Matt Rich



“WHY DO PEOPLE have to be this lonely? What's the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?” — Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

The stories and poems in this issue—almost without exception and through no design of my own—all attempt to answer this question. We’ve got Carolyn Oliver’s haunting “Drifting, Maybe Caught,” Bob Matlock’s bittersweet “Parranda,” and Karin Lewis’ devastating “O, Annie.” We’ve got suburban infidelity and Christmas shopping in Jacqueline Doyle’s “Merry Gentlemen,” a painfully awkward and unrequited crush in Lorie Broumand’s “Josie & Stanley,” an existential murder mystery in S. Frederic Liss’ “Maybe,” the beige purgatory of car sales in Steven J. Rogers’ “Piscary,” and a charming exploration of fiction writing and longing in the tundra in Steven Lang’s “Considerable Complexity.”

And poetry! First of all, we are thrilled to introduce our new poetry editor, Julie Swarstad Johnson, who is to thank for the assortment of spectacular poets in this issue, namely: Abby Minor, Daniel Pritchard, and Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad.

Our featured artist this issue, Matt Rich, has been one of our favorites since 2010 when he was the featured artist of Issue Four. His work has changed quite a bit since then, but we still enjoy the bright, playful, careful chaos of it.

What else?


If you follow us between now and January 1st, we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a Slush Pile Magazine tote bag.


If you just want to buy yourself a tote bag, because they’re cute and handy, you can buy one here.


A story we love by Leia Menlove that recently went up at Harvard Review.

And, oh yeah, the United States just elected Donald Trump to be the next leader of the free world.

We try to keep it pretty apolitical over here. Our highest priority is to not alienate readers because we believe that reading is the most profound means we have available to understand each other, and the need for us to understand each other is as urgent as it has ever been.

Having said that, we love what Dan Piepenbring of the Paris Review said in the days following the election:

“Read, as often and as violently as you can. If you aspire to write, put aside all the niceties and sureties about what art should be and write something that makes the scales fall from our eyes. Forget the tired axioms about showing and telling, about sense of place—any possible obstruction—and write to destroy complacency, to rattle people, to help people, first and foremost yourself. Lodge your ideas like glass shards in the minds of everyone who would have you believe there’s no hope.”

We’ll leave you with that.

 — M. R. Branwen


back to Issue Twenty