Content Tagged ‘Prose’

Five Cover Letter Tips for Submitting to a Literary Journal

1.      Like all writers, we love animals, but after a while we get a little tired of hearing about your pets. If you have three turtles, we don’t think, oh but those three turtles probably need some fancy flies that could be bought with the money from publishing this story. We’re happy you have things in your life that you love—but this is a cover letter. Let’s get to your story!

2.      It’s usually best to keep the letter brief. Sure, we want to know that you’ve been published by the Paris Review, the New Yorker, and Agni—Hooray!—but then you’re fine with the phrase “and many other journals.” Listing another twenty places feels unnecessary. Plus the block of text makes our eyes glaze. Pick the top three or four—maybe five—and keep some mystery in this relationship.

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John Keats’s Porridge: The Favorite Recipes of Beloved Poets

(via Brain Pickings)

In late April of 1973, poet and self-taught chef Victoria McCabe decided to formalize the relationship and mailed form letter requests to 250 of the era’s leading poets, asking them to share their favorite recipes.

Allen Ginsberg offers his uncompromising Borsch recipe:

Boil 2 big bunches of chopped beets and beet greens for one hour in two quarts of water with a little salt and a bay leaf, an one cup of sugar as for lemonade. When cooked, add enough lemon to balance the sugar, as for lemonade (4 or 5 lemons or more).

Icy chill; serve with hot boiled potatoes on side and a dollop of sour cream in the middle of red cold beet soup. On side also: spring salad (tomatoes, onions, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers).

The place by the water


“Cornelia had had her eye on it for years. It reminded her of the cottage of a gnome. “Guhnome,” Aunt Shelley used to miscorrect. The other houses in the loose settlement by the pond were darkly weathered wood, but Cornelia’s was made of the local pale gray granite, sparkling here and there with tiny golden specks. It had green shutters. There was one room downstairs and one up, an outdoor toilet, a small generator. Aquatic vines climbed the stones. Frogs and newts inhabited the moist garden.

She spent more and more time there. At the bottom of the pond, turtles inched their way to wherever they were going. Minnows traveled together, the whole congregation turning this way and then that, an underwater flag flapping in an underwater wind. Birches, lightly clothed in leaves, leaned toward the pond.

“I worry about you in the middle of nowhere,” her daughter, Julie, said. But the glinting stones of the house, its whitewashed interior, summer’s greenness and winter’s pale blueness seen through its deep windows, the mysterious endless brown of the peaked space above her bed … and pond and trees and loons and chipmunks … not nowhere. Somewhere. Herewhere.”

– Edith Pearlman, “Self-Reliance,” Binocular Vision, 2011

Making A List: My Top 5 Post-Modern Detective Novels

by Lookout Intern, Joe Worthen

#5 – Noir by Robert Coover

Noir is essentially a compendium of detective tropes written in 2nd person, strung together to give the impression of narrative. You, Philip M Noir, spend most of the book drunk, searching for a widow in a maze of murder, jazz and cigarette smoke. As goons continually beat you in the head, victims change into suspects, corpses turn up living, and dead end clues pile up with the bullet casings.

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This Week With Lookout Authors

Steve Almond, (the guy with all the sex stories) had an awesome The Week in Greed post on The Rumpus a couple of days ago.

And it’s just been announced that he is the recipient of the 2012 Paterson Fiction Prize! Go Steve!

Check out some more praise over at City Book Review for John Rybicki’s When All The World Is Old.

There’s also a Bincoular Vision by Edith Pearlman giveaway courtesy of Erika Dreifus!

And we’ve recently unveiled the cover of Ben Miller’s River Bend Chronicle, with artwork by Matthew Kaven Brooks.

Great things going on!

– John Mortara, Lookout Intern