Good Writing Break: Post-Summer Solstice Edition

Hey, fickle readers!   I’ve been involved with end-of-the-school-year festivities. (Yeah, they kept Little Fickle in school till Friday.  This is what happens when it snows the entire month of February.  Friggin’ winter.) But now I’m back to cheer about great writing and whine and gnash my teeth about everything else.  (Okay, sometimes good writing makes me do that, too.  But never mind.)  So let’s get things started…

Hey, didya know it’s summer?

Woo-hoo!  Sweat and socklessness for at least two months!  All hail the Goddess of Skin and Warm Weather!!!!

First, a new poetry venue: Tinderbox Poetry Journal, which not only has an attractive site (layout counts–right, Editors of the World?), it also has an impressive lineup of work in its debut issue.  For me, standouts are “In the Cottonwoods,” a contemporary twist on Romantic naturalism from Ray Gonzalez (note a hint of “Ode to a Nightingale” in the second stanza); “The Schooner,” Ed Bok Lee’s brutal, visionary “meta-translation” so brilliant it makes me want to put my head through a wall (seriously, I took a look at the poem “The Schooner” is based on and found it so beyond my skill level I couldn’t even bring myself to bury my self-pity in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s); “News,” Emily Yoon’s gorgeous elegy for the South Korean ferry that sunk on April 16, 2014; and “After the Death of a Friend, I Feel Enlightened for Approximately Three Days,” yet another amazing piece from the thoroughly wonderful Kelli Russell Agodon.  (That title alone should earn her a standing ovation.)  There’s quite a bit more to explore at this site, and I must say (in a very high-Edwardian manner) that if this first issue is indicative of the future of Tinderbox, then I shall surely be following the publication’s further endeavors with great anticipation.  Bravo, editors!

Next, an old favorite of mine, inkscrawl, has just brought out its seventh issue.  This particular journal focuses on short speculative poems (10 lines or less) and is like a breath of fresh air, especially when you’re writing long, involved prose or just generally find your brain engorged with the usual crap the world tends to wallow in.  Try Sonya Taafe’s “Facilior,” Jonel Abellanosa’s “Nonfiction,” Kendall Evans’s “Down the Black Sky,” and Noel Sloboda’s “My To Undo List.”  To describe each poem in detail would have me typing a week’s worth of posts (and my posts ain’t short), but all of these pieces manage to take their respective corners of the speculative–myth, magic, space and time–and nudge those boundaries outward with elegance and wit.  If you crave a mental dip in the pool or a short getaway to someplace totally unfamiliar, inkscrawl is a great place to find those much-needed exit doors.

And one last bonus site!  Roxane Gay’s Tumblr blog is a little piece of writing heaven.  There are few writers out there these days who can so effortlessly chronicle the meanderings of the human psyche.  At least one recent post contains material from an article of hers that got bumped, which is reason enough to follow her blog, but she’s also something of a multimedia artist, posting pics of what she discovered during the day and what she’s cooking for dinner.  Everything coalesces like some transcendent mosaic of the mind, and it’s all right there, for everyone, on the Internet.  Let me tell ya, there’s a reason why random strangers that follow Gay on Twitter want to cook her pancakes the second she asks.  She’s beyond amazing.  I want more.