July/August 2009

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; the prolific William T. Vollmann; six debut writers; plus art, music, movies, and books to enjoy during the long, hot summer ahead.



Creative Colossus: William T. Vollmann's Body of Work

by Anthony Miller
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For more than twenty years William T. Vollmann has been writing some of the most intellectually engaged, provocative, and, quite frankly, disturbing books in contemporary American literature.

First-Fiction Annual: Six New Novelists on What It Takes to Write and Publish a Debut

by Staff
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Interviews with debut authors Nicola Keegan, Reif Larsen, Ru Freeman, Joshua Mohr, Ali Sethi, and Joanna Smith Rakoff.

News and Trends

Bennington Band Honors Late Poet

by A. N. Devers

A group of writing instructors and students who over the years formed a ragtag band during late-night impromptu jam sessions at the Bennington Writing Seminars released their first CD earlier this year. Titled Let's Doghouse: A Tribute to Liam Rector, the compilation serves as a memorial to the founding director of the Writing Seminars, a poet, who passed away two years ago.

Can Flarf Ever Be Taken Seriously?

by Shell Fischer

Almost a decade after its creation, the experimental poetry movement Flarf—in which poets prowl the Internet using random word searches, e-mail the bizarre results to one another, then distill the newly found phrases into poems that are often as disturbing as they are hilarious—is showing signs of having cleared a spot among the ranks of legitimate art forms.


Q&A: Why Junker Can’t Quit ZYZZYVA

by Kevin Larimer

Last August, Howard Junker announced that at the end of 2009 he would retire as editor of ZYZZYVA, the literary journal he founded in San Francisco in 1985. Six months later, in February, he rescinded his resignation. Junker recently spoke about his change of heart and the future of the magazine.

Literary MagNet

by Kevin Larimer

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features Wag's Revue, Poet Lore, the Glut, Portrait, Argosy, can we have our ball back?, DoubleTake, Midnight Mind Magazine, Mot Juste, Cue, and Black Clock.

Summer Stimulus

by Kevin Nance

For many writers groups and nonprofit literary organizations battered by the recession, help is on the way. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law by president Barack Obama in February, included fifty million dollars in arts funding that is being allocated by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Rachel Levitsky's Neighbor and Stephen D. Gutierrez's Live From Fresno y Los, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

The Written Image: Possession Obsession

by Staff

Inspired by the idea that bookshelves offer a glimpse into their owner's personal life and interests, last year Australian artist Victoria Reichelt undertook a series of oil-on-canvas paintings based on photographs of random shelves and collections of books.

The Practical Writer

Under the Covers: The Fine Art of Interior Book Design

by Timothy Schaffert
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A look at some of the visually embellished novels and memoirs published in recent years. Plus five things authors should keep in mind about interior book design.

Bullseye: How to Submit to Barrelhouse

by Staff
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A guide to submitting writing to Barrelhouse.

The Literary Life

The Geometry of Dialogue: How to Maintain Momentum in Fiction

by Benjamin Percy
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An approach to writing dialogue that adds dimension to characters and moves the story forward.

My Novella Dilemma: Making the Case for a Maligned Form

by Josh Weil
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A look at what makes the novella a unique and timely literary form.