“The Missouri Review is, quite simply, one of the best literary journals in the world." —Robert Olen Butler
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So, you’re picking up author Colson Whitehead from the airport for a a reading before taking him to dinner and conducting an interview. You’re a huge fan and you’re super excited about the opportunity, but also a bit nervous. Relax. You need not worry. You’re going to ace the assignment. The main thing you need to be concerned with is having a kickass playlist going on the tape deck when you rolled up to the terminal and I’m here to help. I offer no guarantees, but with some deductive reasoning, intuition, and internet sleuthing I think we can manage something that leaves everyone comfortable.”

So You’re Picking Up Colson Whitehead From the Airport by Wes Hazard

(Source: Spotify)

I am cautiously thrilled about this: partially, I am wary of labeling anything the token group that we’re going to pay attention to this season because they won’t shut up if we don’t, goodness!, and because it risks falling into stereotypes of what we think a woman is – Vice with their candid assurance that women like clothing so much they’ll be willing to buy and gawk at the stocking of a famous suicide – while entirely ignoring her lived and written reality.

#readwomen2014 by Alison Balaskovits

Where is the military genius to grasp this terrible engine?
Winchester wrote. This gun that can be loaded
on Sunday and fired all week. This gun that makes a man


the equal of a company each minute, a regiment in ten,
a full brigade in thirty. This daylight full of lead—
where is the genius to grasp it? This terrible engine


that can sink in a river, fire like it’s never been
wet? A resolute man on horseback can travel West
for a month of Sundays: this gun makes a man


always ready. So He Cannot Be Captured. No weapon
more effective in the world, its aim more deft.
Where is the military genius to grasp this terrible engine—


to look past its sometime misfires, its uneven
first trials? To see like history it repeats itself (and yes,
sometimes stutters). To fire the gun makes a man


almost certain of safety. Against grizzly or Injun,
unequaled. Loaded safe as a church nave. And yet
where is the military genius to grasp this terrible engine?
Load it on Sunday; fire all week. This gun makes a man.

Our poem of the week is Alexandra Teague’s “Repeater

I’m not sure where all these misconceptions of literary writing comes from, but it certainly isn’t reflected in what good literary magazines actually publish. Strong, memorable stories break all sorts of rules and conventions. Sure, any of the items from the previous paragraph can be in good stories. But in the stories that struggle to be literary (and you can think of other tropes, too; it would be a long list), those characteristics are the entire story. There’s nothing else there. The stories that end up getting published are the ones that transcend those conventions, and explore the narrative and emotional depths of a story in a way the imitators cannot.
Death’s unfixedness online suggests we don’t quite yet live in an Internet culture, though we say we do. The Internet Age won’t truly have arrived until social media accommodates the whole of human life, of which death is a fundamental part. But the small and strange ways in which death does appear online permit us a glimpse of what a real Internet culture may look like when it comes. What follows is an unfamiliar history of the Internet, one that tracks death’s so-far limited influence on online culture. Through this history, we can glimpse the future of social media, a future in which death makes room for itself in a culture that failed to make room for it

Alexander Landfair: “Facebook of the Dead

A writer I very much admire is Don DeLillo. At an awards ceremony for him at the Folger Library several years ago, I said that he was like a great shark moving hidden in our midst, beneath the din and wreck of the moment, at apocalyptic ease in the very elements of our psyche and times that are most troublesome to us, that we most fear. Why do I write? Because I wanna be a great shark too. Another shark. A different shark, in a different part of the ocean. The ocean is vast.

— Joy Williams, “Uncanny Singing That Comes from Certain Husks” (via mttbll)

(Source: mttbll, via italicsmine)

What I didn’t learn until after was just how special The Review was, and how lucky I was to be a part of it. How the editors entrusted both undergraduates and graduate students with autonomy and responsibility and how all of us were encouraged to run with our ideas with confidence that we had the complete support of the letterhead staff to make The Review better.
But we do have to be careful. Perception is important. We have published several new voices in recent years and we want to remain an outlet for new writers. Every literary magazine wants to be an outlet for new writers. It’s part of our mission statement, and that will never change. We have shifted an accepted piece to a forthcoming issue (say, from spring to summer) in order to create balance. We also might push a piece to a future issue if the story is particularly long or short (length isn’t an issue for our poetry features) because we always try to bring the issue in at 192 pages.

Often I tell myself that prison won’t define who I am, won’t be my legacy, won’t be the story of me.

But prison occupies a chapter of my story. It is a chapter with infinite subplots; a chapter that winds and tumbles and burns and weaves and dives and rises from the ashes.

nprmusic:

Beck shares “Waking Light" from his first new studio album since 2008 in an interview on NPR’s All Songs Considered. 

nprmusic:

Beck shares “Waking Light" from his first new studio album since 2008 in an interview on NPR’s All Songs Considered

Introducing Audio Competition Judge Brendan Baker →

some of the hardest work in writing is not crafting the fine sentence, but getting characters to walk across rooms.

— NYTBR (via aaronburch)

(Source: The New York Times, via aaronburch)

By the time you realize how
I’ve shrunk enough that two
beetles shoulder to shoulder
in the aisles of a cabbage leaf
could give me the what-for


I’ll be aweigh on the swells
of night, galley engorged
with slurpings, but light getting
lighter becomes the weighty
nature of an old dragon lady


whose spasms slather the sky
as galaxies glide through my black
holes and I stretch to accept
each spurt of twinkling cloud.

— Our poem of the week Michelle Boisseau’s “I Ate My Mate.”