Winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award for Volume 4, Issue 2

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 WilliamsFrom 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).

Volume 4, Issue 2 is Here!

The issue is available as a PDF: TMR Volume 4 Issue 2.

The optional theme is comics, be it drawn in sequential images or just plain funny.

Contributors: Gershon Ben-Avraham, Susan P. Blevins, Mela Blust, Charles W. Brice, Aria Callaham, Joan Colby, Holly Day, Darren C. Demaree, Adam Durso, Kelcey Parker Ervick, Sarah A. Etlinger, GTimothy Gordon, John Grey, Jack D. Harvey, Aloura Hattendorf, Henry Hitz, Diane Hoffman, A.J. Huffman, Phil Huffy, James Croal Jackson, Lonnie James, Gloria DeVidas Kirchheimer, Matthew J. Kreglow, Claire Martin, Megan Miazgowicz, Jennifer Davis Michael, Paul Mills, TJ Neathery, Simon Perchik, Steven B. Rosenfeld, David Anthony Sam, William L. Spencer, David Spicer, Chuck Thompson, Dennis Trujillo, Bess Vanrenen, Maryfrances Wagner, Michael Whelan, Theresa Williams, and Kelsey Zimmerman.

Reviews: Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon by Colette Arrand, Auri by Auri, Internet Yearnings by Gary Beck, Mnemosyne’s Hand: Poems by Charles W. Brice, Her Secret Husband by Abbey Faith, The Future by From Ashes to NewBurn Site In Bloom by Jamie HoughtonRookland by Jesse Minkert, Beach Dweller Manifesto by Leah MuellerGhost Matter by Jade RamseyHeavenly Whispers by Roger SipplPermanent Change of Station by Lisa Stice, and i’m fine: A Haiku Collection About Mental Illness by Jamie Winters.

Winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award: Theresa Williams, for “From The Diary of Lea Knight,” chosen by Dom Fonce.

Theresa Williams

Theresa Williams lives and teaches in Northwest Ohio. Her current project is a Sketchbook novel called The Diary of Lea Knight. It traces the inner life of Lea Knight, who has recently lost a baby. Theresa twice received Individual Excellence Grants from The Ohio Arts Council and has been published in numerous journals, including Gargoyle, Hunger Mountain, and The Sun.

From The Diary of Lea Knight, Volume 4, Issue 2
Winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award, selected by Dom Fonce

Buffy Shutt–Interview

The Magnolia Review: Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

Buffy Shutt: I do most of my writing in a room I call my studio, but which is technically one-third of the pool house. It has lots of windows and there is lavender growing under the facing window. I spend my downtime wondering whether I should get up and water it. Then I tell myself that lavender loves being dry so stop looking for an excuse to get up. I sit at a small white desk, more like an old-fashioned vanity that my daughter bought when she went to college. I am afraid one day she is going to say she wants it for her apartment. She’ll take it away, and I won’t be able to write anymore.  I also have a stand-up desk next to this table. I try to write standing as much as possible since I have totally bought into sitting is the new smoking.

What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

I love the idea of writing by hand using a beautiful fountain pen, but I have terrible penmanship and sometimes I can’t read my own writing. I use my laptop and phone. I was tied to my phone, as many of us are, when I worked full-time in the corporate world; a time when you might say that the phone used me. Now I use it! I use it to capture my stray thoughts, first lines and ideas by writing emails to myself. I usually have the phone on or near me so I am my own most constant correspondent—the perfect pen pal except that when I read what I wrote I’m sometimes not exactly sure what I meant, they read like fragments from a dream.

What is your routine for writing?

I start writing in the morning, break for lunch and if things are going well; go back for an afternoon session, finishing up around 6:30. (But not every day cause life intervenes but maybe four out of seven). I try to work on two stories at a time. I let them compete for my attention. If one story lets me down, I make the other one my best friend and let it curry my favor. I guess I am so competitive I’ve created a process to keep a rivalry going with myself.

How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

I think I wrote my first story when I was ten. I feel like I have been writing all my life, but I interpret the notion of writing broadly.  My definition is either infinitely sensible or an elaborate defense for not always writing fiction. Writing might be journaling, emailing “letters” to my friends, writing work-related memos to convince the higher-ups of a good idea or to get funding, or drafting big presentations where concise bullet points might make all the difference in getting a green light. Writing is a tool that can be put to use for lots of different purposes—all (maybe most) legit.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

I write for my best friend. She is my not-so-secret audience. She is also my first reader. I trust that her comments will help me write the story I want to write and not the one she wishes she could read.

What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

Reading inspires me.  Hearing live music or seeing dance or theatre performances also inspires me. Movies inspire me, too. My son is a sculptor and I have become more and more interested in and inspired by the visual arts. Blocked? I take a walk. And walk some more. I complain to my husband, who is also a writer (Peter Seth, his recent novel is What It Was Like) and very sympathetic. I busy myself knocking a few things off my on-going, Virgo forged to-do list. I start something new—bam! off the cuff! flying blind!—with no real idea of where it might lead me.

What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I practice yoga four times a week. I meditate. I take courses at a local college with two friends. I love sports and watch a lot of baseball and basketball. Both big distractions but I love it. And I spend time with my grandson who has opened a world of possibility to me and reminds me to be in the present moment, a headspace writers need to cultivate.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I have two favorite parts: getting something to a point where I’m not afraid to share it and having a reader respond to it—favorably, I hope, but any response at all is welcome and good.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Read omnivorously. Don’t slack on the revising part. Revise relentlessly. Join/start a writers’ group. Being a part of a small writers’ group has been a source of tremendous support for me. First, you have to show up with something to read; second, you have to listen to what your friend-editors are saying, and third, you get to spend time talking about writing with other writers which brings home the sublime realization: Hey, I’m a writer!

Check out Buffy’s story, winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award, in Volume 3, Issue 2!

 

 

Announcing The Magnolia Review Ink Award for Volume 4, Issue 1

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 of The 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/.

Volume 4, Issue 1

Phoenix Rising 12 X 12 Clayboard jpeg

Volume 4 Issue 1 is available here as a PDF: The Magnolia Review Volume 4 Issue 1.

Contributors: Charles Joseph Albert, Meredith Bailey, Susan P. Blevins, Doug Bolling, Adam Levon Brown, Sally Bunch, Antonia Clark, Mara Cohen, Ann Colcord, Tony Concannon, Sandy Coomer, Barbara Daniels, Maureen Daniels, Chris Dungey, Robert Ford, Cynthia Gallaher, D.G. Geis, Jessica Gigot, Ben Groner III, Mary Hanrahan, K.B. Holzman, Jamie Houghton, Mark Hudson, Steven Jakobi, Brian K. Kerley, Lauren Klocinski, Laurie Kolp, Paul Lamb, Sean J. Mahoney, Bridget Malley, Todd Mercer, Anthony J. Mohr, Wilda Morris, Leah Mueller, Don Noel, Toti O’Brien, Richard King Perkins II, Scarlett Peterson, Greg Rappleye, Ruben Rodriguez, John Rodzvilla, Valerie Ruberto, David Anthony Sam, Hilary Sideris, Roger Sippl, Steve Slavin, Spencer Smith, and Christopher Woods

Reviews: Magic for Unlucky Girls by A.A. Balaskovits, Twenty-One by D. Victoria BonAnno, Wet Radio and other poems by Goirick Brahmachari, Two Towns Over by Darren C. Demaree, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson, and Chant of a Million Women by Shirani Rajapakse.

Winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award: to be announced

Announcing The Magnolia Review Ink Award for Volume 3 Issue 2

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.
Read the Volume 3 Issue 2 here.