The new fall issue of Two Cities Review is here! Visit our Current Issue page and check it out right this minute, and be sure to spread the word. We’re proud of this stellar collection of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Here’s a bit from our letter from the editors to whet your appetite:
Letter from the Editors
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
Read Issue 3 here
Issue 3 has been burning up our computer screens this month, readers. It’s full of hot, exciting new poetry and prose that will get you geared up for the new season. We’re finalizing the issue and it will be dropping in the first week of September, so be sure to spread the word. In the meantime, here’s a little preview from one of our authors, the incomparable Brian Fanelli:
Summer nights we pitched a pup tent
in grandma’s yard, pinched our noses
against the stink of skunks,
while we stretched out on the lawn,
gazed at the sky and hoped
for a flash of something unidentified,
a streak of colors unexplained.
We grew up on prime time X-files episodes,
wanted to be Mulder and Scully,
clenching flashlights, chasing the unknown down alleys.
Some nights we pondered the universe,
infinite, filled with other life, we said,
maybe dimension-hopping beings,
or time-traveling creatures.
We never saw triangle objects or bright lights,
just planes flying low,
a few shooting stars.
We passed out in sleeping bags as the sun
climbed over mountains and blue dawn
shined on the familiar and known.
Today, I came across a link to this list of the 10 best nonfiction pieces of the past 50 years. They are all classics, but I must confess, there are still a couple I haven’t read. If you are a fan of creative nonfiction, I highly recommend these! After a weekend away in Newport eating lobster roll after lobster hash after lobster bisque, I think it may be time for a reread of David Foster Wallace’s humorous yet thought-provoking “Consider the Lobster”. Or maybe after my trip to San Francisco, it is time to revisit Joan Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” Or maybe I’ll pick something new. All of these are great summer reads, so check them out!
Our gorgeous second issue of Two Cities is officially available and ready for reading! Get on over to our Current Issue page and read some stunning new nonfiction, fiction, and poetry by both established and exciting emerging authors. We’re very proud of this one and want you to spread the word. Enjoy and happy reading!
We are hard at work this week, finalizing the summer 2014 issue of Two Cities Review. In some ways, getting out the second issue will prove that we’re the real deal, a literary magazine with plans for the future. After all, many people and organizations can cobble together one issue, but we’re here for the long haul, and we’re wildly excited about the poetry and fiction set to appear in the next week. I thought I’d point out a few intriguing lines and opening scenes just to whet your appetite.
From writer Bhaswati Ghosh:
“The road is a messy
The weekend sun, a limp
slice of lemon.
It sneaks out without a whimper. and is not missed.
I sit in the car, waiting for you to return
their attendance necessary for updating the week’s meal roster.”
Or from Rachel Lyon:
“THE BEETLE LEOPARD was about the size of a large cocker spaniel, with a coat like the coat of a tortoiseshell cat: uneven, mostly dark, of mottled browns and blacks. The private company that kept him in his vivarium on Pigeon Street claimed he was the only beetle leopard on Earth.”
You’ll have to stop by Two Cities Review’s page later this week in order to read more, and to see other stories and poems from our wonderful lineup for this issue. And don’t forget that we are always reading submissions for our next issue, too; visit our Submit page for more information.
Time is running out, writers! In order to be considered for publication in Two Cities’ issue 2, you must submit your work by May 15. If you’ve been on the fence about submitting, now is the time to take the plunge! We are still looking for the best in poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, so get in there. If you miss the deadline, your work will be still be considered for upcoming issues. But who wants to wait? We look forward to reading your submissions.
Find out about submitting to Two Cities Review here.
The annual cherry blossom festival (Sakura Matsuri) is going on at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens this weekend. While the gardens are usually a serene place to escape the city and maybe even get some writing done, during Sakura Matsuri, they are overrun with thousands of people enjoying Japanese food and culture while gawking at the blossoming cherry trees. Unfortunately, because of the harsh winter, the cherry blossoms are delayed and there were only a few blooming when I went yesterday. There were many other lovely signs of spring, however, such as these summer snowflake flowers.
Spring is an inspiring time for writers, as nature begins to stir up colors and sounds that tell us winter is ending and the long days of summer are ahead. It is a time for new beginnings and appreciating the natural world. Sakura Matsuri made me think of haiku poetry, which usually highlights some aspect of natural beauty in a simple form. I composed the haiku below about my day. Share your own haiku with us through the comments feature! Let us know what spring means to you.
The red-headed finch
looks down on me from the tree
covered with full buds.
Haven’t heard from your New York editor in a while? Yes, I apologize. I have been cheating on New York with another fabulous city: Sydney, Australia.
Following in our Boston editors footsteps, I was able to take a trip Down Under and loved my first visit to Australia. I visited Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra (for only a few hours). Since Blair already wrote about Melbourne and I barely got to know Canberra, let me tell you about Sydney.
While I wouldn’t equate Sydney with New York as much as Blair equated Melbourne with Boston, I definitely shared her sense of familiarity with Australian culture. England feels distinctly European, with its narrow, cramped streets and buildings hundreds of years old, it feels steeped in history and secrets. Australia, however, like the United States, is a relatively new country and is much more organized and cleanly built. The streets are wide and Sydney especially has a skyline with many modern skyscrapers. Like New York with its Empire State Building, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House (pictured above in the rain) give it a skyline that is distinct and recognizable anywhere.
I also had the opportunity to travel (again in the rain) to the Blue Mountains, about an hour and a half drive from the center of Sydney. There a got to experience a “bush walk,” and I was shocked to find myself in what looked like a rainforest. Now, I’m sure I’m not the only ignorant American out there who thinks of Australia as a land of dry, red dust with kangaroos hopping around. In the Blue Mountains, however, I was transported to a world filled with mist and eucalyptus trees shedding layers of bark onto the damp ground and spider webs on nearly every branch. Through the mist, we were barely able to glimpse the Wentworth Falls. Shockingly white against the green canopy, a sulfur-crested cockatoo gave a raucous call. It was incredibly captivating.
Back in Sydney, we had some great food. Like Melbourne, Sydney has some amazing Asian food. We sampled Malaysian cuisine, Japanese ramen and Vietnamese pho. All of these are available in New York, but the food in Sydney had just a bit more of something we couldn’t quite put our fingers on. Authenticity, perhaps. We also took a long bus ride out to Watsons Bay and splurged on a fancy dinner at the famous Doyles seafood restaurant. Set on the water, looking back across the bay, diners can gaze at the distant roofs of the Sydney skyline, while sipping fine wine from the Barossa Valley and eating prawns and John Dory caught just a few miles away.
I cannot close without mentioning the beaches near Sydney as well. From New York, getting to the beach seems like a journey to the end of the Earth. The beaches in the city are littered with glass and needles, while the shores of Long Island and New Jersey take forever to reach with all the traffic. Sydney was different. I had the chance to visit 3 local beaches, each with its own character and all spectacular. I drove (yes, on the opposite side of the road) to Whale Beach, about an hour north of Sydney’s CBD, and found a quite spot where I could have a whole section of the beach to myself, watch the surfers get pounded by the waves and walk along the shore to the headland, where I picked up some great fossilized plants. Manly Beach was technically closed when we visited due to a strong riptide, but you never would have known with the number of surfers in the water, kids running around the beach and couples holding hands in the surf. I swam at Manly and was terrified by the giant waves. The restaurants there were too expensive and the service left something to be desired, but it was a fun beach day nonetheless. Finally, Bondi Beach is an iconic Sydney beach and we spent the day there doing what Australians do best – chilling at a beach bar with old and new friends for hours, commenting on outrageous sunburns (and getting some of our own).
Next time I visit Australia, I plan to leave the cities behind and hit the lesser known wonders in the far reaches of Queensland and Western Australia, but I’m glad that my first experience was with the cities. The comfort and ease of these places made the trip wonderful and has left me craving more ever since I have returned. I’ll definitely be back.
P.S. There are still wallabies (shown above) and kangaroos in Australia too!
At our second launch party in Boston, we rocked the Middlesex Lounge. We introduced the mission of Two Cities, held a raffle, heard contributor L. Michael Hager read from his work, and met some great new literary friends. Thanks to everyone who came out for the event, and thanks as well to our wonderful writers.
Here’s our reader, L. Michael Hager:
This means that issue 1 is officially launched! You can read it online at our Current Issue page, or you can buy a print copy online at the following link, at Lulu:
Keep following us for more thoughts on the city literary life, and don’t forget to Submit your work for our summer issue of Two Cities Review!
Our New York Launch party was a blast! Thanks so much for all of you readers and writers who came out to Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn this past weekend for food, fun, a raffle, readings, and new literary friends. We’re delighted that so many people came and bought issues — and we’re especially grateful to our contributors, who read from their wonderful writing. We’re also excited to report that we’ve captured some video of the readings, so you can see them right here at our site. Here’s our introduction as editors, and below that, you can see readings from four of our writers.
Here is our first reader, Julia Alekseyeva:
Our second reader, Constance Renfrow:
Our third story, L. Michael Hager (read by Ashley Hager):
And our final reader, Suzanne Richardson: