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Interview with Kimberly King Parsons: 2016 Fiction Prize Winner

 The 2017 Fiction Prize is open September 1 through October 31! In this interview, the 2016 Fiction Prize winner, Kimberly King Parsons, discusses the real/surreal divide of “Nothing Before Something,” writerly obsessions, and advice to those submitting pieces for this year’s Fiction Prize.

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Fiction by Kimberly King Parsons has been published or is forthcoming in Best Small Fictions 2017, No Tokens, New South, Black Warrior Review, Ninth Letter, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Her literary criticism has appeared in Bookforum, Time Out New York, Fanzine, and elsewhere. She was the winner of the 2016 Indiana Review Fiction Prize, placed second in the Joyland Open Border Fiction Prize, and was runner-up in the 2017 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest. Find her at kimberlykingparsons.com

 

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Online Feature: Translation from Wild Honey is a Smell of Freedom by Anna Akhmatova

Привольем пахнет дикий мед,

Пыль – солнечным лучом,

иалкою – девичий рот,

А золото – ничем.

Водою пахнет резеда,

И яблоком – любовь.

Но мы узнали навсегда,

Что кровью пахнет только кровь…

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Wild honey has a scent—of freedom

Dust—a scent of sunshine

And a girl’s mouth—of violets.

 

But gold—nothing.

Water—like mignonette.

And like apple—love.

But we have learned that

 

Blood smells only of blood.

 

1934, Leningrad

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(translated by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky)

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This poem appeared in Indiana Review 33.2, Winter 2011.

Anni Liu (Poetry Editor): The equations that make up most of this spare, needle-like poem are ways of knowing. To link the dust to sunshine and the girl’s mouth to violets makes the world more tangible by performing an intimate epistemology. But, as the end of poem suggests, there is a limit to figurative language, especially when it comes to making images from brutality and oppression. I am grateful for this translation that connects us to Akhmatova, giving us the opportunity to sense what she and others of her time had to learn.

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Anna Akhmatova is considered a major twentieth century Russian poet, author of such recognized works of literature as Requiem and Poem Without a Hero. She was one of few Russian poets of that time who survived Stalin’s Terror, though both of her husbands, and her only son were persecuted.

Katie Farris is the author of BOYSGIRLS (Marick Press) and her fiction has appeared in various journals, including Hayden’s Ferry and Washington Squire. Her translations have appeared in TriQuarterly and Many Mountains Moving. She teaches at San Diego State University.

Ilya Kaminsky is the author of Dancing in Odessa (Tupelo Press). He is also the editor of Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins).

 

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Online Feature: “Up in the Trees” by Courtney Zoffness

I can’t sleep. My furnished apartment in Freiburg, Germany, has a TV that broadcasts a single channel, in German, and since I’m too tired to read but too wired to rest, I tune in for half an hour. I speak nicht Deutch—just a little Yiddish—but can still make out the tail-end of a news program on an Auschwitz survivor, replete with images of rawboned prisoners and the eminent entry gate (“Work shall set you free”); a preview for a film called Female Agents in which be-lipsticked vixens gun down unsuspecting Nazis; and the start of a sitcom called Tel Aviv Rendezvous in which a guileless guest shows up at a Shabbat dinner with nonkosher wine.

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Interview with 2017 Fiction Prize Judge Caitlin Horrocks

The 2017 Fiction Prize is open September 1 through October 31! In this interview, prize judge Caitlin Horrocks discusses “Sleep,” bad habits, momentum, the pitfalls of research, and what she looks for in submissions.

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Caitlin Horrocks is the author of the story collection This Is Not Your City, a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her stories and essays appear in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, The Pushcart Prize, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Tin House, One Story, and other journals and anthologies. Her awards include the Plimpton Prize and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the MacDowell Colony. She is the fiction editor of The Kenyon Review and teaches at Grand Valley State University, and occasionally in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is at work on a novel and a second story collection, both forthcoming from Little, Brown. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with the writer W. Todd Kaneko.

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Announcing the 2017 Half-k Prize Winner!

We are excited to announce that the winner of the 2017 Half-K Prize is Latifa Ayad for her flash fiction piece “Arabic Lesson.” Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work and made this year’s prize possible. “Arabic Lesson” will appear in our Summer 2018 issue.

2017 Half-K Prize Winner: “Arabic Lesson” by Latifa Ayad

Donika Kelly says about the winning piece: “While the story of ‘Arabic Lesson’ is quite simple—a grandchild witnesses their grandfather pass out from low blood sugar—I am compelled by the tension between what the speaker knows—how to deworm a sheep, the arm flapping required—and what the speaker doesn’t know—the Arabic word for sugar or whether the grandfather is alive or dead. A state of unknowing undergirds the world of ‘Arabic Lesson,’ how one continues not to know, and the unwillingness on the part of the narrator to import knowledge or wisdom to their younger self, no matter how quotidian that knowledge might be”

Runners-Up

“The Boy Is a Soap Bubble” by Gabriela Garcia

“Half Moon” by Eliza Smith

Finalists

“How Our Light Is Spent” by Lorain Baumgardner

“Exit/b (Terminate script)” by Molia Dumbleton

“Love Poem, Ending” by Courtney Flerlage

“Origin Story” by Tom Howard

“Parable of the Golem” by Perry Janes

“Miss F. Tells Our Fortunes” by Quinn Lewis

“I Watched a Bat Kill Itself in Yuma” by Iliana Rocha