Friday, December 17, 2010

Submission Manager/Reading Period

We just wanted to give everyone a heads up that we will be closing our Submission Manager to new submissions from December 20 to January 17 to give us a chance to get caught up. If you've already submitted work be assured it will be read over the next few weeks.

Everything else will be business as usual. We have the new issue coming out soon. And of course, I'll post a reminder a couple days before we're set to reopen the Submission Manager.

Thanks for understand and as always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cairn - New Issue Teaser #3

As promised on Monday, here is a teaser from Roy Kesey's "Cairn," which appears in the soon to be released fall/winter 10-11 issue of Ninth Letter and is also excerpted from his forthcoming novel, Pacazo.

Across the Fourth Bridge, the causeway thirty feet deep and fifty yards wide, almost empty because it is spring: the Piura River is now a thread of water through mud and scattered trash. Clustered in the riverbed tight against the far bank are half a dozen shanties. Gaunt chickens skitter around them. The only green of any kind is a line of points in the loam, gourds or maybe melons.

Farther down the bank something moves along the top edge. It is long and black or dark gray, too thick for a snake and now out of sight, the bus jolting off the bridge onto the roadway. Mariangel climbs into my lap, points out the window at a speck in the sky. It is either a hawk or litter lifted by wind.

In two or three months the summer rains will start. The shanty owners will harvest their crops, will move up onto the banks as the causeway fills. For a time it will be beautiful here along the river and elsewhere in Piura: greenery on all sides. People will come to the edge to watch the water move and to be calmed.

My head and hip ache and my stomach roils and south now, through Miraflores and Castilla and down into the Sechura, a strip of desert that holds the Pacific and the Andes apart for twelve hundred miles. Two tiny patches of its sand are in a sense my central texts. Marks on the dunes are the sentences and their meanings are unstable, altered daily by wind or rain, by footsteps including my own. I read looking for patterns, the better to see what does not fit them: traces of what was written one night ten months ago.

The fall/winter 10-11 (vol. 7, no. 2) issue will be available soon, then you'll be able to read the rest of "Cairn." To make sure you get as soon as it's available, sign up for a subscription today. If you buy a subscription now, you get an extra issue, so you get 3 issues instead of just 2. To get the special, head over to the webstore and type "Holiday Sale" in the special instructions box.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bad Writing

Here's a promising looking documentary, Bad Writing, about a guy who wanted to be a poet and his discussions with several writers, including Steve Almond (vol. 1, no. 1, vol. 2, no. 1, and vol. 4, no. 2) and DA Powell (forthcoming in vol. 7, no. 2), about writing. While the trailer seems to focus more on the filmmaker's failure as a poet, the more interesting part of it, for me at least, is the question of bad vs good writing really being about a piece either failing or being successful as a work of art. My initial reaction is to say that a piece of writing can be well written and still not be good art. Can it work the other way around? I'd have to think about it more.

Anyways, the movie is already open in select cities, so check your local listings. Stop by the Bad Writing website for more information.

Monday, December 13, 2010


The Rumpus Book Club has chosen 9L contributor Roy Kesey's first novel Pacazo as their pick for January. If you're unfamiliar with The Rumpus Book Club, check it out. The book isn't due to be released until February 15, but you can get it over a month early if you join the book club.

It just so happens that the next issue of Ninth Letter (vol. 7, no. 2) will feature "Cairn," an excerpt from Pacazo. As fans of Roy's work (he also previously appeared in vol. 3, no. 2 & vol. 1, no. 2), we're looking forward to the release of his novel. Congratulations Roy! On Wednesday, I'll post an excerpt from "Cairn" (yes, an excerpt from an excerpt) as the third teaser from our new issue.

Also, don't forget we are running our Holiday Sale, where you get an extra issue added to your subscription, so you get 3 issues instead of just 2. To get the special, head over to the webstore and type "Holiday Sale" in the special instructions box.

Friday, December 10, 2010

7.2.2 or new issue teaser #2

Before getting to the teaser for the next issue, I want to direct you to the Ninth Letter website and more specifically to the new Featured Writer, Genine Lentine, who asks, "How does a poem change in memory?" It's fantastic. Check it out.

Ok. Every day we get closer and closer to the release of the new fall/winter 10-11 issue (vol. 7, no. 2) issue. This issue has a lot of cool pieces from writers like, Jedediah Berry, Mary Miller, Peter Orner, D.A. Powell, and Margot Singer, among many others. Today's teaser is an excerpt from Charlotte Pence's poem "Bardo."

My childhood chore was to shoo away the two ghosts Dad didn't like: Grimekle and Had. Had stole oil from our Oldsmobile, streaked his cheeks with until the car burned dry and caught fire. Grimekle tramped through the garden after hard rains, making the dirt rocky, useless. He would machete down Dad's cornstalks as soon as they reached four feet tall, forcing Dad to stop writing his letters to ex-bosses, come outside with pencil paused over clipboard, yell about my neglect -- everything hulking around mid-sentence.

The fall/winter 10-11 (vol. 7, no. 2) issue will be available in a couple weeks, then you'll be able to read the rest of "Bardo." To make sure you get as soon as it's available, sign up for a subscription today. Also, don't forget we are running our Holiday Sale, where you get an extra issue added to your subscription, so you get 3 issues instead of just 2. To get the special, head over to the webstore and type "Holiday Sale" in the special instructions box.

As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Every time I go to a reading someone in the audience asks the writer about their process. I'll confess, I have often been that person. There is often great curiosity about how someone creates. Today we get three writers, one from each genre, giving us a peek behind the curtain.

Essayist, Brian Oliu (vol. 6, no. 1) reveals his process for a post on Uncanny Valley.

Keith Montesano (vol. 4, no. 2) discusses the creation of his poem "Ghost Lights" at How a Poem Happens.

Finally, former 9L staffer and fiction writer, Andrew Ervin writes about his process for The Story Prize blog.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

NEA Grants

Congratulations to the following 9L poets who received a 2011 Literature Fellowship: Creative Writing (Poetry) NEA grant:

Leslie Harrison (vol. 5, no. 1)

Christopher Kennedy (vol. 6, no. 2)

Alison Titus (vol. 5, no. 2)

Again, congratulations everyone!

Friday, December 03, 2010

9L Staff News

We have some good news to share from current and former 9L staff members!

Current 9L staffer, Lindsey Drager's story, "A Brief Outline of Theories Not Addressed" is up on Elimae.

Over at HTML Giant, Kyle Minor writes about former CNF editor, Steve Davenport's poetry collection, Uncontainable Noise, in an article called, "Here is an Obscure Book of Poetry I Like."

Ted Sander's essay "To Scale" from the Cincinnati Review was listed as one of the 100 notable essay of 2009 in Best American Essays.

Micah Riecker's "History Lesson" from Mid-American Review and Steve Davenport's "Rivers to Gilead" from The Southern Review both received special mentions in the 2011 Pushcart Prize.

Congratulations everyone!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

9L Holiday Sale/New Issue Preview

Today starts our annual Holiday Sale! If you buy a one-year subscription (usually 2 issues), you get a bonus issue. Subscriptions will start with our next issue, vol. 7, no. 2 (available in a few weeks), and include vol. 8, no. 1 and vol. 8, no. 2 (aka the bonus issue). All you have to do is head on over to the webstore, purchase a one-year subscription, and type "Holiday Sale" in the special instructions box. Ninth Letter makes is a great gift for the reader(s) in your life or as a nice treat for yourself.

Also, to kick off the sale, and because we're thrilled that the new issue (vol. 7, no. 2) is very close to being ready, we're going to be featuring a series of special previews from it. Today's preview is an excerpt from Peter Orner's creative nonfiction piece, "Horace and Josephine."

Aunt Josephine used to slip fifty-dollar bills into the front shirt pocket of my brother's Cub Scouts uniform. Go buy yourself something nice, solider, she'd whisper. Then she'd put one of her long, exquisite fingers to her lower lip to let him know that her little secret of General Grant could stay between them. And even after Uncle Horace was completely disgraced and spent that week in jail awaiting trail for embezzlement before my grandfather, bless his heart, bailed him out with the little money he had left, the little money that Horace hadn't managed to steal, and they were living in 'reduced circumstances' in Aunt Molly's spare room, I could still see Aunt Josephine doing that with the fifties. Because she walked around Aunt Molly's cramped little stucco house on Wampanoag Street the same way she did that beautiful marble-floored palace way up at the top of the hill on President Avenue. The fact that Horace had been arrested didn't change her. Or the paintings she hung on her walls, the paintings she hid for months in my grandmother's attic. We all knew that the paintings were all they had left, the only things not seized by a gang of bankers and creditors who swarmed the house as soon it all went to hell, flashing their business cards and bearing reams upon reams of paper, as if anyone needed proof that their latest fresh kill was insolvent.

But to Josephine, the paintings, one of which she claimed was an early Chagall (a picture of a small elfin man raising his arms, Job-like to God, a pose my brother and I make whenever we talk about Uncle Horace) represented who she was, not who she once was. True, they now hung on the flaky yellow walls of Great Aunt Molly's living room. They no longer adorned a grand front hall like the one she used to hustle guests through with a flurry of wild waving, Darlings, don't dwadle, come in, come in! Come in! Yet even at Molly's where the change in circumstances couldn't have been more stark, Josephine's gray deep-set eyes gave nothing away. Not regret, never anger.

"Horace and Josephine" will be available in its entirety in the soon to be released vol. 7, no. 2. To make sure you get it as soon as possible, sign up for a subscription today. Remember to put "Holiday Sale" in the special instructions box to make sure you get the bonus issue.