Series Curator: Jonathan Cardew
March Selector: Hannah Grieco
What’s rare, what’s bright, what’s new?
This is what we ask a new writer every month in search of the best hybrid, poetry, and flash writing from the previous month. In this edition, we catch up with writer, Hannah Grieco.
Hannah gives us a little selection of her favorite writing from March 2021:
Spring is here, nearly-end-of-a-pandemic spring, and writers everywhere are finding their voices after a very long and quiet time. It’s exciting to watch the eruption, to read all the anger and fire exploding onto my computer screen. I love my novels and collections, but lately I want to read everything online—the reaction-to-this-moment pieces. The work that writers created when we were all huddled in our houses and looking out our windows wanting things. Here are five works of prose and poetry from March (and one from April that caught me last minute!) that took up space in my head and heart long after I read them.
The Reason He’s So Late by Ben Woodard
Ben Woodard writes the most uncomfortable, clutching, perfect relationship stories. I am obsessed with how he methodically unmoors us, his storytelling so precise and compelling that we can’t help but follow him to places we really don’t want to go. Oh, this dude is doomed? I’m here for it! “The Reason He’s So Late” is no exception, an immersive short story about a man who needs to apologize and knows he can’t.
Swimming Lessons by Maeda Ali
Swim lessons, friends – remember those? At first, we think this will be a whimsical story of a new friendship. But quickly we realize that we’re alone in this pool after all, our hope and expectation crumbling. The whole scene is so visceral that I covered my eyes at one point, and the theft at the end is so exhilarating and then so layered in emotion – shame, fear, hope sneaking back in. A masterful story of mean girls and a desperate longing for more.
When to Have Your Period by Caitlin Rae Taylor
Death has played a daily presence in our lives this past year, and I think about funerals so much more than I ever imagined I would. In this story, Taylor brings us into her body, grounding us in that empty helplessness of watching someone else grieve. And it feels horribly timely, and yet not pandemic-heavy. The ache, the bleeding, the cold aftermath: a beautiful story.
Mad Dog, 1988 by Anna B. Moore
Angst is my jam, especially right now, especially if it takes me back to college heartache. And the real heartache in those days was our own fearful, stunted attempts at identity. We sobbed over the boys and girls who didn’t love us, but it was that feeling of being on the outside that truly did us in. Who were we, even? Who would we be? Moore shoves us face-first into that world: we’re the “you” in this story. And you (and me and everyone) are desperate to feel something. To feel anything. You stand outside their circle in the hallway and hold out the Mad Dog, waiting for them to let you in, she writes. And we remember.
Mackerel by Khalisa Rae
This is from early April, but no apologies! It’s too good not to share! Khalisa Rae writes about the body and sex and we all LISTEN. I’ve heard her read live, and even though she said she had a bad cold – wow??? But reading her poetry gives us that same feeling. She writes words that breathe somehow, that we hear as we read, her storytelling in verse so vivid that it doesn’t even feel like poetry. Yes, this is lovely and lyrical, and yes it’s also alive in our hands. In Mackerel, we explore the body as it emerges into young adulthood. We take a magnifying glass to what’s forbidden and discover who we are.
Hannah Grieco is a writer and editor in the Washington, DC area. Her work can be found in The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, The Rumpus, and more. Find her online at www.hgrieco.com and on Twitter @writesloud.
Jonathan Cardew’s writing appears or is forthcoming in Wigleaf, Cream City Review, Passages North, Superstition Review, JMWW, Smokelong Quarterly, People Holding, and others. He is the fiction editor for Connotation Press and contributing books reviewer for Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine. He’s been a finalist in the Best Small Fictions, the Wigleaf Top 50, the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and he won a travel toothbrush once at a boules competition in northern Brittany. Originally from the UK, he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.