We’re going home for the holidays in our December issue. But what is home? And how do we get there anyway? Our crop of writers is conflicted about the nostalgia of homecoming and the sometimes dark places the journey can take us.
Winter in the city can be cruel. The writers in this issue expose us to the small and large sadnesses of people we pass in the street, whether it’s a woman wandering, lost in the throes of dementia, or a brutal subway accident that we wish we’d never seen. A bystander exhorts us in one poem, don’t look, don’t look — and yet we look. Our human natures, and the fact of life in a city, in which we brush shoulders with a dozen stories a day, demands no less.
In spite of the cruelties we encounter, though, there’s still something marvelous about family ties. One poem reminds us that we are family even if our families are broken or we fail to live up to some perfect vision of what a family should be.
Outside the issue itself, we are pleased to have put out over 20 episodes of the Two Cities Review Podcast since we started recording earlier this year. Each episode gets more listeners and engages more people interested in writing and getting published in this digital age. We have interviews with several featured writers coming up soon, so if you enjoy their work within these pages, definitely tune in to hear about their writing process and inspirations. We highly recommend listening curled up on the couch, perhaps beside a roaring fire while sipping a mug of hot cocoa, the perfect way to stave off a blustery winter day.
Blair Hurley & Olivia Tandon
Has it already been a year since two cities first sprang onto the page? It’s hard to believe that last March we had just begun our adventure with this literary journal. In that time we’ve seen tremendous growth of the magazine; we’ve seen readership bouncing upward with each issue, and a wave of new and talented writers sending in their submissions.
There’s other news, too; just in time for our one-year anniversary, we’re becoming a different Two Cities. Blair has just moved to Chicago, that midwestern city of the big shoulders, and is eager to explore and discover a new urban space. She’s saddened to leave Boston behind, but equally excited to see a larger city, one that has always had a friendly rivalry with New York. Several poems in this issue pay homage to Boston and Chicago as we editors navigate this transition. Two Cities continues, spread across highways and states and miles, and will continue to navigate the distance between emotional and urban spaces in all of us.
It’s fitting for our anniversary issue to feature stories and poems about parenthood. Many writers in this issue are struggling with what it means to be a father, or what it means to be a child, even as we grow older. You’ll find heart-wrenching stories in this issue, and exciting, experimental takes on poetry and storytelling. Two Cities has been our baby this year, but as it continues to grow and mature, it might start growing up in ways that surprise even us.
Blair Hurley & Olivia Tandon
Read our latest issue
WINTER’S BRUTALITY HAS INSPIRED OUR WRITERS THIS SEASON. There’s something in the air this December; we received many startling, vivid, and haunting poems this review cycle that made us shiver. We delighted in the ice, the snow, and the chapped lips that define both of our cities. There’s a way that cities of the north transform themselves in the winter that can be truly inspiring, and can shape our lives as well. We tend to hole up in Boston; you won’t see people’s faces for a while, as they scuttle from place to place in oversized parkas. In New York, though, there are always intrepid walkers being pushed and blustered down those legendary wind tunnel avenues.
Winter in the Northeast can bring out fascinating emotional states in writers. Even as we retreat to the warmest room of our apartments, we also turn inward, thinking about families, relationships, and our place in the city. We’re thinking about war and conflict; several of our stories in this issue tackle the heavy cost of war and the price paid on families and individuals as well as civilizations. We have spy thrillers and family dramas in this issue, all chilled by the cruelties we enact on each other and the lies we tell. Button up for a cold night, readers!
WE ARE BECOMING A MAGAZINE. From the initial whirlwind of Kickstarter and launching the first issue to the grind and doubt of publishing Issue 2, we felt like we were going through the process of giving life to something totally new. Would we succeed? Would we get enough great submissions to fill out issue after issue? Would anyone want to read the magazine? With Issue 3 now under our belts and Issue 4 well in the making, we are confident that our fledgling project is finally taking wing.
Fall is the season of change. It’s these times of transition that the cities of New England and the East Coast truly shine; the mugginess and sweat of August fades, the school year begins, and the trees trumpet their colors. It makes us stop and think; it makes us nostalgic for falls, for Halloweens and pumpkins and school years of the past. The process of change, as you’ll see in this issue’s crop of outstanding poems and stories, is always a fraught one, filled with both hope and fear.
We city-dwellers are uniquely adapted for the pressures and stresses of change. Nearly every year, New Yorkers pack their things into garbage bags to do the apartment shuffle; in Boston, we’re on the move as well, as the year’s fresh crop of college students arrive on curbs with parents and pillows tucked under their arms, hopeful to make this city their own. Every year, we Boston regulars get older, but the students stay the same age, adding a little element of the Twilight Zone to each September.
We have been blessed with a flood of submissions, from spy thrillers to poignant memoirs, from cats to shooting stars. The stories, poems, and essays of our third issue tackle the realities of urban living and urban decay. Homeless inhabitants of traffic islands and frustrated apartment neighbors are rubbing shoulders; New Yorkers travel by rattling subway to visit the 9/11 memorial. The other theme you’ll notice bumping up against all this is that of childhood. In many of the poems of issue 3, children wonder and puzzle, love and question and grow. Childhood in particular is the constant experience of change, and we think you’ll see yourself somewhere in this kaleidoscope of the season.
We hope you enjoy reading Issue 3 as much as we enjoyed putting it together. As always, please comment online and let us know what made you laugh, what made you cry and what made you keep turning the pages.
Blair Hurley & Olivia Tandon