Interview with Erin McGraw

Erin McGraw is the author of “Joy,” published in the current issue of JuxtaProse. Her short fiction has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and The Kenyon Review. She’s a Pushcart Prize winner three times over and the author of several novels, including The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard and Better Food for a Better World. Her most recent publication, a collection of short stories titled Joy, was released March 5th.

When I spoke to her in preparation for this interview, we discussed how Joy became the title not only for a short story, but also for a whole collection. McGraw allows that the title can be taken as either ironic or straight; it’s a word that leaves room for more than one interpretation. This touches on the depth of experience waiting for the reader at the outset of “Joy.” Characters are given the space to explore the shifting definitions of emotions like grief, which exist in a suspension of judgment for the span of the story. In the past, McGraw has called herself a writerly “magpie,” and “Joy” is rich with small details placed like treasures for the reader to find. In similar fashion, we hope you’ll find some valuable insights into writing and craft in the following interview. Continue reading “Interview with Erin McGraw”

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What Is Literary?

By Lisa Gregg, Poetry Editor

It is almost certain that if you are reading this, you have given creative writing a try at least once. I’m pretty sure most literate people who reach adulthood attempt it at some point. Whether as an assignment in third grade, to release heart-pangs in the midst of teen angst, after reading a comic book or seeing something really meaningful, we as human beings, having experienced the beauty and release of the written word, feel the need to reproduce it. Continue reading “What Is Literary?”

Volume 19 Now Available!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FICTION

“Detours” by Kate Dusto

The road trip, that great American pastime, ought to be accompanied by anthems of open roads and freedom. Instead of Springsteen, they have been listening to Sadie’s tireless rendition of ‘The Wheels on the Bus.’ The only thing Nadia wants freedom from right now is the inside of this blue Ford Focus.

“What Have We Here” by Amy Silverberg
Best American Short Stories contributor

I did feel drunk, come to think of it. I guess I’d lied before though I hadn’t meant to. At that point, I remember looking up at the ceiling and watching the patterns of stucco whirl. Parts of the story shift as I retell it, slide in and out of focus. Memory is tricky.

“Joy” by Erin McGraw
Pushcart Prize winner

Now, I thought, Now, the word’s meaning teasingly out of reach.

NONFICTION

“Tents” by M.C.K. Carter

It is a more conscious and mindful parent driving this year. Correction: a woman trying to be a more mindful parent.

“Unwritten” by Emily Sinclair

For me, it’s a time during which I intend to come into the person I want to be: a hard-bitten reporter, albeit one with hot-rollered hair, because I’m a Texas gal.

“Unearthing the Frail Children” by Kathryn Winograd

Mother says: “Absolutely nothing here.”

POETRY

Two Poems by Xiao Yue Shan
          “If Beauty Is Nothing But the Beginning of Terror”
          “Search by No Light”

I was a blue summer evening too. my body an honor of moonlight
pressing her open mouth to your window.

“Groove” by Troy Jollimore
National Book Critics Circle Award winner

don’t complain about my incoherence,
my lack of planning and organization.

“Tale of the Tortoise” by Bruce Weigl
Pulitzer Prize finalist

I found her near a nest of her eggs where the garden had already begun to turn to autumn.

“Ars Poetica” by Kristina Bicher

Because when she rolled away the stone, nothing.

“Adjacency” by Chera Hammons
PEN Award winner

Someone is building a house
on the land behind ours.

“Suit of Swords” by Karen Holman

as far as the dead hummingbird
… I could take it or leave it

“Stages” by Susan Eyre Coppock

By now
I know the practice

“Patient” by Betsy Johnson-Miller

your hair will grow back in wispy gray

Two Poems by Brian Michael Murphy
          “Downtime”
          “Dead, for the Second Time”

The afterlife is not paradise,
nor hellfire, not oblivion,
but eternal downtime

Two Poems by D.R. Shipp
          “Alzheimer’s As Though We’ve Never”
          “Alzheimer’s As Ancestry.com Says I Have the Markers”

Rot slips under the door, silent
as a postcard.

“To the Man Who Tried to Grab My Face Through the Car’s Open Window” by Carolyn Oliver

Uninvited rabbit clips clover in quick bites
skitters over the rhododendron

“Tomato, Tomato” by Doug Ramspeck

My wife and I are arguing about the pregnancy
of pauses. How knocked up that space is.

“A Light” by Jennifer Whalen

the grasses’ stretch doesn’t reach anywhere,
just winds back in & touches itself.

“Confessions” by Leah Nieboer

I never got up expressly to see the sun rise
what sort of person is that—

“The Sea” by Garret Keizer
          from “Three Days in Savannah”
Best American Essays and Best American Poetry contributor

Our friend bags seashells
____ like coins, but hold out your hand:
________She is no miser.

Two Poems by Jennifer Atkinson
          “Bells No Longer Ring the Hours”
          “Ribbon Tied to a Hawthorn Branch”
Pushcart Prize winner

An aphasia this saying and saying
Tree spring hair-tie moss