Thursday, February 28, 2013

AWP To Do and See Advice

Ploughshares shares their "to do" list for those attending AWP Boston 2013:

Literary Buroughs #54: Boston, MA (Part 1)

Literary Boston: Two Sides of Beacon Hill

Ten Little Suffergets

Published c. 1910-1915: "As in Ten Little Indians, the group loses a member in each sequence, here for typical transgressions of little girls: gobbling cakes, crying over a dead doll, kissing a boy, - the usual sins of the contemporary sub-Sweet Sixteen set, suffragettes as self-destructive children..." Read the rest of Stephen J. Gertz's commentary considering possible authorship of the booklet in the context of opposition to the woman's vote and see all ten images (plus cover) on Booktryst. The booklet is actually for sale via The Literary Lion.

Looking for New Reviewers

We are looking to add on a few more regular book and/or magazine reviewers for NewPages. If you are interested, please stop by the NewPages table at AWP (J1 & J2) and talk to Kirsten. If you are interested but will not be at AWP, feel free to send an email to Kirsten at for magazine reviews and to Holly at for book reviews.Check out this info before emailing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Get Your Ad Seen

Advertising calls for submissions and writing contests on has proven to be very successful for many magazines and presses:

". . . the traffic generated to our site due to this ad was tremendous. Both the volume and the quality of work that we received in such a short time was nearly overwhelming. . . . and we still can clearly credit 3/4 of our traffic from The service that you provide to writers and literary magazines is just wonderful," says Lisa Andrews from The Apeiron Review, a relatively new literary magazine.

You can learn more about running ads with NewPages here. And if you're at AWP, feel free to stop by the tables J1 & J2 so we can answer any of your questions!

Pongo Writing Resources for Teachers & Teens

The Pongo Teen Writing Project mentors personal poetry by teens who've suffered childhood traumas, such as abuse and neglect. The writers work with youth inside jails, shelters, psychiatric hospitals, and other sites. They help youth worldwide through the interactive writing activities on our web site. Their primary purpose is to help our authors understand their feelings, build self-esteem, and take better control of their lives.

Pongo’s latest blog, “Being Pretty on the Inside,” shares some great teen poems - the latest winners of the Pongo Poetry Prize - on themes of struggling to be ourselves and also please others as well as the vulnerability we feel in doing so.

In “If My Fist Could Speak” (January 2013) a young woman, age 13, speaks intensely and courageously to a bully. She writes: “You should eat diamonds so you can be pretty on the inside.”

In “If God Were Looking at My Life” (October 2012), a young woman, age 14, writes: “If God opened a new door for me…I’d change who I was, and I would try to find the real me. The me who isn’t afraid.

Pongo has expanded its effort to help distressed youth through poetry, not only with their ongoing projects inside juvenile detention and the state psychiatric hospital, but by mentoring “duckling” projects on the Pongo model. Pongo is currently consulting with five start-ups, including projects in Seattle, Sacramento, and Ann Arbor. These programs are helping homeless youth, youth in psychiatric care, youth in detention, and youth in foster care.

The New Classics: Emoji Dick

Funded through Kickstarter in 2009, Fred Beneson's Emoji Dick is now available for purchase. It is copyrighted through Creative Commons with some permissions built in and was recently accepted into the Library of Congress. The Kickstarter video explains the project - taking sentences from Moby Dick and translating them into Emoji - Japanese comic icons. [Sample shown.] Each of the 10,000 sentences in the book was translated three times, then the three versions were voted on for inclusion. "In total, over eight hundred people spent approximately 3,795,980 seconds working to create this book." Print copies of Emoji Dick are available for purchase $40 for B&W softcover and $200 for full color hardcover.

Chapbooks Issue

The New Orleans Review's Fall 2012 issue is actually a set of five chapbooks. All under a similar design, the chapbooks include Juan Rengifo-Borrero's "To Create a World," Patricia Colleen Murphy's "Beloved Father Person," Max Ross's "Harold's Problem," Lynda Sexson's "A Nickel Novel," and Cody Peace Adams's "Polish Movers."

2012 Non-Fiction Contest

Event's Winter 2013 issue features the two winners of the magazine's 2012 Non-Fiction Contest. There were 101 entries, ten of which were selected by Event's staff and sent (without the writer's names attached) to Zsuzsi Gartner, the contest judge.

Mary B. Valencia: "The Decision"
Libby Zeleke: "We Were Punk Rockers"

Gartner writes that she wasn't surprised that all ten pieces she read were memoirs: "Although it was disappointing not to discover narrative non-fiction tha was more outward looking, it did make my job easier. Apples to apples it would be—and some crisp Ambrosias, tangy Empires, sweet Galas, and pie-worthy Granny Smiths were found in the mix. So I come not to bury the memoir, but to praise it!"

8 short-listed entries:
Paige Cooper: "The Dead in Georgetown"
Trisha Cull: "The Doctor Scott Journals
Chris Donahue: "Where Poison Gets Ya"
Katherine Fawcett: "Promo Girl"
Kirsten Madsen: "Kestrel"
Sigal Samuel: "Sadder Than You"
Emily Walker: "The Grey Goose and Wild Turkey Years"
Terence Young: "Liquor Run"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ready for AWP?

Can you believe that in just one week, we'll be packing or already en route for Boston? Although it certainly hasn't crept up on me, I still can't seem to believe that it's happening so soon. At NewPages, we've been hard at work, preparing everything we need to take with us. And this year, we are bringing out LitPaks again; but this year, they are even better!

The bound LitPak includes a listing of all the tables and booths that will be at the bookfair as well as lots of information from presses, creative writing programs, and literary magazines. Make sure to stop by our table (J1 & J2) to get your copy (and of course say hello to us!).

But knowing that you can't possibly wait until then, we are offering a free PDF that you can either view online or download to your desktop. This way, you can plan out your bookfair sleuthing before you've even packed your bags.

Here is a link to where you can get the PDF. Even if you aren't attending AWP, there is a lot of good information in there for writers, so be sure to share the link with any friends, colleagues, and students!

Women Write Serious Nonfiction

The cover of the latest Creative Nonfiction issue reads, "Who says Women Don't Write Serious Nonfiction?" And this issue proves that women do. Lee Gutkind writes in his editor's note that they didn't intend to publish and all-women essay section: "CNF consistently receives more submissions from women than from men. As we read for this issue, we were drawn to a number of essays about, in some way, 'the senses'—hearing, sight. Or maybe it's more accurate to say they're about 'perception.' It just so happened that all of them were by women." And in correspondence with the cover, Gutkind says, "I think there are a lot of women writing serious nonfiction; they're just not getting the serious attention they deserve."

The first feature of the issue is a conversation between Cheryl Strayed and Elissa Bassist, titled "How to Write Like a Mother#^@%*&." Bassist is the young writer who requested advice from "Sugar" on The Rumpus's popular column and who received the now-famous response, "Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker." This feature is a conversation via email correspondence, two years later. It is both entertaining and insightful. At one point, Strayed addresses the gender bias in writing:

"I think gender bias exists in forms that are more discreet and ingrained. I've had an incredible experience with Wild. It's been received warmly by critics and readers alike. But a running theme has been how many men have said something along the lines of, 'Wow, I was so surprised I loved your book, because I'm a man.' These men mean no harm—I don't take those comments personally—and yet the fact that they were surprised that they loved a book by and about a woman is an indication of the sexism women writers are up against every time they write. It tells me that women writers are still perceived as less capable than men writers of telling the big universal human story."

The all-women essay section is comprised of Sara Dailey's "The Memory Train," Marissa Landrigan's "Elk Country," Mary Quade's "The Collection," Danielle R. SPencer's "Looking Back," Elizabeth Mosier's "The Pit and the Page," Brenda Miller's "Regeneration," and Pria Anand's "Far, Far Away."

Audio Publishers Association Awards

The Audio Publishers Association has announced finalists for its 2013 Audie Awards competition, the only awards program in the United States devoted entirely to honoring spoken word entertainment. Winners will be announced at the Audies Gala on May 30, 2013, at the New-York Historical Society in New York. Writer Daniel Handler, longtime friend and supporter of the audiobook industry, will emcee the event. A list of finalists can be seen here.

Categories include: audio drama; biography/memoir; business/educational; childrens; classic; fantasy; fiction; history; humor; inspirational faith fiction; literary fiction; multi-voiced performance; mystery; narration by authors or authors; non-fiction; original work; package/design; paranormal; personal development; romance; science fiction; short stories; sole narration - female; sole narration - male; teens; thriller/suspense.

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) is a not-for-profit trade organization whose primary goals since 1986 have been to promote awareness of the audiobook industry, gather and disseminate industry statistics, encourage high production standards and represent the interests of audiobook publishers.

Southeast Review Contests

The Southeast Review's current issue (Volume 31, Number 1) features the winners of the 2012 contests:

World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest
judged by Robert Olen Butler


Hal Ackerman, “Belle and Melinda”

Heidi Bell, “Haunted”
Stace Budzko, “Why We Will Always Love You, Vera Knightville”
Michelle Dove, “Intruders”
Sandra Jensen, “Fault Lines”
Kat Gonso, “Capture the Flag”
Rochelle Hurt, “Impossible Child”
Sam Paradise, “At The Liberty Motor Inn Motel”
Chris Tusa, “Mean Blood” and “Neighborhood Association”

SER Poetry Contest

judged by James Kimbrell


Noel Crook, “Crows”

Johleen Adena, “I Will Stop Loving You When This War Ends”
Barrett Warner, “Ammo Domini”
John Lander, “A Place to Hide My Crumbs”
Emily Pulfer-Terino , “What Will Never Be” and “The Familiar”
Benjamin Goldberg, “Busted Mirror of Everything Under the Sun”
Les Gottesman, “My Twentieth Century” and “Tremble”
Mark Wagenaar, “A Gospel of Hands & Breath”

SER Narrative Nonfiction Contest

judged by Jennine Capó Crucet

Ruth Moose, “A Key As Big As My Hand”

JLSchneider, “The Glass Wall”
Kelly Sundberg, “Snow. Angel. Ghost

Monday, February 25, 2013

Doppelganger Moment

`The Antioch Review's most recent issue, "Our Doppelganger Moment," starts what the editors have called their "doppelganger phase." The magazine now has an electronic version available through JSTOR. Unlike some magazines that print two different versions, these will be the same, just available in two different formats. "We are now 'double walkers,'" says Editor Robert S. Fogarty. "It will be the same magazine in both forms . . . The digital hadow version will not be a minor-league publication with also-ran authors appearing (those who could not make the cut for the hard-copy print edition). They will be separate and equal."

This issue features Bruce Fleming, Jeffrey Meyers, Anis Shivani, Matthew Clark, Marcia Cavell, Thomas J. Cottle, Rick DeMarinis, Paul Christensen, Robert Ready, Alex M. Frankel, Sebastian Agudelo, Valerie Wohlfeld, Richie Hofmann, Richard Howard, and Alison Powell.

For Your Monday: Shit Rough Drafts

Take a tumblr through Shit Rough Drafts. Definitely one to follow.

Teacher Resource: About Science Fiction

AboutSF, founded in 2005, is the educational outreach arm of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction and is a joint-project of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the Science Fiction Research Association. Their mission is to encourage librarians, educators, and individuals to promote, teach, read and share Science Fiction, the literature of speculation and change.

The "For Teachers" content of the site includes: "Why teach SF?"; numerous full course outlines as well as shorter lesson plans; information on finding guest speakers; video of lectures and interviews; reading guides for a number of science fiction and fantasy novels; sample projects; "SF and _____" (current content includes -for the Science Classroom, -for the French Students, -for Math Students, -for Physics Students); and SF Poetry selected by author and poet Scott Green.

AboutSF welcomes correspondence from readers, teachers, and writers, including contributions to "Teaching the Future," a column in which teachers share stories and advice about using SF in the classroom.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jane Austen Stamps

Jane Austen stamps were issued by the Royal Mail February 21. All six published novels are included to mark the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice.

Friday, February 22, 2013

First Nation Films

Since 1998, First Nation Films has been creating and distributing award-winning television documentary films for, by and about Indigenous people. Their exclusive programs are distributed to broadcasters, schools, libraries, universities and other individuals and institutions throughout the world. First Nation Films is also considers films for distribution.

Currently in production:

Two First Nations homeless youth search for the meaning of their home.

THE CIRCLES OF LIFE - The Medicine Wheel 2
Personal insight into the ancient stone circles in Canada and beyond!

A visually beautiful film on the depth and meaning of the totem poles of the west coast - then and now.

Analyzing the Indian "business" in Canada

First Nations Programs Available:

Life on the Reserve (real life)
Deception of Freedom (law)
The Medicine Wheel (native spirituality)
Whose Land is This? (land settlement)
Making Treaties (land settlement)
Role Models (inspiration for our youth)
Beat of the Drum (native music)
Native Women: Politics (history)
Reclaiming Our Children (child wellness)
DANCE - In Search of Hamat'sa (dance)
The Residential Schools (the other side)
Living in Two Worlds (old and new)
Dancing on the Moon (discovery)
Sleep Dancer (a dramatic journey)
Vanishing Links (returning to her roots)
HIV - If There's a Will ... (native people)
Echoes of the Sisters (breast cancer)
The Storytellers (truth and honor)
The Pipe Makers (making the pipe)
Sacred Buffalo People (culture and tradition)
The Medicine People (ceremony)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tiny Lights No Longer in Print

Tiny Lights announces with its latest issue (18.1) that it will be its last print issue."The world has changed a lot since 1995, and while advances such as email and the Internet have made publishing easier, increased printing and mailing costs have taken this enterprise from impractical to impossible. What hasn't changed is the loving support from our family of writers and readers, who continue to keep the power of story alive," writes the editors. "The decision to end the hard copy version of Tiny Lights has not been smooth or easy . . . I hope you'll stay tuned!" Current subscribers may choose to receive back issues or have their money refunded.

The final print issue features writing by Eleanor Stanford, Kathryn Wilder, Richard Jay Goldstein, Traci Moore, JLSchneider, Gillian P. Herbert, Margaret Rose, Barbara Shine, Marilyn Petty, Catherine Crawford, Jamie Moore, Laurel Aiona, Carol Hoorn, and Teresa Oefinger.

Modern Haiku Awards

The favorite poems from the autumn 2012 issue are selected by an anonymous selector and donor, and the poets receive a $50 award.

Favorite haiku:: Jayne Miller

dead of winter
making stock
from the bones

Favorite senryu: Dorothy McLaughlin

my ex's date
wearing the dress
I almost bought

Favorite haibun: Harriot West

"A Brief Analysis of Contemporary Society as Seen Through My Eyes"

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

December Fiction Open Winners

Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their December Fiction Open competition. This competition is held quarterly. Stories generally range from 2000-6000 words, though up to 20,000 is fine. The next Fiction Open will take place in March. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.

First place: Vi Khi Nao [Pictured], Providence, RI, wins $2500 for "Herman and Margaret." Her story will be published in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Glimmer Train Stories.

Second place: David H. Lynn, of Gambier, OH, wins $1000 for “Divergence.” His story will be published in an upcoming issue.

Third place: Madhuri Vijay, of Bangalore, India, wins $600 for “Hill Station.”

A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.

Deadline soon approaching! Short Story Award for New Writers: February 28. This competition is held quarterly and is open to all writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5000. No theme restrictions. Most submissions to this category run 1500-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. First place prize is $1500. Second/third: $500/$300. Click here for complete guidelines.

Carve in Print

Carve has published their second print edition, this one themed about school. "It's difficult to capture the range of joys and challenges one may experience in school in just one short story," writes Editor-in-Chief Matthew Limpede. "We hadn't planned to do a school-themed issue, but as we looked through the sotires that were drawing us in and receiving cheers from our reading committee, we realized we didn't have just one story to give us insight into school, teenagers, and classrooms. We had four. Each of them present a different angle from which to view the prism."

These stories that are included (along with interviews with the authors about writing style and processes) are "Lone Wolf" by Eric Freeze, "Literature Appreciation" by Man Martin, "Firebug" by Katie Cortese, and "Snow Day" by Gary V. Powell. Also in this issue is a Reject! section, which lists pieces rejected from Carve that have gone on to be published elsewhere; it also has a note both from Amber Krieger and the editor about the rejection of her piece "Among the Missing and the Dead" which went on to win the 2009 Fulton Prize and be published in the Adirondack Review.

Short Grain Contest

Grain hosted its 24th Annual Short Grain contest, judged by Lawrence Hill in fiction and rob mclennan in poetry. The Winter 2013 issue includes the winners along with comments from the judges. The winning fiction piece, Susan Mersereau's "The Valley," was selected because, according to Hill, it "leapt off the page from the first sentences, thanks to its strange, haunting, and unusual delivery." And mclennan writes that in first place "something like being (five flights, for rafi)," speech is made out of single words, and less than. It can be that simple, that complicated.

Fiction: judged by Lawrence Hill
1st Prize, $1000 — Susan Mersereau of Vancouver, BC
2nd Prize, $750 — Madeline Sonik of Victoria, BC
3rd Prize, $500 — Alexandra Sadinoff of New York, NY

judged by rob mclennan
1st Prize, $1000 — Sean Howard of Main-à-Dieu, NS
2nd Prize, $750 — Jordan Abel of Vancouver, BC
3rd Prize, $500 — Kate Flaherty of Toronto, ON

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Poetry :: Portraits by Mark Irwin

American Life in Poetry: Column 413

Every day, hundreds of thousands of us are preoccupied with keeping up a civil if not loving relationship with our parents. In this poem, Mark Irwin (who lives in Colorado) does a beautiful job in portraying, in a dreamlike manner, the complexities of just one of those relationships.


Mother came to visit today. We
hadn’t seen each other in years. Why didn’t
you call? I asked. Your windows are filthy, she said. I know,
I know. It’s from the dust and rain. She stood outside.
I stood in, and we cleaned each one that way, staring into each other’s eyes,
rubbing the white towel over our faces, rubbing
away hours, years. This is what it was like
when you were inside me, she said. What? I asked,
though I understood. Afterwards, indoors, she smelled like snow
melting. Holding hands we stood by the picture window,
gazing into the December sun, watching the pines in flame.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2010 by Mark Irwin, whose most recent book of poems is Tall If, New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008. Poem reprinted from The Sun, July, 2010, by permission of Mark Irwin and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.

2012 Lush Triumphant Winners

subTerrain's newest issue features the winners of the 2012 Lush Triumphant Literary Award Winners, the 10th annual contest.

Fiction: Carleigh Baker's "Last Call"
Poetry: Susan Musgrave's "The Goodness of This World"

Fiction: M.E. Powell's "Grid Lines"
Poetry: Ashley-Elizabeth Best's "Erratics"

Honorable Mention
Creative Nonfiction: Natalia Buchok's "1948"

The rest of the issue features "Zombie Sluts, Purple Cows, and the Pornography of Death," "We Are a Rupture That Cannot Be Contained," "Canadian Nationalism: The Tip of the Colonial Iceberg," and more.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Puppets, Poetry, Japan, and Jesse Glass

SPECS { } literary magazine from Rollins College features an interview with Jesse Glass as well as some of his work. Jesse Glass teaches literature and history at Meikai (Bright Sea) University in Japan, is author of The Passion of Phineas Gage and Slected Poems, publisher of Ahadada Press, and is a puppeteer and visual artist. His interview with SPECS covers his living abroad ("outsourcing" is SPECS theme), crossing boundaries of artistic expressions, and his work with the Meikai International Puppet Theater.

Unsanctioned Writing and Freedom of Speech

Check out Sampsonia Way: A Magazine on Literary Freedom of Expression. The publication offers full, online content, with the latest column by Vijay Nair "The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party" in which Nair parallels Indian government to “Alice in Wonderland” — the country is falling down the rabbit hole with its paradoxic interpretation of free speech. Also featured are interviews with Frank Dullaghan, Hind Shoufani, Zeina Hashem Beck, and Jehan Bseiso in columns "Unsanctioned Writing from the Middle East"; and an account of an attack against journalist Lars Hedegaard, the Mexican cartel’s intimidation tactics, and a Chinese blogger’s grassroots revolution are covered in Freedom of Speech Roundup.

Booth 2012 Poetry Prize

Booth 4 features the winners of the 2012 Poetry Prize, judged by Linda Gregg. Gregg's awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer’s Award, an NEA grant, a Lannan Literary Foundation Fellowship, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and multiple Pushcart Prizes. The first place winner received $500 and publication, and the second place winner won $250 and publication.

1st Prize: “How to Make a Beginning” by Aubrey Ryan
2nd Prize: “Bearing October” by Sarah Marcus
Honorable Mention: “Travelogue” by Claire Kiefer

“Country Road” by George Amabile
“Distance and Order” by Dylan Carpenter
“Lion in the Limo” by Doug Paul Case
“To Know a Door” by Kate Rutledge Jaffe
“Travelogue” by Claire Kiefer
“May Support Life” by Alyse Knorr
“Bearing October” by Sarah Marcus
“How to Make a Beginning” by Aubrey Ryan
“Trout” by Emily Viggiano
“Flemish Giants” by Susan Yount

Friday, February 15, 2013

Faulkner on How to Study Literature

From the Paris Review interview with novelist William Faulkner, published in 1956:

INTERVIEWER: Some people say they can't understand your writing, even after they read it two or three times. What approach would you suggest for them?

FAULKNER: Read it four times.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Knock's New Cycle

Knock magazine is switching from a biannual cycle to an annual cycle, while also publishing 3-4 pieces online each month. The print issue for this year will be released April 2013, after which the issues will be printed in December of each year.

So what happens if you already have a subscription? Instead of receiving two for a year, your subscription is automatically changed to be for two years (so you will still get two issues). "In the end, with this new hybrid of online/print distribution, we will have more consistent contact with our readers--as well as a more artful product," writes Caitlin Coey, managing editor.

Liberal Arts in Business

"The value of a liberal arts education has long been a source of skepticism in the business community. However, in a recent interview for PandoMonthly, Chad Dickerson - the CEO of Etsy who has a BA in English literature from Duke University - talked about the importance of a liberal arts background. When asked to name one thing he believes in that almost no one else does, he responded: 'I believe that liberal arts education is as important, maybe more important, than a math or science education.'" - "Is there a Place for Liberal Arts in Business?" Inc. Online.

Philip Roth Unmasked

American Masters explores the life and career of Pulitzer Prize-and National Book Award-winning novelist Philip Roth, often referred to as the greatest living American writer. Reclusive and diffident, Roth grants very few interviews, but for the first time, allowed a journalist to spend 10 days interviewing him on camera. The result is Philip Roth: Unmasked, a 90-minute documentary that features Roth freely discussing very intimate aspects of his life and art as he has never done before. The film has its world theatrical premiere March 13-19 for one week only at Film Forum in New York City and premieres nationally Friday, March 29 on PBS (check local listings) in honor of Roth’s 80th birthday. (Text from PBS AM.)

New Poetry Editor

Sou'wester's Fall 2012 issue has a new poetry editor: Stacey Lynn Brown. Editor Valerie Vogrin writes that as long as she has been with the journal, she has been learning new ways to think about poetry and how to assemble a publication. "The opportunity to collaborate with Stacey is no exception to this happy furthering of my literary education," she says.

"The way we work things," she continues, "I don't generally see the poems until it's time to lay out the entire issue. As that day approaches, I work with our talented roster of readers to select a complementary array of stories and essays, my anticipation rising. I am like the co-hostess of an elaborate gala who is forced to wait for months on end for the other half of the invitation list to be revealed. I have a sense of what kind of party it will be based on my accumulating choices, but until we've assembled all the guests and finalized the seating arrangement, so to speak, neither of us knows exactly what the season's bash with bring."

But now that it's here, we know that the party guests include Alex Fabrizio, Angie Macri, Cynthia Manick, Nikki Zielinski,Jenna Bazzell, Elyse Fenton, James Ellenberger, Seth Abramson, Thomas Hawks, Scott Weaver, Lance Wilcox, Jon Pearson, Jeff Martin, Randall Brown, Jessica Afshar, Corey Ginsberg, and more. To see the whole guest list, you'll have to invite yourself to the party, and go get an issue.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

CFS Renaissance Essays & Reviews

Currently in its second issue, The Hare seeks short essays on the poetry, prose, and drama of the English renaissance, and reviews of foundational, seminal, neglected, or overlooked books in the field. The Hare is a peer-reviewed, on-line academic journal.

Goodbye to an Editor

Ecotone's "The Abnormal Issue" announces that Editor Ben George will be leaving the magazine to pursue his career in NYC. Editor-in-Chief David Gessner writes an intro to the magazine, dedicating several pages to recognize his gratitude for Ben and acknowledge Ben's hard work, ambition, and dedication. Spending a great deal of time editing and developing strong relationships with the writers, Ben, as Gessner says, will be "dearly missed." Gessner writes, "We wish him luck and many sharpened pencils.

The issue itself features David Shields, Lia Purpura, Darin Strauss, Nicholas Kahn, Richard Selesnick, Lauren Slater, Beth Ann Fennelly, Paul Crenshaw, Jen Percy, Dash Shaw, Olivia Clare, George Makana Clark, Edith Pearlman, Andrew Tonkovich, Douglas Watson, Callan Wink, Geoff Wyss, Gerard Beirne, Marvin Bell, Billy Collins, Adam Giannelli, Mark Halliday, Janet McNally, Christoper Merrill, Donald Platt, Diane Seuss, Bruce Smith, Charles Harper Webb, and Robert Wrigley.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Craft Essays on Brevity

Brevity online magazine of "concise literary nonfiction" also regularly publishes craft essays. Recent contributions to this feature include "On Writing as an Act of Living: An Interview with Terry Tempest Williams" by Jeanette Luise Eberhardy; "The Ant in the Water Droplet: Locating the Mystery within Memory" by Philip Graham; "Tipping the Whippers" by Mary Clearman Blew (examining the demands of the writing life and writers' responses to them, "Drink Wild Turkey" she advises); and "Not Every Sentence Can Be Great But Every Sentences Must Be Good" by Cynthia Newberry Martin.

RRofihe Trophy Contest Winner

The Winner of the 2012 No-Fee RRofihe Trophy Short Story Contest at Anderbo is Martha Clarkson of Seattle for "Her Voices, Her Room." The 2013 No-Fee RRofihe Trophy Short Story Contest, now in its 10th year, is open for submissions until January 7, 2014.

New Editors at Anderbo magazine welcomes three new editors. From Anderbo's newsletter, here is a description of the new staff members:

Leslie Fields, Associate Editor
Leslie Fields holds an undergraduate degree in English and Theatre from St. Mary's College of Maryland and a MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. Graduating in 2011, Leslie studied under the tutelage of award winners' Mary Morris, Brian Morton and Joan Silber. She is also the author of two plays, "Never Have" and "Hecho in Ecuador," a compilation of short pieces created for Dramatic Adventure Theatre (DAT). Both plays were performed off-off Broadway in New York City. She is currently working on a collection of interconnected short stories.

Suzannah Windsor, Associate Editor
Suzannah Windsor is a Canadian writer and editor whose work has appeared in Sou'wester, Grist, Anderbo, Saw Palm, Best of the Sand Hill Review, and others. She studied English Literature at The University of Windsor, and Education at Lakehead University. Currently, she lives in Australia.

Claudine Levy
, Associate Editor
Claudine Levy is graduating with an English degree from Bristol University this summer, having regularly written for the student newspaper, Epigram, and online arts forum, Inter:Mission. She has also written for Psychologies Magazine and is currently contributing online editor for Suitcase Magazine. She continues in her endeavors to write a pithy, self-aware novel detailing the dull life of a middle class Jewish girl plagued with pseudo-existentialist crises and an insatiable appetite. Above all things in life she loves analyzing, eating and writing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rose Metal Press Announces Short Short Chapbook Contest Winner, Open Reading Period

Rose Metal Press has announced the winner of its Seventh Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest. The Kind of Girl by Kim Henderson of Idyllwild, CA was declared the winner by judge Deb Olin Unferth. Henderson’s stories will be published as a limited-edition, handmade chapbook this summer. Rose Metal Press subscribers will receive a copy as soon as it is published.

The five contest finalists are:

River Traffic by Emma Torzs of Missoula, MT (Runner-up)
Reprieve and Other Stories by Amy Bergen of New York, NY
The 28 Mansions of the Moon by Lydia Suarez of Verona, NJ
This Is All the Orientation You Are Gonna Get by John Jodzio of Minneapolis, MN
What to Say to Aliens by Marc Sheehan of Grand Haven, MI

And semi-finalists include:

Basically People by Anji Reyner of Missoula, MT
Factories by Brandi Wells of Tuscaloosa, AL
Only Tourists Get Their Shoes Shined by Tyler Gillespie of Chicago, IL
Patient by Erika Mikkalo of Chicago, IL
The Measure Everything Machine by Mark Wallace of San Diego, CA

Rose Metal Press has also announced an open reading period for full-length submissions, from April 1 to May 1, 2013. The press focuses on hybrid and cross-genre works, especially short short, flash, and micro-fiction. For more details visit their submissions page.

New Lit on the Block :: DIALOGIST

DIALOGIST is a brand new online magazine, released quarterly. Publishing poetry and art and photography, DIALOGIST was designed “to serve as a platform for diversity through discourse.” They wish the focus to be on the content and not on the aesthetic. Founding Editor Michael Loruss says, “We expect that our featured work be clear, dynamic, and start a conversation.”

Though “dialogist” in the dictionary means “One who takes part in a dialogue” or “A writer of dialogues,” Loruss says that they “want readers to approach [the] name as more figurative and less literal, therby avoiding writing toward the name.” More simply put, he says, “the work we select will have an honest exchange with the reader, and vice versa."

Other editors of the magazine include Brandon Courtney (poetry editor), Rachel Lin Weaver (art editor), and Lia Snyderman (website manager/contributing editor). If they are able to secure outside funding, they hope to offer a select print compilation, featuring the poetry and art from each of the quarterly online issues.

The first issue of DIALOGIST features poetry by J. Scott Brownlee, Robert Campbell, Heather Cox, Rebecca Dundon, Brad Efford, Mercedes Lawry, Adam Moorad, Charles Rafferty, Daniel Ruefman, Mark Simpson, Linda Umans, and Changming Yuan as well as art by Kev Anderson, Joel T. Dugan, Erin Robinson Grant, Anders Johnson, June Yong Lee, Kate MacDowell, Andrew Maurer, Devin Mawdsley, Rachel Seed, and Kimberly Turner.

Submissions are taken on a rolling basis via Submittable. Please visit their website and Facebook for more information.

African American Poetries Summer Institute

Don't Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetries is a fifteen-month program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities that responds to the resurgence of interest in contemporary poetry, its expanded production and wide circulation. The program focuse on the history, changes and modal transformations of African American poetry in our cultural and social landscape and consider three critical periods: 1900-1960, 1960-80 and 1980-present.

Special attention will be paid to the divergent and yet cross-fertilizing trajectories of black poetry since the 1980s, which has produced both the sharp and vocal critiques of spoken word poetry and the refined academic poetry that garners so much critical attention from the literary establishment.

The application deadline for the summer institute July 14 - August 3, 2013 at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS is March 4, 2013.

2012 St. Lawrence Book Award Winner

The winner of the Black Lawrence Press 2012 St. Lawrence Book Award is Craig Bernier for winning the competition with his short story collection Your Life Idyllic.

Craig Bernier is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit and was the Jacob K. Javits Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh from 2002 to 2005. His stories have been published in The Roanoke Review, Western Humanities Review, Dogwood, Gigantic Sequins, and in a story anthology from Akashic Books titled Detroit Noir. His nonfiction has appeared in the journal Creative Nonfiction. Originally from southeastern Michigan, home is currently a stone’s throw from Pittsburgh, in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. He is at work on a novel and a collection of motorcycling essays.

Complete lists of the 2012 St. Lawrence Book Award finalists and semi-finalists can be found on the Black Lawrence Press blog.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Online Literary Magazine Reviews

Been keeping up with Screen Reading? If not, stop by and read reviews of online literary magazines by Editor Kirsten McIlvenna. Recent reviews include Cleaver Magazine, Lingerpost,, ARDOR Literary Magazine, Imitation Fruit, Literary Juice, Miracle Monocle, Ontologica, Redheaded Stepchild, Rufous City Review, Scapegoat Review, The Sim Review, storySouth, Thrush, Valparaiso Fiction Review and more!

Thanks to those of you who have dropped us a line letting us know how much you appreciate this weekly column. Readers find it helpful for locating good reading and writers like getting a professional opinion of the publication for submission consideration.

NewPages continues to provide thoughtful reviews on these online publications as well as our regular monthly feature of literary magazine reviews and book reviews.

Good reading starts here!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Staging Poetry's Voice :: Luis Bravo

On Sampsonia Way: The Staging of Poetry’s Voice: An interview with Poet Luis Bravo

SW: What’s the difference between staging of the voice and mise en scène?

LB: The staging of poetry’s voice has an infinite number of possibilities that are distinct from theatrical techniques, because theatrical techniques usually end up turning the staging of poetry’s voice into something predictable. The poet’s voicing has a stamp of personal composition that might be for live reading, or recording, or to be spoken in a passageway, or on a neighborhood street. It doesn't have to use the technology of the mise en scène. In other words, the poet elaborates the text in such a way as to make the way it’s delivered vocally into an art form too. I’ll say this clearly: poetry should sound, if the poem doesn't sound and the poet doesn’t elaborate this in its poem, then the poem is incomplete or the poetry does not come up.

Nathaniel Hawthorne Special Issue

Iron Horse Literary Review's newest issue is a special issue in honor of Nathaniel Hawthorne. "'Why Nathaniel Hawthorne?' you will ask," writes Editor Leslie Jill Patterson. "For starters, he's been good to me. My first college composition was a character analysis of Robin in Hawthorne's story "My Kinsman, Major Molineux,' and the paper earned me the only A in the class... And getting intimate with Hawthorne's stories, spending hours and hours with them, taught me something about language. Like all my faovrite classic writers, Hawthorne is an artist who manipulates the mechanical—dense language; winding sentences; dependent clauses; the letters themselves, with hooked tails and antennae—until his paragraphs transform into something surprising: a story that takes flight and fills us with wonder. And because he can do this...I ask, 'Why, not Hawthorne?'"

In this issue, Gina Ochsner, Toni Jensen, and Edith Pearlman take Hawthorne's tales and put on their own spin. "I was pleased and surprised to see these writers: a) manipulate geography, moving 'The Minister's Black Veil' to the harsh High North; b) tease out racial as well as gender issues in 'The Gentle Boy'; and c) even deal with environmental issues in 'Young Goodman Brown,'" writes Patterson.

Alongside these pieces are the three regular columns: "In the Saddle" (this time featuring the Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts where Hawthorne lived with his new bride), "Bits & Pieces" (facts about Hawthorne), and "From the Horse's Mouth" ("an interview with Nate Hawthorne").

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Transitions at The Southern Literary Journal

Fred Hobson is retiring after 23 years from co-editor of Southern Literary Journal. Co-editor Minrose Gwin writes, "In those years, he has shaped the course of southern literary criticism. Consistently open to new approaches and directions and graciously ushering in new scholars and their work in southern studies year after year, he has made the journal what it is today by always insisting on high standards and responsible, meaningful scholarship." She writes that he will be missed and that this issue is dedicated to him.

Florence Dore will be stepping up to fill the position, starting with the current issue, available now. Gwin writes, "Florence's interests in post-1945 American literature and southern studies, especially her interest in globalized approaches to southern literature and southern modernism, as well as her editorial experience as co-editor of Stanford University Press's Post 45 Series will be of great value as we move forward."

Harriet Pollack is taking over as book review editor (also taking over for Hobson). And finally Patrick Horn is stepping down from the Managing Editor position. "Unflappable and diligent, careful and innovative, Patrick has expanded the function of the Managing Editor in a number of important ways." Jameela F. Dallis, who served before as his assistant editor, will be filling the position.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Main Street Rag Editor Changes

The Main Street Rag magazine explains in their current issue that Richard Allen Taylor will be taking over as the magazine's review editor. "Richard will be retiring from his day job March 31 and going back to school to earn his MFA," writes Editor M. Scott Douglass. "So, while other students may be working a day job to complete their Masters, he hopes to be a full time student with projects like this on the side."

In the issue itself, featured is an interview with MSR Poetry Book Award Winner Colin D. Halloran; fiction by Mackenzie Evan Smith, Terresa Haskew, John Christopher Lloyd, and Eric V. Neagu; and poetry by Steve Abbott, Phillip Barron, Llyn Clague, Joan Colby, Lyle Daggett, Davis Enloe, Robert Gamble, Logan C. Jones, Mike Jurkovic, Dan Memmolo, Leland March, Brady Rhoades, Maria Rouphail, Scott Vanya, Travis Venters, and more.

Salinger Secrets Revealed?

According to David Wagner of the Atlantic: "...filmmaker Shane Salerno has completed Salinger, a documentary eight years in the making that's being touted as 'an unprecedented look into the mysterious life of the author of The Catcher In the Rye.'" Wagner questions this in consideration of previous promises to give insight into the recluse author's life - with no return on those promises. Wagner explores several questions on his own: "Here's what we still don't know about Salinger, along with some educated guesses about how these new projects might address the gray areas."

The Horse in Poetry and Prose

"...equines carry great material, functional, and symbolic value for humans, making them prime subjects for artistic representation; and equines convey extraordinary visual beauty, physical stature, and dynamic movement, making them ideal objects for aesthetic treatment. The status of the equine in literature differs."

The Horse in Poetry and Prose by Charles Caramello is the fourth in a series of articles that look at horses in paintings, memorial statues, and theatre and film, published online in Horsetalk.

Beacon Street Prize Winner

Redivider starts off volume 10 with a cover designed from previous covers. Inside, the 2012 Beacon Street Prize winner is featured. The winning piece, "Mathematics for Nymphomaniacs" by Tasha Matsumoto, was selected by Michael Kimball.

Here are his comments on the piece: "'Mathematics for Nymphomaniacs' shows a wide-ranging imagination and an original sensibility that is so rare. I've never before read anything like this audacious story created out of absurd versions of those standardized tests that we all hated to take. I love that Tasha Matsumoto makes choices that I don't expect and didn't imagine until I read [the story]. That this story is also so full of a strange and beautiful and sad kind of implication makes it all the more amazing. I'm excited to find out what she does next."

Also featured in this issue is writing from Kim Addonizio, Jeff Allessandrelli, Nan Becker, Rob MacDonald, Jen Hirt, Emily Kiernan, Ben McClendon, Nicole O'Connor, M. Owens, Jennifer Perrine, Anne Valente, Christopher Watkins, Wendy Xu, and Monika Zobel.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Alimentum: Officially a Monthly

Alimentum - The Literature of Food is now officially an online monthly magazine. They were close to this ever since they became online, but they have now announced that during the first week of each month, a new issue will be published: "a new roster of food works. Tasty fiction. Juicy poetry. Tantalizing essays. Mouth-watering mutlimedia. Cozy-smart book reviews." February's issue should be out shortly.

Art :: Dan-ah Kim

I came across works by Dan-ah Kim while doing some googling and was swept up by her images. Born in Seoul and residing in Brooklyn, NY, Kim is a graduate of Pratt Institute, and currently "makes art" and works in film and television. Her works are prints of original, multi-media composition. She has very reasonably priced prints for sale on Etsy, including these two here that I thought writers and readers might appreciate. Her works have appeared on and in the Washington Post Fiction Issue (how appropriate!) as well as on the cover of How to Paint a Dead Man by Man Booker Finalist Sarah Hall.

Furthermore Grant for 501(c)3 Presses

The Furthermore Program is concerned with nonfiction book publishing about the city; natural and historic resources; art, architecture, and design; cultural history; and civil liberties and other public issues of the day. Their grants apply to writing, research, editing, design, indexing, photography, illustration, and printing and binding. Furthermore applicants must be 501(c)3 organizations. They have included civic and academic institutions, museums, independent and university presses, and professional societies. Trade publishers and public agencies may apply for Furthermore grants in partnership with an eligible nonprofit project sponsor. Applications from individuals cannot be accepted. Grants from $500 to roughly $15,000 are awarded in spring and fall with March 1 and September 1 deadlines.

Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Contest

The New Quarterly's newest issue features the runners up of the Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award, which is sponsored by the St. Jerome's University English Department:

Andrew Forbes: "The Rate at Which He Fell"

Kari Lund-Teigen: "Down to Here"

Susan Yong: "When Genghis Khan Was My Lover"

The rest of the issue features short fiction by Leesa Dean, H.W. Browne, Joe Davies, Amy Jones, Russell Smith, and Betsy Struthers. New Poetry is by Rafi Aaron, Katherine Edwards, Cynthia Woodman Kerkham, Tanis MacDonald, Symon Jory Stevens-Guille, Susan Telfer, and Patricia Young. There are also featured essays by Jeffery Donaldson, Warren Heiti, Zachariah Wells, and D.W. Wilson.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Bateau in Color

Bateau magazine, with volume 5, now offers color not just on the cover but also inside on the pages. This allows for some creative color art to pop out. The editors say, "Volume 5 is a kind of breath. A pining and permitting. A thing that gives you patience when you can't come up with it. A gift that eases a gift."

Featured writers include Maria Adelmann, Benny Anderson, Glen Armstrong, Julie Babcock, Caitlin Bailey, Josh Bettinger, Caroline Cabrera, Megan Garr, James Heflin, RIch Ives, Timothy Kercher, Sara Lefsyk, George Looney, Lisa Allen Ortiz, Eliza Rotterman, Leona Sevick, D.E. Steward, Chelsa Whitton, and many more.

Baltimore Review Contest Winners

The Baltimore Review has announced the winners of their winter issue contest:

Le Hinton, 1st place, for “Epidemic”
Shenan Prestwich, 2nd place, for “Settling”
D.M. Armstrong, 3rd place, for “Take Care”

The final judge for the contest was Bruce A. Jacobs.

The winning poems and story are included in the online issue launched February 1. The issue also features work by Linda Pastan, Reginald Harris, Gregory Wolos, Sally Rosen Kindred, Jen Hirt, Kristin Camitta Zimet, Brad Rose, Priyatam Mudivarti, Grace Curtis, Noreen McAuliffe, Angie Macri, Helen Degen Cohen, Brandel France de Bravo, Joanna Pearson, Megan Grumbling, Patrick Milian, Amanda Leigh Rogers, Michael Ugulini, Jon Udelson, and Elizabeth Wetmore, as well as responses to two visual prompts.

February 1 also marks the beginning of the current submission period for The Baltimore Review.

2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced its 2013 list of Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA). This year’s list of 102 books was drawn from 200 official nominations.

The books, recommended for ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. The list comprises a wide range of genres and styles, including contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction and novels in verse. The full list can be found here.

The Best Fiction for Young Adults committee also created a Top Ten list of titles from the final list, all published in 2012:

Andrews, Jesse. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Abrams/Amulet Books.

Bray, Libba. The Diviners. Little. Brown Books for Young Readers.

Hartman, Rachel. Seraphina. Random House/Random House Books for Young Readers.

Kontis, Alethea. Enchanted. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Harcourt Children’s Books.

Levithan, David. Every Day. Random House/Knopf Books for Young Readers.

McCormick, Patricia. Never Fall Down. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray.

Quick, Matthew. Boy 21. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Saenz, Benjamin. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven Boys. Scholastic.

Wein, Elizabeth. Code Name Verity. Disney/Hyperion.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Friday, February 01, 2013

What I'm Reading :: Starved by Michael Somers

At a time when I hear people lament there are “too many books” in our culture, concerning the topic of this particular book, there are far too few. Starved (Rundy Hill Press), written by my teaching colleague Michael Somers, is a young adult novel about male eating disorders. Often overlooked or discounted as “serious,” 10 – 15% of people with anorexia are male, and these men are less likely to seek treatment for the disorder because of the perception that anorexia is a “woman’s disease.” This is all the more reason why books like Starved are so critical to have in publication and in the hands of young adults. So often, books go where adults cannot to open up connections and conversations with young adults. Starved is a way in, a bridge builder, and a wake-up call for some.

Nathan, the young male protagonist of the story, is entering his senior year of high school after a grueling junior year where he spent much of his time in school and studying. His heavy school load led to stress, which led to eating: “I could polish off a bag of Doritos in one night, which caused Mom stress of her own. ‘That’s not healthy, Nathan,’ she said, wrinkling her nose. ‘Why don’t you eat some fruit and cheese instead? You’re going to get fat.’ Thanks, Mom.” Nathan vows to improve his physique and spends the months before senior year exercising. Excessively. Not only does Nathan have his own social image and fitting in to worry about, inherent in all high school situations, but he has the pressure from his parents to do well, to achieve.

Mom and Dad, Astrid and George, belong to the social upper crust. Dad is “Mr. Super-Busy Lawyer Man” who prefers to hide behind his Wall Street Journal at the dinner table, issuing snarky remarks, and Mom is “Mr. Super-Busy Lawyer Man’s Overextended Stay-at-Home Wife” whose glass continually clinks with ice and vodka. To them, Nathan is their external showpiece, but inside the house, he is largely ignored, talked around and over, but rarely talked to except to berate with cutting remarks. “My parents brought their issues home to roost on my shoulders more and more over the summer, like a couple of screeching parrots. Something was changing. Dad stepped up criticizing Mom and me, and Mom stepped up trying to make everything, including me, a trophy.” There’s no wondering what exacerbates Nathan’s need to exert control over his world in some way, the common response factor that leads young adults into eating disorders.

Somers’s portrayal of Nathan reflects the world of the characters and their relationships to one another. Written from points of view that alternate, some chapters focus on Astrid in third person, some from the counselor's and doctor’s notes, but most in the first person from Nathan himself. Nathan’s role of victim within his family does not discredit his validity as narrator. Somers has Nathan provide accounts of his interactions in brief detail, then spends more time inside Nathan’s head, providing the running monologue of how Nathan chooses to respond while at the same time trying to figure out who he is and where he wants to go with his life. Unfortunately for Nathan, there is not a lot he can consider other than his own body and how he can control it through eating, throwing up, and not eating. Instead of thinking about a future for himself, Nathan is continually stuck in his present, stuck in his body, and at the same time, trying desperately to get out.

It is at times a very uncomfortable read. As much as the reader wants Nathan to snap out of his behavior, out of his mindset, it is all too clear he has nothing to snap out to. There is a kind of cold chill that runs throughout the book as Nathan’s disorder progresses. It’s the same cold chill that runs through Nathan’s family life. There are no warm  fuzzies in this reading, and no easy rescues. Somers will not save either the reader nor his own character and takes us on a slow, disconcerting descent into the darkness of this disorder.

Nathan sets up rules for himself. He can buy junk food, but can’t eat it, storing it in a “trophy box” under his bed. He has to do jumping jacks – hundreds of them each day. He can’t eat fats before noon. When he does eat, he makes himself purge to the point where he can vomit without sticking his finger down his throat. The times Nathan is “tempted,” Somers takes the reader through Nathan’s every torturous thought that must be suppressed and controlled. At one point, Nathan gives a friend a ride, stopping off to get some snacks. After he drops her off:
At the stop sign at the end of her subdivision, I noticed her candy bar wrapper on the floor. I leaned over, picked it up, and saw a smear of chocolate on the shiny surface. I lifted it to my nose and took a deep breath. My head popped from the smell, and I felt intoxicated. Before I knew it, my tongue licked the chocolate clean from the wrapper, but I couldn't stop. I kept licking the way a dog licks a plate long after it’s been clean of leftovers. A horn honked behind me, and I threw the wrapper down and floored it through the intersection, not looking to see if there were any cars coming.
There are more haunting images of Nathan, like when his mother finds him passed out on the living room floor, causing her to dial 9-1-1: “She couldn’t help but see, with Nathan on the floor like a dead body, just how razor thin he had become. His fingers were nothing but bone. The visible side of his face was like a tautly covered skull. She could see his eye sockets and the hinge of his jaw right there, just under the skin.” Somers turns over several chapters to the mom, Astrid, as she struggles to deal with her son’s illness during his in-patient treatment while maintaining the family image in society. Forget the dad; George will have none of it, and so much as tells Nathan this during a family therapy session. When Nathan is well enough to leave, he will not be invited back home.

The larger portion of the book is spent with Nathan in a treatment center for young adults with eating disorders – where he is the only male patient. The story continues Nathan’s sense of confinement, as he is not allowed to leave the facility, yet for the reader, there is some relief in hoping that Nathan might now receive some help and began to heal from his disorder. Nathan is resistant at first, doing jumping jacks on the sly, taking the liquid Ensure over eating meals (which he learns is actually more loaded with calories, so he accepts the real food).  It is a long, complex process for him, and Somers does well to convey this to the reader, providing the running monologue of the struggles Nathan still faces in choosing to eat or be force fed, in having to deal mentally and emotionally with each pound he gains:
My first magic number was 122 pounds. That’s when I could do yoga and Creative Movement and volleyball. My second magic number was 130 pounds. That’s when I could go off the unit but stay in the hospital. My big granddaddy get-me-discharged magic number was 145 pounds. When I first got here, I weighed 112 pounds, so those numbers seemed pretty big to me at first. It may as well have been 200 pounds to gain. From where I sat, there wasn't much difference. But as I got to 120 and 121 pounds, believe me, I noticed the difference. Freedom, or something sort of like it, was within reach now.
Nathan’s ongoing work with his counselors also helps him to confront his parents during family therapy for their part in his life choices, and eventually, understand his father is at the root of his greatest fear:
"I was afraid of being like him, God. I was afraid too much had been leveled by the cyclone that passed from George to me. I was afraid if I ever got married and had kids, I’d do to my family what George did to Astrid and me. I was afraid that I was no good and couldn't be fixed."

Nathan has many small moments of struggle, with the counselors, doctors, and other inpatients, that he continues to work through. The therapy moments are much what you would expect from teens – non-compliance, non-participation  and sarcasm. But one session in particular provides a turning point for Nathan: when the residents are asked to lie down on long pieces of paper and have their body outlines drawn for them to see:
What I saw made me think of the cop shows and the chalk outlines of dead bodies. There I was, down on that paper, drawn out in black marker, like a dead person. I didn't take up much space at all. The outline looked so thin. I felt huge though! There I was, on the floor, not huge at all. It was like Steve had taken someone from a concentration camp and drawn his body. That couldn't be me; it couldn't  I couldn’t figure out what I was seeing . . . Who was this skinny boy on the paper? And what happened to him? Where were his parents? Why did they let this happen to him?
The best way for eating disorders to succeed is to not talk about them, to not even acknowledge their existence. Somers's treatment of this malady in our society is one that confronts but does not dramatize, which would be easy to do and turn the subject matter into a kind of bad, after-school special. The way Somers presents the story, through Nathan's logic, makes it so the reader, while not agreeing with what Nathan is doing, can completely understand why he is doing it. Somers creates a character through which a mental health disorder can be understood, which is what lifts this book above teen angst narrative. Through Nathan's thoughts, we can clearly see his triggers, his reactions, and his resistances, his cries for help, and manipulation to avoid help. Whereas some people read stories set in foreign countries to learn about those places, this book can be read to better understand the mindset of the individual with an eating disorder.

Does Starved have a happy ending? It’s hard to say. Nathan lives, that much I think I can safely give away. But, as is the course with such mental and emotional disorders in our society, eating disorders are for life. Nathan’s gaining enough weight to earn a day pass is only the beginning of what he will need to continue achieving on his road to recovery if he hopes to truly live again. I think Somers would like to have us believe that Nathan has been helped and that there is hope, but the reality this young adult novel delivers is that happily ever afters are for fairy tales. Nathan, just like the rest of us, has a long road ahead of him, but at least he has a road, and that's way better than not having one at all.