Measure of a Man

by Joshua Mattern Rick Stanley had an aisle seat.  He hated aisle seats.  He hated them, and he suspected that the airline companies knew this, and that they took great delight in having their pilots call over the intercom and say, “Those of you on the left side of the plane,” and insert your chosen majestic image here.  He took to his aisle seat with silent contempt, and hoped that when they flew over the Rockies the sky would be buried under a heavy cloud cover.                  Shortly after getting situated, a young woman sat down in the window seat … Continue reading Measure of a Man

Contests, Awards and Competitions for November 2009

2009 Anderbo Poetry Prize Website: Deadline: November 1, 2009 Entry fee: $10. For up to six unpublished poems. Winner receives: $500 cash Publication on Guidelines: –Poems should be typed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper with the poet’s name and contact information on the upper right corner of each poem. –Limit six poems per poet –Entrant must not have been previously published on –Entrant must not be a current or former student of William Logan –Mail submissions to:   Anderbo Poetry Prize,   270 Lafayette Street,   Suite 1412,   New York, NY 10012 –Enclose self-addressed stamped business envelope to receive … Continue reading Contests, Awards and Competitions for November 2009

Poetry by Allison Whittenberg

Waters Wine by Allison Whittenberg The balance of bliss is pain The balance of pain is enlightenment The balance of enlightenment is more enlightenment The balance of more enlightenment is transcendence The balance of transcendence is alienation The balance of alienation is bliss § Life Slips by Allison Whittenberg Life slips like two weeks like five years like coupon clippings From a thick Sunday pull out Shiny, vivid Promising bargains in primary colors Coupons expire And expire and expire § Allison Whittenberg is a poet and novelist (LIFE IS FINE, SWEET THANG, HOLLYWOOD AND MAINE all from Random House). She … Continue reading Poetry by Allison Whittenberg

“Renaissance Writer” An Interview with Steve Almond

by Dallas Woodburn Steve Almond is a Renaissance Man of the unflinchingly honest written word. He broke into the literary scene in 2002 with his short story collection, My Life in Heavy Metal, which provoked strong reactions from reviewers due to its unapologetic sexual content. Next came a nonfiction book, Candyfreak, which Almond describes as a “diatribe about candy,” specifically the emotional presence candy plays in people’s lives. Almond has since enjoyed success in the novel and essay forms, and his short fiction is regularly featured in reputable literary journals including Tin House. Through his diverse writing forms, Almond continues … Continue reading “Renaissance Writer” An Interview with Steve Almond

Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War

by Diane Cameron In the 1940’s a young Marine returns from China to a small Pennsylvania town. He enrolls in graduate school and begins to work as a high school teacher. He marries the young woman who had waited for him through the war. They buy a house and invite her widowed mother to live with them. One year later finds the body of the mother-in-law sprawled on the kitchen floor, the body of the wife in the living room, both perforated with bullets. The former Marine is handcuffed and taken away by the sheriff. The local newspapers are filled … Continue reading Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War

Woman at the Gate

Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa June 8, 2009 Dear Friend, Thanks for your concern. You are right – this lifestyle of uber paranoia does not suit me. But I have to say the narrowing of horizons and seclusion has forced reflection and strangely latent creativity that normally I am too distracted in “normal” life to make time for. So, although not comfortable, it has been productive and satisfying in its way. When we were in Joburg last year, I was very nervous in our gated community. Now we are in a village (very Afrikanse), it does seem safer. That said, no white folks walk our … Continue reading Woman at the Gate

Jane Hertenstien

Jane Hertenstien quit her editing job five years ago to work on her craft, and is currently live-in staff at a community homeless shelter in return for room and board. Jane rises at 4:30 a.m. to cook breakfast for about 300 people, and then spends from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. writing novel; Jane is also involved in leading a creative writing workshop for a group of women at the shelter. Jane’s books have been widely reviewed, with a non-fiction project, Orphan Girl, featured in a center page spread in the Chicago Tribune Sunday book section. Jane also attend the … Continue reading Jane Hertenstien

Bitter Fruit

by Jane Hertenstein all of us in life have eaten bitter fruit Last summer I worked at a fruit stall at a Chicago green market located at State and Division. I started at the bottom of the ladder, assistant to the assistant peach purveyor; Katie knew her fruit. She always let me know when I was doing something wrong. In terms better suited for the job than myself, I was green. The Russian ladies shopped for Old Golds, a variety of apples good for cooking. “It reminds them of home,” Paul often repeated. My boss Paul never liked how I … Continue reading Bitter Fruit

She Had Always Been a Dog Person

by Anthony Bromberg She had always been a dog person. And there had always been dog people in the world. She was sure of it. The people who wouldn’t cry at a funeral, but wailed like colic-ridden babies at the end of Old Yeller. She was one of those people. The first toy she ever got was a teddy bear. She wouldn’t play with it though. After investigating it once, she had let it alone. Instead she would wander, crawling through the house, searching. Then one day Mother found little her sitting by the front door. Door open, only the … Continue reading She Had Always Been a Dog Person

Askold Skalasky

Askold Skalasky is a former community college professor, whose poems have appeared in numerous small press magazines and journals, most recently in freefall and The Dos Passos Review. He has also published in Canada, Ireland, and Great Britain. Earlier this year he received a prize for poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council. Askold’s contributions to The Write Room are Colloque Aux Folies Bergere The Persistence Of Summer Les Adieux Gorgo* Elephant Herds Testing Time Cows  Continue reading Askold Skalasky