Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In a Distant Country, Part II

The second letter in our serialization of Kyle Minor's "In a Distant Country" is now available on the Ninth Letter website. The first letter is still available, in case you missed out on it last week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monica Berlin

We've seen a snippet of a short story and heard some poetry, so now it's time for a look at one of the essays from the new issue (vol. 8, no. 2). Today, I bring you an excerpt from Monica Berlin's brilliant, "On Beds, or Where We Sleep." Enjoy!

On Beds, or Where We Sleep
When we haul our old mattress away, neither of us flinches. It's a relief. Even as it was the bed that was always good enough, comfy enough, his bed before it was ours, him on his way to law school, twenty-two years old, and in need of a place to sleep. We don't say, Our son was conceived here. We don't say, Here is where we learned to be most alone. We don't even think it.

Bed: a layer, a stratum; a horizontal course.

When the new mattress and frame arrive, are assembled, we stretch to pull crisp linens over the corners; together, we smooth out the comforter, pat down the pillows. We leave for work and take turns coming home. When, months later, we maneuver our son's crib to the curb, drag off his baby mattress to give to friends, we don't talk about how I stare for days, am inconsolable. How any one thing seems to replace another neither of us can quite explain, but it does.

To read the rest of "On Beds, or Where We Sleep," pick up a copy of the new Fall/Winter 11-12 issue (vol. 8, no. 2) in our webstore.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In a Distant Country

Today begins the serialization of Kyle Minor's "In a Distant Country" on the Ninth Letter website. We've never presented a story in this manner before, so we're thrilled to have Kyle's amazing story be the first.

Here is a little bit about the story from its introduction: "The story takes the form of a series of six letters written by the members of a missionary community in Haiti during a time of increasing political turmoil in that country, and they are linked by the off-stage presence of Shelia Brocken, a young woman who increasingly complicates the lives of the various letter writers."

Six letters means we'll post one per week for the next six weeks. Here is the first letter.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Issue! New Issue!

The new Fall/Winter 11-12 (vol. 8, no. 2) issue is here! Follow the links below to check out more about it:

Subscribers and contributors should expect to see copies in their mailboxes soon. We hope everyone enjoys the issue as much as we do.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Sneak Peek #2

For the second in a series of sneak peeks at the new issue (vol. 8, no. 2), which will be available soon, I bring you an excerpt of Logan Adams' story, "Tethers." The story does many things amazingly well. However, one of my favorite things about it is how well worn the characters feel in their lives. Combine this deft characterization with Noir elements and you have one hell of a read. Here is the first paragraph. Enjoy.


Under the midday prairie sun, heat washed over my brother and me. We sat on one of the hills that ran like puckers in an untucked sheet across the ranch land dirt and shimmering waves of Indian grass. Andrew slumped against a fence post no longer strung with barbed wire. I stood and licked the salt on my lips, deciding what to do with him. Two beveled holes--one on each side of his calf--had yellowed and the surrounding skin was swollen, tight and blue. A thin stream of dried blood ran down to his sock like a seam--as if you could peel it away to find the stitching that held him together. Andrew's tongue lolled in his mouth, dry and white, and he complained about how tired he was--as if he'd never been more ready to sleep, to crawl under the hills and pull them to his neck and close his eyes. But from this hill we could see a house, its cottonwood windbreak, and the highway. He asked me to go on and get help. We'd come from New Orleans by boxcar, a ride we hopped the night our mother died, and now he wanted to go back there, where the city would put him in a group home. He was choosing it over living on the road with me. I felt like I was in one of those moments where you get the urge to swerve into oncoming headlights or launch yourself off an apartment building's roof. And so why not? No one knew we were in South Dakota and sometimes you just have to yank the wheel.

To read "Tethers," pick up a copy of the Fall/Winter 11-12 issue (vol. 8, no. 2). Sign up for a subscription and it will be mailed to you as soon as it is available. How nice would that be? Head on over to the webstore to sign up!

Monday, January 02, 2012

2012: A Look Ahead

Happy 2012! Hope everyone had a great holiday season. There are a lot of great things to look forward to this year, including our new issue, which will be out this month. Take a look at the back cover, if you haven't already. Here are a few more reasons why we're excited it's 2012:

The musical adaptation of Cathy Day's (vol. 6, no. 2) The Circus in Winter will be part of the American College Theater Festival regional competition right here in Urbana-Champaign at the Krannert Performing Arts Center. The show will run from January 3-7.

New books from contributors, such as Stay Awake by Dan Chaon (vol. 4, no. 2), Chicago Stories: 40 Dramatic Fictions by Michael Czyzniejewski (vol. 7, no. 2), and The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos (vol. 5, no. 1). I'm sure there are more that I missed. If you're a contributor and have a new book either just out or coming out later this year, let me know at

We're teaming up again with The Cincinnati Review and Mid-American Review for Monster Mags of the Midwest, Part II at AWP Chicago. This is one sequel that won't disappoint. Check out this list of readers: Mary Biddinger (vol. 5, no. 1), Brock Clarke (vol. 4, no. 1), Matthew Gavin Frank (most recently vol. 8, no. 1), Michael Robins, Laura Van den Berg, and Keith Lee Morris (most recently vol. 5, no. 2). The (free!) reading will be on February 29 at Murphy's Bleachers. We'll have more details as we get closer to AWP.

AWP is also exciting because it gives us a chance to meet some of our readers. We're, as always, grateful for your readership and support!