"My first two years in Iraq, I was near Erbil, which is the de-facto capital of the Kurdish region. It was a good experience. Then I moved to Germany for two years. Then I went back, this time to Sulaymaniyah, the other city that has the opposition party political stronghold. It's been a very different experience.
Sulaymaniyah has a broken education system. ISIS moved in close to Erbil in 2014, so it changed the nature of everything in northern Iraq. Barzani won't step down. He uses ISIS as a reason to stay in power, and people in Sulaymaniyah are upset."
Most comics are meant to be read quickly. Frictionless fiction’s a noble enough goal in construction. But few of those works linger in my mind. Igor Baranko’s work lingers.
I don’t know when I first bought his workJihad (no, really it’s called Jihad), but it probably wasn’t sooner than 2013. That comic’s stew of Buddhism, Chechneyan Muslim terrorists and Russian black magic to prop up the former USSR is indelible. Baranko’s an ex-Red Army vet who spent a couple years after his discharge practicing Buddhism in Siberia, so the authenticity of the insanity is never the problem.
Jihad, in one of many jaw dropping pages, suggested Lenin as the reincarnation of not only Genghis Khan but Osiris.
"It’s been an unusual year for me, and an odd time to be sending an update for the Matador Review blog. As I sit down to write this, I feel like the person who avoids their high school reunion because they're ashamed not to have more to show for themselves (which is exactly why I didn't attend my HS reunion). I wish I had a little more good news to pepper into this, but I guess that's what makes life so interesting: its indifference."
So many aspects of my life seemed to be getting better in 2016. In terms of publications, that was my peak so far. I went from one in 2014, to one in 2015, to six in 2016. Which, that kind of exponential growth sort of set me up for failure, because I was thinking to myself, "Right on, I got this. I arrived."
Kalisz was selected for the Dar Slimane artist residency in Morocco, which seeks “artists that find pleasure engaging in a holistic inspired approach with a respect for nature, animals and sustainable living.” After arriving in Marrakesh for the residency, Kalisz wrote on her Facebook page that she “will be working... on new pieces and [is] already feeling inspired.” She will be in Marrakesh for the next month.
Jayme Russell (TMR: Fall 2016) can’t be boxed in as any type of creator; a poet, an essayist, an erasure artist, Russell transcends genre and classification to input atypical emotions within her audience.
In Fall 2016, The Matador Review published two pieces from Russell’s manuscript Technicolor Queen, which tells the story of Snow White through fragments of text and collage. Russell’s efforts haven’t been solely dedicated to that work, however, as she has two chapbooks coming out this year:PINKification (Dancing Girl Press) this month, and PINKpoems (Adjunct Press) in July.
Corinne Whitaker (Fall 2016) is a veteran of the visual arts industry, working in digital painting and sculpture for over 35 years. She continues to expand her reach with several new exhibitions since her feature in The Matador Review.
Her digital painting on brass, “At Leisure,” has been featured on the cover of “Digitalia,” a digital exhibition at the Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. And on the west coast: This month, “Curiosity” and “My Translucent Self,” both digital sculptures in polyurethane, will be shown at the Sculpture exhibition held at the Marin Society of Artists in San Rafael, CA.
Nadine Kenney Johnstone is the author of the memoir, Of This Much I'm Sure, about her IVF challenges and the healing power of hope. She teaches at Loyola University and received her MFA from Columbia College in Chicago. Her work has been featured in various magazines and anthologies, including Chicago Magazine,The Moth, PANK, and The Magic of Memoir. Nadine is a writing coach who presents at conferences internationally. She lives near Chicago with her family. Find her at nadinekenneyjohnstone.com.
When we asked former contributors what they’ve been up to since being published in The Matador Review, Matthew Walsh (TMR: Fall 2016) sent us this update.
Today I made my bed because it was starting to feel like a hamster nest. I swept my floor. I listened to Billie Holiday until all her songs ran out on YouTube. The last song was All of Me where she says take my lips, I want to lose them. It was raining earlier, so I did organizational things, looked for screws to hang my new vision board.
This "Year in Review" comes after Matador's first birthday on February 20th.
There are countless articles that question the relevancy of small literary magazines and whether or not they are effective. During our first year, our collective focus was "getting off the ground." And through all trials and errors, we reminded each other that the premier year was a process.
Darkest Hour didn’t go anywhere, I walked away. The DC band performs and records melodic death metal, with varying degrees of musician moments since Darkest Hour’s inception twenty odd years ago. Sometimes, they go a bit prog or power metal. But Darkest Hour’s through line remains Swedish melodic death metal.
They’re blue chip American longhairs who play the genre with frankly bankable ferocity. A Darkest Hour record is fast, precise and heavy isn’t news, that’s a fair description of their entire catalog. (Incidentally, try their 2005 record, Undoing Ruin.)
“In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing … the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.”
In the course of reading too much, I came across J.K. Rowling's pseudonymous detective novels. The genesis is cool: After The Casual Vacancy, Ms. Rowling wrote The Cuckoo's Calling under the name Robert Galbraith, presumably to get out from her shadow.
Joseph Spece (TMR: Summer 2016) may be most well-known for his poetry, having won a Ruth Lilly fellowship in 2009 and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. In addition to his own creative endeavors, Joseph promotes those of others; in 2011 he founded the SHARKPACK Poetry Review “as a ‘space for pithy, incisive reviews of contemporary poems and poetry of the living past—poems as stand-alone art objects, extant outside the context of books and anthologies.’” In 2014, The SPR Annual arrived.
When Stephanie Scott (TMR: Summer 2016) was published in our first publication, she was working with Chicha Radical, coordinating and delivering aid to families affected by the 7.8 earthquake that hit Ecuador in April of this year. Lately, the “On Shelter, Home and Beauty” writer has been spending her time working as an elementary and middle school teacher in the rural Amazonía of Ecuador. Her work is possible through the Arajuno Road Project, an organization devoted to supporting “healthy communities and a healthy natural environment in the Ecuadorian Amazon.”
Philadelphia’s Moonstone Arts Center describes poet Susan Charkes (TMR: Summer 2016) as “poet laureate of that tiny multiverse off to your left.” Charkes has worked on several books (two can be found here) centered around the Philadelphian and Pennsylvanian wilderness, and regularly contributes to her local literary scene.
Charkes will be a featured poet in the 2016 Featured Writer’s Anthology published by Moonstone Arts Center. On December 11th, there will be a launch party for the anthology, with featured readings from Charkes and other contributing poets.
Chicago-based artist Aaron Wooten (TMR: Summer 2016) will have his work featured throughout New Year’s at the Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.
Aaron has contributed to the Chicago art scene for nine years, after picking up painting as a hobby ten years ago. “He paints cityscapes, political cartoons, portraits, pretty girls and nudes. He's been mentioned in The New York Times, Chicago Reader, Red Eye, Art & Beyond and a number of other national and international arts magazines and journals.”
The Pushcart Prize-nominated short story “Spring” (TMR: Summer 2016) by Illinois writer K.V. Peck was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Mainstream/Literary Short Story category of the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Out of the 6,000+ contest entries, “Spring” was listed amongst 501 winners.
In March of this year, Chris Campanioni’s (TMR: Summer 2016) memoir Death of Art was released by C&R Press. Within its pages, “Death of Art dissects post-capitalist, post-Internet, post-death culture; our ability and affinity to be both disembodied and tethered to technology, allowing us to be in several places at once and nowhere at all.”
I thought this would be a fun way to break in the new "Blog" section of our website. The following works have been nominated by the editorial board of The Matador Review for the 2018 Pushcart Prize anthology.