The current winner for The Magnolia Review Ink Award for Volume 7, Issue 1, is Yessica Klein, with (Another) Love Letter To Jules, poetry. Suzanna selected this work because the poem captures the experience of the pandemic with faith, love, and hope. There is light in the darkness.
I would like to thank Suzanna for giving me this opportunity. She should be proud of this issue and all the strong voices that it captures. Some of my favorite pieces are “Turtle Bay” by Henry Hintz, “Punk 4 a Day” by Diane Hoffman, the poems of Holly Day, Chuck Thompson, GTimothy Gordon, and Sarah A. Etlinger. If it were not for my first choice, “Two Fools” by Sarah A. Etlinger would be my winner because to its tightness, sharpness, and grace of language.
However, I find the excerpt of Theresa Williams’ From The Diary of Lea Knight to be the undeniable centerpiece of this issue. In this excerpt, Williams balances a combined feeling of prose and poetry in her writing. Her line work is crisp when called for and chaotic when necessary. In the best way possible, the notebook presentation of Williams’ project brings to mind Lynda Barry’s Syllabus, while the dark, real philosophizing evokes Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Are You My Mother? The work also takes me to old folktales, like Cinderella, that showcase familial catastrophes by an unhinged parent onto an innocent child, and the ensuing existential crises people feel under the force of an oppressive thumb. I think this slice of From The Diary of Lea Knight is a fascinating piece of sequential art, and I cannot wait to see more of it once it is inevitably published.
Dom Fonce is an undergrad English major at Youngstown State University. He’s been published in fiction, poetry, comics, and journalism. Some of his work can be found at Calliope of the University of Mount Union, Penguin Review, the Jambar, and the forthcoming summer 2017 issue of 3Elements Review. Collaborated with Vincent Butka (penciller), Jared Burton (inker and colorist), and Kaleena Spackman (letterer).
Thank you, Suzanna, for this wonderful opportunity. Each issue of The Magnolia Review is a beautiful selection of prose, poetry and art, and so I knew from the beginning that choosing one piece for the Ink Award would be difficult. Generally, my favorite works of literature and art make me think about them at odd times in a day, send their words or visuals to my mind when I’m driving or walking my dog or trying to fall asleep. I would return to reread those pieces in Volume 4, Issue 1 that did just that, then I let them travel with me again throughout my day. Repeat. Repeat. Maybe it’s because my life as a military spouse is often about change (moving, trainings, deployments, friends leaving) and maybe because my daughter will start kindergarten in the fall, the pieces that stood out most to me were those about transitions and change. In the end, there were certain phrasings and images I couldn’t shake from my head: “[t]he long roads of us,” “[m]ade feast from the leftovers of fields,” “backtracked on roads now strangered.” I also love how this poem ends with the word “end” although it continues to raise questions and encourages the reader to continue asking questions. And so, I have selected “Journey” by Doug Bolling as the winner ofThe Magnolia Review Ink Award.
Lisa Stice is a poet/mother/military spouse, the author of a poetry collection Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016), and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She volunteers as a mentor with the Veterans Writing Project, as an associate poetry editor with 1932 Quarterly, and as a contributor for The Military Spouse Book Review. She received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. While it is difficult to say where home is, she currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. You can learn more about her publications at https://lisastice.wordpress.com/.
When I was kindly asked by Suzanna to be the judge for the ink award for the Volume 3 Issue 2 of the Magnolia Review I replied, I’ll give it a go. I thought picking a winner would be easy enough. Sure, I’d have a winner in no time. But as I read the first piece, a concrete poem, “Early Spring in the Woods” by Wilda Morris, I realised picking a winner wouldn’t be so easy.
I continued to read with the theme balloons featuring strongly. The writing interspersed with Leah Givens‘ beautiful colour photographs of balloons. I continued to read. Who would have thought balloons would bring up so much? There were notable reads like the comic, “The Book Harvest” (Dom Fonce, writer; Vincent Butka, penciller; Jared Burton, inker and colorist; and Kaleena Spackman, letterer), complete with word balloons. The haunting “Ghosts” by Rachel Edford. “First Day” by Bill Trippe had me invested in the characters and bursting out laughing. “Hypnophobia2 #1357″ by Ellie White shocked and lingered.
But the one piece of writing that really struck me was “Breakthismf.com.” The story never loses sight of what it’s about, broken, complex characters. “Breakthismf.com” really engaged me as a reader, paying wonderful attention to detail and character. At times it is not what is said but implied that works so well. It’s full of humour and at the same time, the story never loses sight of real life and the people in it.
So yes, drumroll please, the Magnolia Review Ink Award goes to Buffy Shutt for “Breakthismf.com.” An excellent, thought-provoking piece of writing! Thanks to Buffy for such an engaging read and thanks to all the authors for putting their writing out there for us to read. Thank you for such a good issue.
Taidgh Lynch is a poet from the South West of Ireland. When he is not attending the MFA in Writing programme at the University of Saskatchewan, he likes to eat sushi, cycle, and go to gigs. His absolute all time favourite writer is Elisabeth Bishop. Find his writing in Bare Hands Poetry,The Poetry Bus, and Boyne Berries.