Notable Essays of 2014 – Congratulations!

Good news!

William Bradley’s essay, “Marked,” published by Cleaver Magazine, has just been named a “Notable Essay of 2014” by Best American Essays.

Congratulations, William Bradley! And a special thanks also to Cleaver‘s terrific Editor-in-Chief Karen Rile — her vision and hard work allow works like Bradley’s to find the audiences they so deserve.


Autumn Reads!


Let’s bring in autumn with a big Cleaver Magazine THWACK! —Except quietly. People are trying to read, guys! Issue No. 11 is out—so let’s see what’s on the thwackin’ table.

***Full disclosure, I’m an Editor-at-Large with Cleaver, and am incredibly proud to be so given its talented staff, dedication to including emerging writers/artists in each issue, and its combination of traditional and nontraditional forms of storytelling.

I recommend giving the entire issue a read, but here are just a few of my personal favorites:

by Kirsten Aguilar

(creative nonfiction; emerging writer)

The day we went to see the baby, it rained. One of those rains that dumps and then is done, leaves you soaked but not shivering. The family lived on the same road as Celia and worked a plot of land that now, in the spring, burst up in stocks of corn. The father of the baby sat on the porch and waved us in despite our dripping clothes and mud-caked shoes. I cannot remember now where we were coming from or whether we’d planned the visit, but I do know that it was evening and Celia had her camera and inside the little house, two boys sat on stools eating rice and fish with their fingers. …

by Claire Rudy Foster

(short story)

That morning there was an email from Paul. Gemma clicked on it without thinking. Her coffee mug steamed at her elbow, too hot to drink. She forced her eyes to focus on the tiny electronic letters.Legal issues, he wrote. Looks like it’s back to jail, do not pass go. I’ll try to be out by summer break so we can meet again in the usual place. She had to read it twice, slowly. Then she slammed the laptop shut, as though extinguishing a flame. …

Works on Paper and Beyond

by Paula Rivera

(visual art)

by Laura Tanenbaum

(short story)

I decided to ask for the manual scan, so I was listening to this woman telling me to spread my legs, where she was going to put her hands, and I laughed because it seemed like porn. Not really like porn, of course, just like the way I imagined porn would be when I was a prim pre-internet teenager who’d never seen porn, right down to the crap lighting I somehow knew was something you were supposed to know about porn. The word banal came to mind. …

by Joe Baumann

(short story)

The bus crash devastated everyone.

That morning, Jane Philban looked out the kitchen window and tsked at the thunderheads perched above the trees. Her son bounced on the balls of his feet behind her, telling her it didn’t matter because the field trip was to the bowling alley and the bowling alley had a roof. …

by Caitlin McGill

(flash fiction; emerging writer)

Saria rocked in her chair on the porch, wondering how the trees kept still on such fierce nights. The house had grown so quiet since her mother’s boyfriend left—since she told her mother what he’d done—that it seemed like…

Today in Literature

Welcome to our premiere installment of Today in Literature!


September 15th through literary history…

  • Agatha Christie, acclaimed and beloved mystery writer, was born on this day in 1890, Torquay, UK
  • Robert Penn Warren, writer, critic, and poetry consultant to the U.S. Library of Congress, died on this day in 1989
  • Robert Benchley, writer and editor, was born on this day in 1889, Worcester, Massachusetts (famous also for darkly funny quotes like: “It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”)
  • Arthur Henry Hallam, poet and essayist, died on this day in 1883 at the tender age of twenty-two, and is now best remembered thanks to Alfred Lord Tennyson eulogizing him in his In Memoriam
  • Claude McKay, author, poet, and generally fascinating contributor to the Harlem Renaissance, was born on this day in 1890
  • James Fenimore Cooper, author (probably most famous for The Last of the Mohicans), was born on this day in 1789