National Book Award Longlist

The national book award longlist for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and Young People’s Literature were recently announced here. I was particularly excited to see Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude on the poetry list. I heard him read in Minneapolis this past year, and it was a phenomenal reading — one of those that made me rush out and get his book (and a second copy for my friend). I’ve spent the summer making my way through this stack of books, and if I had to recommend one from the stack, it would be this one. IMG_3809

The Lammys

Check out this list of submissions for the Lambda Literary Awards, which, according to their website, “identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year and affirm that LGBTQ stories are part of the literature of the world.” I’m excited that the book I co-wrote with Carol Guess, With Animal, has been submitted to the “LGBT SF/F/Horror” Category, and I’m delighted to be in the company of such a great list of books. And writers, check out the list of publishers at the bottom of the page!

PRE-SALE! With Animal by Carol Guess & Kelly Magee


WITH ANIMAL, a collaborative short story collection I wrote with Carol Guess, is now available for pre-order from Black Lawrence Press’ website! Check out this beautiful cover, with artwork from Todd Horton.


Hybrid twins: one human, one horse. A man pregnant with a kangaroo, a woman raising a baby dragon. A twenty-first century Virgin Mary reimagined as a queer single mother giving birth in a petting zoo. In this collaborative short story collection, Carol Guess and Kelly Magee magically and playfully subvert assumptions about gender, sexuality, parenting, and family. These lyrical fictions bare teeth and spare no claw. They’ll leave you questioning the lines between human and animal, parent and child, love and dominion.



PRE-SALE! With Animal by Carol Guess & Kelly Magee.



The Blush Reflex

For poetry month last April, I did two poem-a-day projects, something I highly recommend. One of those projects, done with Carol Guess, became the collection The Reckless Remainder, forthcoming from Noctuary Press. The other became a single, fragmented short story called “The Blush Reflex,” which has just come out in the current issue of Gulf Stream Magazine. “The Blush Reflex” is part of a series of remixed fairy tales I’ve been writing, and all the morals of the story come from the text of “Hansel and Gretel.” Finding the morals was the best part!

Pushcart Nominations and Friends in High Places

I’m very excited to report that three stories from the With Animal collection I’ve been writing with Carol Guess have received Pushcart Prize Nominations: “With Fish,” nominated by Passages North, “With Fox,” nominated by Indiana Review, and “With Hippo,” nominated by Storm Cellar. I’m so proud of our stories, and happy that the whole collection will be published this May by Black Lawrence Press.

A story from another series, “Your Sick,” also received a Pushcart nomination from Anomalous Press.

In other good writing news, I have former students, former classmates, and (current) friends who just received $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts Grants in poetry! Congrats to all!

And a good friend and former classmate, Michael P. Kardos, has had his new novel, Before He Finds Her, glowingly reviewed by Publishers Weekly. I’ve taught his short stories in my classes, and I truly love his writing, so check out his book when it comes out.


Mason’s Road Call For Submissions: Memory


Call For Submissions

We are pleased to announce the opening of our next submissions period! We are now accepting your best Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Drama, and Craft Essays. The theme for Issue #10 is “Memory,” and we are looking for unique and arresting takes on this topic.

Our submissions period runs for three months: August 15 – November 15, 2014. There are two ways to submit to Mason’s Road. You can submit for free any time during our submissions period, and your work will be given thorough consideration for publication. Or, you can submit with a $10 fee, and your work will also be considered for our Mason’s Road Literary Prize, which includes publication and a $500 prize to the best entry we receive. Please look here for submission guidelines.

In our just-published issue, we feature work by prize-winning authors, including Jay Kidd, Nicola Waldron, and Stephanie Dickinson .We also have interviews on craft with poet Cynthia Atkins, screenwriter Tom Grey, and novelist Therese Anne Fowler. We are proud of the excellent array of work we selected from over 500 submissions, including the short story, “Formication,” by Patricia Canright Smith, winner of the Mason’s Road Literary Prize. Visit to check out all of the current issue’s works.

Sponsored by Fairfield University’s MFA in Creative Writing, Mason’s Road is an online literary journal with a focus on the lifetime learning of the writing craft. It is run by the program’s graduate students, and its goal is to be both educational and inspiring. Anyone in the literary community is welcome to submit, comment on the current selections, and engage in a dialogue about our craft.

Thank you in advance for helping us spread the word among your creative writing students, faculty, and contacts!

The Mason’s Road Editorial Team


Marcel Proust once said, “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.” Such is the mystery and miracle of memory. Virginia Woolf believed that emotions cannot be fully developed in the moment, rather, only by remembering them in the past. Perhaps that is why, while we exist in the present, we have a tendency to live in the past, feeding on memory and experience to inform our future. Literature, especially, has all to do with memory. It is no coincidence that the majority of prose is written in the past tense as if being recalled from somewhere, and we even have a whole genre of nonfiction dedicated to memoir–a word derived from the French and Latin words for memory. Poetry is very often reflective, and even futuristic drama has an organic way of telling a story of the past. Why are we so tied to memory, and perhaps more curiously, why do we feel compelled to share memories with others? Mark Twain said, “A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” The implication is that alongside our memories of happiness and joy, there must surely be memories of sadness and regret. What value does this add to the human experience? How can literature help us to answer these questions? The editors of Mason’s Road look forward to reading the creative ways in which our contributors delve into the eerie abyss of Memory. As Aldous Huxley puts it, “Every man’s memory is his private literature.” We are excited for this opportunity to read so many chapters of so many different stories.

— — —
Joshua Wise
Editor in Chief
Mason’s Road: A Literary & Arts Journal

Young Writers Workshop

I was fortunate enough to be asked to teach at the Young Writers Workshop at Ohio State this year, and it has been a truly amazing experience. I got to hear all these young people read their poetry and prose this evening, and I was totally overcome with their talent, bravery, and energy. I can’t get over what a good group this is!