December 22, 2011

Weave's 2011 Micro Award Nomination

We are pleased to announce our 2011 nominee for the Micro Award, Jane McCafferty, for her fantastic story, "Stars in the Water." This annual award is presented for flash fiction of 1000 words or less. Many congratulations to Jane and we hope you'll read her story, along with the many other wonderful pieces that appear in Issue 06 of Weave.

November 28, 2011

2011 Pushcart Prize Nominations

Weave has published beautiful poetry, prose, drama and visual art for over three years now. While we are still a young journal, we feel we have reached a threshold that many indie publications struggle to meet. Though we didn't arrive here without some struggle, Weave is here to stay. We will continue to publish and promote the beautiful work of our contributors and share it with our readers and subscribers.

In celebration of Weave's stability and growth, we are thrilled to announce our nominations for the 2011 Pushcart Prize. This this our first year selecting nominees and the process was difficult, but we believe we chose pieces that represent Weave's diversity of voice and standard of beauty.

Congratulations to all of our 2011 nominees!

"Rainer" by Z.Z. Boone
"A Whimsical Current" by Orman Day
"Song for an Ocular Migraine" by Sally Rosen Kindred
"Lifting Skin" by Mary O'Donnell
"Lipstick Jungle" by Eric Tran
"Alicante" by Lawrence Wray

November 7, 2011

A Note to Weave's Issue 07 Submitters

Dearest Issue 07 Submitters,

We're sorry we haven't been in touch sooner. The Weave staff has been busily reading submissions in our free time in preparation for our next issue. Between April and July 2011 we received more than twice the number of submissions than the previous reading period. If you still have an outstanding submission with Weave from our previous reading period, we offer our most sincere apologies. Most of our staff are writers too, so we understand what it's like to wait to hear back about a submission you sent in June. You can guarantee that many of us stare longingly at our inboxes mere moments after we hit the send button. Simply put, we empathize.

That said, we also have high standards as editors. We want to give every story or poem the thoughtful consideration it deserves. Many of you have already queried, and you still can by emailing us for a more personal update on the status of your submission. It is most likely, though, that your submission is still under consideration.

You may have also noticed that we posted the contributor list for issue 07. Where does that leave the outstanding submissions from the issue 07 reading period, you might ask? Excellent question! After careful thought, I decided it was best to consider the remaining submissions for our next issue. Our seventh issue is the biggest yet (around 120 pages!) and in order to finish the lengthy process of layout, final edits, and printing on time, I decided close the pages of lucky number seven.

We understand that this was not part of the original deal you made with Weave when you trusted us with your work. If you feel you need to withdraw your piece from consideration, we understand. But if you are open to being considered for issue eight, well, hang in there! Take a deep breath, turn off your computer, and spend some quality time with friends and family. In the mean time, we sincerely appreciate your continued patience and we'll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible!

Gratefully Yours,

Laura & the Weave Gang

October 21, 2011

Weave Magazine Issue 07 Contributor List


Jada Ach
Tanya Collings
Nicelle Davis
Iris Jamahl Dunkle
Ivy Grimes
Robert Guard
Lauren Hilger
Krystal Howard
Rich Ives
Dana Killmeyer
Alyse Knorr
Noelle Kocot
Nancy Long
Scott H. Stoller
Mitch Storar
Benjamin Walker
Shangrila Willy
Nicholas YB Wong
Lawrence Wray
Sandra Yannone
Monika Zobel

Brandi Christian-Judkins
Amanda Jo Diana
Caitlin Laura Galway
Andra Hibbert
Kathleen Brewin Lewis
Ellen McGrath Smith
Anthony Varallo


Orman Day
Michael Shou-Yung Shum
Eric Tran

Kathleen Gunton

October 12, 2011

Weave Magazine's 2011 Flash Fiction Contest Results!

Thank you to all of the writers who entered Weave Magazine's 2011 Flash Fiction Contest and special thanks to our judge, Bridgette Shade, and to Weave's editorial team.

"White Bread" by Kelly Baron. Bridgette Shade says, "Told from the point of view of a child, the images described in this short piece are fresh and original. Through a pot of macaroni and more importantly, a loaf of Wonder Bread, we get a taste of this uniquely dysfunctional family's life - particularly the life of Mary, a girl 'with hair like blackbirds' whose childhood toys have been replaced with aprons and impossibly grown-up standards. Whose innocence we mourn long after we've stopped reading."

Honorable Mention: "Blighted" by Andra Hibbert "is full of rich imagery and language..." -Bridgette Shade

Congrats to our winner, Kelly Baron, and runner-up Andra Hibbert. Read both flash fiction stories in the seventh issue of Weave this December!

October 4, 2011

Weave Magazine's 2011 Poetry Contest Results!

Thank you to all of the poets who entered Weave Magazine's 2011 Poetry Contest and special thanks to our judge, Lisa Marie Basile and to our wonderful editorial team.


"Dream" by Caleb Curtiss. Lisa Marie Basile states, "The voice is authentic and the narrative is haunted. It builds the image and intensity. The architecture of the poem is precise and lovely. The language is clear, yet ripe with odd images that make sense no matter how strange. The poem balances a realistic, conversational register with a poetic, surreal register in a clean and sincere way. It was a pleasure to read. I also think this poem specifically works well for Weave. It is honest, creative, vivid and presents a strong relationship between two humans who have a strong woven connection."

Honorable Mentions:

"Peach Pull" by Jada Ach "is enriched with a lot of imagery, especially the juxtaposition between the natural world and gory, bloody thought." -Lisa Marie Basile

"Fig Eaters" by Megan Cowen "is a concisely gorgeous poem. The images in this piece catch me and make me want to write: 'waking, ready as the stone wall / onto which you spit the stars.' Wow! " -Lisa Marie Basile

"Caroline Fox Considers Jeremy Bentham's Proposal (1805)" by Noel Sloboda "provides a sense of real and internal momentum." -Lisa Marie Basile

Congratulations to Caleb Curtiss and to all of the Honorable Mentions! Look for all of these poems in Weave Magazine issue 07 this December.

September 7, 2011

Weave Goes Bicoastal Celebration Sale

Weave's sixth issue marked a new era for this literary community. In addition to trying something new with our print design, Weave's Founding Editor and lifelong Pittsburgher, Laura E. Davis (that's me!), moved across the country to San Francisco at the end of June. While we have always published writers and artists from all over the country, Weave has been a lasting literary presence in Pittsburgh. I struggled with what moving Weave to California might mean for the community we built back home.

But changes occur and we adapt. A few months ago, we stopped announcing weekly literary events on our blog. The primary reason behind this change was when another great organization began providing the same information in a more collaborative fashion. While Weave will always be Pittsburgh born and bred, we are now a bicoastal journal. In fact, thanks to the great folks at Submishmash, who make online submission management so simple, Weave has staff members across the country. While the bulk of our staff remains in Pittsburgh, we also have folks in New York City, Philadelphia and Southern California. Our customer base is growing too. Weave can always be purchased online, but we are also carried in a number of bookstores. In Pittsburgh, you can find us at Awesome Books; in San Francisco, look for Weave at Books & Bookshelves. Expect to see Weave on the shelf at many other independent booksellers in the near future. 

Some things won't change. We will still participate in events like the Ligonier Valley Writers Conference and Pittsburgh's Small Press Festival. We hope to get involved with events like Litquake. We will be at AWP in Chicago again. I plan to host readings with former and current Weave contributors in the Bay Area, while continuing to hold readings for each issue in Pittsburgh. We hope to hold more community writing workshops across the county. 

To celebrate this growth and expansion, we are going to have a SALE on ALL ISSUES of Weave, including our latest issue, which features work from writers such as Nin Andrews, J.P. Dancing Bear, Jane McCafferty and Truth Thomas, among others. Just use the code "BICOASTAL" at checkout and you'll get 50% OFF any purchase! (And domestic shipping on all orders is only $2.) This offer is good for at least one week, maybe longer, so after you buy your copies be sure to go tell your friends about Weave's big sale. We hope you'll join our celebration by supporting independent publishing with your purchase today! 

August 30, 2011

Thom Dawkins reviews Three Recent Collections from Alice James Books

Between the Scylla and Charybdis of Contemporary Poetry:
Three Recent Collections from Alice James Books

lie down too by Lesle Lewis
This Strange Land by Shara McCallum
Heart First into the Forest by Stacy Gnall

A recent Poetry Foundation podcast aired segments of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, with Christian Wiman, Poetry Magazine’s editor, praising this year’s recipient, David Ferry. Wiman, to my surprise, was uncharacteristically assertive in his declaration, saying, “We live in a time of obvious, even aggressive assertions of style and singularity. Among younger generations, the eccentric is prized, even the grotesque. I like, very much, some of the poetry that comes out of this impulse, though the sheer deluge of willed eccentricity can be a bit exhausting.” I was shocked at this bit of public division between the generations , not because I was offended, but because I found myself agreeing for once with the figures of the status quo.

I think I can state without much controversy that there is nothing truly avant-garde or even interesting about the Inaccessible or the Hard to Understand, even as a certain “willed eccentricity” has become de rigueur for contemporary poetry. Equally true, there has never been much to praise in the Immediately Accessible. As poets on the Odyssey of the modern market, it still matters where we chart our course, but the best poetry seems to find its most brilliant passage between the Scylla of the grotesquely eccentric and the Charybdis of the flatly familiar.

The publishers of Alice James Books (AJB). like many smaller presses, seem to know where they stand in the poetry market. Unlike many presses, however, AJB seems to understand that good poetry isn’t anymore about “willed eccentricity” than it is about maintaining a stodgy party line. Good poetry always comes from an understanding of the establishment that forges ahead into the excitingly unfamiliar. Three recent collections from AJB exhibit their commitment to publishing what’s good instead of what’s immediately popular, and while each is stellar in its own way, it is also clear that not every book is for every reader.

In lie down too, the second Lesle Lewis collection to be published by AJB, every page is a list of (what seem to be) unrelated declarations. Yet, for all the bravado that normally accompanies the declarative sentence, the reader is left with hardly more than a stupefied silence. One poem, “The Plastic Baby,” begins with said plaything taking movies of itself on a moving walkway, (the last concrete image we will be given in the poem), then asks some basic questions about life and suffering, then ends several detached lines later with the statement, “To stay with the accessible would be ridiculous.” Some readers might be left wondering, “Is it so ridiculous?”

It would be easy to either praise or deride Lesle Lewis for the use of detached phrasing in these poems, but the real task is to determine where there is anything worth fighting to understand here in the first place. The answer is that there is something in the book as a whole, but you can’t eat an obscure piece of fish without swallowing some delicate bones.

The other answer is that there is a lot of wisdom in this book, and it comes at you in waves. I mean this almost literally: As if standing on the border of land and water, at the border of sense and chaos, the spare images of this book roll toward you at a rate that is both overwhelming and measured. Before one line has finished affecting you, the next line obliterates the preceding context and forces the mind to draw the circle of understanding ever wider.

My evaluative abstractions may be confusing, but they should be, as it’s the only way I can describe the cumulative effect of reading lines like those in “Red Bank:”

I wanted a horse.

I jumped from a plane.

I was not comfortable with your illness.

I was a detective at the wedding…

While quoting any of the lines out of context may be unfair, I will skip ahead to the ending:

I was like the goose bathing in parking lot puddles.

Definitely, I am on a train.

If these lines have anything in common, it’s that they belie the ending, and everything about the speaker and her situation is indefinite, and thus not placed assuredly on the train: The horse is unpossessed; the speaker is mid-fall; there is mild discomfort instead of joy or sadness; the speaker is the estranged guest; the bird is out of habitat. When the “Definitely” of the final line appears, we know that nothing is definite. If we assume the speaker is definitely on the train, then her perception of her surroundings is unstable and perhaps apocryphal. If she is not on the train, then we are similarly caught up in her lost-ness.

The value of lie down too will be found by the reader who enjoys dwelling in “uncertainties…without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” If you are not that reader, Alice James might still have some business in you, especially with Shara McCallum’s This Strange Land, a more grounded collection that seems interested in bringing the reader into the poet’s own community and family history.

The poems in This Strange Land are often based on McCallum’s childhood emigration to America from Jamaica, a country she left on the day of Bob Marley’s funeral, leaving her parents behind to mourn the international icon without her. The details of that departure (as well as her father’s death), are revealed subtly throughout the book, as if the poet is discovering her own familial history alongside the reader. The result is not so much the self-reflexive disturbance found in Lewis’s poems as a shared attempt between McCallum and her audience to redress a past estrangement in the life of the poet.

This Strange Land poignantly and appropriately begins with “Psalm for Kingston,” a poem that calls out to a violent city and its resilient inhabitants. The voices of Kingston, (its market and its music in particular), are brought up and left to fade into the fabric of the verse, just as the half-heard shouts of a busy city are overcome by further noise but never disappear. It is a fitting way to introduce a book that is in search of what feels almost lost and yet ever-present. The poem, like some psalms, relies on a refrain; each stanza begins by evoking the city itself:

City of school children in uniforms playing dandy shandy
and brown girl in the ring—
eating bun and cheese and bulla and mangoes,

juice sticky and running down their chins, bodies arced

in laughter, mouths agape, head thrown back.

The bittersweet beauty of this poem reminds us of all the poet has lost, even as the sheer overstimulation of detail brings us into her culture and her memories. We hear the music of the marketplace, taste the food, and feel the anguish that hides under each overwhelming peal of laughter.

There is much in McCallum’s book that can’t be covered in a short review. The haunting dialect poems of “Miss Sally” in particular deserve a review of their own, as does the disjointed yet thorough “From the Book of Mothers.” (I would also have loved to cover the audio cd that accompanies the book, but like the Luddite poet I am, I somehow managed to cover the disc with glue taking it out of the package.)

Where Lesle Lewis might be too obscure for some readers, and where Shara McCallum may be too transparently tangible for others, there is a third book out from Alice James that falls somewhere in-between. Stacy Gnall has just published her debut collection, Heart First into the Forest, and it may just be that rare find in contemporary poetry: an utterly original work that manages to eschew weirdness to find real wisdom.

Like many poets before, Gnall guides these poems through the re-telling and the elaboration of myth. Unlike many poets, Gnall finds a truly human note in these stories with a visceral, whimsical approach to the language without losing any of its seriousness. One poem begins with an epigraph alluding to the murder of a girl found with taffeta stuffed in her mouth. Rather than being gruesome, the poem takes a more attentive approach to the story:

First, she gold rush of hair
as she collapse, light

avalanche from the hands

that ferried her there.

She slung on his arm

and set—an epaulet.

Most of the lines in this poem come without a verb, and if one appears, the lack of a complete thought implies something both liminal and yet absolutely real. We sense the lack of agency in a girl completely helpless against her murderer, but everything beautiful and sublime about her still insists upon rising to the surface. The same could be said of Gnall’s poems: She knows enough to not force her meaning upon the reader, leaving just enough tension and mystery to justify close consideration.

The best poems in Heart First into the Forest are often more personal, but they are by no means confessional or nostalgic. Instead, a backward glance at childhood reveals something even more peculiar, even more strange, even more ripe for terror and transcendence. Consider the beginning of “The Insecticide in Him,” which starts simply enough:

Leaning against the stubborn shed, my brother looks right
and sinister with his shirt untucked.

He is a hopscotch-skip away,

speculating what a second tongue tastes like, the contents

of a schoolgirl’s skirt, about babies: how one plus one makes three.

While there are no crimes or tragedy in the poem, it does not suffer for being less sinister. In fact, the building drama of adolescence becomes a fearful, insidious thing in Gnall’s capable hands. the first two lines move from what could easily be a photograph of a brother looking very much in his element (“my brother looks right”) toward the first signs of something frightening (“sinister with his shirt untucked”).

Ultimately, good poetry can be as tangible or as obscure as we wish it to be, but it should never feel over-done. With all three of these collections, Alice James Books finds the fine line between the eccentric and the familiar. In all three poets, I am thrilled to find contemporary voices that refuse to be predictable.


Thom Dawkins is a poet, educator, and critic whose most recent publishing credits include Mayday, Caliban Online, Pleiades, New Orleans Review, DMQ Review, Weave Magazine, and Puerto del Sol. He earned his MFA at Chatham University and studied theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Thom lives in Columbia, Missouri, where he teaches poetry and composition.

July 28, 2011

Submission Deadline: July 31st!

You have four days left to submit your poetry, fiction, flash, nonfiction, reviews, drama, and artwork to Weave! This includes our poetry and flash fiction contests (check out the contest guidelines first). So send us your best by July 31st. We look forward to reading your work.

Weave Issue 06 was featured on the NewPages blog, showcasing our sewn insert, The Clothesline.

"It is sewn onto the inside front cover, the line of the stitch follows the clothesline on the cover art. The insert features the works of Andrew Knock, Rebecca Dunham, Sarah Machinak, Jane McCafferty, and Mary O'Donnell, and is, in its own way, a celebration and appreciation of the in-your-hand print publication."

We have received a lot of positive feedback on this issue and are so happy for our contributors. If you don't have a copy, get one. Then tell us what you think on Twitter so we can share it with our followers. Happy reading!

July 7, 2011

INTERVIEW with WEAVE Nonfiction Editor Peter Kusnic

We sat down with Peter Kusnic, Weave’s Creative Nonfiction Editor, to talk about the limitations and rewards of creative nonfiction, as well as his own writing process. Peter has a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied fiction, creative nonfiction, and African American history. In 2009 and 2010 he earned national recognition as a semifinalist in the Normal Mailer Creative Nonfiction competition, for essays about memory and childhood, and the women’s history of racism in Selma, Alabama. His fiction has been featured in the Three Rivers Review, New Fraktur Literary Arts Journal, and The Original Thought. In addition to Weave, he is also a freelance magazine and news writer, and a waiter at Pamela’s Diner in Oakland. On days off he can be found in a coffee shop somewhere, at work on his first novel. He plans to enroll in an MFA program next year.

WEAVE: Why did you start writing?

Peter Kusnic: I’ve been writing since I was young—probably since I was six. I’ve always been obsessed with horror movies, Stephen King, Dean Koontz. I have a folder of my first short stories. All of which you could classify as “horror”—high body count, shallow depth, generally exploitative. Sometimes I go back and look at it and cringe. But I’m often surprised by how much detail I find in those stories; an interesting description or turn of phrase that reminds me why I turned to writing in the first place: I love language—reinventing it—creating unique metaphors, full characters, tangible settings. It wasn’t until college that I got serious about writing. Going in, I thought I was a writer. Coming out, I knew I was one. Studying both fiction and creative nonfiction at Pitt, I had wonderful mentors who helped me see the fallacy of objectivity in Nonfiction and the rewards of truth in Fiction. I found that, beyond content, there wasn’t much of a distinction between the two.

W: That actually leads into the next question: How do the genres compare, and where is the common ground?

PK: The essence of story is the same. Speaking from my personal approach: I find that both of the genres are about actively working to figure something out. In nonfiction, I start writing and it flows linearly. I have to pare the story down.

In fiction—I think Flaubert said this, but I’m not sure—the writing process is more horizontal. You begin with a skeleton and build outwards.

The limitations are different. In nonfiction, it’s a limitation of choice—what you choose to write about, what details/research/ideas you choose to illustrate the subject—and you’re also limited by the truth. And by truth I mean honesty. Is the narrator being honest with him or herself in relation to the subject? Does the narrator sound credible, trustworthy?

W: Can you say more about fiction’s limitations?

PK: In fiction, the limitations are nonexistent; anything can happen; but once you begin writing, you begin to see what the story is really about, and then you must impose limitations on the story that will enhance the story you see emerging. No matter what genre, we’re limited in what we can do with a given piece, whatever its length. But it’s up to the writer to decide what those limitations are. Writing exercises can be helpful to figure that out. “Now Write!” is a good exercise book. They can give you more perspective, can help shape an idea you’ve been toiling with. You can choose where to add emphasis. For example, building with setting—dedicating pages to the creation of a living, breathing space for your characters to occupy. You may scrap all of it, or decide to keep a sentence, a paragraph, an idea. The act of writing gets you closer to understanding your story. It may seem fruitless, all those wasted pages. But it's important to get all the muck out before you can start making sense of it.

W: How can creative nonfiction and poetry/fiction work together? In Weave for instance, the poetry and fiction have magical qualities. Along those lines, how can nonfiction incorporate the fantastical and/or the magical, and still be informed by truth?

PK: The creative nonfiction we’re generally looking at [for Weave] is memoir and personal essay. I think there are so many ways to tell a story in any genre, but the best ones reveal some kind of truth. In nonfiction, memory is truth; it’s what conjures the subject, defines a space for that subject to live, and invents the story. Memory is a very magical thing, ethereal and fleeting and always subject to change. It’s subjective, full of emotion, and hidden from everybody else. And it becomes history when we try to capture it in a medium—like writing. Truth is plastic and conveyable through infinite means. It’s up to the writer to determine what those means should look like on the page. There’s a lot of freedom in writing creative nonfiction. The writing has to be honest—if it’s forced, it will seem forced, and a reader won’t take your narrator seriously.

W: How does a nonfiction writer toe the line between honesty and creativity? Is it possible to be both creative and honest? As any story incorporates both poetry and prose, embellishments in the name of creativity, and the bias of perspective, can it ever be completely “true”?

PK: Every story can be “true”. How do you write about how it feels to experience death? It’s different for everyone depending on how you exist. You have to show how you feel or think. When writing about personal experiences, the “I” has to be there, a persona. Vivian Gornick talks about persona in her book on creative nonfiction, “The Situation and the Story.” The persona is sort of like a reader’s conceptual identity of the narrator, which in creative nonfiction, is inextricably linked to the author. As the reader reads, he or she gets an idea of this person telling the story, their values and beliefs. Reading established authors in any genre you can often find a fundamental topic uniting all their work. Sometimes characters and settings recur, or ideas from works long ago return in a different form, hopefully with greater lucidity. I like to think writers write because they have to. To be a writer is to be in a constant process of figuring out. It’s a dedicated practice, discovering your niche, your topic, your persona. A lot of writing, journaling, navel gazing. But ultimately it comes down to your emotional reality—that’s as true as anything else in this world.

W: Advice for emerging nonfiction writers?

PK: Trust that it’s what you want to do, because it means lots of work, grief, hours. You have to find the emotional energy to make your piece feel alive, to resonate with you, the writer. You have to be dedicated to learning the technical tricks of the trade, because even a good, evocative story can go awry without this foundation. There should be research, and outside contexts that serve as the narrator’s tools in figuring out the experience. I think research is the most undervalued component of nonfiction, because it shapes how the narrator’s reality fits into the broader landscape of the world. Without external voices holding it up, the essay can come off as being too self indulgent for a reader to find meaningful.

For me, the hardest part is knowing when done is "done." There's always something missing, something that isn't working as well as it should, a scene that can be filled out or pared down. It can be totally overwhelming. The sense that it's not good enough, it's not ready, unfinished. Those anxieties come with the territory of writing. They can be overwhelming, paralyzing. But it's important to plow through them and get the work as done.

W: What’s on your personal summer reading list?

PK: I just finished Factotum by Charles Bukowski. Raunchy, dirty, misogynistic—but the scenes were visceral, well paced. I also read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, which revealed some really compelling evidence about how the Internet affects us culturally and psychologically. I have plans to get back into Madame Bovary, and I’m currently reading Breath, Eyes, Memory, a novel by Edwidge Danticat. And Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, which is a memoir about gardening.

W: Critic Chris Anderson said that nonfiction, as a genre, can be split into two categories—the personal essay and the journalistic essay. Can you speak to this?

PK: It’s an oversimplification. When I write personal essay or memoir, I do a lot of research, read lots of theory, lots of poetry. I read a lot of Freud and Blake while writing a memoir about memory repression and my childhood. For an essay on the Civil Rights Movement, I interviewed participants in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and others, enigmatic people who pioneered profound changes in American society. I transcribed 16 hours of video, took a sex and racism class, another class on racial gabs in public schools, researched the history of lynching, repression. I mean, I did so much work on those essays, and it paid off. The journalistic flourishes—the epigraphs, the allusions, the integration of facts into narrative—turned the muck of my personal feelings and memories into a concrete narrative with resonance.

With magazine or news writing, the approach is a little different. I get an assignment, a deadline. The story is given to me in abstract and it’s my job to fill in the details through interviews and research. The content must always be factually accurate while being at the same time streamlined and compelling. I have to make decisions and tailor the story to both the readership and my editors. Details I might find interesting may not be right for the publication, and so I have to turn my filter on. That’s a reality nonfiction writers who want to work for newspapers or magazines should understand. The piece is yours, but it’s shaped by many forces. That I think is the biggest distinction between the personal and journalistic essays. But in the end it’s all just narrative.

W: Lots of young writers I interact with express concern that writing a memoir is just “navel gazing,” or that they don’t have interesting stories. What do you have to say about that?

PK: Memoir is the most intimate form of nonfiction. What’s incredible about a good one is that you are transported into a very private and intimate world that is at once totally personal and universal. The memoirist writes with great courage, and we have to respect that. Everybody has a story to tell. I don’t care if you’ve spent the last six months with the indigenous peoples of Bolivia, or in jail, or changing diapers. What matters is how you tell the story. As writers, we aim to capture both the zeitgeist and the fundamental human experience behind the story, and, if we’re ambitious, we want it to flow like a dream and make a reader stop and think in a way he or she never has before. There are all kinds of ways of doing that, but the first step is recognizing that you do have a story to tell.


interview by Caitlyn Christensen

June 24, 2011

Issue Six Has Arrived!

Weave Magazine's sixth issue has finally arrived! The issue is packed with poems, stories, and art that we know you'll love. This issue travels pathways between pleasure and pain, joy and sadness, beauty and ugliness. You'll find magic realism, realistic fiction, and fairy tales retold. Weave 06 is very socially current with pieces that speak to racism, sexism, war, and the price of fame.

This issue also includes a special featured section entitled "The Clothesline" which was hand sewn into the front cover by a special team of Weavers! You simply must hold this issue in your hands. Check out poetry by Nin Andrews, J.P. Dancing Bear, Rebecca Dunham, and Sally Rosen Kindred; fiction by Lauren Becker, Z.Z. Boone, Jane McCafferty and Mary O’Donnell; nonfiction by Timothy L. Marsh; and artwork by deona fish, Andrew Knock and Sarah Leavens.

If you preordered your copy or are a subscriber, expect to get your copy early next week.

May 31, 2011

Whitman with a boombox: A Review of John Murillo’s Up Jump The Boogie

“That there is a kind of joy in the begging // Itself, that all songs are love songs. Blues, / Especially. Praise the knowledge. Praise.” These lines from “Song,” the final poem of John Murillo’s debut collection Up Jump The Boogie (Cypher Books, 2010), illustrate the core themes of the collection. With the title of Up Jump The Boogie it would be right to assume that Murillo sets out to celebrate the energy of hip-hop and the neighborhoods that helped channel this energy into the world. Up Jump The Boogie can be categorized as a neighborhood love song; however, the book is more than that. The collection is not only concerned with the positive energy of Murillo’s world, the energy that empowers the title character of “Santayana, The Muralist” as he “Aerosols Aztlan across barrio brick for all the poor / To see: Aztec warriors, Mexican washwomen, dios del sol.” This is a creative energy, but the same energy responsible for creating the murals is capable of creating the scenes seen in another poem, the sestina “The Corner” (forms like sestinas and ghazals are prevalent in Up Jump the Boogie, but it is easy to miss Murillo’s formalism because of how naturally one poem flows into the next). Here, we see characters like Jojo and the dark places the same energy can lead:

Take this young boy, Jojo. Fresh out the joint, before he’d head
Anywhere near his mama’s house, he’d run straight here. Across
The street from the carryout and check cashing spot, he’ll peddle
His rocks to anybody who pushes past. Even little Ebony. Hear
She was almost prom queen, drove the young boys crazy back
In the days before Jojo got at hold of her. How the weight

Melts from face and neck. How skin cankers, and blood and sweat
Crust corners of lips licked only in wet dreams. How she gives head
Now by the dumpster behind the church, fucks, how fast five bucks
Find their way back to Jojo’s hands. And Jesus, on a stone cross,
Watches it all from on high. How it begins, ends, and begins again here,
On the corner. Tonight, rain clouds bruise the sky. Jojo sells.

In the universe Murillo creates, for every Santayana, there is an Ebony. Every scene of creation and hope is counterbalanced by a story of destruction and loss. No corner of his world is sacred because all corners of his world are sacred, and Murillo invites his readers to watch these sacred acts from his shoulders.

While the power of the collection does not wane, there are moments of levity as well. In poems like “Enter the Dragon,” readers get to see the narrator and his father celebrating martial artist and actor Jim as they trade “Salt & butter / High-fives” and “jab and clutch.” This moment of happiness ends when the two are pulled over by police officers. However, with poems like this and “Monster Boy,” where a young narrator and his friends wish for things like “a dick as long as a turkey leg” and “Psycho Michael Lopez out of the way” and these wishes find a way to become true, readers get a chance to see the normalness that can occur amongst the broken lives Murillo describes. In any world, children will still dream; boys will still pretend to know kung-fu after watching a Bruce Lee movie. On the surface, these moments could seem like filler or a tonal shift for the sake of a tonal shift. But on these moments of levity help to show how the human spirit and peek out from any situation and shine.

There are many clumsy and political arguments made about hip-hop being the spiritual successor of classical poetry or slave hymnals. Some of these arguments hope to diminish the culture at hand. Other arguments hope to chain the culture to a false tradition. Thankfully, Murillo manages to avoid those tropes while still echoing the original purpose of both the MC/DJ and the poet in society: to proclaim truths about their societies for all the world to hear and recognize.


Review by Jason McCall whose debut collection, Silver, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag. He is from the great state of Alabama, where he currently teaches English and Literature at the University of Alabama. He holds an MFA from the University of Miami, and his poetry has been or will be featured in Diverse Voices Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, Cimarron Review, New Letters, Mythic Delirium, Fickle Muses, and other journals.

May 23, 2011

Pittsburgh Lit Events: May 23 - 29

Monday, May 23:
Reading: Literazzi Invades Fleeting Pages
Literazzi, a performance troupe that supports literacy in Pittsburgh, will host a night of readings by Kristin Ross, Ashly Nagrant, A.E. Loveridge, Jenn D., and Jocelyn Hillen reading excerpts from T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets.'
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - free

Tuesday, May 24:

Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series
The back room of Hemingway's Cafe fills up with featured readers and an open mic in this 30+ year running poetry series, hosted by Jimmy Cvetic. This week the series features
Lisa Alexander, Cara Armstrong, Darla Himeles, and Lori Wilson.
Hemingway’s Cafe
3911 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
8:00pm – free – (412)621-4100

Thursday, May 26:

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: Three Hometown Writers on the RoadThree Pittsburgh writers — one former truck driver, one former flight attendant, and one former cross-country motorcycle wanderer — will read their poems and stories about leaving and coming home. Featuring Dave Newman, author of Please Don't Shoot Anyone Tonight (World Parade Books) and more; Bob Pajich, author of Everyone Exquisite (Liquid Paper Press) and more; and Lori Jakiela, author of Miss New York Has Everything (Hatchette), Red Eye (Pudding House) and more. Live road-mix-worthy music to follow the readings. All proceeds go to Fleeting Pages. Music to follow the readings: Emily Rogers & Eric Cirelli-Reading (Green Lantern Press)
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
8:00pm - $2

Friday, May 27:

Blanket and Shake: Women Poetry Round Robin ReadingFour local writers will dazzle you with a round robin, work trading, no-holds-barred evening of live poetry. Featuring Carolyne Whelan, Beth Fleeson, Elizabeth Ashe, and Courtney Lora Lang. Brief open mic to follow.
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - $4

Saturday, May 28:

Pomegranate Poetry WorkshopArtist, filmmaker, photographer, and poet Edward Murray leads a prompt-based workshop exploring the ways poetry is found all around our everyday experiences.
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
1:00pm - free

Do you have a literary event you want to see listed on our calendar?
E-mail details to: joel.weavezine @

May 16, 2011

Pittsburgh Lit Events: May 16 - 22

Monday, May 16:

"Bad Writing" Film Screening
Join Creative Nonfiction for a screening of "Bad Writing." The feature-length documentary by Vernon Lott includes interviews with leading figures in the literary world including David Sedaris, Margaret Atwood, Steve Almond, CNF's very own Lee Gutkind, and many more. A brief and lively discussion of writing--bad, good and in-between--will follow the film.
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)
5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - free

Tuesday, May 17:

Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series
The back room of Hemingway's Cafe fills up with featured readers and an open mic in this 30+ year running poetry series, hosted by Jimmy Cvetic. This week the series features Jan Beatty & Madwomen in the Attic:
Molly Bain, Tess Barry, Gayle Reed Carroll, Dorina Pena, Susan Shaw Sailer & Bernadette Ulsamer.
Hemingway’s Cafe
3911 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
8:00pm – free – (412)621-4100

Wednesday, May 18:

Weave Magazine Workshop @ Fleeting Pages
Join Weave's Editor, Laura E. Davis, for the second in our series of workshops at Fleeting Pages. Bring a "famous" poem or short prose piece to serve as inspiration in this fun-filled workshop. Suggested donation includes a copy of Weave!
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)
5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - $5 (suggested donation)

Thursday, May 19:

The New Yinzer Presents
Join The New Yinzer for another installment of TNYPresents
Featured writers include Steve Himmer, Traci O'Connor, Noah Gershman, and Derek Pollard.
4919 Penn Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Lawrenceville)
8:00pm - $5 (free w/ pot luck contribution)
- (412) 362-0274

Friday, May 20:

The New Yinzer Presents: Special Edition
Join The New Yinzer for a special installment of TNYPresents at Fleeting Pages
Featured writers include Kris Collins, Scott Silsbe, Celine Roberts, Nicole Leckenby, Holly Coleman, Mark Mangini, Taylor Grieshober, and Adam Matcho.
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)
5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - free

Saturday, May 21:

Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics - Pittsburgh Reading
Join Editors and Contributors of Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics for a celebration of issue #8, a reading from same, and an open mic (1 prose poem per reader, no more than 2 pages). Featured readers include Deb Bogen, Claire Barbetti, Sten Carlson, Robin Clarke, Sharon Fagan McDermott, and Ellen McGrath Smith.
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)
5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
8:00pm - free

Speaking of... Reading Series
Enjoy a night of words featuring Joseph Young (fiction), Jim Coppoc (Poetry), and Stacy Waite (Spoken Word).
Amani International Coffee house & Cafe
507 Forland St Pittsburgh, PA (North side)
8:00pm - $5.00 - (412) 477-3235

Do you have a literary event you want to see listed on our calendar?
E-mail details to: joel.weavezine @

May 9, 2011

Pittsburgh Lit Events: May 9 - 15

Monday, May 9:

"Lines braided from their voices": A poetic journey with Kelli Stevens Kane & Angele Ellis
Join literary and performance poet Kelli Stevens Kane and Angele Ellis--whose work has appeared on a theater marquee--for an evening of work that combines earth and spirit, movement and music.
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)
5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - $5 (children under 12 free)

Tuesday, May 10:

Writers LIVE @ CLP - Nathaniel Philbrick
Pittsburgh Lectures welcomes Nathaniel Philbrick, reading from The Last Stand, his take on the mythic story of the American West.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Main Branch)
4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
6:00pm - free (call in advance to register) – (412) 622-8866

Gary Shteyngart Reading
Author Gary Shteyngart reads from Super Sad True Love Story (Random House, 2010) under the City of Asylum tent. Moderated by Eric Shiner, acting director of the Andy Warhol Museum.
330 Sampsonia Way Pittsburgh, PA (North side)
7:00pm - free - (412) 321-2190

Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series
The back room of Hemingway's Cafe fills up with featured readers and an open mic in this 30+ year running poetry series, hosted by Jimmy Cvetic. This week the series features the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop: Anthony Ciotoli, Pam O'Brien, Shirley Stevens, Randy Minnich, Marc Jampole, Ann Curran, and Nancy Esther James.
Hemingway’s Cafe
3911 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
8:00pm – free – (412)621-4100

Representations of the Working-Class: Workshop
What does ‘working-class’ mean? Does it refer to the author or the art? This workshop will examine various examples of "working-class" representation and conduct a short free write session in response. Please bring your own or other writing, art, and ideas to share.
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)
5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - free

Wednesday, May 11:

Weave Magazine Workshop @ Fleeting Pages
Join Weave's Editor, Laura E. Davis, for the first in a series of workshops at Fleeting Pages. Bring your favorite famous poem to serve as inspiration in this fun-filled workshop. Suggested donation includes a copy of Weave issue 3 or 4!
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)
5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - $5 (suggested donation)

Author Jean Kwok reads from Girl in Translation (Riverhead, 2010) under the City of Asylum tent. Moderated by Bill O'Driscoll of Pittsburgh City Paper.
330 Sampsonia Way Pittsburgh, PA (North side)
7:00pm - free

Thursday, May 12:

"Bookstore Clerks Who Write About It" Reading
Bookstore clerks, bookstore owners, and former bookstore workers read from their own writings on the bookstore biz, as well as the writings of others. Readers will include: Kris Collins (Caliban Books), Nancy Krygowski (formerly, Maelstrom Books), Karen Lillis (formerly, St Mark's Bookshop), Tommy Mac (formerly, Powell's Books, Chicago), and Bob Ziller (Awesome Books) reading their own work as well as writings from Ron Kolm (Posman Books), Corey Mesler (Burke's Book Store), and Kevin Sampsell (Powell's Books, Portland)
Fleeting Pages (former Borders Eastside)
5986 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
7:00pm - free

Saturday, May 14:

Cyberpunk Apocalypse Coo-Off
Monthly writing and art presentation, open to all, awarding a homemade trophy and half the door money to the "coolest" project, as selected by all in attendance.
Cyberpunk Apocalypse

5431 Carnegie St Pittsburgh, PA (Lawrenceville)
7:00pm - $2-4 donation - (412) 513-8285

Sunday, May 15:

Carnegie Library Sunday Reading Series
The Carnegie Library’s Sunday Poetry Reading Series hosts a reading with Lisa Alexander and Victoria Dym.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Main Branch)
Quiet Reading Room, Main Floor
4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
2:00pm - free – (412)622-3151

Do you have a literary event you want to see listed on our calendar?
E-mail details to: joel.weavezine @