The Review Review

What I’m Reading

In a detailed how-to piece on submitting to literary magazines, Ryo Yamaguchi says, “I write to trend, and I write against it.” In other words, pay attention to what other writers are doing, but don’t let that trap you. I recommend perusing the rest of the article, which can be found on The Michigan Quarterly Review’s delightful blog. Thanks also to The Review Review for tipping me off.

joy williams godIn an earlier post on this distinguished internet thingie, I referred to an interview by editor Lincoln Michel with the esteemed and strange author Joy Williams. And what do I find today, but an excerpt of her new collection, Ninety-Nine Stories of God, courtesy of the irrepressible resource, Lithub.

…Which also published this thought-provoking overview of books that stimulate – some more mildly than others – the human emotion known as empathy. I’ve encountered that emotion before. It being (as I mentioned) a human trait, what little experience I did get with empathy fredric jameson antimoniesgave me gas. I don’t recommend it.

(The latter article points to Fredric Jameson’s scholarly tome, The Antimonies of Realism, which Lithub makes out to be a perfect object to read ostentatiously on the curb outside Lorin Stein’s apartment. They paraphrase Jameson’s opinion on the contemporary time period known as “modernity” thusly: Jameson believes that modernity creates an “irreconcilable divorce between intelligibility and experience, between meaning and existence.” Quite so! My thoughts exactly. But then again, I never assumed that meaning and existence were dating? Forgive me, but isn’t it in bad form to presume knowledge of a couple’s relationship without any verifiable evidence thereof? Harumph. Perhaps I am unforgivably antiquated in my notions about etiquette.)

Interview of the Week: Becky Tuch of The Review Review

man at desk by pedro ribeiro simoes

This article of the week comes from my ghostwriter. How thoughtful of him to interview the founder of one of my favorite literary resources on the global interweb net, The Review Review, that most effective tool for researching literary magazines.

The innovative and delightful editress Mlle. Becky Tuch opens up about motherhood, her short story collection (and novel!), and the ongoing evolution of The Review Review in an interview for The Rumpus. Don’t miss it. Be a dear and leave a comment at the bottom, or tweet your reactions to @City_Sasquatch. I will be sure to pass them on to the author.

Find a list of my ghostwriter’s other publications on the About page at the top of your screen, and be sure to keep abreast of his weekly Song of the Day column for The Rumpus. I promise I’ll get around to it, as soon as I open this fan mail.

Burned! The Toast Is Closing!


Alas, another reputable journal stops its presses. This time it’s the thoughtful online zine, The Toast, founded by Nicole Cliffe and “Dear Prudence” columnist Mallory Ortberg.

Slate magazine offers a wonderful list of ‘best ofs’ from the archives of The Toast. How did I miss “Let’s Make Meat Loaf A Lesbian Icon“?

Thanks to the untiring folks at The Review Review for tipping me off to this sad bit of news. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Follow me on Twitter @City_Sasquatch, you inimitable humans, so you don’t miss my next prescient prediction.


A Warm Review of Lit Mag ‘The Brooklyn Rail’

brooklyn rail cover

It thrills me – ahem – to inform you all that my ghostwriter has published a bit of nonfiction on the world interweb net, a piece that will be of some interest to you literati out there. You can now read his glowing review of local Big Apple journal The Brooklyn Rail on that perfectly-charming and helpful site, The Review Review.

If you write or read words, you will in all likelihood appreciate this wonderful – and wonderfully-free – journal. Read “New York and Other Diverse Countries: Brooklyn Lit Mag is Home for High-Quality Prose and Art Criticism” now.

As I said, I am just so vicariously happy for my ghostwriter – emphasis on ghost – I could climb a tree and stay up there for several days.

Read These Journals, Humans


Recently, thanks to the wonderful editresses at The Review Review, I stumbled across a list of “29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Need To Be Reading” at Buzzfeed. Their list is certainly not exhaustive, but it consists of a refreshing variety of staunch old names like Ploughshares and Poetry alongside lesser-known publications like One Throne and Winter Tangerine Review.

Peruse it, dear bibliophiles, and tell me what you think. Though I was a bit miffed to see that The Hot Wind Review was not mentioned above… Oh well – it’s not the first time I’ve been lost in plain sight.

Plimpton. George Plimpton.


As alluded to earlier this week, I’d like to share with you a particularly glittery list from the unmined ore deposit of the literate webternets.

Over at The Awl, Patrick Iber shares a list of the best “Literary Magazines for Socialists Funded by the CIA.” Yes, the best. I know you’ve been waiting for this, just as I have. In fact, this explains Bernie Sanders’ anxiety during public speaking engagements. Anticipation frays the nerves like nothing else.

The Paris Review’s appearance on this list was no surprise. It’s funding by the CIA was no secret. But I’d never heard of the Mundo Nuevo. Have you?

Read it over and let me know if you think the list is accurate. Thanks to The Review Review for sharing this wonderful article.

Holidays Over? Buy A Writer Something Nice

Now that those irascible holidays are over (most of them), it’s time to take advantage of steep discounts, humans!

The Review Review has a wonderful article chock full of gift ideas for writers. Think of the writer who is dearest to your heart and peruse this list with them in mind. I can guarantee that the presents they received this year seemed to create in them an external glow, but on the inside, the charred edges of their souls were only curling and smoking like so many incinerated drafts of Vladimir Nabokov’s lost manuscripts. Life is so hard for the unfamous. Assuage their pain, won’t you? You can do your part today to indulge the fragile and tremulous ego of your friendly neighborhood scribbler.

You can forward my gifts directly to my P.O. Box in New York. Tweet me at @City_Sasquatch for contact information.

Jellyfish Poetry Gels; More Submitting Tips

reading in chair

Yes, tips. I know you, my effervescent and erudite readers, are never too proud to listen to a good tip (especially if you are feeling tipsy… though, from what I gather, there is no etymological affinity between these terms).

I recommend reading closely Pushcart Nominee and Brooklyn MFA’er Lindsay Merbaum’s post on the news portal, Tremr, titled “Submission For Beginners: The Reality of Lit Mag Publishing.” While I don’t generally prefer reality checks, since many so-called ‘Bigfoot Experts’ allege that I don’t exist, there is no denying the value of Mlle. Merbaum’s pragmatism. She laments:

A former reader for the top-tier literary magazine Tin House reported that the publications’s monthly “slush pile,” the term for a pool of unsolicited submissions, is about one thousand strong. The number of stories that get accepted? One or two every three years.

This is sobering news, to be sure. However, it is not cause for despair. “Take heart,” Merbaum exhorts. “You can and will be published.”

And I couldn’t help but reward you, my luscious logophiles, with one more nutritious article for your eager eyes. If you’ve heard rumblings among your literary peers about the online poetry magazine, Jellyfish, it isn’t for naught. This publication deserves our attention. Take heed, and read more about it in Nathaniel Tagg’s wonderfully incisive survey of the journal on The Review Review.

Advice On Advice, For Writers

book in handThe internet is a big place. A veritably infinite gamut of information gamely surfs the invisible waves of the digital sea. But there’s one type of information that, in my humble opinion, the web still lacks: that of unsolicited advice.

That’s where I come in. Aren’t you glad you’re reading this?

In response to some well-intentioned submission strategies for the working literati over at The Writer’s Circle, I propose to you, my earnest idolaters, this unsolicited bit of counsel: write either with a pen, a pencil, or at a keyboard. This approach should solve most quandaries quite directly. However, contrary to the Circle’s second rule of submitting, I see no reason why you should read your work over. You’ve just written it. Why read it again?

If you do insist on reading the piece you’ve just produced, then allow me to suggest a heuristic which you might find helpful. Have you been writing with your eyes closed? Open them. I think you’ll be surprised at what you’ll see.

If that glittering emerald of advice doesn’t tide you over, there’s always this brisk run-down of helpful ways to think about your writing, thanks to the enchanting editors at The Review Review.


Cheating is Good

reading“There has to be some honor, even among thieves,” writes Theodore Ross in his article “Cheat! It’s the Only Way to Get Published,” published (thanks to an unspecified amount of skullduggery) at The New Republic. “But it is a strategy, however misguided, and strategy is what is required to compete in this very small game…” That is, the game of submitting your literary work to journals and hoping to beat the odds (which are, it seems, stacked against us).

In other words, cheating is good. Ross stops short of advising the sort of deceit flaunted by the now-infamous Caucasian writer Michael Derrick Hudson: “If… race wins out, then win the race race.” However, he does compare the current literary landscape to a “rigged casino game.” Given such a characterization, his proposition merits further thought.

However, I am not subject to the same rules as human beings, and I don’t intend to begin answering to them now. Many would agree that my very existence is a refutation of widely-accepted statistical laws. By Vulcan’s hammer, I did not spend 400 years defecating under mossy logs only to indulge in cheating at such a venerable age! I’ve written from the heart for all these years, and so I shall continue to write, as long as my horrifyingly-shaggy digits are able.

Take my advice: be honest as a sasquatch. It might get you noticed. From a distance, with a 30x zoom camera lens.

NB – Thanks to The Review Review for highlighting this story.