Monthly Archives: June 2013

Support Lit! 5 Magazines to Get You Started

Dear Wendigos and Other Beasts of Folklore,

Wendigo Trail, by Amir Syed

Wendigo Trail, by Amir Syed

I hope you’re doing well out there in the Blogosphere. I’ve heard it’s cold sometimes.

The poems, stories, artwork and photography we’ve imprisoned in our first issue from this year are screaming to get out and into your heads! If you haven’t seen our literary brig, go to our ISSUES section and take a gander at our literary magazine.

Here’s the fun part of this post—and definitely not the self-marketing in-your-face advertisement blurb—as I’d like to make a shout out to some literary œuvres de grandeur (see that! French!) that you should know about. They’re all very, very cool publishers of the best, the best of the best, and the best of the best bests, and deserve 96% of your attention. The other 4% can be zoned out. That’s totally fine.

Click on the pictures to visit their websites!

1. The Gap-Toothed Madness

This lit mag based in Sacramento, CA is already a strong contender as a fantastic and sophisticated compilation of work from around the world. One of their featured writers is actually a Yorick alum, Fred Pollack, one of our Spring 2013 issue’s poets. With amazing cover art and a printed magazine you can order here, this publication has a lot to smile about. This madness is currently accepting work.

The Gap-Toothed Madness - Lovely!

The Gap-Toothed Madness – Lovely!

2. Undergroundbooks.org

With a cryptic “Welcome Home” that makes me rethink where I’ve been these past two decades, Undergroundbooks.org deals in the cryptic and the utterly wonderful. Featuring eclectic poets and several neat ebooks, this online publishing house of silken onyx has scored a subterranean following as well as my heart. Some types of prose and poetry you may submit are prison diaries (if you’ve recently been to prison), poetry made through animated gifs, and children’s books, which will be tested on the editors’ children, among the more typical stuff. This underground dwelling is currently accepting work.

Undergroundbooks.org - Lovely!

Undergroundbooks.org – Lovely!

3. Hobo Camp Review

A four-season camp full of weathered raconteurs, this magazine is in its seventeenth issue. If you’re looking to read earthy realities and salient truths, come here. Some notable work to mention is by Melissa Prunty Kemp and James Tyner, among an amazing camp of “road-weary storytellers” that will surely send your dreams to the forest. This hobo camp is currently accepting work.

Hobo Camp Review - Lovely!

Hobo Camp Review – Lovely!

4. Miracle E-zine

Sporting gorgeous artwork, poetry, fiction, film reviews, writing contests, and other special features (I particularly like the “Writer’s Guide to Reading” in Issue 6), Miracle is a miracle—not that its talented staff and writers can put together such great work, but that we can have such a beautiful publication to grace our existence. For their writers’ group, click here. This miracle is currently accepting submissions.

Miracle E-zine - Lovely!

Miracle E-zine – Lovely!

5. Decades Review

This is the kind of lit review you look for when you sink back in your couch, pull up your laptop, and browse for good, meaningful writing. The Decades Review is inspiring, full of great management, interviews, and, of course, pieces of fine literature and artwork. I hope this publication runs for years. This decade is currently accepting submissions.

Decades Review - Lovely!

Decades Review – Lovely!

Thanks for reading, folks! Support these magazines with your time, love, and memory. Reading the work of others, comrades, is as important as submitting your own work.

It’s a monster of a world without friends. Even for a wendigo.

Love,
Alex

The Pleasure in Poetry

by Samuel Levenberg, Staff Writer

Image

Poetry, by V.H. Hammer. View her work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/vhhammer/

Heidi ho out there!

A few days ago my editor – the esteemed Alex Grover – asked me if I wanted to write a blog post for Yorick about what I like about poetry. A few things immediately popped into my head – how its beauty is only in words and how it can be about much of anything – but what I think I like most about poetry is its unpredictable nature. When looking into poetry, whether in a literary magazine, a textbook, on the internet, my own drunk scribbles or even just research about it in general, the gems I find concerning poetry always lift my mood.

Two gems in particular always make me smile when I see them. The first is a drunken scrawl I wrote about a month ago when I was having a conversation with a random girl I had just met. I mentioned I was a poet, so she challenged me to write a poem. I asked her for a word and she said to me “CRY.” I said “Okay,” and I wrote this for her:

Cold fusion does make

radioactive music.

YES, said the hero

I almost forgot this poem, because I’d written it on a napkin and given it to her so I thought I had lost it. But about two days after this night, I was taking a look at my jeans and saw something written on them. Wadda ya know, it was this poem, and when I saw that I couldn’t help but grin.

The other gem that always makes me smile is that there are 190, 899, 322 different ways to write a sonnet (thank you John Lennard’s The Poetry Handbook!) because for a while I was of the opinion that you could only write a sonnet one of two or three ways – in English, Italian or Spenserian forms. However, after reading these numbers in Lennard’s book and doing a close reading of “Ozymandias” by Shelley, my mind was opened to the adventures that writing sonnets can hold. So, whenever I look at this number I am reminded of this, and it makes me smile.

So, farewell. I wish you hope out there in the blogosphere in finding your own gems to smile at.

Best,
Sam “The Grimm” Levenberg
Intern (in turn)
Yorick Magazine

The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference (Or a King in a Zeppelin)

Dear Spider People and People Spiders,

Yorick, your friendly neighborhood literary magazine, is here again at the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference in, well, Philadelphia. Specifically the Wyndham Hotel on Race Street. If that even matters. It’s raining like a king who can’t spell, or who’s crying too much in his zeppelin above the city. So that part’s awful and relatively lends itself to a bildungsroman story. Oh rain.

Image

Carla Spataro discusses the world’s wonders with a pupil.

But! The first session of Carla Spataro’s Short Story class was a great start to the conference (Ed Rendell was the real beginning, but unfortunately I was being a senseless consumer and bought a cup of coffee at the Starbucks down the road during the speech). Carla is not only the Creating Writing MFA director at Rosemont College, but she is also the editor-in-chief of Philadelphia Stories, a wonderful publication with powerful fiction, poetry, artwork, and photography. It’s awesome. So with that introduction to this fine instructor, let’s start off with a few pointers she had to provide about the lugubrious art of short storytelling.

1. A successful short story is structured as follows: conflict, complication, more conflict, then resolution. Carla addressed the old adage that literary fiction is strictly character drive, but what’s very important to realize is that literary fiction must still have a plot. Even though writers stigmatize genre writing as being trite and unintelligent because its stereotypically undeveloped characters, plot should still be a realized part of any good piece of short fiction. To be fair, genre fiction is not the bugbear that professionals think it to be. There’s a reason that genre fiction sells.

2. A successful short story is also structured as follows: exposition, development, and drama. Yet another road towards the same Rome. This theory, developed by Frank O’Connor in his guide to writing, The Lonely Voice, helps us determine if our story can even stay afloat. Carla had us write a sentence for these sections for a hypothetical or working story. If one section proves difficult, then that section needs improvement. Short stories, though they need not be outlined, should have a strong logical foundation. Without such, a story becomes a couple at a bar talking about nothing and going home. Have things happen! Create conflict!

 3. A successful short story is also structured as follows (tired of this yet?): you’ve heard of Freytag’s Pyramid, the traditional five-act structure that progresses from exposition to the rising action to the climax to the falling action and then to the denouement, that vague French term that comes close to meaning some sort of resolution. Carla informed us, however, of the contemporary story structure, which starts in media res, or in the middle of the story, and continues to the exposition and then the inciting action. With the following rising action leading to another conflict and falling action, the structure looks like a surreal checkmark mountain range, going up, up, up. Most postmodern fiction comes in this form nowadays. It eliminates excessive exposition, which Carla said “makes her want to poke her eyes out.”

4. There are about 157 million ways to approach a short story. But my advice, friends, is to simply write your story, then analyze it for its flaws. A zeppelin with a king inside can’t get off the ground if the king cries too much about the whole damned thing (full circle, eh?) Anyhow, I don’t want to steal too much of Carla’s thunder. Consider her program if you’re serious about creative writing and submit to her wonderful magazine.

Here’s a question: what stories are you working on? What do you think needs to be fixed? But give yourself some credit. What do you like about your story? You always need something to like; otherwise, what’s the point?

 

Signing off (for now),

Love,
Alex