We are so fortunate to be able to publish so much very fine work. Unfortunately, the wonderfulness of our contributors makes this annual task of narrowing our favorites down to a group of only six pieces pretty darn excruciating.
Though our announcement is nearly two weeks too late we wanted to be sure to share the good news:
From our Spring 2014 issue, we nominated “Scooter” (short story, Jeremy Griffin), “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This” (short story, Liza Wieland), “A Story about the Heart” (poem, Andrea Hollander), “Seven Miles Deep” (poem, Pamela Garvey), and “Postcards from Catatonia” (poem, Michelle Boisseau).
From our Fall 2014 issue, forthcoming in mid-December, we nominated “Green” (short story, Afsheen Farhadi).
Trust me – we mailed it before Spring officially ended. Really, we did.
The issue begins like this (the first two stanzas from Andrea Hollander’s poem “A Story About the Heart”):
In the beginning he trusted
its fearless turning
and he followed.
But the heart thins
with each torrid disappointment,
twists in on itself.
And it ends like this (the last four sentences of Andrew Cox’s prose poem “3.7.14″):
The car driving west at night is a disaster driving west at night. The word dark wants to make an appearance but the other words deny the request because there is room for only so much nonsense. I’ve been here before. They call this the end.
There’s a lot of great stuff in between! You can peruse the Table of Contents here.
You can order this issue or a subscription here: sw.submittable.com/submit
One of the hardest but also the most rewarding things about having a book out [For out of the Heart Proceed] has been getting asked to talk about it. I don’t mean that to sound coy or falsely modest. I think it’s hard to talk about my writing, but it’s also rewarding, because having to do so sends me back into a story or into my memory of writing that story; invariably I learn something new. Likewise, I think it’s difficult to find the right way to talk about other books and about other writers, which is something that’s absolutely central to being able to discuss, say, how I might place short-short fiction in relation to prose poetry on some kind of map of literary genre. This is also really rewarding because it sends me back to books I love, where I get to relearn all over again just why that is. Sometimes these conversations happen in interviews, or in posts like this one, and sometimes it’s just through talking with a friend or a colleague who’s read the book. I’m asked about my influences or about what I was up to in particular stories, and so on. These are good questions, and it’s my job to try to come up with answers that make me seem, well, not dumb. For a guy whose first instinct is almost always to answer “I don’t know” that’s no small task.
Here’s an example: the title of my book is taken from a verse in the Book of Matthew that, as I read it, is about how we demonstrate who we are by our actions. Alan Heathcock puts it better in his book Volt, which is there in the stack on my desk. “We are what we do,” a character tells his son in the story “Smoke.” I like this idea and I like this sentiment. I think it’s true. Anyway, in an interview recently, I was asked to talk about this in relation to some of the characters in my book, about how thematically the title represents something cohesive about the collection as a whole. And that’s no easy question. Because of course part of the answer really is I don’t know. Or at least I didn’t know when I was writing the stories. So I had to go figure it out. To answer a question in an interview like this is an act of reflection, of revising intent, of analysis.
Congratulations are in order! Poet Rachel Kubie and fiction writer Lisa Locascio have been selected as this year’s winners of the Dr. Fred Robbins Memorial Award for Emerging Writers (aka The Robbins Award).
You can read more about Rachel and Lisa here.
Each year, one poet and one prose writer who have not published a full-length volume in their genre will be chosen from the fall and/or spring issue to receive a cash award of $100.
The lovely people at New Pages reviewed last fall’s issue earlier this year. In addition to highlighting the work of Sean Singer, Erika Meitner, Leyna Krow, Doug Watson, Makalini Bandele, and Marc McKee , they concluded with these heart-warming words, “In sum, Sou’wester is a bright, energetic publication that can be read in pajamas or pantsuits—that is, on many different levels that all seem to work well and function cohesively. The writers in this journal are uniformly excellent and marry diverse styles and content in a triumphant read.” Of course, you’ll want to read the entire review.