“Belly” by Haddayr Copley-Woods

From Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, August/September issue

By A.W. Marshall

fsf coverThe short story, Belly, by Haddayr Copley-Woods, featured in the July/August issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction fascinates, disgusts, and digs into the brain of itself, conjuring magic within its own spinning yarn.   With a hive of witches and an unsuspecting girl, Copley-Woods clearly uses fairytales as inspiration for Belly, but that’s simply a model for her larger themes: abuse and personal destiny.  After I read Belly, I forced it into my writer friends’ hands, excited, hopeful, distracted and envious of what they would experience for the first time.  Rarely does it feel like a crime to have something so remarkable not freely available for everyone to read.

goya the spell 2 Goya, The Spell Continue reading

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Our Friends Write Great Things

Piecemeal has slowed down the last few months because of life, mostly.  However, we’re not above shameless marketing for our friends in the meantime.  Four friends of the magazine have published books recently, including one of the editors, Charlie Geoghegan-Clements.  Otherwise, two of our reviewers–Tatiana Ryckman and Ian Bodkin and one of the writers reviewed, Colin Winnette, have also published books  See below:

Charlie’s lovely book, full of the sensitivity his friends know him for and lots or pensises, is Superhero Questions: Check it our HERE.

Tatiana Ryckman’s  totem to quirky thoughtfulness, Twenty Something, can be found HERE.

Ian Bodkin’s tour de force of personification, Every Word Was Once Drunk, focusing on a character simply called Drunk, can be found HERE.

Colin Winnette’s book, Coyote, which is only available in pre-release now but comes out strong in January–>HERE.  You can review Tatiana’s review of Winnette’s short story, Cement Men, below.

A.W. Marshall

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“Flashcards” by Thomas Nowak

from Cartridge Lit, May 19, 2014

Review by Elisabeth Cook

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Recently, on a car trip, I readFlashcards” by Thomas Nowak to my boyfriend. I had been happy to find the series of poems in Cartridge Lit after coming across Nowak’s “Mr. Fruit,” a hilarious account of a deranged Sims character, in Arsenic Lobster two years ago. While my primary reaction to “Mr. Fruit” was laughing myself to tears, I remember thinking at the time that I was lucky to have stumbled upon such exciting, original work by a relatively unknown poet. “Flashcards” provided the same sense of excitement without simply being more of the same. Before reading it aloud to my boyfriend, I felt compelled to explain the format: Each poem is a rectangular block cropped to size and divided into two “sides” with a double forward slash. I wasn’t sure how to convey this, so we agreed that I should say “flip” when I came to the division. Continue reading

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“January 19, 1969” by Gerard Sarnat

from Star 82 Review Issue 2.2: Summer 2014

Review by Howard Richard Debs

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Gerard Sarnat is my kind of poet. First of all he “lives” way beyond the literary beltway, following in the footsteps of those from Chaucer, a clerk of the King’s Works to Robert Frost, a farmer-poet—poultry I believe was his staple, to name but two who plied their trade while penning their verse. Gerard Sarnat’s day job is that of a physician. He did not start sending his writing out into the world until age 64, perhaps feeling he had by then accumulated enough of life to have something really worth writing about, so in that he takes his cue from the likes of Charles Bukowski and Wallace Stevens among others who also found the muse farther up the road, and it is perhaps in part Sarnat’s extensive life experience that contributes to his unique perspective as a poet. Continue reading

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“Ramona” by Sarah Gerkensmeyer

From American Short Fiction, online fiction, published April 1st, 2014

Review by Emily Collins

American Short FictionFor the narrator in Sarah Gerkensmeyer’s short story “Ramona” published on American Short Fiction’s website, the longing for an old friend proves not to be the sentimental and familiar account one would expect. Like many coming of age tales, “Ramona” is told primarily through flashback, focused on a pivotal moment that alters a child’s perception of the world. And the story does this, beginning innocuously enough with the narrator remembering a time she spent the night with one of her closest friends. Then the memory takes a dark and unexpected turn as the narrator’s friend Ramona reveals she can flip her heart onto the outside of her chest letting it lie there like “a wild bird afraid to fly away but so eager to do it,” making “Ramona” an unusual story that faithfully explores the subtle, complex nature of early friendships. Continue reading

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“Palm to Palm” by Danielle Luther Leubbe

From Arcadia Magazine, 8

Review By A.W. Marshall

Aracadia 2What Danielle Luther Luebbe does best in her nonfiction piece, “Palm to Palm,” in the most recent Arcadia, a literary magazine out of Oklahoma, is to remind us our best chance to be aware of our own history is to put those details into clarity.

“Palm to Palm” is patched together eloquently through counter-posed memories focusing first on Luebbe’s father then her mother that cleanly weaves the past, present and future together into memoir, but not romanticism.  Luebbe reveals that it is the mundane that matters, from the scribbled words her mother leaves behind on bill envelopes and newspapers after phone calls to her father helping a calf birth.  What isn’t mundane, such as the story of her own conception, she cloaks in authenticity, not an overly-sentimental imaging of her own personal history.

There would have been no foreplay.  Both are tired; Mother from her forty hour week making bowstrings at the little brick factory in town, over thirty miles away.  …My father would have been out in the storm all day, feeding hay to cows, watching their udders, heavy with milk.

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“The Ax” by Jess Row

From Tin House, Volume 15, Number 4.

Review by Rich Farrell

tin house 2The narrator in Jess Row’s “The Ax” declares that he wants to tell a simple story, as mild as the large flakes of snow falling on a late-winter Manhattan sidewalk in 1994. This six-page story opens with pastoral descriptions of that snow, and of “a hushed street of low handsome row houses, some stone apartment buildings, many with wrought-iron gateways and interior courtyards.” Sixteen year-old Ann lives here, in a place where “the world’s unpleasantness has just been entirely banned.” Ann’s tutor, Paul, is a twenty-something, avant-garde cellist, hired to help Ann with math and history. But the narrator’s ambition—to tell this tale mildly—runs amok as soon as we discover that, rather than helping Ann with antonyms and trigonometry, Paul is having sex with her before the girl’s mother comes home from work. Continue reading

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