Back Issues in Boston

It’s late February, which means that those of you not entirely preoccupied with polishing your poesy for our Poetry Prize (poets like alliteration, right?) are probably thinking more and more about heading to Boston for AWP, which is coming up in…holy crap, it’s next week! And I haven’t even picked out my tuxedo yet.

Besides the boozing and schmoozing (do poets still like rhyme?), one of the best parts about AWP is the Bookfair. I like having the opportunity to meet those of you who read IR and submit your work to us, and I also like meeting the editors of others journals I’m fond of. But I especially like that the journals at the Bookfair sell their back issues for low, low prices that help to somewhat offset the cost of my tuxedo rental.

IR will of course be offering our own array of back issues at the Bookfair, and I thought I’d take a few minutes to give you one good reason to buy each of the back issues we’ll have at our table. So here’s a quick look at some of my favorite stories that have appeared in the pages of IR over the last few years:

33.1 (Summer 2011): “Kwanzaa-palooza” by Edward Kelsey Moore. If the title doesn’t get your attention, the first line certainly should: “Last night, I dreamed about pork chops.” Now that’s a narrator I can relate to. Added bonus, absolutely free of charge: You can check out Edward Kelsey Moore reading “Kwanzaa-palooza” as part of our Bluecast series.

33.2 (Winter 2011): “The Stolen Cloned Mammoth” by Shane Castle. This is a contemporary take on Mark Twain’s story “The Stolen White Elephant.” It’s zanier than Twain, if that’s possible, but it carries on his tradition of satirizing the more absurd aspects of American culture, in this case genetic engineering and cable news.

34.1 (Summer 2012): “Sidewinder” by L. Annette Binder. Possibly my favorite IR story from this batch of back issues, this is a quiet, haunting piece about a young boy who hides from the problems in his crumbling life by spending his days digging for “Apache tears” in the sand around his house. For those of you who happen to be in or around Bloomington at the end of March, L. Annette Binder will be reading on campus as part of our Blue Light Reading Series.

34.2 (Winter 2012): “Down” by Carmen Machado. Here’s a little something for all you flash fiction fans out there. Machado’s story begins with a tornado, ends at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft, and includes perhaps the best lines about a video game ever to appear in IR: “Dig Dug. Dig Dug. Clipped present tense, protracted past. A thing that only ever got bigger.”

So if you’re at the AWP Bookfair next week, stop by the IR table, say hi, compliment by impeccable taste in formal wear, and, hey, maybe buy a back issue or two.

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