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Latest Blog Posts

Latest Blog Posts

Our Halloween treat continues with a story called "Skin Dreams" by Kent Nelson from issue 296.4, Fall 2011. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. The room is dark; Justine wants darkness to sleep.  It’s a requirement for her, like silence and warmth.  But now a smooth gray light appears as a rectangle around the heavy-lidded blinds, so I...
The North American Review would like to wish everyone a very special Happy Halloween Weekend. Today we have a poem featured by Anne Barngrover from issue 300.4, Fall 2015. Hallucinate the House, Hallucinate the Woods Anne Barngrover is the author of Yell Hound Blues (Shipwreckt Books, 2013) and co-author, with poet Avni Vyas, of the...
Water's Touch
Alyce Miller's poem titled "On Finding a Legless Doll at the Beach Called Park Facing Southeast, California" was published in issue 295.3 of the North American Review.   I consider myself mainly a prose writer, both fiction and nonfiction, but I frequently “dabble” in poetry because subject matter and voice almost always dictate form,...
I hate to start out with a cliche, but art really can make you starve. You can be a stalwart perfectionist when it comes to fine art, be it writing, music or the like. Fine, in that I mean something that builds on our love of the world in which we live, that speaks to the conscience, that speaks to the heart’s struggles, that builds on the...
According to family stories, where we are “from” is a skein of yarn bound tightly around a wooden spool. The yarn is so plentiful that the shape of the skein is no longer oblong but rather more spherical. We are from Chuluota, Florida; from Richmond Hill, New York; Toronto, Canada; Croydon, England; Georgetown, Guyana; New Amsterdam, Guyana;...
Sometimes I wonder if I would choose the life of a freelance poet again - a life that means never feeling secure in a practical sense, a life that means never having a holiday or vacation with pay or even a steady paycheck or pension plan. Right now I am working on completing a 35th year anniversary issue of Lips, a poetry magazine I founded...
An epidemic of deaths hit our family over the five years beginning in 2010. I lost three brothers, a niece, an aunt, two grand-nieces, and a grand-nephew. The youngest to die was one month old, and the oldest had just passed his fifty-sixth birthday. The door to my writing life cracked open to let death in as I tried to make sense of each new...
Is it too sweeping or just too obvious to say that from falling in love to creativity itself, we must be off-balance to become? I find myself trying not to think about writing when I am writing (things themselves…but of course words fall into this category) and, then, thinking of it constantly when I am not. I have been told by smart,...
As I was writing the poem, "Composite Color," crayons had gone through a metamorphosis. There were no longer the eight basic colors of my day. They were replaced by a sixty-four color box and a growing sensitivity to racial connotations. Society had become a melting pot of cautious consciousness and the simple became complex. This simple...
Our Baroque Sustenance by Dan Chelotti
When I was learning how to let poems be poems, I had meaning difficulties. As we learn to read poetry, this is a big problem: the facts shroud us from the mystery of the subject. Students often cry: “if I could only put a little bow on every little fact about poetry, compartmentalize them away into storage, and pull them out the next time I...
On "Goodwill" by Jason Lee Brown
After I publish a story, I usually enjoy feedback from my nonwriter friends more than my writer friends, though both are great. I grew up in a small town in central Illinois, and my hometown friends are blue-collar workers who find it amusing that I publish my little stories in journals they’ve never heard of. What I’ve learned from this...
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Superstition Review is the online literary magazine produced by creative writing and web design students at Arizona State University. Founded by Patricia Colleen Murphy in 2008, the mission of the journal is to promote contemporary art and literature by providing a free, easy-to-navigate, high quality online publication that features work...
Illustration by Matt Manley
Happiness is a changing thing. One of the first statements on happiness I remember as a child came from watching reruns of the TV show Taxi. At one point, the Danny DeVito character, a cantankerous individual, surprises a love interest with the line: "Happiness is hard to come by in this life, and you have given me more than my share." Eight-...
What does one say when a poet dies? Do we mourn the loss of their brilliant mind? Do we say they live on in their work? Over the summer, the North American Review lost one of its most prolific contributors: Philip Dacey. He died on July 7th at the age of 77 after a fight with leukemia. Philip Dacey wrote thirteen books of poetry with a...
Odd coinage, “blog.” Because of the consonants, maybe, connotatively echoing blah, blob, bog, fog—all blah and meh and open, lax slack sound, texturally yielding and passive, amorphously maybe moist (a word frequently topping lists of most-disliked words), slogging through a bog.  Then there’s trog as in -lodyte. Old media “cavemen” were...
Another Writing Lesson
Early in the second summer I worked at Mt. Hope, we buried a woman on a Saturday.  Monday morning first thing, a taxicab entered the main gate and proceeded to West Memorial, an older section fringed in sycamore and pines.  A short, heavyset man in flip-flops, shorts, and a Hawaiian shirt paid the driver and found a bench close to Saturday’s...
Illustration by Kali Gregan
When the staff of the North American Review sent an email asking me to compose a contributor’s blog post, I thought: What could I possibly say about a poem from eight years ago? I wrote “The Shelf Life of Robot Food” when I was working as a barista in what was then one of a handful of coffee shops in Birmingham, Alabama. After work, my...
Illustration by Jessica Mercado
                       The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?                                                                  Answer.                        That you are here—that life exists, and identity;                       That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse...
VIOLIN I am like the violin no one plays. In the attic the wood grain’s varnish and veneer lie with the other mistakes: the batik banner, the beetle-eaten head of the mounted deer, the stained cashmere sweater, and the odd love letter not set on fire. Once you cradled the hourglass figure, tucked-in your chin and fingered the strings and...
Gas Station Pulp
  Grant Tracey was interviewed by Ted Morrissey, editor of Twelve Winters Press. This blog was originally posted in 12 Winters Blog on August 18, 2016. When I started Twelve Winters Press in 2012, I modeled it, spiritually at least, after Hogarth Press, the legendary press operated by Leonard and Virginia Woolf (founded in 1917). Hogarth...
    A red car points west. Darkness, plush pine trees and a lemon slice of moon backlight it. A gas pump nudges the car’s rear bumper. But it isn’t just any car. This car resembles a 1949 Mercury right out of the animated imaginations of the Fleischer brothers, the same kind of car (albeit a convertible) Batman drove in the second serial...
I started writing poems the first time I read contemporary poetry, in seventh grade. That is when I remember thrilling to Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. Not Shakespeare or Tennyson or Poe with their antique diction and fair ladies—rather, a woman who spoke to me and who made me want to talk back. The germ of my new book, Windows and Doors: A Poet...
SPIRIT MOUND   Begin with the naming of things. “Prairie,” from French via the Vulgar Latin prataria and further back to the Latin pratum, meaning “meadow.” And the mound itself, called by geologists a roche mountonếe— a bedrock knob shaped but not leveled by the last Pleistocene glacier.   But long before these names, known to the Omaha, Oto...
On April 1, 2009—while driving to teach—I heard an NPR story about thousands of children stolen, just after birth, during Franco’s dictatorship. This was no April Fool’s joke. I listened to this broadcast and others that emerged over time. It was incredibly systematic: Parents were told their infant had died, the newborn was then sold to a...
One question I ask other writers is what sounds stimulate their writing––silence, electronica, mud pools, rain showers, foreign film soundtracks, a woman in the next room boiling water. This is because I have a particular kind of synesthesia, known as chromesthesia, in which many pieces of music I hear are twinned with distinct visual...

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