The German Word for Migratory Restlessness, or, Beads: My Favorite Book Titles

Fiction Editor Joe Hiland recently reflected on how a story’s title can build intrigue and interest from readers and editors, and I’m contractually and spiritually obligated to agree with everything he says. Personally, though, I’m more interested in book titles.

A friend of mine wanted to name his second book Migratory Restlessness. Actually, there was some fancy German word for “migratory restlessness” that he originally thought sounded cool, but he obviously couldn’t name his book after the German word for “migratory restlessness”–so one of his friends suggested he name it The German Word for Migratory Restlessness. He ultimately picked a shorter, saner title, but the whole thing got me thinking about conventions in book-titling.

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[Insert Intriguing Blog Post Title Here]


I don’t think I’ve ever read a literary journal from cover to cover, in the exact order in which the stories, poems, and essays are presented by the editors.  And I know I’m not alone in this regard.  I suspect that most readers share my habit of jumping from story to poem to essay in a haphazard manner that is determined sometimes by recognizing the names of certain authors and sometimes by opening to pages at random.  Most often, though, the order in which I read the works in a journal is determined by the relative strengths of the titles of the works themselves.  In fact, my favorite thing to do when I get a new issue of a journal is to open to the table of contents, scan the titles, and allow one to grab my attention, to tell me that this is the story/poem/essay (okay, usually story) where I should begin my reading. Read more…

Inside IR: Meet Poetry Editor Michael Mlekoday

Indiana Review poetry editor Michael Mlekoday believes poetry is “a register of our values and fears. It’s dynamic and purgative. It’s church and sex and  everything in between.” If you ask him about his favorite kind of casserole, he’ll point out that “in Minnesota, we don’t say casserole, we say ‘hotdish,'” and go on to describe his favorite ‘hotdish’ in mouthwatering (?) detail: “I like tater tot hotdish—tater tots, cream of celery soup, frozen veggies, ground beef if you’re into that, and more tater tots.” When asked to predict the future of literary journals—both print and online—he says, “I think we’ll keep making and sharing poems and stories and essays until we’re all dead, one way or another.”

Continue reading to learn more about the poetry-loving, tater-tot eating man behind Indiana Review.

JL: How did you come to love poetry?

MM: Before their great friendship, the poets James Dickey and James Wright exchanged a series of relatively brutal letters attacking each other for things the other had written and published—there was name calling, squabbling, probably quatrains about each other’s moms, etc.

Had my high school English teachers taught that stuff instead of, oh, I don’t even remember, Shakespeare’s sonnets maybe, I might’ve become interested in poetry much earlier. Instead, I wanted to be a rapper.  I memorized and analyzed every single line of my favorite albums—and only later realized that was poetry.

JL: What is the last piece of writing that knocked the wind out of you?

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Announcing the 2012 Fiction Prize Winner and Runner-Up!

We could not be more excited to announce the winner (and finalists) of Indiana Review’s 2012 Fiction Prize!

2012 Indiana Review Fiction Winner

“Mavak Tov”

CB Anderson

Arlington, MA


“It’s Not All Cause and Effect, Miss Carbin”

Nolan Grieve

When asked to say a few words of the winning piece, “Mavak Tov,” contest judge Dana Johnson writes:

This story haunted me. The main character’s longing and desire for comfort, for a place to be, is so powerful and recognizable, as is the conflict and question this story poses, not just for the main character but for all of us: At what price do we achieve comfort? At what point do we reject what is easy and familiar for something far more necessary, which is true agency and power? This essential question is explored through a beautifully rendered relationship between a mother and her daughter and between the wives of one polygamist man, in gorgeous, unflinching detail.

The winning story will appear in Indiana Review 35.1, due out in late spring 2013. You can order a single issue or a subscription here.

A huge congratulations to our winner and runner-up, and a million more thanks to the hundreds of writers who submitted and made this contest a success! We appreciated the chance to read such varied, surprising and often wonderful work.


Adrienne Celt, “The Boy with the Open Mind”

Annie Hartnett, “Cheek Teeth”

Rachel May, “The Gold Dust Room”

Jane Ridgeway, “Creation Groans”

Michael Tasker, “For the Killing”

Tara Wright, “The Lives that Come before You, the Lives that Never End”

Editors’ Down Time

We don’t have an ‘official’ bar here at Indiana Review, but if we were going to pick one, The Atlas Ballroom would be a strong contender. And not only because of their steampunk taxidermy deer heads. Last week we celebrated the new issue with a couple drinks and some goofy photo booth time.

Clockwise from left: editor Jennifer Luebbers, fiction editor Joe Hiland, web editor Doug Paul Case, poetry editor Michael Mlekoday, and associate editor Katie Moulton. Nonfiction editor, the ever-elusive Justin Wolfe, was off being elusive.

We can’t work ALL the time, right?