Daniel Benayun



FIRST THINGS FIRST: Sadie Hoagland.  I've never  met Sadie Hoagland, but my first encounter with her was  roughly nine years ago.  I was reading through the slush pile of  Harvard Review   and  came upon a story called, "I Don't Care if a Broken Heart Is a Thing of the Devil Cause I Got One."  I thought,  this story is going to have to be damn good to live up to a title like that.  Boy was it.  I've been a little obsessed with her writing  ever since. It turns out that   "I Don't Care if a Broken Heart Is a Thing of the Devil Cause I Got One"  is but one chapter  of a fantastic novel, called Strange Children, (which -- word to the wise -- is in need of a publisher) a coming of age story about a handful of teens growing up in, and later expelled from, a polygamous Mormon community.  You will find another chapter of Strange Children,  "When the Prophet of God Is Not a Good Man," in this issue. I hope you love it as much as I do.  And if you do,   check out another story of Sadie's in     Issue Two.

Benjamin Schachtman, another of our favorites, has contributed a story called "Zugzwang." In an email, Ben said he "thought this one was going to be more upbeat." But you've got to stick with what you know, and what Ben knows is grittiness, human frailty, back-of-house personalities,  love and   loss, all  served up with a steaming hot side of  dark humor.  As usual, it's a great read that hits us  where it hurts so good.  We published another piece of his back in Issue  Ten.

Then we've got a piece of creative nonfiction from Sean Godfrey called   "The States."  The protagonist is a  Jamaican teenager who must adjust to his new life in the United States and his summer job at a grocery store where he meets his nemesis --   another Jamaican playing up to false cultural stereotypes to gain social approval.

Meanwhile, this issue of Slush Pile is unusually rich of poetry, with   styles  and subject matters that truly run the gamut.  We've got a triad of fascinating prose poems about   dementia  and a short, cautionary prose poem about sleeping with your psychiatrist. We've got a  lovely and haunting rumination on twice-lost love and  a portrait of a truck-stop diner. We've even got a few poems that I love in spite of having no idea what they're about.

Then there's our featured artist, Daniel Benayun, whose work is "an exploration and reconstruction of the magical idealism of mid-twentieth-century advertising." We're absolutely dazzled by the  vibrant colors and  mid-century nostalgia.

Now, for some news:


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Totes, mugs, pencils and developmental editing. More to come!


Thank you, as ever, for reading. 

— M. R. Branwen


 Back to Issue Nineteen