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Silk Road  Vol 7.2

Check out our 7.2 issue of Silk Road with cover art by Irish painter, Josie Gray. Along with painting, Gray has also written a collaborative work with Tess Gallagher titled, “Barnacle Soup and Other Stories from the West of Ireland”. Read more about him in this article written by Tess Gallagher.

Issue 7.2 brings together the work of 21 authors.

“Years ago when I realized why I wanted a boyfriend (for warmth), I started viewing men as jackets. In a hug, I tried them on. How does this feel, I asked myself, moving my hands up and down their backs. Sometimes they thought I was trying to steal their wallets, but I didn’t know how to explain myself.” –Meg Thompson

Our first chapters section includes the opening pages from Lesley Heiser’s upcoming novel The Girl in a Tree. In “All you Really Need Is a Light Jacket”, Meg Thompson entwines the lives and habits of animals and humans. The New Millennium Writings prize winner Vic Sizemore depicts characters struggling to teach their children to live a life of non-violence in a violent world in his short story, “Squirrel Gun”.

In our interveiw with author Deborah Reed, the author talks about how balances multiple genres as well as her path to becoming an author.

Read excerpt from a couple of the pieces in this issue at our website.

Silk Road Review is having a contest! Write in a great opening line for a story, leave it as a comment on our blog, Twitter, or Facebook page and we will send you a Silk Road literary magazine. We are limiting the responses to 140 characters (roughly on Facebook and the blog) for all three. But hurry the contest closes at nine am pacific time tomorrow, November 9th. Also if you haven’t already don’t forget to follow us on twitter, like us on Facebook and follow our blog. We look forward to reading some great opening lines!



Imagine that’s your desk. That’s your manuscript. And you are sending it to the incredible editors at Silk Road.

Accepting in all genres–fiction, poetry, nonfiction and first chapters–twelve months of the year now.

No more summer vacation for writers or the editors who love them.  

Get writing.  Send us your work.  

Imagine that is your desk and the manuscript a blazingly good submission for Silk Road.



Recent Sitka writer-in-residence and winner of the Sixth Annual Tartts First Fiction Award, Josie Sigler will read from her new book, The Galaxie and Other Rides

Silk Road Review was the first home to several of the stories in this powerful collection. Two of the pieces are included in Silk Road’s newly released issue 7.1.

These stories portray the struggle for survival and the resurgence of wilderness in the post-industrial heartland: a young man fears the worst when his best friend is deployed to Iraq; a woman resists a nuclear plant’s attempts to force her off her property; and a man who believes that Van Gogh’s The Starry Night is a painting of the smokestacks in his hometown loses his job at General Motors. Despite their losses, these characters maintain a porch-light-left-on love for each other that defies the odds. Indeed, love is their salvation amid the ruins.

T.C. Boyle has called The Galaxie and Other Rides “a smashing debut” and Ann Pancake writes “with language at times lyric and lush, at others raw and spare, Sigler has created a unique poetry of poverty and proves that beauty can outlast brutality.”

Saturday, June 2, the event begins with mingling and light snacks at 4:30 pm followed by a reading at 5:00 pm and a book signing at 6:00 pm. 

If you’ve never been to the Sitka Center, this is a great chance to see what it is all about in a friendly and festive atmosphere. For a complete list of summer events and driving directions, head to the Sitka Center’s website at or call our office at 541.994.5485.

Committed to expanding the relationships between art, nature and humanity, the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology is well known for its workshop and residency programs. Located on Cascade Head, with views of the Pacific Ocean and Salmon River, Sitka Center offers a place where artists, writers, scientists, and musicians of all abilities and backgrounds go to nourish and inspire their creativity which ripples out into the world, making it a brighter place for all. Go to or call 541.994.5485 to learn more.


TAMMY DIETZ, nonfiction editor for Silk Road, is a writer, instructor, and instructional designer. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and literary journals including Bringing Light to Twilight, a critical examination of the Twilight book series, and The Legendary Online Journal. She lives with her husband and children near Seattle.

Her nonfiction piece “Everything I Know I Learned from Shoplifting” appears in bioStories.

I’ve always wanted to write about my experiences as a shoplifter, but I’ve avoided the subject for both obvious and less obvious reasons. Obvious: It’s a little embarassing. Less obvious: I didn’t know how to do it and I held no interest in writing a self-indulgent, preachy confessional. The truth is, I’m not proud of being a thief as a child and young adult. But I don’t think my experience is unique (just a hunch) and for me, it took exploration of this morally questionable terrain to develop a sense of responsibility about it. There is something very American (where fortune favors the brave) about my experience, and when I found that angle, I also found the heart of the story.

Read “Everything I Know I Learned from Shoplifting”here in bioStories.

We are delighted to announce our nominations for the 2011 Pushcart Prize.

“Weight” by Karin Lin-Greenberg. (Fiction. Vol. 6.1)
“A Writers Story” by Steve Edwards. (Fiction. Vol. 6.2)
“Let Down Your Hair” by Katie Cortese. (Fiction. Vol. 6.2)
“Where” by Loretta Obstfeld. (Poetry, Vol. 6.2)
“Nocturne to 60 in 10 Seconds” by Andrew Philip (Poetry. Vol. 6.2)
“Zongzi” by Sarah J. Lin. (Nonfiction. Vol 6.2)

To read these and other fine pieces by our Silk Road contributors order your copies at

First page of David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest. Archived at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.

In honor of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Silk Road will begin accepting first chapters of novels for publication in the magazine.

Our editors would like to showcase first chapters that would pique a reader’s interest and get a great story rolling. We also want to encourage writers to keep going and finish that novel!

We will accept first chapters through May 1st, 2012, when our reading period ends.
Please follow the submission guidelines or we can’t consider your manuscript:

1. Submissions can be no longer than 15 pages in length. (Shorter is fine.)

2. No cover sheet.

3. One inch margins on all pages and double-spaced.

4. If your chapter is a prologue, please remember a prologue must for our purposes operate like a first chapter. It can’t be all set up. Something has to happen. (Do not send us a prologue and a chapter.)

5. The chapter need not be as self contained as a short story, but it should not operate solely as an introduction to your book. We need action and character development. We are looking for controlled prose, concrete details of landscape, vivid characters who come off the page and compel us to keep reading

6. Please do not send a previously published novel chapter, including one self published on the web.

7. We are not wild about pure genre fiction, but if you are walking the line between literary and genre fiction, then we are interested.

8. In our submission manager, please select the “first chapter” genre for the category in which you are submitting. The “fiction” category is for short stories only.

Our submission manager is here:

More about Silk Road Review at:

Poetry commands a central place in Britain.

Poet Robert Peake, former poetry editor for Silk Road , gives us an update from the London literary scene.

As I travelled by tube to the Southbank Centre to attend the first event of the London Literature Festival, and my first poetry reading since moving to London two months ago, I took with me my American expectations about poetry venues: coffee shops, small community centers, the occasional well-appointed-but-out-of-the way theater or library hall. Seated facing the podium on the sixth floor of this clean, bright temple to art, I kept examining the layers of the backdrop as if it were a painting. First, a Union Jack. Then the London Eye. And on the far side of the Thames, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. This was not a painting, however, but a window. The statement was clear: art, and for this evening, poetry, commands a central place in Britain.

However, centrality means anything but homogeneity, as the four readers in this “Poetry of Place” event demonstrated. They each came from one of the four countries whose flag had been superimposed to form the Union Jack fluttering behind them: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. But their relationship to poetry, identity, and place was hardly as crisp as the bright-colored crosses that make up their national standard. I had come to the center of a foreign place to witness the complex crossroads and collisions of its poetry, and to experience firsthand a few of my own.

Blue-eyed Toby Martinez de las Rivas took the stage in a Dinosaur Jr. band t-shirt, sporting an earring and bald but for a Hare-Krishna-style ponytail. He looked nothing like the Martinezes or Rivases I grew up with on the U.S.-Mexico border. And although he represented England (ranging from Somerset to Gateshead, though recently living in Spain), the first poem he read was an homage to Robert Burns, written in Scots. His poems were abstract and eschatological, imposing the allegory of Israel upon Northumberland and courting concepts as “bisexual as death” in baroque and inward tones.

Although Toby prefaced his Scots poem with a nod to the poet representing Scotland, when Kate Clanchy took the podium, she spoke with a cut-glass English accent. Having grown up Catholic in Scotland, then studied at Oxford, she spoke of the double-edged ostracization of first being too posh, and not Scottish enough, for her Edinburgh peers; then not posh enough, and too Scottish, for her Oxbridge colleagues. She channeled this liminal otherness into her poems, fusing gorgeous imagery and sonorous delivery in ambiguous-yet-compelling commentary on the subtleties of the British class system and the insularity of academia (where Oxfordshire bluebells “dream only of bluebells being blue.”)

I was strangely comforted in my displacement by four poets whose relationship to “home” was as complex as my own. This in itself can be a kind of homecoming–to unite with other artists struggling in a liminal space, for whom art is the only refuge from this sometimes strange and troubling world.

Owen Sheers was no less a hybrid figure, born in Fiji, raised in Wales, educated also at Oxford. He read poems ranging the world over, including a chilling tale of his encounter with a Zimbabwean despot, entitled “Drinking with Hitler”, reminiscent of Carolyn Forché’s “The Colonel.” Another poem, “World Maps,” described the rashes that formed from Kava abuse in Fiji, and which bore the poem’s title as their nickname. And in “Sun City” (Arizona) he explored the eerie landscape of the Superstition Mountains in this retirees-only leisure world, a sun-drenched waiting room for death. Like the others poets, “home” seemed an elusive concept for Sheers, overshadowed by an archaeologist’s wonder at the strangeness of the world in which he finds himself.

Finally, acclaimed Irish poet Nick Laird’s poems detailed a more stark side of The Troubles than the accounts of Seamus Heaney–the quotidian violence of a life lived so on edge that the backfire of a car could bring one to suddenly sob. Unshaven and slightly disheveled, striking a figure not unlike Nick Cave, he delivered dark, lyrical meditations on living memory’s longest-running civil war. For Laird, poetry can be about, but never limited by, place–being itself a place apart and, from what I heard between the lines, perhaps a place of personal refuge as well.

The audience was rapt, and proceeded diligently to the book table after the final applause. As much as the new land, and new poetic landscape, in which I now find myself is foreign, I felt sure after a reading like this that I had found a good place to be. I was over the rainbow, and although I heard Dorothy’s words echoing in the distance–that there is “no place like home,” I was strangely comforted in my displacement by four poets whose relationship to “home” was as complex as my own. This in itself can be a kind of homecoming–to unite with other artists struggling in a liminal space, for whom art is the only refuge from this sometimes strange and troubling world. Art, I decided, is its own place, where blue-eyed Martinezes and English-accented Scotswomen can reconcile the question behind the difficult question, “Where are you from?”

For more on Robert’s reflections on poetry, London and life, visit

32 Writers from Around the World. Cover art from painter Anna Stump's Pacific Rim series

Silk Road (Summer-Fall,2011) brings together 32 writers from around the world. 

This issue features pieces like Ani Gjika’s farewell to India, Sarah Lin’s complex tribute to dumplings in Taiwan, and Katherine Mauerer’s reflection on a moment of arrival in Iraq.

Turkish Poet Ahmet Uysal says us a “breeze sings to me in all languages at once.”

John Ashford gives a subtle portrait of a young student in Botswana, and Bridget Booher maps the marks on her own body.

Steve Edward’s prize winning flash fiction “A Writer’s Story” opens our most intense issue yet. How do writers grapple with memory in order to reach a truth?

In an interview, novelist and humanitarian Masha Hamilton discusses the way in which difficult questions drive her both artistically and physically into places others fear to tread.

More info on the writers in this issue, excerpts and ordering at the link:

By Tanna Waters

Many of the students who work on Silk Road, and many of our readers and contributors, love writing enough to want to stay within the writing world, but may not want to be full time creative writers. I myself got a masters in publishing from Portland State University and do freelance work, but I have also been looking for publishing-related jobs since graduation not too long ago. I’ll share with you the resources I’ve discovered along the way along with a brief description of what you’ll get out of it.

The Editorial Freelancers Association
EFA members are people with a broad range of freelancer skills ranging from editing to translating and more. The association offers clients a list of freelancers (the members) from which to choose in hopes of matching the right freelancer to the right gig. Membership is subscription based as the organization is a member-run nonprofit where the board does not dictate, but involved members do. The association offers classes (reduced tuition for members) along with connecting members to jobs, and offers resources for freelance professionals to improve their skills. Even if you aren’t a member, many of the resources are still available, and most import to any freelancer are the common, and updated, industry rates, which can be found on their website.

For freelancers starting out, Elance is a good place to look for clients. For a small membership price (there are different levels depending on your need), members create a profile and bid for jobs ranging from editing gigs, to ghost writing, to design, and even freelance telemarketing. Services are rated like an Amazon Marketplace seller, and payment is secure (Paypal is common).

You create a profile that acts as a resume and shows past jobs and the ratings you got from them. You can also prove your skills with a skill-testing feature that rates your proficiency with a given platform as a percentile of individuals in the industry. Elance also lets you upload your portfolio so that clients can see samples of our work.

New users can try it out free for ten project bids a month before they need to upgrade.

Media Bistro
Media Bistro is an online forum that keeps media-minded people up-to-date on industry news and research. It also has a large database of jobs that a member (membership is free) can search, either by location or industry. Their mission “is to provide opportunities to meet, share resources, become informed of job opportunities and interesting projects and news, improve career skills, and showcase your work.” The website and job database are updated daily, if not hourly, and is one of the most respected job search forums in my personal circle.
BookJobs is a job an internship database, as well as a publishing industry resource. Their search lets you focus on certain areas within the publishing industry that are of interest. They also have a guide for matching college majors to specific focus areas within the publishing industry, noting that you don’t have the be an English or communications major to have a job in the publishing field. In fact, sometimes it’s better to be a business major than a book major. The unfortunate thing about BookJobs, however, is that it tends to be New York centric, but if you don’t mind relocating then this shouldn’t be an issue.

Publisher’s Websites
Sometimes the best place to scoop a job or internship is right on the publisher’s website. They often post there first before sending the memo out to feeder sites like Craigslist, Monster, Jobdango, and even Media Bistro. Check out the websites of these local publishers:

Beyond Words
Glimmer Train
Hawthorne Books
Inkwater Press
Raintown Press
The Oregonian Newspaper
Timber Press
Tin House
Underland Press

Corporate Websites
Publishing related jobs don’t just live at the publishing house, but also in the corporate world. They are called communications managers, marketing copywriters, desktop publishers, among other things. Many different businesses from an owner-operated small businesses all the way to huge corporations need skilled editors and designers to handle their publications. Don’t count out how valuable your skills with language are to the world. It may come naturally to you, but it doesn’t to everyone. Keep your options open.

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