November/December 2003

With the publication of his third collection of short stories, Stuart Dybek completes a trilogy that mines the neighborhood of his childhood: an industrial, working-class, ethnic patchwork on the South Side of Chicago.


Chicago Stories: A Profile of Stuart Dybek

by Maud Casey
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A profile of Dybek on the occasion of his short story collection I Sailed With Magellan.


Sweeping Contests Clean

by Mathew Zapruder
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A few changes in submission rules can make a difference in the perceived fairness of a contest…and in the lives of those who run it.  

Confessions of a Literary Judge

by Diana Wagman
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Maybe Evelyn Wood could read three novels a day. But what's a judge with a more typical reading speed to do?  

When There's No Winner

by Ian Pounds
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Upholding the good name of a contest makes it continue to be worth winning. But sometimes that means no one wins.  

Reader Survey: What Do You Think?

by Staff
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Readers are invited to share their opinions and experiences with contests.  

News and Trends


First-Class Mail: A Poet’s Letters

by Kevin Larimer

The published correspondence of famous poets often accounts for more real estate on bookstore shelves than their books of poems. For academic scholars who spend their weekends in the special-collections rooms of libraries, the value of these books is obvious. But what are they worth to the general reader, or the practicing poet?

Louise Glück Named Poet Laureate

by Kevin Larimer

Louise Glück has been appointed the 12th poet laureate of the United States by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. Glück, whose one-year term began last month, succeeds Billy Collins. 

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 American Poetry Review, Land-Grant College Review, 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Octopus Magazine, Transition, Granta, and Evergreen Review.

Weighing Words Over Last Wishes

by M. A. Orthofer

British poet and novelist Thomas Hardy, author of Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Return of the Native, among other literary classics, wanted his personal papers burned after his death. In 1928, a bonfire was dutifully lit but not everything was consigned to the flames. Hardy’s second wife, Florence, saved at least 12 notebooks filled with information and sources on which the author based his later works of fiction. Thomas Hardy’s ‘Facts’ Notebook, edited by William Greenslade and released this month by Ashgate Publishing, is only the most recent to appear.

The Stones of Summer Rolls Back

by Nick Twemlow

A simple film about the solitary pleasures of reading has turned into a successful campaign to revive a short-lived literary career. Dow Mossman’s only novel, The Stones of Summer, was originally published in 1972 by the now-defunct press Bobbs-Merrill. After being lauded by John Seelye in the New York Times Book Review as “a marvelous achievement” that offered “fulfillment at the first stroke, which is so often the sign of superior talent,” the book went out of print and its author faded into obscurity. Last month it was reissued by Barnes & Noble Books.


Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

Page One features a sample of titles we think you'll want to explore. With this installment, we offer excerpts from Jesus Sound Explosion by Mark Curtis Anderson and What Narcissism Means to Me by Tony Hoagland.

The Practical Writer

First: To and From Russia, With Love

by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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Discusses the emergence of the "Coming-of-Age-in-Eastern-Europe novel" exemplified by Katherine Shonk and Lara Vapnyar.

Promote Your Book!

by Jacqueline Deval
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How to set up bookstore appearances and make them a success.

The Literary Life

Bigger Than a Bread Box: The Art of Comparison

by David Long
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Analyzing the use of comparative language and its effects.

Breaking the Silence: A Writer Returns

by Stephen Goodwin
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After twenty years, Stephen Goodwin writes another novel.