Nachos and Boston Review May/June 2014

Here’s 8 of 10 vegan lunches in a row. Granted, this is just about the same meal as Tacos and Bean Bowl (which you already saw in the rotation) except I pile the goodies on top of some tortilla chips. Some may not consider it a real distinction from the others, but it is enough of a change-up where I don’t feel like I’m eating the same thing every day. Plus it’s so yum!

So I just reviewed Boston Review back in November, but this new issue came in the mail and ended up on top of the list. So I’m reading it with lunch today. I was interested in the article “Is Get Out the Vote Bad for Democracy,” especially the question, “What if GOTV methods primarily mobilize citizens who are already well represented and fail to nudge the rest?” Great special section, too, on “Saving Privacy.” I saw a documentary recently about data aggregation companies and the mass amounts of raw information they are collecting, especially simply from location features on cellular phones. I don’t have panic about this yet, but this section helped me to understand more about why I might be wise to overract to that in the future. It was great to hear so many voices on the topic.

It’s great to read poems here too by GC Waldrep “The voice running/into the corn-//field, into the/cyst of the corn.” and Dara Wier “O coat in my closet that is not mine.” And Arthur Vogelsang, “There are an unexpected number of seashells in everybody’s house.”

I really enjoyed it, Boston Review. Keep up the great work!

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Salmon, Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Corn and North American Review Spring 2014 Volume 299 Number 2

I’ve reviewed NAR before and I know I’ll review them again, but this is a special issue for me because it includes my poem “Rank Bitch,” which was a finalist for the James Hearst poetry prize. Thanks NAR! There’s even a sparkling ad for Superstition Review in this issue as well. It’s an all around win!

I always love the “From the Editors” notes and I usually start there. It’s interesting to read news from the masthead. I love that feature.

I’m a big Martha Silano fan, so I’m not mad that her poem “Ode to Frida Kahlo’s Eyebrows” beat mine. It’s a beautiful poem. I also enjoyed the second place poem by Mark Wagenaar. I recently read his book Vodoo Inverso so it was fun to read this newer piece.

I really appreciated the story by Lee Ann Roripaugh. I’m a big fan–we interviewed her for an early Issue of Superstition Review. Her story “Moist Towelette” is engaging and powerful.

Thanks so much for including my work and our ad, North American Review. I’m honored!

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Bagel and BOMB Number 131 Spring 2015

I’m short on time, and we had a Hike and Brunch at the house this weekend, so I have some bagels left. This is such a delicious lunch even if it’s not very lunchy.

I have reviewed BOMB before, and I think I said this then and I’ll say it again. I love BOMB! It is so wonderful to have access to a magazine with such compelling art on every page. Even the advertisements are stunning. Here I love the discussion between Daniel Alarcon and Alejandro Zambra. And the collages by Matana Roberts. Oh My!

ABO (Apple, Banana, Orange) and North American Review 299.3.

I had a big breakfast and I’m going out to dinner, so today’s lunch is really a snack. I try to eat ABO once a day, though I have to admit that’s not easy to do. 

What is easy is reading North American Review. I am always impressed with their consistently high quality production and editorial choices. Here I’m so excited to see our Superstition Review ad on Page 2! That’s a great place to be. Thanks NAR! 

In this issue I really enjoyed the fiction issue (the poetry too, but there’s so much to love here). I especially liked “Me and Betty White,” by Jeanne Sirotkin. I’d love to read more of her week.  

AWP Breakfast and Mississippi Review 42.1 & 2

I was so hungry today I started eating before I snapped the picture. Note the bite out of the toast. I love AWP Breakfast at AWP and at home for lunch too. This is delicious and easy to make.

Wow somebody likes couplets! I do too. There are a lot of very prim and proper poems here (shape-wise). Harold Whit Williams’ poem “Blues Dreams” has some really impressive musicality. “Slide scraped along taut catgut strings.” And “Flaccid, drunk upon scuffed hardwoods.” Some really strong writing. I also like Rebecca Zweig’s “Pipelines.”

In the fiction section Kristin Valdez Quade’s handling of a child protagonist was artful–it’s not easy to do.

What a fun read, Mississippi Review. Thanks for all that you do!

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Zucchini Pasta and Washington Square Winter/Spring 2014

Here’s 9 of 10 vegan lunches in a row. Let me first admit I love pasta. But pasta doesn’t always love me. Enter the leave-it-to-the-Germans invention The Spiralschneider. What a great contraption! It allows me to make wonderful guilt-free pasta out of zucchini, which tastes just like al dente linguine. Plus it’s so fun to use. I would call this a win-win.

I’m digging the color of this cover of Washington Square and of course I love their clever abbreviation “on squ,” which is also their Twitter handle. I think it’s neat that they start the issue with an epigraph from one of the poets. That’s a smart idea and a great touch.

I enjoyed Andrea Cohen’s poems, especially the line “I’m not worth the paper I’m lifted from.” And wow—Joe Meno’s piece, “Animal Hospital.” What beautiful cadence, and also a creative and thoughtful representation of domestic life.

And these brilliant lines by Carl Phillips: “You are the knife,/ and you are also what the knife/ has opened, says the wind.” Reminds me a little of one of my favorite lines from Franz Wright: “The knife giving the wound/ some free advice.”

I like your style, Washington Square. Keep on doing what you do!

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Lettuce Wraps and Creative Nonfiction Issue 51 Spring 2014

Here’s 7 of 10 vegan lunches in a row. This is truly one of my favorite meals–and so easy. I prefer to use collards for the wrap, but today I only had romaine so that’s what you see. Four leaves stuffed full with tomato, onion, black olive, avocado, and because I was craving it–yellow mustard! I highly recommend these wraps when you’re hungry and short on time.

So Lee Gutkind, Editor of Creative Nonfiction, is a colleague at ASU. I recently went to visit him in his office, where we talked a bit about CNF and some of its programs. It’s a great service they provide, and I’m happy it’s so well funded. And this issue on Sustainability is perfectly timed with the recent reports of irreversible melting of Antarctic Glaciers.

I was happy to read all of the essays here, but especially the work of Nicole Walker, who works just up the road at Northern Arizona University. Her piece “Regeneration” was a compelling experiment with form–I really enjoyed the way it pulsed back to the 3 main points of the essay.

Great work with this lit mag, Creative Nonfiction. I enjoyed our lunch!

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Berries and Almond Butter and iO Poetry Issue 11

Some days I don’t like to cook. That’s happening more and more often. But let me tell you the most wonderful thing about eating Berries dipped in Almond Butter. IT’S INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS. And because I love you very much, I want to share a nut-butter life hack. First, buy the good stuff, which means, it should only have one ingredient (nut). Then, store the jar in the fridge upside down. That will prevent the oil from settling out. Finally, use the lid as a dipping cup, as pictured above.

I’ve written a few times lately about how much I’m enjoying lit mags that make reading more manageable. iO Poetry sure fits that bill, with 10 poets per issue. Over at Superstition Review I publish 10 artists, 10 stories, 10 essays, 10 interviews, and 20 poets per issue. Folks have called our issues “epic.” And while I think there’s room in the Lit Mag universe for these varied approaches, there are days (especially close to launch) where I wish I had chosen a smaller scale. But then again, I really love giving that space to writers and artists.

What attracts me to iO Poetry is that I can really finish an issue over lunch, and walk away with a healthy dose of new poetry. For me, that’s how you can tell Today Was a Good Day. Here I really enjoy Michael Bazzett, especially the line, “From a distance, silver staples.”

I have a few personal design biases that are flaring for me. First, I would love a way to click more easily between the 10 poems in the issue. Yes, the menu is right there but I love a paging feature, and this paging feature is scrolling through all blog posts not just the Issue posts. It’s a problem with using Wordpress as a CMS (and that’s one of the reasons I use WP only for the blog and use Drupal for the magazine–the menuing options in Drupal are hands down the best in the industry). Second, would love to have the contributor info on the same page with the work. But these are picky things, and not every reader will agree. I do really enjoy the use of headshots.

I think I’ll submit some poems to you, iO Poetry. You’re doing great work.

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Ravioli and Washington Square Spring/Fall 2014.

Ravioli are delicious and easy. I like to add what I call the “Italian Flag”: veggies that are red, white, and green. Here that means onion, mushroom, peas, and tomatoes. 

I’ve reviewed Washington Square several times, and as you know, I love it. Great work with design, first off. And the editorial choices are always top notch. I like the interview with Matthew Zapruder. 

The Big Salad and Third Coast Winter 2015.

Sometimes I want a salad. A big salad. This one’s yum. 

I’m so honored to have three poems in this issue of Third Coast. One of them was a finalist for the 2014 Poetry Prize (always a bridesmaid). I so enjoyed reading this issue. Ruth Baumann. Girlfriend … ! Love her. “Which came first, ballet or violence?”

Grilled Panini and Roasted Vegetable Salad and Bluestem Spring 2013 Vol, XXIII, No. 2.

You’ve seen my panini before, and one of the things that makes it so amazing is the bread recipe my neighbor Heather gave me a few years ago. I have it pretty much memorized–well let’s be honest. I enjoy the ceremony of making this bread almost as much as I enjoy eating it. And green salad with roasted carrots and beets? Sign me up please! What a delicious lunch.

This is my first time reading Bluestem; in fact I received this copy because we did an ad exchange with them (note our beautiful ad facing Prairie Schooner). For my money, Roxanne Gay is one of the most exciting writers in America today. I was really interested to see what she and her team came up with in this issue. The masthead says that they have a fiction editor and a nonfiction editor but no poetry editor–I wonder who is doing that work?

Anyhow, I want to approach this issue by genre, partially because the TOC is organized that way. There are 50 poets here. The most I’ve ever published in one issue is 26. And I thought that was a lot!

I wonder about the editorial decision to take 50, or was it a set decision? I always go into a reading period saying I’ll take 10 in each genre, though I’m known to let poetry swell. Some of the poems are micro-poems (from 4-8 lines). I really enjoyed “Origins” by Angela Rydell. I found some poems to be too literal and prosaic–they would not have passed our editorial first read.

Although the overall design of the magazine is gorgeous, I was annoyed by the placement of the title and author on the page. The title was way up in the corner of the page and the author’s name was right above the poem. I started reading a poem at one point and thought to myself, “Oh how cool! Someone wrote a poem about Jackie White!” But it was really a poem by Jackie White. Granted, 45% of the time I’m an idiot.

I want to move to fiction, where I really liked “Mohammed Happened” by Jeffrey Condran. But what I really want to discuss is the difference between “You Gotta Be a Football Hero” by Richard Spilman versus “Stained” by Kristen Forbes. I liked both stories, and was especially drawn to this description in “Football Hero”:

“For though he looked at nothing, he saw everything, heard everything. Girls he had never spoken to would have been frightened by his fantasies, boys would have beaten the crap out of him, and his teachers would have been astonished because in his dreams he was brilliant.”

But I want to point them out because they are so vastly different–one told in summary and one fully realized. I wonder what the editorial meeting was like when both of those stories were taken.

On to nonfiction (one word, thank god). I would have liked more than four. Maybe I’m craving one of Roxanne’s own essays.

I loved that the issue included a Graphic Novel too, and it was whimsical and impressive at the same time.

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MIdwestern Mom and Sycamore Review 25.1 Fall/Winter 2013.

I’m calling this the Midwestern Mom because it’s the kind of lunch my Midwestern Mom used to make. Green beans, yams, and chicken. I have a bit of a rebellious streak, thus the Sriracha sauce. Oh she would have flipped her Midwestern lid over that.

I am very happy to come back to Sycamore Review. I reviewed one of their issues last year and really enjoyed it. It’s pretty cool how they do the larger format so they can do double columns. It was fun to see that Dallas Woodburn is the fiction editor–I published one of her pieces in the last issue of Superstition Review.

So on I go to the TOC. Holy poets batman! Rusty Morrison–love her book After Urgency. I have to say she has been a huge influence on my aesthetic recently. I used to be a fan of more narrative work but her surprises with every line leave me craving more lyrical turns. Here I love, “The asthma angel tonight is transitory.”

Dear Norman Dubie–one of my MFA mentors and now a colleague. Gorgeous. “The madder lake. The little pots of breast milk.” They are short and meditative and beautiful.

And in Nonfiction is Jesse Goolsby, who I published in issue 10 of Superstition Review.

Great work with this issue, Sycamore Review. I enjoyed our lunch!

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Panang Curry and Burnside Review Volume 10 Number 1

You know all about my weakness for curry. See this picture? Yes that’s why. This comes from one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Thai Basil. I order the Panang with Tofu and eat it 4 times by adding lots more fresh veggies. See that asparagus? Delightful!

Something else delightful is this issue of Burnside Review! So I was walking the AWP Bookfair in Seattle when I passed the Burnside table. They had accepted one of my poems but it was recent so I had not imagined it was out yet. I picked up the current issue–love the unique shape and understated design–and noticed some great contributors–Kyle McCord, Ralph Angel, Mark Neely, Farrah Field. And then I saw my name too! How cool.

I really enjoyed reading this. Loved the Ralph Angel line, “When you were a fish/you were a salmon.” And Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer’s “We think ourselves a wall of water.”

Thanks so much for including my work, Burnside Review. I’m honored!

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Halibut, Corn, Tomatoes, Arugula and Post Road No. 14

This looks very similar to last week’s lunch and that’s because it’s summer in Phoenix and a body can only handle so much. So on Sundays we like to grill some fish, and I make my famous steamed corn-off-the-cob, and we throw whatever cold stuff we have on the plate and call it done. Today it’s a nice arugula salad and some tomatoes. So I’m eating leftovers from that meal. I don’t even heat it up because who needs more heat?

I picked up this copy of Post Road at AWP because I feel in love with the cover (reminds me of my favorite Wlico song). I loved this cover so much I found the artist Melinda Hackett and asked her to contribute work to SR and she said yes and I used her painting for the cover of our Issue 13. I would love to buy one of her paintings some day.

I did find the issue a bit challenging to read due to its format–the ads are interspersed throughout, unlike in most lit mags where they’re in the back. And the typeface is hard for me. Sorry old eyes.

I am surprised I have not heard of Mark Wisniewski before–I enjoyed his poem “Calculus.” I’ll have to look up some of his other work. I also enjoyed “The Karma Club” by Heather Hartley, especially the line, “his head a hurricane of baldness.”

What a lovely issue, Post Road. I can’t wait to read more!

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Mushroom Ravioli and Philly Veg and Redivider 11.2

I call this Philly Veg because it’s the Veg I love on a Philly Cheesesteak (when I’m eating cheese and steak, which I try not to do.) So instead I whip up the Veg only and it satisfies my craving a little bit. Caramelized onions, green peppers, and mushroom. I can put it on just about anything, but these mushroom ravioli from Trader Joe’s are delicious and really easy to prepare. I got a new stove that has a “Turbo Boil” feature and I can finally get water boiling in under 3 minutes. (We don’t have gas in our neighborhood so it’s electric for me!)

Hard to believe I haven’t looked at Redivider since September 2013! I remember that issue really well, so that’s always a good start! The only name I recognize on this TOC is Ronda Broatch, which is kind of fun since I like her work plus I like reading new work. So let’s dig in and see what these folks have to offer.

I was charmed by Eric Baum’s piece “My Beard,“ especially having just spent some time in Portland where everyone has this very beard. I loved the line “Things are changing and the reason is my beard.” How have I not heard of Marion Winik? I liked her piece “What if You Are Wrong” and I’m going to look up one of her seven books of creative nonfiction (wow!). I enjoyed the interview with her too.

So we’re liking couplets. Yes, I like them too. My favorite here is “Voyage to Goldilocks Planet” by Erin Hoover.

I like your style, Redivider. Keep on doing what you do!

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AWP Breakfast and North American Review Volume 299 Number 1

You’ve seen this lunch before and you’ll see it again. I call this lunch AWP Breakfast because this is what I love to eat each day at AWP before I head off to talk with authors for 16 hours straight. It includes toast, eggs, and fruit. So easy and so yum.

I reviewed North American Review last November, and I’ll be reviewing them again soon too since I have one more issue in the queue. So I won’t say too much about the mag itself, other than Wow! You do a good job and Wow! you’ve been around forever.

I really enjoyed the inventiveness of Kay Cosgrove’s “Accent” and the musicality of Alison Swan’s “Lifeboat.” I think my favorite poem of the bunch is “Rio Manzanares” by Curtis Bauer: “Houses have roofs so frail you pray no moonlight falls on them.” I also always enjoy reading the book reviews.

I really enjoyed it, North American Review. Keep up the great work!

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Yams and 32 Poems Volume 11 Number 2 Fall/Winter 2013

Okay so I’m re-upping my efforts when it comes to the vegan cooking. I’m committed to having my next 10 Lit Mag Lunches be all different, and all vegan. I’ve been slacking a little in that arena, but I do love a challenge. Today’s lunch is one of my favorite things to eat and it’s so simple. Just some cubed yam with tomato and avocado. It’s flavorful, filling, and colorful too. So yum. Yum Yam.

Although I had heard of 32 Poems I had not read it before, but this year I stopped by their table at AWP and picked up this copy.

I have been saying this a lot lately, but I love the streamlined purpose and content. The mag features 32 poems under 32 lines, and it does that well. I’m enjoying the smaller scope mags these days. They can be so enjoyable since they are attainable. I especially like “Coddling Cup” by Lilah Hegnauer.

What a fun read, 32 Poems. Thanks for all that you do!

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Mixed Salad and Black Warrior Review Spring/Summer 2014 40.2

I had two things left over in the fridge: a bag of greens and a pound of strawberries. So here comes lunch! I added some pecans for crunch and there you have it. A delicious and super easy meal.

If you ask me to list my top 20 lit mags, Black Warrior Review is going to be on that list. Call me a traditionalist. But BWR has been publishing great poetry and prose since the 1970’s. I’ve always wanted to be published in BWR but that honor has so far eluded this author.

I really appreciate the use of innovative form in many of these pieces–the horizontal work, the use of white space in Speak and Spell. I also really enjoy the art by Cahill Wessell–quite colorful and playful as well. I had a fun experience reading this issue. I actually put down the lit mag and ran to my computer to purchase a book by one of the contributors–Sabrina Orah Mark. Her prose shorts “The Taxmen” and “Mother at the Dentist” spoke to me, especially the line, “I begin to wonder what [he] would look like frozen and thawed.”

I really enjoyed it, Black Warrior Review. Keep up the great work!

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