Summer Reading: Managing Editor Rebecca Turkewitz

I’m a big fan of gothic fiction, horror, and all things creepy, and this summer I’ve read some really wonderful spooky books. If you’re looking for a good, creepy read, I highly recommend any of the following. After all, the end of August is the perfect time to curl up with a ghost story, listen to the wind shaking the leaves outside, and wonder what might happen if that shadow in the corner of the room suddenly were to take shape and step into the light.

Early in June I read Dan Chaon’s most recent book, Stay Awake, and fell in love with it. Every story in this collection is original, emotionally charged, and masterfully written. The book is primarily a work of literary fiction, but all the stories share a sort of gleeful enjoyment of the cosmic dark and the things that lurk there. And some are genuinely scary. The last story in the collection, “The Farm. The Gold. The Lilly-White Hands.,” is tremendous—it instantly became one of my all-time favorite ghost stories.

Recently, I spent one glorious evening reading True Irish Ghost Stories cover to cover. This delightful 1926 book is a collection of firsthand accounts of otherworldly encounters, compiled by the author and priest John Seymour.

I also finally got around to reading 20th Century Ghosts, a collection of short stories by horror heir Joe Hill (he’s Stephen King’s son). I didn’t think every story in the collection was a winner, but “Best New Horror” was haunting and powerful, and it was the first story in a long time to actually keep me up at night. It is a disturbing, violent, and unsettling narrative that masterfully raises the question of why people seek out disturbing, violent, and unsettling narratives. Without getting obnoxiously meta, the story turns the magnifying glass on the reader in a way that is alarming and insightful. “Black Phone,” “Abraham’s Boys,” and “20th Century Ghost” were also standouts that I really enjoyed.

I also read and loved Jennifer Egan’s The Keep. It was a classic can’t-put-it-down-until-you’re-done page turner for me, and I was so impressed with the well-handled frame narrative and the wonderful gothic setting and undertones. If you want a (very) smart beach read, complete with crumbling castles and secret, underground tunnels, this is your book.

One of the highlights of my summer, literary or otherwise, was reading a collection of HP Lovecraft’s stories on a beach in Marblehead, MA. Lovecraft’s fictional Massachusetts landscape is spread out across the northern coast of the state, and it was a joy to think that I might have been able to see the distant shoreline of Arkham across the bay, if that haunted town actually existed. And further up the coast in Newburyport, I’d be able to catch the rickety bus to mysterious, decaying Innsmouth.

I’m currently reading Haunted Legends, an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas. The editors solicited some of the most successful horror and fantasy writers to compile a collection of contemporary ghost stories that incorporate the folklore and legends of specific places. Laird Barron’s sad, unsettling, and unforgettable story “The Redford Girls” is included.

If you’re not so inclined towards horror, here are my favorite non-creepy books from my summer reading: Charles Portis’ True Grit, Amy Bloom’s Come to Me, Louise Erdrich’s Four Souls (though, I would recommend reading Tracks first), and John LeCarre’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. And although I didn’t love all of Thisbe Nissen’s Out of the Girls Room and Into the Night, her story “Way Back When in the Now Before Now” completely blew me away and brought me to tears.

Happy reading, friends.

Posted on 08.21.14 // News // Summer Reading

Summer Reading: Nonfiction Editor Megan Kerns

I Know What I Did Last Summer

It’s been a vampire summer–cool, clammy, eternal, with many mornings spent hissing at the sunrise as I worked at a barista job that slowly sucked the life out of me.

But all that’s behind me now. Or is it…?

No, it really is, because I quit my job just a few days after this blogpost was due.  (What is that strange howling in the distance?  It could be something supernatural, but it’s probably Online Editor Lauren Barret, waiting for my late submission.)  There was the familiar routine that accompanies a ritual staking/quitting: (metaphorical) sprays of blood and curling smoke, howls of rage, flailing, a high-speed escape from vampire’s lair/high-end grocery store, etc. Mental note: holy water/garlic breath ineffective in customer service situations.

I should’ve seen this coming, should’ve sharpened some damn stakes weeks ago.  After all, I started the summer by tearing through Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries series (also known as the Sookie Stackhouse novels), beginning with the bubblegum fun of Dead Until Dark, and thenLiving Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, and my personal favorite, Dead to the World. Though there are thirteen (!) books in the series, I learned to pace myself–because I would devour each book in about 24 hours, terrible job and sleep be damned.  Reading the Sookie Stackhouse books was just pure fun, even when I rolled my eyes at some of Harris’s choices (weretigers with stupid dialogue, faery godmothers, Bill Compton’s sheer boringness, etc).

I forgave all those irritations, because the sex scenes were great.  Eric n Sookie 4-Ever.

My obsession with the Sookie Stackhouse novels bled naturally into a curiosity about True Blood, and I re-learned hard lessons about how different TV adaptations are.  Though I think Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyers have equally atrocious Southern accents/are terrible actors, I am totally charmed by/smitten with Alexander Skarsgård‘s Eric Northman (look, Northman was my fave character in the books, and I’m just married, not dead and the delightful Nelsan Ellis and Rutina Wesley as cousins Lafayette and Tara.

I read stacks of non-supernatural nonfiction (Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead, fascinating interviews/essays in The Believer, but let’s refocus on what’s really important here, which is the delusion of theme.

I loved Jim Jarmusch’s vampire film, Only Lovers Left Alive, set in the  decaying urban wilderness of Detroit.  Tilda Swinton is naturally creepy, the soundtrack is beautiful (haunting? eerie?), and the plot itself defied tired vamp narratives.

listened to Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man,” Jill Andrews’ “The Mirror,” and Gillian Welch’s “The Way it Goes” on repeat (j/k, none of these songs are vampire-themed).
I also became engrossed with Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. I watched trailers for important films like the 1978 classicZoltan: Hound of Dracula, and Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, which focused exclusively on kung-fu vampires.

Favorite drink: virgin Bloody Mary (Not really. Just iced coffee.)

Favorite food: All Soul’s Day cookies (Fine.  I like their pictures on the Internet).

Posted on 08.21.14 // News // Summer Reading // Uncategorized

Summer Reading: Associate Online Editor Molly Olguin

At the beginning of the summer I intended to be virtuous. I would go running every morning! I would make myself beautiful salads for every meal! I would wake up in time for the farmer’s market to furnish those salads with organic local vegetables! I would write two thousand good words every day, revise everything, maybe start up on a novel in my spare time. (I actually publicly announced these plans, and very kindly my friends refrained from telling me I was full of shit.) I also made myself a healthy book list, stitched together from my friend’s recommendations. That list contained stuff like A Hologram for the King and Gilead and A Suitable Boy and Nabokov’s Despair.

Yeah, I didn’t do any of that.

Here’s what happened instead: my roommate and I decided to adopt a dog, and I read a lot of books about dragons. It started in May. My roommate and I spent hours every day refreshing the local animal shelter’s website and cooing over the pictures—in a purely theoretical way, obviously—and I wandered into the Young Adult section of the public library. I found Robin McKinley’s Dragonhaven which is kind of a weird book, objectively speaking.

It’s set in an alternate reality where enormous fire-breathing dragons exist, but aren’t any more magical than elephants. McKinley pays delightfully obsessive attention to the details of a dragon-having world—there are dragon poachers, there are weird federal regulations concerning dragon flight, there are dragon tourists and dragon activists and dragon scientists. The book’s main character is a teenage boy living on a dragon preserve. Although it is very illegal, he ends up raising a baby dragon from an egg. It’s a pretty lengthy book, as YA goes. At least 60 percent of it is devoted to incredibly detailed descriptions of dragon-raising. We know everything about this baby’s development, about the texture and stink of her snot, about her weird dragon smell that permeates the entire camp, about how hot she is to touch and what kinds of warbling noises she can make. The book goes so far as to provide graphic descriptions of cleaning up dragon poop. The plot, such that it is, is off-handedly dealt with in about twenty pages. I ate it up. I ate it up with a spoon.

“It’s the best book I’ve read about dragons maybe EVER!” I posted to Facebook, stars in my eyes. A list of books about dragons that are Better Than Dragonhavenwere aggressively posted to the comments section, because it turns out many people bear strong opinions about the books they loved in middle school. I collected all the rival dragon books and idly added a few to my reading list.

My roommate and I started pestering our landlord about drawing up a pet addendum to our lease. We began visiting shelters—it turns out Columbus, Ohio boasts an unusually high number of animal shelters and rescues and humane societies. We visited them all, a heartbreaking parade that’s sort of like visiting hours in a prison but also sort of like going on an OKCupid date. We researched dog breeds obsessively all through June. We devoured Cesar Milan. We devoured Cesar Milan criticism. “Beagles can sometimes spray a poop mist into the air when they become afraid,” my roommate reminded me when I decided we needed a beagle. “Dalmations are assholes,” I reminded her when she cooed over a polka-dotted mix breed. We stewed in our own anticipation. I reread Patricia Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons (a charmingly ironic fairytale), The Hero and The Crown (another McKinley book, this time about a girl who slays a very monstrous dragon), and also Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto and The Virgin Suicides, because I still had a tiny shred of respectability at that point.

After about two months of Process, we decided on a dog on a Friday morning just before my roommate had to go out of town for the weekend. She’s a shelter dog of dubious origin, but she’s definitely got some dachshund and German Shepard in her genetic cocktail. The general impression is soft bouncy wriggly puppy. We met her, named her, bought her some stuff, and then my roommate drove off, leaving me and the dog alone in the apartment.

The dog was affectionate but wigged, like all newly adopted dogs probably are. She made tragic little sounds like a squeaky toy being aggressively massaged if I left the room, so I decided not to leave her alone. She slowly puzzled out a private game of fetch, kicking a tennis ball across the floor and then chasing it. I took about five million pictures and started my newest dragon book.

In His Majesty’s Service by Naomi Novik is not young adult fiction. In His Majesty’s Service by Naomi Novik is a painstakingly historically accurate what if. Specifically—what if the Napoleonic wars were fought with dragons? A Navy captain takes a French prize (the Amitie, a historical ship that really would have been sailing near Portugal in 1803)—and discovers a dragon egg in the hold. The book’s central drama revolves around the friendship which develops between the captain and his dragon. But mostly, the book—and the eight sequels that follow—are concerned with their daily lives. We learn exactly what dragons eat, how dragons sleep, what different kinds of materials can be used for dragon harnesses, how dragon aerial warfare should be fought, how dragons are hatched, how dragons mate, whether or not dragons fall in love. The daily lives of these dragons include participating in battles against the French and traveling to various exotic locales, but the plots remain focused on the minutiae of existence with draconic company.

I read In His Majesty’s Service in one night, lying on the floor next to my dog’s crate so she wouldn’t cry. (She cried at first whenever I was out of her sight—including when I tried to sleep on the bed and she couldn’t quite see me from inside her crate, beside my bed.) “This is the best book I have ever read,” I thought with a rush of three-am devotion, and reached through the little bars of the crate to stroke my dog’s floppy ears.

By the warm light of day, I feel like maybe I’ve read better books. But I did devour the series whole in about two weeks—two weeks spent teaching my dog “come” and “sit” and “drop it” as well as discovering that she sleeps in the weirdest position ever, legs splayed open and front paws curled up and spine bent into a half-moon. “Most Chinese dragons prefer their meals cooked and served with rice,” I told her when she refused to eat a Dorito. (What kind of self-respecting dog won’t eat a Dorito?) “She’s exactly like an Incan herding dragon in that way,” I told my roommate when our half-German Shepard herded us onto the couch with obvious satisfaction. (My roommate started reading the series in self-defense after about a month of this.) We converse with great interest about the long hairs that grow between her toes, about the little green stripe of scar on her stomach, about her white teeth and the state of her poop and the weirdness of sometimes seeing her inner eyelids close when she falls asleep. It’s all riveting.

“You’re a fire-breathing monster,” I tell my dog, patting her belly. She pants happily in my face, and licks my ear. “I could just eat you up,” I say, and wipe away drool.

My summer reading list:

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Despair by Vladimir Nabokov
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Great House by Nicole Krauss
Anything By Gogol because I’m pretty short on Gogol
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Six Gun Snow White by Catheryn M Valente
The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia
The Book of Flying by Keith Miller
City of Thieves by David Benioff

(In hindsight this list wasn’t even that high falutin’ but it had some variety I guess.)

An incomplete list of actual books read this summer:

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Six Gun Snow White by Catheryn M Valente
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Archangel by Andrea Barrett
Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C Wrede
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik

Posted on 08.20.14 // News // Summer Reading

Summer Reading: Associate Poetry Editor Mikko Harvey

In terms of food, I have recently consumed rice, a rutabaga, spinach, apples, almond butter, strawberries, and milk and cereal. In terms of art, I have recently consumed:

Distance from Loved Ones, by James Tate — Here Tate is in the process of morphing (Animorphing) from a lyric to a narrative poet, and he writes some weird and amazing poems in the tension between the two.

Without Colors, by Italo Calvino — This is one of my new favorite love stories. I read it while sitting in an uncomfortable wooden chair.

1Q84, by Haruki Murakami — I really like Murakami (his portraits of introverts, his sensitivity to animals, the way he generates mystery) but this novel was too long for its own good. Still, I will probably read the next one.

I was happy to discover Clementine Hunter, a self-taught painter from a plantation in Louisiana. She is folky yet surreal.

I have been watching Chappelle’s Show, in awe of how nimbly he moves between social critique and pure silliness. One moment you are thinking about racism in America, the next you are laughing at a poop joke. Musical guests include The Roots, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, and very early Kanye.

I saw a series of photographs called Beauty Recovery Room (a great title) by Ji Yeo. The photographs show South Korean women who have just gotten out of cosmetic plastic surgery. They are scarred, bandaged, self-conscious, and on their way to becoming what they consider beautiful.

For writing music, I have been listening to “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” by Broken Social Scene on repeat.

Posted on 08.19.14 // News // Summer Reading

Summer Reading: Associate Fiction Editor Chelsie Bryant

When my dear friend, Lauren, asked to write my summer reading list, you can imagine that my mind went blank. Wait, what did I actually do? I thought. Am I going to talk about all those YA vampire novels I read? How I watched Frasier for hours each day? The amount of cheese I consumed? It’s not like I wanted the world AKA the Internet AKA people-who-read-The-Journal’s-blog to know just how lowbrow my real life was between the months of May and August. In fact, revealing my true, unproductive self was such a source of concern for me that I thought about writing this blog post in the guise of a short story, or just straight-up lying, but then I decided that maybe I needed to create a list of all the things I’ve done so that I might feel better about the summer overall. When finished, it wasn’t a satisfactory one. Therefore, in order to illustrate just how much I’ve actually completed these three months, I’d like to compare what I have done with what my cat, har, has accomplished:


Me: The Vampire Academy (I liked these better than I thought. The protagonist was a badass woman doing all the saving.), The Hunger Games (This was a reread, but, wow, the second time around really blew my mind—the social issues at stake here are fascinatingly drawn and Katniss Everdeen will forever be one of my favorite characters), Delirium (God, this sucked so bad I only read the first one), and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Eh).

I justified reading so much YA because I was starting to work on my own YA novel, and some of these books weren’t badly written and some, in fact, were really quite good (like The Hunger Games). So what if they aren’t classic literature? I love plot, and I think YA gets a bad rap in academia, much worse than it sometimes deserves. For the rest of the summer, I’m going to reread Harry Potter and ignore rewriting my syllabus until right before school starts. #sorrynotsorrybutkindasorry

har: Crime and Punishment, Ulysses, Gender Trouble, Hamlet, Orlando, War and Peace, Les Miserables (in the original, of course), Love in the Time of Cholera, Siddhartha, A Tale of Two Cities, The Bluest Eye, and Pilgrim’s Progress.

When asked why he read these, har—who was reclining in his Scratch Lounge and puffing a Gurkha Black Dragon—quoted Oscar Wilde: “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

I asked him if he was judging me, and he flicked his tail.


Me: “Concrete Wall” by Zee Avi (This is essentially what I smashed up against every time I sat down to write); “All Comes Down” by Kodaline (Basically, my life); “Never Gonna Change” by Broods (My laziness); “Obedear” by Purity Ring (Oh be dear, what am I doing with my life?); “Fuck Was I” by Jenny Owens Young (What I wonder after pausing to try to take a picture of har sitting like a human); “Setting Sun” by This, the Silent War (It’s 9 o’clock. Time to go to bed and watch The Nanny! I’ll do better in the morning! (Read: NOPE)).

This is some of my writing list. I like to have a variety of songs on it—soft ones that function as story themselves, which allows me to think, and quick, loud ones that insert urgency into my process. Sadly, this playlist has seen little use this summer other than as background noise to all of my Buzzfeed reading and quiz taking. The good news: I got Pikachu, Comic Sans, and Spyro .

har: “Ave María” by Luciano Pavarotti; “Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1” by Yo-Yo Ma; “Con te partiro” by Andrea Bocelli; “Kiss” by Prince & The Revolution.

After interviewing har about his musical selection this summer, I pointed out that one of the songs he had listed didn’t seem to go along with the others. He was incredulous and halted the discussion right then and there, marching off, tail swinging, to sit on the printer in the other room and watch squirrels. When he returned later, and I was able to finally convince him to speak to me again, he said that it wasn’t the fact that I should suggest his list had a flaw, though that did gall him. It was more so that he was offended by the fact that I should think to question him while he was mid-cleaning. Hadn’t I seen his leg in the air?


Me: The Nanny, Frasier, Golden Girls, The Mindy Project, Teen Wolf, True Blood


har: Do you think he actually deigns to watch TV? I mean, are you actually being serious right now?

Every year, I tell myself not to get my hopes up for summer break. I think, don’t fall into the trap of expecting too much of yourself. Every year, I make a list of things I’m going to accomplish (almost always the same as the one listed above), and every year I accomplish some of the things and fail to do the others. I was going to say this was The Summer of Failure. I was going to say that, in my usual summer despair, I achieved little. But tomorrow I will get up and I will tell myself that I am going to do better, I am going to go for a run, eat a salad, write a couple of pages, read Journal submissions, plan for school, and it will be good.

Final writing count, May to August: about fifteen pages of novel planning, twenty pages of a novel’s first draft, a paragraph of a short story, and this long-ass blog post.

Posted on 08.15.14 // News // Summer Reading

Summer Reading: Production Manager Janelle DolRayne

This summer I’ve been interested in books that mix poetry, prose, and visual art. Kate Greenstreet’s Young Tambling (Ahsahta Press, 2013) incorporates all three in a beautiful book that claims to not be autobiography, but about biography. With humor and poetic grace, Greenstreet explores small yet poignant memories about becoming a woman, poet, and artist, and poses questions about the purpose of making art and poetry. “Art as we knew it (he said) was just designed to get us through our twenties. After that, you are on your own.”

The Book of Ruth (Siglio Press, 2011) by Robert Seydel is another mixed media book, composed of poems, letters, and collages by a fictional persona (inspired by the author’s real aunt) named Ruth Greisman. Ruth is a banker and Sunday painter who lives in Brooklyn with her brother Sol, and corresponds with artists Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp. Siglio Press also published Bough Down by Karen Green (which was on my last summer’s reading list) and they have a great collection of books that mix art and literature.

I am halfway through The Correspondence Artist (Two Dollar Radio, 2011) by Barbara Miller, a novel in which the narrator uses made up characters to tell the story of her love affair with a famous artist. The novel includes email correspondence with the lover and some photography.

And of course, I have to mention the comics I have been reading (since they were mixing art and literature long before these contemporary, experimental books). Black Hole (Pantheon, 2005) by Charles Burns and Ghost World (Fantagraphics, 1998) by Daniel Clowes have both reminded me of the horrors of being a teenager in America.

Lastly, I have to mention Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.  Just a stunning book about art and loss.


Posted on 08.14.14 // News // Summer Reading

Summer Reading: Poetry Editor David Winter

This summer I returned to my first love as a reader: the novel. Binge-watching Game of Thrones helped me realize that a childhood immersed in the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, Susan Cooper and Ursula K. Leguin had left me with a long-neglected yearning to experience elaborate fantasy worlds. But a few weeks immersed in George R. R. Martin’s prose and the HBO series it inspired left me eager to read something less pale and patriarchal.

Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was the perfect remedy, with its frequent references to The Silmarillion, the shade it throws at US interventions in the Caribbean, and its profanely heartbreaking narrative voice. And in the genre of science fiction proper, Octavia Butler’s frighteningly believable near-future apocalypse in Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents got me thinking about what it means to be part of a community of resistance—which is something I aspire to, and something that bears thinking about for writers in the academy.

Rochelle Hurt’s “novel in poems” The Rusted City also hit close to home, with an exquisite portrait of a dysfunctional family living in a city where rust coats every surface, floats in every breath, and rains down like dandruff when women brush their hair. An example of what Hurt calls the Rust Belt Gothic—a genre in which she also includes Journal-contributor Jamaal May’s workThe Rusted City will resonate with readers far beyond the region it depicts.

In the “books I clearly should have read years ago” category, Giovanni’s Room broke me in the best way. The characters struggling with their sexuality in the shadow of the guillotine are so fiercely masculine and so tragically vulnerable, so much more complex than the representations of queerness I grew up with, that I can’t help wondering—Would I have understood my own desire and identity more clearly if I had read this book as a younger man? Would I have made different choices? It’s rare, I think, that literature lives up to the rhetoric of “life-changing books,” but fifty years after its publication, I believe Baldwin’s work still has that power.

I tend to get pretty caught up in whatever I’m reading, and I’ve found myself more than a little lost in each of the books mentioned above, but my most exciting moments as a reader this summer have come from submissions to The Journal. Though not every poem we receive thrills me, I occasionally have the privilege of reading one that strikes like a bell: made with a metalworker’s care, it leaves me shaking. I look forward to sharing such writing with our readers throughout the coming year.

Posted on 08.12.14 // News // Summer Reading

Summer Reading: Associate Online Editor Cait Weiss

Things I’ve been…




Might as well tell all the dirty secrets first, since this is the internet after all… I’m currently devouring the Grisha series, a trilogy of YA fantasy novels by Leigh Bardugo set in some version of Russia and grappling with romance, politics, and post-human themes. Right now I’m reading the second book, Siege and Storm, alongside Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, just to keep things spicy.

I did read a few more traditionally lauded works this summer too — Tess of the D’UbervillesThe Circle, Au Bonheur des DamesHow Should a Person Be, and, in nonfiction, The Unwinding by George Packer. I tried to read Fifty Shades of Grey just to see what the hot fuss was about, but honestly, it took much too long to get to the good bits and the good bits were so-so at that.

As for poetry: far sexier than 50 Shades is Jan Beatty’s Red Sugar. I am in love with that book. I also read Pierce the Skin by our Henri Cole and Desire by Frank Bidart while studying with both of them up at the New York State Writers Institute this summer. I picked up Ararat while there, too, after listening to Louise Glück read her newer, longer-lined work.


I haven’t been watching nearly as much Netflix as a grad student on her first summer break in 9 years should, but I did manage to catch a few films. BoyhoodChef, and The Rover were the best; MalificentJersey Boys, and The Fault in Our Stars were the worst. Them’s fighting words, I know.


My mother and I have an ongoing discussion about feminism and all its waves. This leads me to reading all kinds of interesting articles she points me towards. Right now, we’re in the thralls of discourse over “What is a Woman?” in the New Yorker. Feel free to chime in, too, in the comments, and I’ll let Mom know your thoughts.

I’ve also been lucky enough to visit a few potent art exhibits this summer. The most impressive and difficult was Kara Walker’s A Subtlety in Brooklyn’s old Domino Sugar Factory.



I just found out there’s a 50′s burlesque music station on Songify. It’s ridiculous and perfect and audaciously offensive. Everything I could want in a playlist of songs. Also, I am in love with Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence. I wish I had made it nearly as much as I wish I had written Autobiography of Red or directed The Graduate and that really is the nicest thing I can say about art.

Posted on 08.11.14 // News // Summer Reading

Summer Reading 2014!


Welcome to Summer Reading 2014! For the next two weeks, you’ll be hearing from The Journal staffers about what they’ve been reading/watching/and listening to over the steamy summer months. Kinda like The Millions’ Year In Reading, but focused on the one season when grad students actually get to read anything that isn’t student papers and each other’s first drafts. We hope it gives readers (and potential submitters) a sense of who we are and what we’re looking for. (And maybe something to take on that one last summer getaway before the fall.)

We’re starting off with incoming associate online editor Cait Weiss!

Posted on 08.11.14 // News // Summer Reading

Calling All Poets for The Wheeler Prize in Poetry!

Submissions open September 1st for the annual OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize in Poetry. Online entries only, so please send us those puppies via Submittable.

Each year, The Journal selects one full-length manuscript of poetry for publication by The Ohio State University Press. In addition to publication under a standard book contract, the winning author receives the Charles B. Wheeler prize of $2500.

Entries of at least 48 typed pages of original poetry must be electronically submitted during the month of September. All manuscripts will be read anonymously. Your name and other identification should appear only on a separate cover page. Manuscripts must be previously unpublished, but poets may be at any stage in their careers. Some or all of the poems in the collection may have appeared in periodicals, chapbooks, or anthologies, but these must be identified in the acknowledgements page.

A nonrefundable handling fee of $28.00 will be charged for each entry. Entrants will receive a one-year subscription to The Journal.

The winning entry, screened by the editorial staff of The Journal, Assistant OSU Press Poetry Editor Pablo Tanguay, and final judge and OSU Press Poetry Editor Kathy Fagan, will be announced the following January.

Submit via Submittable starting September 1st:

Karin Gottshall is our 2013 winner for her second collection, The River Won’t Hold You. Gottshall lives in Vermont and teaches at Middlebury College. Her first book, Crocus, won the Poets Out Loud prize and was published by Fordham University Press in 2007. She is the author of three chapbooks: Flood Letters (Argos Books), Almanac for the Sleepless (Dancing Girl Press), and Swans (Argos Books). Corey Van Landingham was our 2012 winner for her first collection, Antidote. Previous winners over the past twenty-eight years include: Rebecca Hazelton, Edward Haworth Hoeppner, Kary Wayson, Lia Purpura, Mark Svenvold, Bruce Beasley, and Mary Ann Samyn.

Posted on 07.23.14 // News

The Journal is a magazine of literature published four times yearly and supported by the Department of English, private contributions, advertisements, and sales. The magazine is endorsed by the Ohio State University, and its contents determined solely by the editorial staff. Address all correspondence to The Journal, The Ohio State University, Department of English, 164 W. 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210. E-mail: