Litmag Review: The Rag

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I was asked to review Issue 5 of The Rag, and was happy to do so. After I reviewed Issue 5 on Amazon and Goodreads, I was subsequently sent back issues to review. Following, are the full text of the reviews:

Issue #5:
therag5Issue 5 of The Rag is delectable. This is the first issue of The Rag that I have had the pleasure of reading, but I can assure you it will not be the last. The Rag is quirky without being pigeon holed to one genre or another. It combines forms and styles, but still presents a cohesive whole. Each piece fits together to make the issue what it is. I could not see Issue 5 without any one of the poems, short stories, or pieces of artwork. Meredith Robinson illustrates the issue with aplomb. The contributors to this issue come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and this surely enriches the range of the work represented here. I recommend Issue 5 of The Rag for the discerning reader, and look forward to what’s to come.

Issue #4:

therag4If I had to describe Issue 4 of The Rag in one word, it would be “evocative.” From the absurd and surreal to the hyperrealistic and even scientific, these stories, poems, and pieces of artwork demand an immediate and visceral response. At the same time, these pieces leave the reader with the lingering feeling that all is not as it first appears. Whether it’s Patrick Milton’s use of poetic devices such as repetition and alliteration to tell a raw unfiltered story, or Elise Kaplan’s vivid description to tell a story where “nothing really happens,” with imagery that suggests otherwise, or any of the other pieces in this issue, this is a body of work worth reading.

Issue #3:

therag3The stories, poems, and artwork in this issue have a fierce, tragic beauty. They remind the reader of the fragility of human beings and shatter the image of the idyllic 2 1/2 kids, 1 dog, 1 cat, picket-fence family. These are not heartwarming pieces, they are pieces that may make you uncomfortable, that may make you cringe; but they are worth reading because they are well-written, challenge assumptions, and have a hard-hitting immediacy.


Recommended Events

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If you’re in the Pittsburgh area next week, and you love poetry, you’re in luck. Cave Canem has two great events that you must attend:

  • Monday, June 17, 7:30 PM: Cave Canem Reading, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg- featuring Thomas Sayers Ellis, Terrance Hayes, and Angela Jackson
  • Thursday, June 20, 6:45 PM: Cave Canem Reading, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, 1410 Monterey St., North Side- featuring Chris Abani, Toi Derricote, and Cornelius Eady

Also on Thursday, slam poets take the mic in the Steel City Slam at 720 Cafe, 4405 Butler St., Lawrenceville, starts at 7PM.

Finally, it’s not too late to sign up for a great writing workshop with my fellow Chatham MFA Alum, Stefanie Wielkopolan. The workshop runs four consecutive Sundays starting June 30. Check out the Facebook event page here.

Tiny TOE Press

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Two of my poems, “The Secret of Your Mother’s Macaroni and Cheese,” and “Pearl Street” are up on the collaborative blog of The Open End Press (Tiny TOE Press). Their blog is a “general platform for creative writing of all varieties,” and their press publishes “handpressed books with love.” Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Read about their contributors, including me, here.