Posts By: Maggie Su

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Online Feature: “Matzevah” by Judith Hertog


I laughed a lot at my father’s funeral. The evening before the ceremony, I stayed up late with my mother and our friends Bart and Ruth, trying to compose an appropriate eulogy. My little sisters, who had just turned eleven, had fallen asleep on the couch. When we tried out the speeches we came up with, they sounded so pathetically silly – “Thank you all for coming, Mike regrets not being able to be here himself…” “Mike has led a full and satisfying life…” “Every life must end, and so did Mike’s…” – that we couldn’t recite them without being overcome by giggles. The funeral itself felt like an absurdist play. The procession from the funeral hall to the grave took so long and was so abruptly twisty that I thought the master of ceremonies had lost his way. As we slowly proceeded along the winding gravel paths between the neat rows of graves, passing through somber islands of conifer trees and along stone walls that sheltered the dead from the hustle of Amsterdam, I imagined the master of ceremonies’ rising panic at the realization that he didn’t remember the location of the grave and was leading the dead man and the solemn line of mourners in a haphazard walk through forgotten corners of the cemetery. Read more…

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2016 Poetry Prize Twitter Contest!


Remember how much fun you had playing Mad Libs as a kid? Well, IR is bringing it back. As a warm-up for our 2016 Poetry Prize, we’re challenging you to fill in the blanks. Show us a poetic masterpiece you can create with your chosen nouns, verbs, and adjectives!

The IR-Lib prompt:

  • When I say <NOUN> what I mean is <NOUN>. / It’s <ADJECTIVE> to <VERB> / how something <VERB> on your <BODY PART>. #IRPoetryPrize
  • When I say love what I mean is lust. / It’s easy to forget / how something tastes on your tongue. #IRPoetryPrize

To enter this contest, please reply to our tweet and fill in the brackets with your own unique words! We’re looking for the most inventive, hilarious, heart-breaking Mad Lib poems that you can dream up. Make sure to include #IRPoetryPrize in your tweet!

Our favorite titles will win free entry to our 2016 $1K poetry prize, a grab bag of Indiana Review swag, and a notable mention on our blog! Twitter contest entries are due by March 21, so get to work!

Good luck! And don’t forget to submit to our 2016 Poetry Prize judged by the incredible Camille Rankine. The Prize submission deadline is April 1, 2016 at Midnight EST.

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Online Feature: “In a Time of War” by Hannah Gamble


That was the period when our daughter
would come crying into our bedroom
whenever the grackles began mating on the roof.
It isn’t hurting them, my wife would say,

birds have tiny penises. Then two cats would
find their way into our bushes and start howling
like their skin was being peeled off. Oh, our daughter
with the endless tears. I brought my wife wine

every night for a week, hoping I’d arrange for us a son.
The cats aren’t killing each other, sweetness,
said my wife’s purple lips, it’s just that all male cats,
not just the wild ones, have barbs on their penises.

What what what, sobbed my daughter, is a penis?
A son, a son, a son, I thought, as I held my wife
at the hips, both of us on the floor to avoid hitting
the wall with our bed; our daughter had cried herself

into unconsciousness, and maybe I was sure
she wouldn’t hear when I yelled my way farther
into my wife, my mouth still in a “son” shape.
Our daughter woke herself up with a howl

she didn’t know the reason for, and my wife
turned back at me with several reasons to scowl
texturing her red face. We were covered
when our daughter came in, tears and snot

curling her hair against her cheeks. It’s ok, lovely,
my wife said I was just on the floor looking
for something and I was caught by a tiny barb.
I took it out, and now I’m going to go to sleep.

This poem appeared in Indiana Review 32.1, Summer 2010.


Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 7.33.30 PMHannah Gamble is the author of Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast (Fence Books, 2012), selected by Bernadette Mayer for the 2011 National Poetry Series. She has performed her work at the Pitchfork music festival, the Chicago Art Institute, The Chicago MCA, and as part of the Clark Street Bridge arts series in association with FCB Global.

Gamble’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, POETRY, The Believer, jubilat, and Pleiades, and she has written for the Poetry Foundation, the Poetry Society of America, and the culture magazine Fanzine. In 2014, Gamble was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

She lives in Chicago.


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IR Online Table of Contents

Indiana Review Online: An Undergraduate Project

To read the introduction to the issue and view the issue masthead, click here.

Amzie Augusta Dunekacke . . . . . . . . . . . Mikey’s Flag Shirts
Ellen Goff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Little Chicken
Katie Harrs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Good Ones Grow With You
Robert Julius . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Artist

Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle . . . . . . . . . . . . even if my spine
W. S. Brewbaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Garden
John M. Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liquid Killer Queen
Isabella Escalante . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Talking Chalk
Kacey Fang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . After Saying I Love You
Shyanne Marquette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . To Heidi
Carly Jo Olszewski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Y
Meritt Rey Salathe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mary Kay
Sage Yockelson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Explanation For Why We Have Fingerprints


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IR Online Poetry: “even if my spine” by Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle

“even if my spine”

by Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle

never recovers,
and my body only learns new ways to recoil
from me,

even if the gaps never inch closed,
and only widen with each passing

there will still, at least be a bird
smaller than my fist, but sailing,
soaring on the belly of life

there will still be winter pristine, summer
soft, golden leaves of autumn floating down, and
dancing at arm’s reach

there will still be the sun singing with
quiet brilliance, the wind brushing skin, stars
studding the night’s sleeve

there will still be God
(there has always been God)
everywhere, even here,
in my body, the frailest
of temples


Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle is double majoring in International studies and English at University of Kentucky. She is most distracted and most inspired by homesickness, her heartbeat and the ticking of the clock. She was born in southwest Nigeria.