Can Literature Make Sense of War?

Whenever I read literature about war, I'm left with a feeling I can't quite explain. It's something difficult to reify, or even contemplate. One can envision war, see it dramatized, or listen to firsthand accounts told by a relative. But none of that really does any justice to the true experience. Instead, it creates a … Continue reading Can Literature Make Sense of War?

A Complete, Totally Definitive Guide to Short Story Craft

1. Start the story with an intriguing first line, something that propels the reader forward, captures their attention, makes them feel compelled to read on. Do not start with something boring or commonplace. This is the worst thing you can do. This will make the reader throw your story into a trash compactor and compact … Continue reading A Complete, Totally Definitive Guide to Short Story Craft

Making Those Last Words Count

Hopefully you already read this wonderful piece on first lines in fiction. Those sentences are important because, of course, they color a reader’s perception of the rest of the story. Daniel discusses a “solicitation of trust”—“a chance for the author to communicate that the reader is in capable hands.” And he’s right: I’ve put down … Continue reading Making Those Last Words Count

One Reader’s Not-Quite-Manifesto on Poetry Selection for the Lit Magazine

Magazines have outlines for the kinds of work they want – format, delivery, length, and maybe a few general dos and don’ts (no genre pieces, no previously published, no rhyming, please do rhyme, etc.). Beyond that, the only indication anyone usually writers is to “read our previous issues” – which, while not bad practice, doesn’t … Continue reading One Reader’s Not-Quite-Manifesto on Poetry Selection for the Lit Magazine

Why You Really Should Read Graphic Novels

I mostly read graphic novels nowadays. My mom once asked me accusingly, “Does that mean you read books about sex and porn?!" Sorry to disappoint, but the graphic novels I read have pictures of talking mice, angry spouses, and manic reiterations of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. The history of the graphic novel is both … Continue reading Why You Really Should Read Graphic Novels

The Novel is Back! (Well, sort of.)

I’m so excited I might split my pants. This fall, the literary world gets two giant releases: Jonathan Franzen’s Purity and Avenue of Mysteries, John Irving’s fourteenth novel. I might very well drive to Barnes & Noble, pluck these novels from the shelf, and stand in the checkout line. I might take my time with … Continue reading The Novel is Back! (Well, sort of.)

Book Review: The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson

Although summer is now officially over, school is back in session, and all of us here at the minnesota review are back to reading submissions, I wanted to share my thoughts on a book I read this summer. Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, which came out earlier this year, chronicles not only her relationship with her … Continue reading Book Review: The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson