Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Indiana Review Contributor Anthony Varallo wins Drue Heinz Prize

We just heard that Anthony Varallo's collection of short stories, Out Loud, has just been named the winner of the Drue Heinz prize, judged by Scott Turow, from the University of Pittsburgh Press.

The story "The French Girls" appeared in Indiana Review in 2003, and is part of the collection, which is due out this fall.

Congratulations, Anthony!

Monday, January 28, 2008

See We @ AWP

Aside from participating at the A&B Reading in New York this Thursday, Indiana Review will be rocking our own table at the AWP Bookfair. So come up and visit us.

Aside from premiering the gorgeous new 29.2 issue, the staff will be giving away bookmarks (wow!), discounts (ooh-la-la!), as well as the sexy hot-off-the-press chapbook preview of issue 30.1 "Funk Feature"...!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New edition of the Bluecast!

Samrat Upadhyay reads and discusses an excerpt from his story "Wife" featured in our fall 2007 issue. Remember, if you'd like to hear previous entries (from Sherman Alexie, Stuart Dybek, Wendy Rawlings, Crystal Wilkinson, and others), just press "posts" and select the entry you want.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

29.2 Review: Newsworld by Todd James Pierce

Todd James Pierce, Newsworld. Pittsburgh: U. of Pittsburgh Press, 2006. $24.95 hardcover (ISBN 0-8229-4299-2), 216 pages.
Reviewed by Chad Anderson

In his short story collection, Newsworld, Todd James Pierce tackles a vivid and varied landscape of human relationships through the lens of contemporary media and popular culture.

These ten stories, told by first person narrators, often swing between smart humor and dark morbidity. While Pierce’s collection surveys the famous and infamous icons of American culture, he focuses primarily on those on the outside looking in—the consumers of news and entertainment.

Newsworld, however, is not simply an exposé on the media and popular culture. Instead, Pierce uses these elements to explore his characters’ identities, their loves and losses, and their reactions to the world around them. The title story features a theme park, Newsworld, with rides such as “Watergate Hotel: The Break-In,” “Siege at Waco,” and “OJ’s Bronco: Final Pursuit.” At the story’s core, however, is the unnamed narrator, a ride designer who busies himself with “creating rides that would be a testament to [his] own period of history and to the drama of human life we have all witnessed on TV.” He is so enraptured with the news and larger American culture that he loses touch with own life, damaging his most intimate relationships. Pierce skillfully illustrates how the news and popular culture can be both pervasive and acutely personal.

Pierce also explores how American culture’s representations of “ideal” masculinity often intersect with violence. The story, “Columbine: The Musical,” centers on Greg, a push-over with little ambition or confidence who holds imaginary morning chats with his absent father and doubts the affections of his beautiful, but condescending girlfriend, Susan. Things change, however, when Greg stumbles into a role in his high school play dramatizing the Columbine school shooting. Cast as gunman Dylan Klebold, Greg only finds the necessary rage to play his character after dropping a dumbbell on his foot in the school gym. As he channels Klebold, Greg impresses his theater teacher and fellow students, bosses around groups of freshmen, and enjoys Susan’s renewed attraction to him. The more Greg embraces Klebold’s anger and violence, the more Susan finds him irresistible. Greg’s change, nevertheless, is short-lived. During a morning vision, Greg’s father is silent and Dylan Klebold appears, telling Greg: “You have no idea how to be me. You drop a dumbbell on your foot. You think that’s insight. You think that’s pain.” Subsequently, Greg loses his Klebold persona, the respect of his peers, and his girlfriend. In Greg’s downfall, Pierce deftly renders the regrettable link in American culture between male self-worth and violence.

The final story in the collection, “Newsworld II,” further explores the connections between the media, masculinity, and violence, following a group of Atlanta private-school boys as they attempt to break into Newsworld’s San Francisco Earthquake attraction on September 11th. The story’s narrator confides that emotions are “mysterious” sensations he and his classmates cannot comprehend or express. Although they frequently see explosions and death on television and movie screens, they cannot grasp the reality of 9/11, as illustrated when one boy laughs at the footage, mistaking it for an action movie. They believe the attraction’s “carefully organized debris…the piles of bricks, the broken pieces of plastic designed to look like glass” will help them understand the destruction wrought in the attacks on the World Trade Center. The students seek out the rubble of a fake San Francisco “to feel something other than the vague ache [they felt] all week,” hoping emotion will “fill [their] bodies like a golden light.” Before they can break into the attraction, however, security guards stop them. As in “Columbine: The Musical,” young men react to acts of violence, and are only able to gain a sense of their emotional selves through aggression. Pierce’s depiction of masculinity leaves the reader questioning a culture that teaches young men that aggression and violence are the keys to ideal manhood and the best methods of expressing emotion. When these same men act on these lessons, American culture quickly punishes and demonizes them, but refuses to consider its own complicity in their behavior.

The characters in Newsworld must react to the influence of larger culture in their individual lives. In “Arise and Walk, Christopher Reeve,” an elderly gardener and his wife Edna watch the struggles of their paralyzed celebrity neighbor, Christopher Reeve, while facing Edna’s chronic memory loss. When a special treatment does not heal Reeve, Edna confronts the possibility that she too may never be healed. Observing Edna, her husband, the narrator, says: “I believed she was deciding right then who she’d be for the rest of her life—and I understood the next moment to be crucial in a way few moments ever are.” Edna chooses hope, chooses not to allow Reeve’s condition or her own illness to interfere with her peace in the present. In a way, Edna’s decision reveals Pierce’s wish for all of his characters to establish an identity that withstands the larger-than-life images flashing across their television screens.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Indiana Review Poetry Prize

We've already received a few entries, but just wanted to let you all know, our poetry prize is open to submissions. The final deadline is March 31, and Naomi Shihab Nye is judging.

Complete guidelines below:

Indiana Review's 2008 Poetry Prize Guidelines

$1000 Honorarium and Publication

Final Judge: Naomi Shihab Nye

Reading Fee: $15
Includes a one-year subscription

All entries considered for publication. All entries considered anonymously. Send only three poems per entry.

Previously published works and works forthcoming elsewhere cannot be considered. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but the entry fee is non-refundable if accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are encouraged but a separate reading fee is required for each additional set of three poems.

Further, IR cannot consider work from anyone currently or recently affiliated with Indiana University. In addition, IR cannot consider work from anyone who is a current or former student of the prize judge. We also will not consider work from anyone who is a personal friend of the judge.

Entrant’s name should appear ONLY on the printable entry form. If desired, include self-addressed stamped envelope for notification. Manuscripts will not be returned. Make checks payable to Indiana Review.

Each fee entitles entrant to a one-year subscription, an extension of a current subscription, or a gift subscription. Please indicate your choice and enclose complete address information for
subscriptions. Overseas addresses, please add $12 for postage ($7 for addresses in Canada). Please note that in accordance with Indiana University policy, we cannot accept money orders or accept checks from non-US banks.

International contestants may pay online here (for more detailed instructions, click here).

To use our printable entry form, click here

Poetry Prize
Indiana Review
Ballantine Hall 465
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN

Naomi Shihab Nye's most recent books are You and Yours and I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK? She has written or edited more than twenty-five other books.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Indiana Review in New York!

For those in NYC and attending the AWP Conference on Jan 31st, IR will be featured at the 10th Anniversary A&B Reading. Since 1999, the A&B Reading has been presenting established writers along side emerging writers, contributors from various lit mags and publications, hailing from all over the globe, including Cuba to England to The Czech Republic to the United States.

One of the organizers of A&B is former IR Poetry Editor, Mary Austin Speaker. And representing IR at the reading is ROSS GAY, whose poetry appears in the new IR 29.2.


Readings between A&B 10th Anniversary Party
w/ Indiana Review, 1913, Failbetter, & Saturnalia

January 31, 2008, 7 - 9 p.m.
11th Street Bar, 510 E. 11th Street, NY, NY
Featured Poets:

Featuring: Chris Stackhouse, John Keene, Shin Yu Pai, Ross Gay, Daniel Nester, Kathleen Graber and Catherine Pierce

See you all there!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"[Fortune cookie message] in between the sheets"

Do you sometimes wonder how those book covers come together? With us here at IR, it's usually pretty simple. We look at lots of art, pick something we think fits the issue, and with the creator's permission in place, voila! We have a cover. Well, almost.

Anyway, here's an interesting, yet slightly more complicated story about how the cover at left came into being.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Submission is a good thing

Indiana Review only usually suspends submissions during the summer months, but presently we're not considering new unsolicited work until January 31st.

So, what's up with that, right?

Well, every submission we receive is important to us (we know these are your babies!) and we want to give each the appropriate time and consideration. On our website we have a listed response time of 3-4 months. Most of the time we're within that range, but at times the mountain of submissions grows beyond our mortal means, and we fall behind. As writers ourselves, we know how frustrating it can be to wait and wait and wait and wait for some editor to give you the thumbs up/down on a piece that you submitted months ago. Even if it's bad news, you just want to know.

So, we're suspending submissions in order to get caught up (and hopefully stay that way). Besides shortening the wait time, we want to find other ways to make submitting to Indiana Review a good experience. Online submissions are on the way, but if you have any other ideas about how we could improve the process, please drop us a line. Thanks for your patience.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Where are you going? Where have you been?

Hopefully you didn't miss us too much. We wanted to blog, but life (especially winter break) kept interceding.

But now, we re-form like Voltron.

So, what's new? Well, if you haven't heard, 29.2 is available in bookstores and on our website. We've got exciting work from Killarney Clary, Andrew Lewis Conn, Barbara Hamby, Mattox Roesch, Ross Gay, David Kirby, and a host of other awesome writers. Check it out.