Great Lakes Review

Great Lakes Review Publishing fiction and poetry from and about the Great Lakes region of the US and Canada.

"By the time you gave birth to your son in 1968, you’d survived the south, the Midwest, prison, and that fiery car wreck...
06/16/2020
What Didn’t Kill Her

"By the time you gave birth to your son in 1968, you’d survived the south, the Midwest, prison, and that fiery car wreck."

Bernice L. McFadden ruminates on all the things her mother has endured only to find herself spending her golden years in the midst of a deadly plague and state-sanctioned racism.

Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world. Rather than limiting readers’ capacity to ...
06/14/2020
The Mental Health Benefits Of Reading Science Fiction

Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world. Rather than limiting readers’ capacity to deal with reality, exposure to outside-the-box creative stories may expand their ability to engage reality based on science.

Young people who are “hooked” on watching fantasy or reading science fiction may be on to something. Contrary to a common misperception that reading this genre is an unworthy practice, reading science fiction and fantasy may help young people cope, especially with the stress and anxiety of livin...

"The first thing you must know is that the torture tree is firmly planted in your city. Its roots are deep, its trunk st...
06/13/2020
An Open Letter to All the Future Mayors of Chicago

"The first thing you must know is that the torture tree is firmly planted in your city. Its roots are deep, its trunk sturdy, its branches spread wide, its leaves casting dark shadows.

The torture tree is rooted in an enduring idea of threat that is foundational to life in the United States. Its trunk is the use-of-force continuum. Its branches are the police officers who personify this continuum. And its leaves are everyday incidents of police violence."

Neither a historical nor a policy-oriented approach actually clarifies the extent of police torture in Chicago. To do that, we need a metaphor.

Want to get a sense of our editors' tastes? We asked fiction editor Jimmy Hollenbeck to choose a story published before ...
06/12/2020

Want to get a sense of our editors' tastes? We asked fiction editor Jimmy Hollenbeck to choose a story published before he joined our staff and tell us why he liked it.

Here's his take on "A Dam Is a Promise" by Michael Salibury, which you can read here: https://bit.ly/2MLf9Eg

A great Electric Literature round-up of books that cover some of the largest protests of the last century — protests tha...
06/09/2020
9 Books about the World-Changing Power of Protest - Electric Literature

A great Electric Literature round-up of books that cover some of the largest protests of the last century — protests that helped to reshape our present and future.

The history of progress is a history of protest. We would have few of our modern rights if no one had stood up and demanded them. The books on this list cover some of the largest protests in the last century, protests that reshaped societies and reimagined futures. These books show that small groups...

In a Monday rude with sunlightare each of many, native leavesI no longer recognize. Two teenson a bench laugh like lacti...
06/07/2020
All the Way in Charlevoix

In a Monday rude with sunlight
are each of many, native leaves
I no longer recognize. Two teens
on a bench laugh like lactic acid. One jokes
to the other about his “beef feather”

From "All the Way in Charlevoix" by Alec Hershman

Read the full poem here: https://bit.ly/3cfzi06

In a Monday rude with sunlight are each of many, native leaves I no longer recognize. Two teens on a bench laugh like lactic acid. One jokes to the other about his “beef feather” and the nearest tree seems to…

Great Lakes Review poetry editor Dom Fonce is the northeast Ohio spotlight poet for Gordon Square Review's sixth issue. ...
06/06/2020
At the African American Debutante Ball in Youngstown

Great Lakes Review poetry editor Dom Fonce is the northeast Ohio spotlight poet for Gordon Square Review's sixth issue. Congrats, Dom!

Click below to read his poem, "At the African American Debutante Ball in Youngstown."

NORTHEAST OHIO SPOTLIGHT

"And yes, I can pretend to blame it all on the coronavirus, but here’s the reality: I worry about the black men who are ...
06/04/2020
Letter From Cleveland: On Protest, Laughter, and Finding Breath

"And yes, I can pretend to blame it all on the coronavirus, but here’s the reality: I worry about the black men who are closest to me all day, every day."

A week ago, I was up during the middle of the night trying to figure out if I was really having chest pains or if I was just tripping. Until now, I didn’t realize that these chest pains could have …

Electric Literature collected some of their favorite interviews with authors who shed light on the experience of living ...
06/01/2020
Black Authors Discuss Being Black in America - Electric Literature

Electric Literature collected some of their favorite interviews with authors who shed light on the experience of living as a Black American under white supremacy.

Some of our favorite interviews about inequality, white supremacy, and celebrating Blackness

Say hello to poetry editor Kate Watt! Kate joined the Great Lakes Review staff back in February.We asked Kate about the ...
05/31/2020
Meet the Editors: Kate Watt, Poetry

Say hello to poetry editor Kate Watt! Kate joined the Great Lakes Review staff back in February.

We asked Kate about the skills that serve both poetry and essays and how to take effective risks in writing. https://bit.ly/2McJ1t2

Kate Watt joined the Great Lakes Review team as a poetry editor in February 2020. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she's an assistant teaching professor. You'll find her work in a variety…

"These types of folks are frequently fictionalized, but mostly in settings that people think of as hotbeds of artistic e...
05/30/2020
My Detroit Novel Was Shelved Until the Millennials Came

"These types of folks are frequently fictionalized, but mostly in settings that people think of as hotbeds of artistic endeavor like Brooklyn or Los Angeles or San Francisco. Life as a creative in a working-class factory town like Detroit is different. Here we are taught from birth that no one owes you a living. You have to work."

People are always asking me in a bemused way, Why do you always write about Detroit? I’m sure they don’t mean to sound condescending, but sometimes I can’t help but to take it that way. Maybe it’s …

Have your next Zoom meeting from the (virtual) comfort of your favorite bookstore! https://bit.ly/2KMNFx1
05/26/2020

Have your next Zoom meeting from the (virtual) comfort of your favorite bookstore! https://bit.ly/2KMNFx1

“Ring Around the Rosie evokes the ubiquitous image of the coronavirus itself, that gray globe dotted with red pointillis...
05/24/2020
Revisiting the Posy in Our Current Moment

“Ring Around the Rosie evokes the ubiquitous image of the coronavirus itself, that gray globe dotted with red pointillist clusters."

Once thought to protect against disease, the small bouquets can at least provide a bit of beauty.

The first day we drove down to Syracuseto put an hour between us and everyoneelse and talk about what the hell washappen...
05/23/2020
First Walk

The first day we drove down to Syracuse
to put an hour between us and everyone
else and talk about what the hell was
happening.

From "First Walk" by Laurinda Lind

Read the rest of her poem here: https://bit.ly/2SNes0F

The first day we drove down to Syracuse to put an hour between us and everyone else and talk about what the hell was happening. Walked in a park, pulled out the reasons we shouldn’t and it was something you…

Our social media manager, Emily Weber, has a piece of flash fiction in the latest issue of Barren Magazine."'Maybe she l...
05/21/2020
Kidney Stones 2010-2018

Our social media manager, Emily Weber, has a piece of flash fiction in the latest issue of Barren Magazine.

"'Maybe she liked the idea of keeping close everything her body created, everything she had labored so hard to expel,' I wanted to say. Instead, I slipped the photo into my back pocket and the baggie into the bedside trash can. Was I expected to hold onto the stones, the mistakes of a body that couldn’t stop fussing? They were not pearls—they were pain."

At first we thought it was strange Mom kept a photo of my brother and me beside a Ziploc baggie of kidney stones on her night

It's difficult to pull one sentence from this story that Managing Editor Mitch James just published in Flash Fiction Mag...
05/18/2020
Woman, the Turtle - Flash Fiction Magazine

It's difficult to pull one sentence from this story that Managing Editor Mitch James just published in Flash Fiction Magazine.

"Woman, the Turtle" is one of those pieces that's greater than the sum of its parts. Click below to check it out!

https://flashfictionmagazine.com/blog/2020/05/17/woman-the-turtle/

She fell a long time in the black, the crooked roots of the world’s trees woven around her, silhouettes slithering, jackknifing, a central nervous system burnt out. She fell until she could no longer feel the falling in her guts, then fell more. There was a bird. She could just make it out. It fle...

There's a growing feeling that places will soon be winking out of existence en masse, because of climate change. This ha...
05/16/2020
Last Chance Tourism Destroys the Very Places People Want to Save

There's a growing feeling that places will soon be winking out of existence en masse, because of climate change. This has led to a sharp increase in “doom tourism.”

When we travel to a place, we travel at a certain time. Traveling to the United States in 2020 would be very different to a trip in 1920 (or even 2120). Places change, and sometimes they are erased…

The opening of Leslie Brown's "Earrings" will make you nostalgic for a crowded summer street:"Even in this heat, there a...
05/10/2020
Earrings

The opening of Leslie Brown's "Earrings" will make you nostalgic for a crowded summer street:

"Even in this heat, there are a lot of people on the street around here: People are standing in front of buildings fanning themselves, playing checkers, or just standing around and gossiping. Ladies and girls standing on the street, all made-up red lips, like the ladies in the movies, fixed-up for a party."

https://bit.ly/3dr7shE

I never been on this part of Hastings Street. This part is not like Grandma's street. Maybe it's different here cause all the buildings come up to the sidewalk, and the street starts right next to the sidewalk, so the…

Founded in Chicago in 1912, Poetry magazine has published many major poets of the last century, helped bring modernism t...
05/09/2020
The Chicago Magazine That Has Helped Define Poetry for the Past Century

Founded in Chicago in 1912, Poetry magazine has published many major poets of the last century, helped bring modernism to the forefront, and given early breaks to everyone from John Ashberry to Gwendolyn Brooks, Ocean Vuong to Danez Smith.

Poetry magazine has published most major poets of the last century and given many of them early breaks, from T.S. Eliot to Gwendolyn Brooks, Ocean Vuong, and Danez Smith. "Chicago," excerpts from Claudia Rankine's Citizen, and "anyone lived in a pretty how town" were first published in its pages.

Thirty-seven miles from Chicago’s watershed,they are coming, a team of acrobatswith pink mouths as big as fists.From Ren...
05/07/2020
Carp at the Gates

Thirty-seven miles from Chicago’s watershed,
they are coming, a team of acrobats
with pink mouths as big as fists.

From Renny Golden's "Carp at the Gates"

Read the entire poem: https://bit.ly/3bf9EY4

They have been swimming for years silver and fat, gulping everything until they can leap beyond themselves, beyond breath, into a brightness that pierces them as if for moments they meet God who kisses them, but if they linger in…

#WednesdayWisdom
05/06/2020

#WednesdayWisdom

#MotivationMonday
05/04/2020

#MotivationMonday

"Most often, I hear the reduced traffic noise and the far-off sirens and the ticking of a clock. Sometimes I’ll hear a d...
05/03/2020
Letting Birdsong Fill This New Pandemic Silence

"Most often, I hear the reduced traffic noise and the far-off sirens and the ticking of a clock. Sometimes I’ll hear a dog barking or the bells of Grace Cathedral. Sometimes a voice. But ... almost always, at the end of it, I’ll hear birdsong."

Overnight I witnessed the streets of San Francisco, where I live, go from bustling with traffic and pedestrians and café conversation and construction noise to near absolute, obliterating silence. …

Writing is a solitary act, but as writers, we also crave feedback. We want company, we want validation, and we want to f...
05/02/2020
How Having a Writing Community Stimulates Creativity

Writing is a solitary act, but as writers, we also crave feedback. We want company, we want validation, and we want to feel like we’re not alone in our compulsions.

Whether it’s found in crowded rooms or email folders, Twitter threads or Facebook group chats, community is as deeply necessary to a writer as reading. It is a source of assistance, understanding, …

Shape is a way of composing and revising a narrative, but it’s also a way of interpreting a narrative; not every reader ...
04/30/2020
Sure, Plot is Good, But Have You Tried Talking About Story Shape?

Shape is a way of composing and revising a narrative, but it’s also a way of interpreting a narrative; not every reader or writer is going to see the same shapes in the same work, or even the same features of the same shape. http://bit.ly/2UeKhPJ

I have a problem with plot. The problem is not with the craft concept that is “plot.” The problem is with me. Whenever I’ve tried to apply “plot” to my writing process, I can’t get it to do what a …

#WednesdayWisdom
04/29/2020

#WednesdayWisdom

Check this out! Yesterday, managing editor Mitch James's poem "A Gnashing of Teeth" was featured as part of Cuyahoga Cou...
04/27/2020

Check this out! Yesterday, managing editor Mitch James's poem "A Gnashing of Teeth" was featured as part of Cuyahoga County Public Library's 30 days of poetry. Read it here: https://bit.ly/3eX6zin

#MotivationMonday
04/27/2020

#MotivationMonday

"When I teach fiction writing, I tell my students to pay attention to their obsessions. To read the books and stories th...
04/26/2020
Ann Napolitano: Honor Your Obsessions—Especially the Weird Ones

"When I teach fiction writing, I tell my students to pay attention to their obsessions. To read the books and stories that call out to them, and only them." http://bit.ly/38BDEw7

The genesis of my novel, Dear Edward, was my obsession with a real plane crash. In 2010, there was a flight from South Africa to London that crashed in Libya and there was only one survivor, a nine…

Meet Jimmy Hollenbeck! Back in February, Jimmy joined the Great Lakes Review team as a fiction editor.We spoke with him ...
04/25/2020

Meet Jimmy Hollenbeck! Back in February, Jimmy joined the Great Lakes Review team as a fiction editor.

We spoke with him about Michigan’s influence on his writing, the relationship between fiction and poetry, and what he’s hoping to see in the stories submitted to Great Lakes Review.

Read the interview here: https://bit.ly/34y7YYa

"The most potent images of this time thus far have showed us what our world looks like without us in it: New York’s Broo...
04/23/2020
What Can We Learn From the Art of Pandemics Past?

"The most potent images of this time thus far have showed us what our world looks like without us in it: New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. Paris’s Place de la Concorde. Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. The streets of Wuhan, a city of millions, emptied out.

Illness is, of course, all about the body, but what has been notable to me in the visuals of the past month is an absence of bodies."

From the playground game ring-around-the-rosy to the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, the scars of illnesses throughout history are still visible today.

#WednesdayWisdom
04/22/2020

#WednesdayWisdom

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Whitmore Lake, MI
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About Great Lakes Review

Great Lakes Review publishes fiction and poetry from and about the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, both in print annually and on a rolling basis digitally. We celebrate the diversity of experiences within the region and wish to publish work that truly showcases every nuance, nook, cranny, and person who either calls the Great Lakes home or who has been impacted by the region.

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We're very happy to announce that John McNally has selected HOW TO WALK ON WATER AND OTHER STORIES, by Rachel Swearingen of Chicago, Illinois, to receive the 2018 New American Fiction Prize! Rachel will receive $1,000 and the collection will be published in 2020. Deadline for the the 2019 New American Fiction Prize, to be judged by Judith Claire Mitchell, is June 15.