Article Thumbnail

Online Feature: “Athazagoraphobia (Fear of Being Ignored)”

I used to bury plum pits between houses. Buried
bits of wire there too. Used to bury matches
but nothing ever burned and nothing ever thrived
so I set fire to a mattress, disassembled a stereo,
attacked flies with a water pistol, and drowned ants
in perfume. I pierced my eyebrow, inserted
a stainless steel bar, traded that for a scar in a melee, pressed
tongue to nipple in a well-lit parking lot, swerved
into traffic while unbuttoning my shirt—
                                                                  There is a woman
waiting for me to marry her or forget her name
forever—whichever loosens the ribbons from her hair.
I fill the bathtub for an enemy, lick the earlobe
of my nemesis. I try to dance like firelight
without setting anyone ablaze. I am leaning over
the railing of a bridge, seeing my face shimmer
on the river below—it’s everywhere now—
                                                                  Look for me
in scattered windshield beneath an overpass,
on the sculpture of a man with metal skin grafts,
in patterns on mud-draggled wood, feathers
circling leaves in rainwater—look. Even the blade
of a knife holds my quickly fading likeness
while I run out of ways to say I am here.

This poem appeared in Indiana Review 32.2, Winter 2010.


Intense Blue 5x7

Jamaal May is the author of Hum (Alice James Books, 2013) and The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books, 2016). Hum received several honors including a Lannan Foundation grant and American Library Association’s Notable Book Award. Other honors include a Spirit of Detroit Award, the Wood Prize from POETRY, and a fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. Jamaal’s poetry explores the spaces between opposites to render a sonically rich argument for the interconnectivity of people as well as the worlds they inhabit. From Hamtramck and Detroit he co-directs Organic Weapon Arts with Tarfia Faizullah.

Article Thumbnail

Interview with Michael Martone, 2016 Blue Light Books Prize Judge


We are proud to have long-time IR contributor Michael Martone judge the inaugural 2016 IR/IU Press Blue Light Books Prize. While readying your short story collections, read his generous interview where he discusses his favorite short story collections, Saturn’s rings, a story’s pulse, and what he might be looking for in the winning short-story collection.



Photo by Janine Crawley

Michael Martone’s most recent books are Winesburg, Indiana, Four for a Quarter, Not Normal, Illinois: Peculiar Fiction from the Flyover, Racing in Place: Collages, Fragments, Postcards, Ruins, a collection of essays, and Double-wide, his collected early stories.

Martone’s stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, Story, North American Review, Epoch, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, Third Coast, Shenandoah, Bomb, and have appeared and been cited in the Pushcart Prize as well as The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Essays anthologies. He has won two Fellowships from the NEA and a grant from the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

Martone is currently a Professor at the University of Alabama where he has been teaching since 1996. He has been a faculty member of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College since 1988. He has taught at Iowa State University, Harvard University, and Syracuse University.


Read more…

Article Thumbnail

Micro-Review: Ann Beattie’s The State We’re In

The State We’re In by Ann Beattie (Scribner 2015)

Reviewed by Anthony Correale


Three stories in particular constitute the emotional core of Beattie’s loosely linked story collection. Each takes as its main character seventeen-year old Jocelyn and carries forward the same narrative. They are arranged in the collection like a frame: a Jocelyn story opens the collection, another is located like a support beam in its middle, and a third closes the collection. The middle story, “Endless Rain into a Paper Cup,” is, arguably, the high-point of the collection. Read more…

Article Thumbnail

Online Feature: “The Night Is Filled With Orchards, Every Night” by Jacob Newberry


Outside Amman. One taxi ride to Salt, an old town with little for tourists. Small shops and imported snacks and ten-cent packs of “Arabic gum.” There was a man hanging from the open door of a village bus who had us all get in. And in we went: packed with strangers who found us stranger, a man who gave his seat up for me, thinking I was a woman. I sat down all the same, my hair long past my shoulders, my narrow legs crossed tightly at the knee: soon everyone was staring. We were all so beautiful, I told myself, they had to stare.

They let us off at the top of the small mountain. The street was ending. More shops. Everyone was drinking Pepsi. What should we do now, we all wondered, though no one asked. It was beginning to rain. I pulled up the hood on my teal sweater and started walking. Everyone followed. Read more…