Publication Spotlight: Graze

Here is the second in a series of posts in which I call your attention to some great publications (that happened to publish something of mine). This time, we’re taking a moment to appreciate Graze.

Graze is shaaaaaaarrrp. And food-themed. And on paper, bless them (fingers crossed there, because I have been in two publications’ final print issues now, and—great as online publications can be—I don’t want to kill another beautiful, tangible object).

From a tongue-in-cheek but informative gardening how-to for old punks (“Suddenly, you question your plan to wing it and let nature take its course. And you do have a life outside of this freaking garden. You have protest concerts to organize and a cellar full of punk rock anthology cassette tapes to transfer over to MP3.”) to a poem about an eight-sided taco truck on a vague mission of vengeance (oh, hey, I wrote that one), Graze’s Issue Four has something for everyone.

Graze is an incredible labor of love by publishers Cyndi Fecher and Brian J. Solem, along with their art director and associate editor. Everything about it is so crisp and professional, so buttoned-up and perfect (but still very fun—don’t get me wrong), you’d think it has at least double that staff and is being hosed down with sweet, plentiful creative writing MFA program money.

But in fact, it seems to just run on the energy of its publishers and staff. And donations, subscriptions, and single-copy sales. (By the way, you can also buy Graze at many independent bookstores across the country.)

If you live in Chicago, lucky you! Graze hosts a lot of great events pertaining to its food-and-drink theme, as well as music. You can also keep up with those via Facebook and Twitter. I happen to know—from the Issue Four release, which involved bands, DJs, costumes, and a drink or three—that Graze throws a great party.

Wherever you are, please enjoy—and help feed—Graze! (And if you’d love to be part of Issue Five, submissions are open for written work until December 20, 2013, and for visual work until January 20, 2014.)


Previously in this series: Hobo Camp Review.
Next up: Fickle Muses.


Publication Spotlight: Hobo Camp Review

I’ve had a pretty good few months, submission-wise, and I’ve been feeling like before my usual Christmas madness fully sets in—and certainly before I move on to another round of rolling the dice and anxiously awaiting responses—I really should stop and say thank you.

For the next little bit, then, I’m going to spotlight the publications that have recently made my day by giving my work some space in their pages, whether paper or digital. It’s my way of saying thank you, and also pointing you toward what I think are some great publications (and no, not just because they accepted my poems).

Each one has a distinctive character—a theme or a twist or something that sets it apart and makes for fantastic reading. All of them, as it happens, are done as a labor of love by individual editors and publishers, without backing from a university or other such.

First up: Hobo Camp Review.

Besides being fun to say (does anyone else remember Amy Sedaris as Jerri Blank saying, “hobo camp“?), this publication has a great concept: stories, poems, and essays that have the flavor of something that might be read down by the railroad tracks, around a trash-can fire. Dark, gritty … maybe a little smelly. Itinerant.

Even the information at Hobo Camp is fun to read because of its great voice and commitment to the theme. From the submission guidelines:

“While we like to envision Steinbeck, Li Po, McCullers, Bukowski, and Kerouac sitting around a campfire eating hot dogs and beans with a stray dog named Tom Waits wagging his tail at their feet, we don’t want a rehash. We’ve been eating hash here for months and we’re sick of it.”

I had a poem that was a bit of a hobo itself—I wrote it in 2009 and submitted it so many times, to so many places, and it always came limping back—and I love that it finally found a home at the Hobo Camp, in the Autumn 2013 issue.

Head hobo James H. Duncan is also an editor at Writer’s Digest and busy and successful with his own creative work, both poetry and prose. (Oh, and another thing about the collection of stories I’ve linked to—if you order it before Christmas 2013, you’ll help contribute to the Food Bank for New York City.)

If you visit Hobo Camp Review—and I hope you will—tell them FilthyJeans Sabrina sent you. They won’t know what you’re talking about, but I bet they’ll still share their mulligan stew. They’re good people that way.