Hello all, good news. First, Solsticelitmag has been highlighted in the current April 16th issue of The Writer, “Arresting Diversity,” by Melissa Hart in the Literary Spotlight section. And two of our essays were cited as Notable Essays in the Best American Essays 2015. And we just returned from AWP in L.A., where we promoted diversity in lit; highlighted Lou Jones’ great photo on our poster; and co-hosted a terrific reception with Juked, Talking Writing and the Santa Monica Review.
On the home front, we’re delighted to welcome our new managing editor, Sarah Colwill-Brown, who is also Grub Street’s marketing managing editor as well as a gifted fiction writer. (See her story “Nettles” in our F/W 2015 Issue!) Not to mention, she’s got an authentic British accent! See more on our Staff page.
Now to our Spring Issue! In Fiction, this time, a wide range. From Douglas Cole’s haunting, lyrical story of a man on the run; to Laurie Foos’s magical realism in a story of a glass girl; to Ian Randall Wilson’s postmodern tale of the hyper-real world of airports; to two fab novel excerpts: Marjan Kamali’s chapter from At the Center of it All, a look at adolescence in pre-revolution Iran; and J. Spru’s piece from Einstein Time of mental illness in the 60’s against the backdrop of the Vietnam war. And then Ruth Mukwana’s story set in an African women’s prison; and finally Michelle Cacho-Negrete’s tale of white privilege and semi-unconscious prejudice.
And in Nonfiction, we offer culturally relevant pieces. From William Pierce’s sexual debut; to Karen Jahn’s documented exploration of some African American lit; to William Orem’s metaphorical foray into Jaws and cancer; to Susan Grier’s focus on a mother’s angst as her daughter undergoes sex change surgery; and finally a short short by vet Matthew Kenney about bees and Afghanistan.
Also vital in this issue: my interview in Fiction with James Anderson, who with the Never-Open Desert Diner has defied the odds to find popular literary acclaim with a small press book; and an interview in Nonfiction by Caitlin Krause with Mike Leigh, the film director. Also in Nonfiction, a review of Leslie Lawrence’s memoir, forthcoming in May, of her insights as a lesbian writer in The Death of Fred Astaire: And Other Essays from a Life outside the Lines.
And kudos to the Spring Issue’s photographer: Robert Avakian, whose twilight photography haunts us with its eerie, evocative landscapes.
And please read Ben Berman’s, January O’Neil’s and Dzvinia Orlowsky’s note as as Poetry Co-editors. Delve in. Devour. Leave comments. Join our diverse community.
And please DON’T FORGET OUR CONTEST DEADLINE of April 20th. Judge for the $1,000 fiction prize: Celeste Ng. Judge for the $500 Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry: Richard Blanco. Judge for the $500 Nonfiction Prize: Michael Steinberg.
And please submit to our Blog: We have a new call out for pieces taking a stand against Hate Speech and against racial and ethnic prejudice. Let our voices be heard during this vital time!
Poetry Editor’s Note
The air here, writes Roy Bentley in “A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” it’s like breathing loss or defeat, and almost every poem in our Spring Issue offers us those fumes.
They ask us to witness violations and humiliations, the kind of panic that spills like moths, as Luther Hughes writes in “offering” and the desperate longing to be where Monistat grows/ on trees, as Sylvia Bowersox writes in “Personal Jihad.”
But, as Patrick Donnelly and Stephen Miller remind us in their translation of Priest Jakuren’s poem, in the sea/of suffering we sometimes find the heart drawn in/to deep harbor. And these poems remind us of the need, as Denise Bergman writes, to state/ I’m here.
Deep harbor comes in many forms – we see it in the hard-earned Blessings in the final line of Leonard Kress’ sestina and in the way that Willy Paloma’s poem meditates on a beating but ends on the word prayer.
We see it in the remarkable empathy – more necessary now than ever – that guides all of Fred Marchant’s poetry. And how grateful we are for the small moment of refuge that he offers us at the end of “The Migrants”: There would be at least this much tonight, twigs for a fire, perhaps water for tea, some warmth in the morning.
January O’Neil, Dzvinia Orlowsky and Ben Berman