Away for writing retreat at Seal Rock, Oregon, I’m working to catch up on a stack of literary journals that I subscribe to. Reading new work puts me in the writing place, for sure. Today I dug into Crab Orchard Review’s Winter/Spring 2013 (Vol. 18, No. 1 — which I don’t understand how I missed, since I already read/enjoyed Vol. 18, No. 2, but, whatever).
COR is one of my favorite journals because of the variety of work and the fact that I always find stuff I like by writers I haven’t heard of before. In this issue, as always, there was much to enjoy, but I’d like to call out a few SUPER SPECIAL favorites. Kelly Cressio-Moeller’s “Lovers in the Age of Airmail,” which I thought made really smart use of couplets and concluded with a bang-on image — “rivulets of water gliding / off the blades of a swimmer’s shoulders / when he steps from the sea.” Al Maginnes’ “Elegy for a Name” was a gorgeous and fitting tribute to the late poet Jake Adam York and his important work about the history and memory of the U.S. Civil Rights movement. Ashley Anna McHugh’s facility with the sonnet — especially with full and slant end rhymes — had me rereading “Memento” and “Omen” several times. Aisha Sharif’s writing about the hijab in “The Fitting Room” and “To the White Boy Who Pulled Off My Hijab in 7th Grade Gym” was so memorable — both her poems begin in anecdote but end in a more expansive place, definitely in conversation with the world as well as with the self. Finally, Ocean Vuong’s “Daily Bread,” which interrogated itself and its reader and was well-fueled by sound & senses.
Of the writers above, Vuong and Maginnes were the only ones whose work I had read previously. I am so happy to have some new writers to read and I look forward to reading more from them. Thanks, Allison Joseph and Jon Tribble, and all the folks at Crab Orchard Review, for delivering me regular doses of great reading. If you’d like to check out any of the work I mention above, the issue is available online HERE. If you like what you see, consider a subscription!
4 thoughts on “Catching Up On Reading”
Thanks so much for your kind words, Liz – really appreciated. Honor to be included in this excellent journal.
Happy to share work I like! Happy writing to you!
We rented a cabin at Seal Rock last March. What a lovely spot! So much fascinating sea life in the tide pools. I also went to The Edge glass blowing place and made a float. That was one of the more inspiring creative things – molten glass- just amazing. I’d like to investigate this writing retreat of yours!
Hi, Shawn — Thanks for commenting. It’s breathtakingly beautiful here! The retreat is just a group of four writers who are also friends who aim to do this once a year — we work well together, appreciate one another’s work, etc. We pooled resources and rented this house. (We are from both coasts!) I wrote a blog about making our own writing retreat on this site two summers ago, if you’re curious about what we’ve learned about cooking up our own retreat. Cheers, and happy reading/writing!