THE BLOG @ TIR

  • July 19, 2013
    by TIR Staff

    We're thrilled to announce the following winners and runners-up of the 2013 Iowa Review Awards. These stories, essays, poems, and photos will appear in our December 2013 issue. Thanks to all who entered, and thanks to our judges, Susan Orlean (nonfiction), Mary Jo Bang (poetry), ZZ Packer (fiction), and Alec Soth and Kathleen Edwards (photography). 

     

    Nonfiction

    Laura Brown

    Winner: Laura Lynn Brown (left; Little Rock, AR), "Fifty Things about My Mother"
    Runner-up: Meghan Flaherty, "Womb"

    Nonfiction judge Susan Orlean writes, "Spare and simple, built of snippets and tiny moments, 'Fifty Things About My Mother' develops into a deep and complex portrait of a woman who died too young. It is a masterful use of tone and detail, managing to be both artful and effortless while conveying a world of emotion. 'Womb' travels through family history with a vivid, exacting, almost reportorial voice. The resulting narrative is engrossing and intimate, beautifully told."

    Poetry

    Winner: Meredith Stricker (left; Carmel, CA), "Hazardous Materials"
    Runner-up: Rebecca Lilly, "The Orchardist," "Hairy Old Man," "The Water Goddess," "Uncle Lowry," "Abelon Graveyard," "Our Family Business"

    Poetry judge Mary Jo Bang, on her choices: The poems in Meredith Stricker’s 'Hazardous Materials' series rest on a bedrock of notation. The borrowed lines—from varied sources: Kafka, Coleridge, Dickinson, Benjamin, Bill Viola, to list only a few—are sometimes used as epigraphs, sometimes as scaffolding, and frequently as echoes that argue that all utterance is interconnected. While the poems traffic in lyric beauty, it’s never at the cost of pretending the real world with its real ruin doesn’t exist: oil spills and waste water infused with prescription drug residues, 'that rawness, the mess / the Veiling of beauty // lost in twigs, “cured” of language, unfinished and starry.' I have great confidence in these poems, in their inclusivity and their formal reach. Language is never more than a fractured mirror of world but these poems come closer than most to capturing the complexity of what is in front of us.

    "Rebecca Lilly’s prose poems are fabulous reports of encounters between a motley crew of imagined speakers that include a talking shadow, a tweed-wearing wolf, a Rumplestiltskin-resembling dwarf, a caterpillar, a graveyard watchman named Jacob Arnold, Old Uncle Lowry (with a 'castle in Malibu designed after Poe’s House of Usher'), along with an unnamed speaker and his brother Michael. These poems ask a great deal of the reader and it’s to Lilly’s credit that we willingly suspend our disbelief and enter these scenarios in good faith. The reason we do is that beyond the cleverness of their invention, the characters sound so like us and struggle with the same conundrums with which we struggle. The poems alternate between arch proclamations, lyric description, and novelistic rifts, continually demonstrating both humor and a distinctive and convincing poetic intelligence."

    Fiction

    Winner: Elise Winn (left; Woodland, CA), "Honey Moon"
    Runner-up: Ronit Feinglass Plank, "Rick's Wax Hands"

    Fiction judge ZZ Packer writes of "Honey Moon," "These are truly postcards from the edge, told in plain, clear, transparent prose that becomes almost hypnotic. The story manages the trick of moving both forward and backward at once, and in the end becomes a beautiful homage to the present."

    And of "Rick's Wax Hands": "I loved the voice of this story, but I loved most of all how the author shows how one small moment is all it takes to see the world for what it truly is—as well as for what it never could have been."

    Photography

    Winner: Colin Edgington (left; Phillipsburg, NJ), "Umbrae"
    Runner-up: Maury Gortemiller, "Do the Priest in Different Voices"

    Photography judge Alec Soth, on Edgington's work: "In an era of Facebook and Instagram, I admire an artist like Colin Edgington, whose work whispers, makes you move in closer in hopes of hearing a secret."

     

     

     

     

  • July 18, 2013
    by TIR Staff

    Our pals at Anomalous Press have just released their newest issue! It's available online, via, Kindle, as a PDF, and as an audiobook (!!).

    They write:

    We present to you Anomalous 9, and we hope that when you're finished, you might come back, or at least give us away. We want to be repossessed. We want to be the enigmatic jewels that thieves leave behind, like the re-painted myths and revolving language of retold histories. This issue is full of them. There are always more layers to peel, but you can start by looking under the sheets to find:

    • A journey in prose with Janalyn Guo’s pieces "The Hidden Town" and "Boy." “You want access beyond the mudbrickwalls of words. You want an opening in the shape of your figure everywhere.”
    • A lyrical, pop smash-down with R. Zamora Linmark’s poems "Whitney’s Greatest Love/ Mix," "Last Dance
      ,"
      and "Arse Poetica." “…Seventy-year-old Lolitas/ explosive and sexhausted titles of/ B-lyrical odes “Gospel According/ to Luke Loser” and “Who Won the War/ Between Gentile and Genital Warts”/ alliterations enough for everyone...”
    • Two fresh-faced stories by Casey Plett, "Me and You" and "Gas." “I cried because you had something to remember me by and I didn’t, so you took off your shoes, and then your socks. They were black.”
    • Two thought-provoking poems by Rich Murphy, "The Clone Rhymes Now at Home" and "The Tremor State."“…The hen house/ will be bugged to determine/
      which came first the kitchen/
       or the egg; bedrooms will be projected/
      onto police station walls.”
    • Edward Gauvin translating two whimsical stories by Jean Ferry from the French, "The Garbagemen’s Strike" and "A Tear in His Eye." “It has to do with a very dear friend, whom I’ll call Jean for simplicity’s sake, and who could never manage to cry.”
    • Erin Sweeny’s photographs, untitled from the series Tarpaulin Muster, a portrait of both experience in time and movement through space in the forms of what remained in a stolen, impounded, and then reclaimed Chevy pickup.

    If after you’ve read, you remember something you have to show us, we are accepting submissions until July 31st and again during the month of November. Along with our regular submissions, we'll also be reading for our Queer Issue that will go live in March 2014 to celebrate our third anniversary as a press. Send us your finest, and we'll show you ours.

  • June 6, 2013
    by TIR Staff

    Good news, polyglots! We've added another Argentinian Spanish translation to the online contents of our Spring 2010 issue: "Un mar en penumbras," a translation by Melina Cazabat of Elisabeth Benjamin's story "Scarce Lit Sea." 

    Past translations featured on our website include “La pistolita” (Benjamin Percy’s “The Rubber-band Gun”), “Toc toc” (Brock Clarke’s “Knock knock”), “Avisos fúnebres” (Susan McCarty’s “Services Pending”), and “El pibe al que no invitamos a la orgía” (David Harris Ebenbach’s “The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy”). Thanks to outgoing TIR editor Russell Valentino for coordinating the effort!

    These translations come to us by way of two translation workshops in Buenos Aires, Argentina, headed by Argentine poet Santiago Llach and American translator Jennifer Croft. 

    Read our original blog post, TIR Argentina.

  • May 15, 2013
    by TIR Staff

    You know how, when you go out for drinks with writer friends, the conversation always devolves into a lament about the state of literary culture in America, and someone makes a zealous fist and says we need to go further than lit mags, we need to bring poetry to the people! and someone else says wouldn't it be great to just get in a van and, you know, just go DO that? 

    Well, six poets are.  

    This summer, Adam Atkinson, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Zachary Harris, Ben Pelhan, S.E. Smith, and Anne-Marie Rooney (a TIR alum!) are climbing into a van and driving across the midwest, mid-atlantic, and northeast U.S. to give readings, performances, and free poetry and literary arts workshops at libraries and community spaces.

    They call the project Line Assembly, and in April it became the most funded poetry Kickstarter campaign ever. Their goal is to engage with the country's network of grassroots literary arts efforts and to prove that poetry, contrary to a recent Washington Post op-ed, is not, in fact, dead.

    Are they coming to a town near you? Here's the map.

    And the video.

     

     

     

  • April 24, 2013
    by Russell Scott Valentino

    The Best Translated Book Awards finalists for this year have been announced at Three Percent, and the books are being written up individually in a "why this book should win" mode by the jurists. They are of course all really good, but I snagged Nichita Stanescu's Wheel with a Single Spoke (in Sean Cotter's English translation) and couldn't help but be just a little irreverant, not towards the book, towards the whole idea of picking one that's best (Have a look Here). 

    The whole series of fiction and poetry finalists write-ups are available here. It's an impressive list.

    Here are the poetry finalists:

     

    Transfer Fat by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson (Ugly Duckling Press; Sweden)

    pH Neutral History by Lidija Dimkovska, translated from the Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid (Copper Canyon Press; Macedonia)

    The Invention of Glass by Emmanuel Hocquard, translated from the French by Cole Swensen and Rod Smith (Canarium Books; France)

    Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stanescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Archipelago Books; Romania)

    Notes on the Mosquito by Xi Chuan, translated from the Chinese by Lucas Klein (New Directions; China)

    Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda, translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop (Burning Deck; Austria)

    And here are the fiction finalists:

     

    The Planets by Sergio Chejfec, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary (Open Letter Books; Argentina)

    Prehistoric Times by Eric Chevillard, translated from the French by Alyson Waters (Archipelago Books; France)

    The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, translated from the Persian by Tom Patterdale (Melville House; Iran)

    Satantango by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes (New Directions; Hungary)

    Autoportrait by Edouard Levé, translated from the French by Lorin Stein (Dalkey Archive Press; France)

    A Breath of Life: Pulsations by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Johnny Lorenz (New Directions; Brazil)

    The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller, translated from the German by Philip Boehm (Metropolitan Books; Romania)

    Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz (Open Letter Books; Russia)

    Transit by Abdourahman A. Waberi, translated from the French by David Ball and Nicole Ball (Indiana University Press; Djibouti)

    My Father’s Book by Urs Widmer, translated from the German by Donal McLaughlin (Seagull Books; Switzerland)