Tag Archives: Literary Journals

The Best Thing I’ve Read This Week: Corium Magazine

5 Sep

The Summer issue of always-delightful Corium was released Tuesday, and what a treat to find that Ravi Mangla is guest editor for this issue, what a complement to Lauren Becker’s exquisite collecting skills! Ravi is no stranger to the Vouched website or to our hearts, and he’s put together such a collection of smart and meloncholy bits of literary fireworks that you will read on with a building fever! You will read on with gusto! You’ll hope for more of the same and you’ll delight in not finding it. What’s more, he has arranged the issue in reverse alphabetical order, because Ravi Mangla is endlessly charming.

Inside is a solid set of stories and poetry that will tickle your bones in their most comfortable, knobbiest places, unpeel you like fifty heads of lettuce. They’ll scratch something underneath your bored cartilage, excite that basal ganglia nosegay of memory, make you want to get up and walk around with these words.

Look, for example, at a few lines of James Westoff’s “Dog Farm,” which starts you right out with a funny heartbeat and keeps surprising you along:

At one point, my father estimated we had over six hundred dogs.


We never talked about why. We usually just talked about how we could get more dogs. It was this thing in my family, our mission. Every morning at breakfast each went over his or her plan for that day. Here’s how I’m going to get some dogs.

Then there’s the painted beauty of Ashley Farmer’s stories, which remind me of a lovely Soviet ruin-porn website I’ve been frequenting, minus the social guilt. Just look at “Happy Hour,” printed here in its entirety:

In the city I find more city. Deer vault from parking structure to parking structure. When I jangle my keys they tremble near concrete beams. It is so wild when the building shakes. I use my arms to protect myself. I avoid mirrors, filing cabinets, windows. In an emergency, the carpet beneath my desk becomes desert. I sift it for miles and I sweat through my jacket like an animal. My shoes are crammed with sand.

One day a train parked in the lobby, an accidental renovation of smoke and glass and crushed black granite. My neighbor stepped from the train. He stepped through shards of his reflection then through mine, his face alive and tan. Happy hour began happening at the nearest outdoor assembly points, but who was smiling? Then the girders and skylights assembled again. They began their slow repair, just like us. Then neared repair. Nearer and nearer. Repairing.

Or maybe read these lines taken from Jim Ruland’s very short fiction “[Not] [So] [Long] [Ago]”

The forest is so beautiful.

It is old and the trees soar and the soil ticks with blood.

There are birds and then… something else.

It starts as a whine and grows louder and louder until the barely audible complaint transforms into a thunderous howl that shatters the silence.

[A] [      ] [      ] [     ] [train.]

In a quiet forest, you can hear them coming from a long way away.

Those who were killed here came in trains.

The poetry section too will tickle your enamel and your armhairs, will make you want to bend with the poets, bend into letters. Read “If I Were a Jackknife,” by San Francisco local Laura E. Davis, and you’ll see what I mean:

I’d have a slipjoint.
Put just the right pressure
on my back & I’d bend. The world
would be less circular, less filled
with old hymns. People could look through
the space my head took up in front of them
in the movie theater. But you wouldn’t
pin me against the back wall
credits rolling, hands on my ribs.
No ribs left. Just that slipjoint. My blade
would always be big enough
to fit back into my own handle.
I wouldn’t say this. I’d have
an awl or a can opener & I’d bend
half-wise, away from other sharp things.
That much would stay the same.

Don’t stop here, by any means. Wander around this issue, try it on like an endless set of footie pajamas that doubles as a fifty-person tent, that triples as an overgrown amusement park, painted all around with strange faces.

Best Thing I’ve Read Today: Kelin Loe in NOÖ Weekly

2 Sep

Recently, that old scoundrel Nick Sturm put together his own version of a NOÖ Weekly, testing the flex and the stretch of us all with a hunk of long poems and series.

And there I saw this intense oomph from Kelin Loe. It goes like a mighty wildfire. Wow. It made me walk laps and sweat. That’s a good thing. Kelin has a great way of talking is the best I can say it.

clydesdales , hot dogs and dollar shots  —  meet me here OR no oven mitts on fire in here ! ! !

i will make these lasagnas in 15 minutes wearing nothing but those panties !

tracing my umbrella now. how the rib meets the rod is unclear .

penises hanging everywhere and nobody is worried but me   !


! ! !


somebody please quit making out in the library it sounds like eating stew !! and please tell me if i need to poop or otherwise —

been eating cereal like its meal so much corn and so much time to eat the corn and grind grind and i believe you followed the trail of sugar to find me yesterday so

HERE    I    AM    , HONEY POT ! ! !

i keep opening the internet like there is food in there  .


! ! !


before my husband was my husband i learned that men don’t wipe after number one  .

and, as an aviator , how do you feel about my relationship with my husband ? ??

can you or can you not see it ? ?

please is it made of MATTER HOW much can it mean ? ?

banana bag !   NOW !!  and a middle-aged man to tell me FACTS  .


! ! !

Caroline Cabrera told us all about Kelin and her goodness back in this interview, remember? If we weren’t paying attention yet, now’s the time, okay?

Check out more great sprawling stuff from Mike Krutel, Matthew Yeager, S.E. Smith, and more in that issue, too!


Best Thing I’ve Heard This Month: 90’s Meg Ryan

24 Jul

It’s always a weird colored cloud to vouch something I’m involved in. But then again, as several Yes people have put it, I’m not tossing things with my T-GOB hands that I truly don’t believe in.

And nothing in recent memory seems more that case than 90’s Meg Ryan, a new style of online literary journal–hosted on bandcamp–beamed out of Muncie, home to Ball State University. The Ball State connection to Vouched is BIG–founder Christopher Newgent, lead lady Laura Relyea, contributors like myself, Layne Ransom, and Ashley Ford all went to Ball State.

There’s a bumper sticker speeding on the back of several cars over there proclaiming, “Muncie: We’re Trying.” At first aw sad but ultimately, better than we tried and then let’s see it.

In the who, the how, and the what, editor Austin Hayden has captured that rejuvenating spunk the Muncie art scene barrels forward with. By taking indie lit to bandcamp, tossing these poems and stories next to songs by two top young Muncie musicians–Carrington Clinton and Derek Miller–the journal does right by its biggest influence–the Muncie music scene. Even the artwork is done by Muncie music’s top dog, Travis Harvey of Village Green Records.

90’s Meg Ryan features only work by my favorite of Muncie’s young writers–Ryan Rader, Elysia Smith, Zach Arnett, Layne Ransom, Davis Macks. Although future issues won’t be Muncie-exclusive, this issue is a shining pow from an underrated lit scene, both a community and journal I’m mega-proud to be accepted in.

Best Thing I’ve Read This Week: Rachel B. Glaser in iO Issue 9

14 Jun

So, did you see it? Another stellar issue of iO scurried into the frame this week with work by Dara Wier and Bryan Beck and lot lots of other great greats. Constantly happy (even when I’m poemed into sadness or other non-happy emotion) with iO, this crisp no-longer-new online mag, now one of my favorites.

But the poems that my velcro heart got stuck on were Rachel Glaser’s two poems, “With No Desire To Call Anyone I Reach For My Phone” and “He’s Got A Camera.”

I saw her read in Boston for AWP this year. I know her books like Pee On Water from the beloved Publishing Genius Press (though sad sad honesty I’ve never read that book or as much of Rachel’s work as I mean to). But there’s always this spunk too them, not like quirky teen spunk, but like non-kid person who isn’t boring spunk. There’s not enough of that in this world.

Both these poems talk within themselves, near-ramble on about expectations and desire, until both Glaser and I are standing next to each other, finger-pointing like totally gotcha. These speak to things that too often eek on the line of shameful but are also just kinda normal goofy parts of this modern living, like both of these could be called “Tyler Gobble Poem” and “she’s like haha, bad boy, but really it’s okay we all do it, welcome to 2013.”

Here’s the beginning of “With No Desire…”–

somewhat moved in the temple
during my public speaking class
after the fireworks
I reach for my phone

“truly interesting,” I say to your story at lunch
then under the table, check my phone

deeply moved in the temple
you look at me with love
but I’m remembering my phone

and here’s the beginning of “He’s Got A Camera”–

he’s got a camera
so that means he’s a photographer
which means he’s creative
and creative guys are normally hot
hot guys struggle with math
and smoke weed instead
weed makes boys free
and freedom makes guys outdoorsy
the outdoors teach lessons
stars make guys think
the moon is fat like their mother
trees are ominous friends

New Love: Julianna Spallholz

11 Jun

Amber Sparks reviewed Julianna Spallholz’s collection of stories, The State of Kansas, for Vouched on January 26. I think I was frozen at the time because somehow I missed it.

I did, however, find Julianna’s story, “The Body” in Noö [14] and am now hooked like one of those fiends I occasionally see passed out in my front yard. Maybe they just couldn’t handle all the goodness that Julianna serves up.

The body has been told that it is tall. The body has been told that it is graceful but also that it moves like some strange animal. The body didn’t know how to take that. The body is scarred where its moles have been taken. The body has never broken a bone or been stung by a bee. The body may be allergic to bees, it doesn’t know.

Read the rest of it here.

Loose Change Magazine wants to go to print!

14 May

With the closures of some of our favorite publishers and literary journals over the past few months, I think it’s important we keep our chin up and focus on some new and exciting developments that are being made with other journals. Tyler brought our attention to the good stuff at Matter Monthly last week. Now I’d like to draw your attention to our friends at Loose Change Magazine.


Loose Change is ascending! In March they released a new website and their third volume and threw a party to celebrate. Now they’re in the process of raising funds to release their first ever print issue! Read all about it their power2give fundraiser page.

Matter Monthly

7 May

These new online mag, Matter Monthly, just catapulted its first issue into the world. In their introduction (manifesto!), the editors conclude by describing their aim as such:

Matter is space where visual artists, poets, and writers of all genders, races, and ethnicities can contribute work without first bleeding it of subjectivity and criticality (whether of social and financial institutions, the other, or ourselves).  We hope what transpires will be an evolving forum for desired change, humor, and provocative art that transcends the false binary between politics and aesthetics, as well as lyric, language and conceptual antimonies based on perceived inabilities of those discourses (musical prosody, semiotic play, and formalist abstraction, in turns), for structural critique.

In these first pages, the kickstart is proper to this. We are given poems and prose and art that collapses timidity and frankly feels like one of the rawest, most oomphed issues of an online mag I’ve read. Very much stoked about future issues pushing this aim.


from “How My Existentially Problematic Novel Unfolds” by Kyle McCord:

Your heart maybe many bears
beating their bike chains
and tire irons together.
I can’t prove otherwise.
This is a democracy,
so it’s your word against
my science.  My science
against this feeling that we are
often not alone when we are
often alone, I fear.
We are taking out the garbage
into the desolation
of some suburb,
but we don’t want this
in particular.
I ruin everything with my wanting.

(Untitled) by Robin Dluzen

from “Party Time” by Lina ramona Vitkauskas

The juice of solidarity
has become sour! We see

Woolly Mama models
of the newest clams,

throw out two dummy
dollars for everything cancer-

cleaned, lick the film to reveal
our bones. Beneath the swells of

our nation’s un-tuned harpsichord,
the war is constantly constant.

Check out the whole first issue!

Canarium Books Preview at The Collagist

18 Apr

The Collagist, as they do in April, have bulked up their poetry allotment for National Poetry Month. Most vouch-worthy of this month’s features are the three previews of poetry collections, all with three poems representing them here, all from Canarium Books, all set to drop this month, here this month as a replacement for the magazine’s typical Novel Excerpt features. The three books are Ethical Consciousness by Paul Killebrew, Great Guns by Farnoosh Fathi, and Pink Reef by Robert Fernandez. If these features are any indication, these books can go on your GOTTA GET THEM ASAP list.

from “Middle Name” by Paul Killebrew

I sit here sometimes and try to remember what the phone sounds like, and then the thermostat will click or there’ll be a creak or something, and I just about die.

I had worse jobs.

When I was still practicing law I remember this guy asked me if he cut a hole in his roof if he could sue the city.

I said for what?

He said I don’t know you’re the lawyer.

from “Brazil” by Farnoosh Fathi

Left a hole on fire agony or was it the sun
and love of both—
On the banks and near duets,
eagles with the white wine of the sun
clink and spill tall grass over head and heels
…Space of hell: shy, inscribed already
But alone, I think I can be that
again—a new hole in the flute
that doesn’t end.

from “[I chose…]” by Robert Fernandez

I wanted to understand
this ethos of cameras
strung through juniper leaves,

juniper lenses seeing
at the tops of the trees:

a bread
of violets
baked in

a bread
of mussels
glutting the

a cache of
roe in the

Check out the rest of these selections, as well as the whole April issue of The Collagist. I promise you’ll feel better.

“She Says” by Brandon Amico at Sixth Finch

17 Apr

You know this, how you return to the poems, the stories, the people, the pictures on the wall, that are somehow surprising each time, a twinkle coming around the edges, a word hidden in the tiny room you didn’t see before, the way that someone bends their words towards an impossible horizon. a weird blur in the corner you keep staring at.

That’s all here in this poem in the new issue of Sixth Finch, this poem called “She Says” by Brandon Amico. I’m enthralled. I’m entrenched. I’m engaged to this poem as much as I’ve seen it lately.

Let’s take a walk. She tells me
there is a river in every town,
and I sincerely doubt this, so

I tell her so. She says she was
speaking metaphorically, and I ask
if the towns are metaphorical

or the river. Is it the same river
or a new river in each town?…

And that’s just it getting good, unshuffling the cards, and you should really read the rest here!

NOÖ Journal and Vouched Books Collaboration HEY

10 Apr

A bitty while back, I started sending virtual envelopes and doing other duties for Mike Young (on behalf of his cool adventures Magic Helicopter Press and NOÖ Journal). Prepping our resources and brains to release NOÖ [14], we climbed a little hill to an idea for a partnership between NOÖ and Vouched.

NOÖ has always chattered about the books it loves. And seeing how Vouched exists because of its founders unstoppable urge to chatter about books they love, we were like UH-HUH let’s bring that together. So in order to offer a wider variety of reviews and reviewers for NOÖ, Vouched now has an umbrella stand in those pages, writing some of these presentations (reviews for those of you wondering at home).

That big chunk of work that started all this talking, NOÖ [14] is out and about officially, both online and in a sweet FREE print edition available in neat locations. We at Vouched couldn’t be more stoked to jump onto this riverboat.

Take a look at this new issue featuring stellar work (poems, prose, pictures, presentations, ALL GREAT P things), featuring:

Nalini Abhiraman
Jeremy Bauer
Anne Boyer
Rick Bruns
Meagan Cass
Lisa Ciccarello
Elizabeth J. Colen
Marit Ericson
Ashley Farmer
Russell Jaffe
Rachael Katz
Joe Kmiecik
John Kolbek
Lisa Kostrzynski
Mike Krutel
Gene Kwak
Nicholas Lockyer
Tony Mancus
Erin McNellis
Elizabeth Mikesch
Rodney Nelson
Claudio Parentela
Morgan Parker
Michael Parsons
Hai-Dang Phan
Meghan Privitello
Fabio Sassi
Kelly Schirmann
Ben Segal
Katie Jean Shinkle
Julianna Spallholz
Emily Toder
Chris Toll
James Valvis
Ron Winkler
Wendy Xu

And of course of course, the presentations by Vouched ATL supergal Laura Straub (two even!), Vouched contributor Scott Daughtridge, and myself.
So stoked about this, the return of NOÖ, the collab of here and there. Please please please check it out okay okay okay.