Department, they were looking for someone with scholarly interest in some branch of popular culture, such as science fiction, as well as a familiarity with developments in literary theory. Books of mine such as The Jewel- HingedJaw (1977), The American Shore (1978), and Starboard Wine (1984) probably played a large part in their decision to recruit me. So, for the next eleven years, I was a Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

I’ve been lucky enough that this has happened to me three times. Six years ago this process brought me to Temple University.

Lukin You were first “known” in the science fiction field, then as an “academic,” then as a notable voice in the gay world, and perhaps only recently as a writer that a young African-Americanist can study without risking stigma. In each of these milieux there have been occasions when you or your work has been dissed for your/its association with the other ones. Is there less of that now than there used to be?

Delany All writers with any sort of public get dissed from time to time. I never paid too much attention to it. Nor did I ever think there was a great deal of it—when it came along, I tended to ignore it. I’d even go so far as to say that people who like my work, in an effort to show how interestingly controversial I am, make more ofthe dissing than I do—to the point where, occasionally, I think they actually exaggerate the amount of dissing there: a clause about my rampant sexism in a David Foster Wallace article on something else entirely, a sentence in a John Podhoretz op-ed piece praising the Giuliani administration’s handling of the Times Square boondoggle at the end of the 90s and just after, an absurdly erroneous statement in a book on SF about my beliefs about AIDS transmission. And usually within weeks, someone writes, “What are these people on about? Have they actually read the piece in question?” Readers, black and white, who are put off by, say, the particular gay topics I have been handling for thirty years now, are likely to ignore Delany entirely. The same applies to those who don’t take science fiction seriously. For them, the fact that I write it pretty much pollutes everything else I might do. They’re not even going to bother to diss me.

Spring Reading Period Closes April 1!

27 Mar

Our spring reading period closes Tuesday, April 1, so be sure to send us your best poetry and fiction! Please remember that we won’t be reading creative nonfiction during this reading period, and we never publish reviews of creative work.

We will be accepting creative writing submissions via our new online submission system. Critical authors may still send submissions via email to editors@theminnesotareview.org.

Please consider our submission guidelines before sending us your work:

  • We only consider unpublished work. Please do not submit previously published material, including work published in anthologies, chapbooks, or online.
  • We read creative work August 1-November 1 and January 1-April 1 of each year. Submissions may be uploaded at any time.
  • Simultaneous submissions are permitted. Please notify us immediately if a work is accepted by another publication.
  • Due to the large number of submissions we receive, we must place a limit on submission of new work until three months after your last submission, regardless of whether we’ve made a decision on your most recently submitted work. If a work is still under review, you may withdraw it and submit new work, up to the limits already mentioned.

If you have any questions about the submission process or our new submissions manager, please email Lorin Shellenberger at support@theminnesotareview.org.

Issue 82 Coming Soon!

20 Mar

We’re excited to bring you our latest issue, due out next month! In the meantime, here’s a quick glance of what you can expect from issue 82. If you don’t have a subscription yet, you can subscribe here to make sure you won’t miss:

Creative Work from:

H. L. Hix
Jonathan Veach
Corey Miller
Nick Lantz
Ed Skoog
Edmund Sandoval
Whittney Jones
Joe Wilkins
Jay Udall
Brent Goodman
Alan Michael Parker
Douglas Trevor
Adrian Matejka
Amorak Huey
Kathryn Levy
Sandra Beasley
Verónica Reyes
Catherine Pierce
Ben Merriman
William O’Daly

Critical Pieces from:

Revaluation

José Felipe Alvergue
Wang Jinghui

Surveying the Field

Madigan Haley
Lisa Fluet
Joseph Darda

[From the Archives]: Roberto Esposito and Jean-Luc Nancy’s “Dialogue on the Philosophy to Come”

13 Mar

Roberto Esposito and Jean-Luc Nancy’s “Dialogue on the Philosophy to Come” first appeared in Issue 75 (Fall 2010) of the minnesota review. You can read the full article online through Duke University Press, available here.

[The following dialogue began as a result of prefaces Nancy and Esposito wrote for each other’s works: Nancy’s preface to the French edition of Communitas (“Conloquium,” translated in this volume) and Esposito’s preface to the Italian edition of The Experience of Freedom (L’esperienza della libertà).]

Esposito The first question cannot be about anything else but the meaning and destiny of that activity which, regardless of everything else, we can and still must call “philosophy.” This is particularly the case when philosophy “ends,” in the sense of a “coming to an end” as well as what is always already “finished,” namely what is constitutively incapable of reasoning its own proper reason for being. The question then becomes what does a philosophy after philosophy mean, how is it to be thought, or, better, how is a philosophy of non-philosophy to be thought? On the one hand, it is a question which brings us to Heidegger and his interpretation of the “end of philosophy” as the very task of thought. On the other hand, the end of philosophy marks a radical distancing from Heidegger and from the inevitably dialectic modality in which even that thought of the end winds up being captured in the philosophy of what announces the end. Without being able here to linger over the reasons for such an internal folding in Heidegger’s discourse, the reason for the end of philosophy, I believe, needs to be laid at the doorstep of its most radical meaning: a “finished” philosophy is a philosophy that “lies outside” philosophy. From this perspective a phrase from George Canguilhem’s The Normal and the Pathological can provide us with a possible direction: “Philosophy is a reflection for which all unknown material is good, and we would gladly say, for which all good material must be unknown” (7). This means that every philosophical practice that is self-referential, endogamic, and self- centered has been exhausted, which is to say that every philosophy that demands to take philosophy as its own object or that demands that its object be proper to philosophy rather than “common” is exhausted. It also means that this is the case in which such self- reflexive behavior is given and still continues to be given, be it in philosophy, historiography, metaphilosophy, or the philosophy of philosophy. Canguilhem, in speaking against these forms, wants to tell us that what lies within philosophy is precisely philosophy’s outside.

All of which brings to mind another proposition, this one from Deleuze, and it too centers on the constitutive relation of philosophy to non-philosophy: “The philosopher must become nonphilosopher so that nonphilosophy becomes the earth and people of philosophy” (109). With the reference to the earth and the continual movement of territorialization and deterritorialization to which our tradition of thought is assimilated, it seems that Deleuze provides us with a further clue vis-à-vis the epochal meaning of the end of philosophy and perhaps an explanation as well of the profound reason for how the end of philosophy seems to outstrip Heidegger’s thought. Heidegger, when speaking of the “end,” continues to treat philosophy in the dimension of time, while what is probably needed today is to bring the end in line with a spatial semantics. This is how Deleuze puts it: “Thinking is neither a line drawn between subject and object nor a revolving of one around the other. Rather, thinking takes place in the relationship of territory and earth” (85). Although this would expose philosophy to the risk of circumscribing it within a fixed earth, it would also certainly open philosophy to the possibility of making itself, as you argue, the thought of the world in the subjective and objective senses of the expression.

Nancy On the question of space that you raise, if you will allow me I would like to take up a theme that I already touched on in the preface I wrote for my friend Benoit Goetz on the architecture of thought. What we are dealing with here is really space. For more than forty years now we have known that we are living in the epoch of space (Foucault was one of the first to tell us this in the 1960s). More often than not, this epoch of space is juxtaposed against the epoch of history that would have come earlier, which then died out little by little in the second half of the twentieth century. There can be no doubt that this century will be remembered for the suspicions it raised against history, since history was at the center of the previous century’s attention. Yet it is not enough merely to diagnose the succession and the substitution of a spatial model for a temporal one given that there are deeper and more complex reasons that account for putting forward the spatial schema (or that of spacing) in a horizon such as the present one.

The history in which Enlightenment thinkers, Romantics, and proponents of industrial progress recognized themselves was for the most part the history of the conquest of space: the completion of the process of the colonialization, independence, and development of the Americas; territorial realignments in Europe; and immigrations that were the effect of the two preceding phenomena—all accompanied by a growing technical mastery of maritime and terrestrial distances (steam, air, pistons), of electric communications either underwater or above, and of the spaces of urban and interurban circulation. In that epoch the streets, the railroads, the cables, and the cities in which we live acquired their present configuration. The surface of the planet no longer has any terrae incognitae, maps no longer contain blank spaces: Timbuktu and Lhasa, the deserts and the North and South Pole—everything has already been explored. Expeditions to far-off territories have achieved their mission and now give way to a conquest of interplanetary and interstellar space that does not have the same rhythm or meaning. This is because we are no longer dealing with uncovering the secrets of the earth but rather of coordinating the extension of transmissions in the confines of a reciprocal surveillance and the intimidations of economic and political powers [potenze].

Contributor Update: Valerie Bandura

6 Mar

Valerie Bandura‘s poem “Step Right Up” was first published in Issue 78 (Fall 2012) of the minnesota review. Since then, Bandura has just released a new book of poetry, Freak Show (Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc Books, 2013). Bandura’s poems have also appeared in numerous journals, including PloughsharesAlaska Quarterly Review, Cimarron Review, Mid-American Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others. You can read more about Bandura’s most recent book on her website.

Step Right Up

This is how I see it:
from the same mother came two fists—I mean sisters,
and in one was hidden a prize. Any sane person
would guess the sane sister won.
I don’t know, sometimes I think
the other sister was spared, thinking she’s sane.
You tell me. Here we are:
choose.

[Call for Papers] Special Issue: Katrina- A Decade After

27 Feb

the minnesota review invites submissions for a Special Issue on “Katrina – A Decade After” to be guest edited by Gaurav Desai (English/African and African Diaspora Studies, Tulane University). Our aim is to reflect on the hurricane, the measures that could have been taken to prevent the massive devastation caused by it, and the immediate and long term response by the government, private industry, and civil society. How has Katrina left a permanent mark not only on the Gulf South, but also on our larger national imaginary? What lessons, if any, have we learned and what actions and policies have we adopted to better mitigate against future disasters? Haunting though the images may be, the impact of Katrina was not limited to flooded homes and emergency rescues from rooftops – it altered fundamental social contracts in cities such as New Orleans – from public education to public housing. It also awakened a new activism focused on calls for better levee protection to addressing the loss of wetlands in coastal communities.

We invite contributions that chart these changes and their significance to larger policy debates that confront the nation and indeed the world. In the spirit of the legacy of the journal, the best contributions will be those that take a stand, however controversial, and are prepared to make the argument in no more than 4000 words. In keeping with the multi-genre nature of the journal we welcome position papers, review essays, interviews with key figures involved with the hurricane, poetry, fiction, and photo-essays. Potential contributors are invited to consult with the editors before submission. The issue will be published in April 2015 to mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August 2015. Final submissions are due on June 1, 2014. For further information and consultation, please contact editors@minnesottareview.org.

See you at AWP!

20 Feb

We’re getting excited for this year’s AWP conference in Seattle, February 26-March 1! We’ll have a table at the bookfair, so stop by and check it out. You’ll be able to look through display copies of our recent issues, meet some of our staff (including our creative writing editors!), and we’ll have subscription information and submission guidelines as well. For more information on the conference, please visit the AWP website. Hope to see you there!

Pushcart Prize Nominee: Erin Pringle-Toungate

13 Feb

the minnesota review is pleased to feature each of our nominees for the 2013 Pushcart Prize in recent weeks.  This week we are excited to bring you an excerpt from Erin Pringle-Toungate’s “How the Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble,” which wraps up our 2013 nominees. Congratulations to all our Pushcart Prize nominees!

How the Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble

But aside from the black crepe ribbons that flap on the white poles of the fair entrance archway, anyone who didn’t live in the town last summer or close enough to hear the nightly news or who didn’t ask about the luminaries lining the dirt avenue that ran along the fair’s midway last night, wouldn’t know that a young woman named Helen Greene disappeared from last summer’s Agricultural Fair.

Under the fair entrance archway linger the men who served pancakes at the church last month and sell fabric poppies at the one lighted intersection on Memorial Day weekend.  They wear neon yellow vests over their T-shirts and bellies.  Just before dark, the traffic into the fairgrounds will become steady, and when dark falls, they’ll swing their flashlights and raise their hands in greeting to the people they recognize, and they recognize most everyone.

Tonight, the carnies will speak in tongues and the town will drop screams from the rides, buy tickets, carry whorls of  cotton candy back to their trailers and leaning homes—until somewhere in the middle night the sound of the fair will become one constant chord, like the interstate heard in the distance or the sound of light rushing through glass bulbs–if light made sound.

This afternoon, most the game booths are as empty as the stores in town or the houses out in the country or the eyes of the divorcées whose children, after the fair each night, will drag themselves back to the garage to sit in lawn chairs and pick seeds from dry leaves before filling, then passing, the pipe.  They want to talk about the fair but say nothing because it’s the same goddamned thing that it was last year, which they do say.

In one stall, a carnie sets a box down on the counter.  He takes off the lid and plucks out tiny, mechanical birds and lines them up on the narrow counter.  He turns each knob, and when the line reaches the wooden maze, he lifts the small sliding door, and the birds waddle in.  Tonight, he and all the game carnies on down the row will prop a boot on the counter, throw open their arms to the dawdling fair-goers, and let whoever hears know it’s yer lucky night, just a dollah, ownee a dollah and win yerself a purdy animal.  They wink.  Their eyes crinkle in the lights.  The birds wobble and wheeze up the wooden avenues, like the clusters of  teenage girls who drag their flip flops up the fair’s dirt avenue.

The girls’ new hips pull at the seams of their cut-offs.  They walk in the most middle of summer, which, after the fair packs up and returns to the interstate, will tip toward autumn and school doors and Friday night football fields.  They carry bottles of water and soda cans like boredom.  They roll the bits of string from their cut-off shorts against their thighs, balls of  lint under their fingernails.  Now and then one of their prepaid cell phones rings, but if it’s not that boy, they don’t answer since their mothers won’t buy another refill card from the dollar store until next month.

“How the Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble,” was first published in issue 80 (Spring 2013) of the minnesota review. Originally from Illinois, Erin Pringle-Toungate now lives in the Northwest with her husband and three dogs. Her first collection of stories, entitled The Floating Order, is published by Two Ravens Press (2009). Her work has appeared in War, Literature & the Arts, New York TyrantBarrelhouse, among others. “How The Sun Burns [. . .]” will be in her next book, Midwest in Memoriam. To learn more about Pringle-Toungate and her work, please visit her website. You can read the rest of “How the Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble” or any of our other Pushcart nominees by accessing our online archive at Duke University Press, available here.

Pushcart Prize Nominee: Bradley Harrison

6 Feb

the minnesota review is pleased to feature each of our nominees for the 2013 Pushcart Prize in the coming weeks.  This week we are excited to bring you Bradley Harrison’s “Miniature Horse.” Please check back next week for more on our nominees and their work.

Miniature Horse

Gorilla man choked my brother in the pantry.
For clinking a spoon on his teeth.
Every day Blarney killed a coon and carried it up.
To the deck where he’d ripped Adam’s leg to the marrow.
Polaroids milky his shin with black rust and the lawsuit.
Gorilla Man says Adam’s mom is a meth head.
Before making me gather the stones from her garden.
I hit all of his golf balls out into the pasture.
I thought I had found them when the miniature horse.
Beau died intestines snaked from his asshole Gorilla Man says.
He swallowed one you must have missed.
He stood on the deck in his spandex shorts.
Thick bent dick pulse beating my mother.
Nodding behind him in her flannel bathrobe.
Gorilla man says stop eating like a nigger.
Says you’re lying to me when I wasn’t.
I threw rocks at parked tractors I shot swallows with my pellet gun.
Before my seventh grade football games he taped both my ankles.
On the gate of his pickup.
His hands leather hammers I learned how to throw.
My neighbor Chesley told me his mom told him.
To stay away from Gorilla Man that he’d shoved toothpicks one.
By one in the four year old ass of his previous son I was ten.
Then building a dam in the creek behind the house.
Gathering branches moss chicken wire against some steel.
Posts already staked in the bed it was raining.
Dead dogs I ran into the woods.
Should have checked first for stakes but I didn’t.
I just jumped.

 

“Minature Horse” appeared in issue 81 (Fall 2013) of the minnesota reviewBradley Harrison is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas in Austin. His work can be found in New American Writing, Forklift Ohio, West Branch, Best New Poets 2012 and elsewhere. His chapbook Diorama of a People, Burning is available from Ricochet Editions (2012). He currently teaches at Truman State University. You can read more from our Pushcart nominees by accessing our online archive at Duke University Press, available here.

 

Pushcart Prize Nominee: Sara Novic

30 Jan

the minnesota review is pleased to feature each of our nominees for the 2013 Pushcart Prize in the coming weeks.  This week we are excited to bring you an excerpt from Sara Novic’s “On Late-Stage Pediatric Cariomyopathy.” Please check back next week for more on our nominees and their work.

On Late-Stage Pediatric Cardiomyopathy

Should you find yourself coming-to while being wheeled out of your high school calculus class, it is best not to open your eyes.  Feign unconsciousness for a few more seconds, until the EMTs have turned the corner out into the hallway.  You will get that feeling, not pain but pressure, as if you are in some reverse barometric chamber and the air is breathing on you.  Do not make eye contact with your peers in this state.  Your guard will be down; someone perceptive might see your future flickering across your dilated pupils.

When you return to school, make jokes about the “episode.”   This will put your classmates at ease.  They will give you terrible nicknames which they mean to be endearing.  Accept these with a smile, internalize them, use them in reference to yourself; they are your only remaining link to your place in the social order that was once so important.

The problem with congestive heart failure is I sometimes forget I have it.  I am seventeen, heart failure is a disease for old people, and I forget.  I have normal days, breathe easy, walk at an upbeat pace.  Then I go and do something stupid and end up back here—bum a cigarette off my friend Benny behind the Dunkin’ Donuts, or chase the bus down Lincoln Street, like death is a problem I could escape if I could just run fast enough.

At Memorial West, people know me.  The ambulance driver calls to let them know I’m coming, and the triage nurses high-five me on the way in.  A white hot pain blazes inside my ribcage each time I move my arm, and I try not to flinch.  Igor, the janitor, updates me on the scores of the baseball games.  He’s Ukrainian and can’t pronounce his “W”s.

“Ey, Ven-dee, your Mets are heartbreakers this week,” he says.

“Leave Wendy alone,” says the woman in the information booth.  “She doesn’t need any bad news.”

“That’s why I like them!” I call to Igor as I’m handed off to a new worker who pushes me toward the elevators.  But my voice shakes more than usual, and I don’t know if he’s heard me.

They take me straight to the cardiac wing, where I am approximately forty-six years younger than the average patient.  They park my gurney alongside the nurse’s station while they try to find me a room.  A student nurse removes my shirt, affixing sticky electrodes in complex patterns up and down my torso, leaving my chest exposed, nipples prickling against the chill, sterile air.  There was a point when I was ashamed of lying half-naked in public, but that seems like a long time ago now.

 

“On Late-Stage Pediatric Cariomyopathy” appeared in issue 81 (Fall 2013) of the minnesota review. Sara Novic studied fiction and literary translation in the MFA at Columbia University, where she currently teaches a human rights-themed composition course. Her writing has appeared in Electric Literature, the minnesota review, LA Review of Books, Blunderbuss, and Circumference. She is also the founding editor of the Deaf rights and education blog Redeafined. She is at work on her first novel, which will be published by Random House in 2015. To learn more about Novic and her work, please visit her website. You can read the rest of “On Late-Stage Pediatric Cariomyopathy” or any of our other Pushcart nominees by accessing our online archive at Duke University Press, available here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 67 other followers