Ryan More than O-Kay

Yesterday I received a message from a friend of mine telling me that Kay Ryan, former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, received the 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. After taking an undergraduate seminar with Ms. Ryan, (knowledgeable, dry and witty, generous with her time, ostensibly soft-spoken, convicted) there is no doubt in my mind that her poetic talent warrants the $500,000 prize for continued creativity. She has, and will continue to be, a voice speaking out against established paths of success and notoriety, and one that uses language as both a tool and a gift. What surprises me more than Ms. Ryan’s talent (which I already had some idea of) is that a poet recieved this recognition, in an age that has marginalized its writers and artists. In her work, Ryan demonstrates that poetry is essential, and that we must continue to read it, love it, and believe in its power, with or without the half million to compensate. Enjoy Ryan’s “Tenderness and Rot,” or watch an interview with her here.  Congratulations, Kay!

An Excerpt from Jackson Blair’s “Glacier”


I booked my train ticket on a Tuesday.  That Thursday, as Hannah and I descended my porch, the neighborhood bungalows neatly arrayed in the low sun, she abruptly called things off, citing my uncertainty as grounds for ending the relationship.  We were on our way to meet friends and, stumbling towards some kind of dignity, I continued on without her.  My first thought was to cancel my Glacier trip.  Recalling my purpose–and the non-refundable train tickets–those thoughts were swiftly dismissed.  I simply had more to think about on my trip than I expected.  Or less, as the case might be.  I felt knocked outside of my own story, a step behind whatever events I’d been projecting before me. […]

From “Glacier” by Jackson Blair, Indiana Review 33.1
Photo by Marshall Wilson via National Geographic
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A Shout Out from New Pages

Image via This Old House

A big thank you to Hazel Foster at New Pages for a beautifully written review. You make us blush!  Here’s what she has to say about our most recent issue, 33.1:

The newest issue of the Indiana Review is heavy with pointed, skilled, beautifully subtle writing. The poems sit in the hand, the lines and images spilling through cupped fingers. The prose fills the room and exits without apology.

Well, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves! And, as thrilled as we are to have issue 33.1 in our hands and on our shelves, we can’t wait to see 33.2, due out this winter, and filled with more remarkable work.

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Why you should care about fonts

Back in May, Karyna McGlynn posted fantastic submission tips over at the Gulf Coast blog. Lately, I’ve thought about how typefaces can unconsciously influence—and maybe even ruin—the reception of your submission by a magazine’s editors.

As Karyna says, classic serif is the way to go. We wrote about this in 2007, although I’d add that the fonts do vary between genres. Generally, I see 12-point Times New Roman for prose. However, that’s not as effective in poetry; poets lean toward Garamond or Perpetua. Courier New is too bulky. Arial and other sans serif tend to look less professional, less polished. This doesn’t mean I or any other editor will automatically reject a submission on the basis of its font choice (except, perhaps, if the font were Curlz MT), but presentation does matter, in print or online. Often design works unconsciously, subtly; you usually don’t notice it when you navigate a seamless website. You definitely notice it when the navigation is clunky and user-resistant. I don’t notice a font if it looks fine on the page—I notice when it doesn’t.

Don’t agonize too much over your font, but do put some thought into it. You want your work to be the primary focus, not your affection for Comic Sans MS.