issue number 23

Front Porch Journal
December 2014

Now is the winter for some new content. Made glorious summer by these suns of poets and writers. Ok, not really, but these pieces ought to remind you about the warmth of human experience. 

Our fiction section holds the writings of Claire Miye Stanford and Jenny Xie who explore the search for human solace in the face of: a suffocatingly compartmentalized yet digitally vulnerable existence; a lonely life made even lonelier in a hotel with closed doors and demanding rules, respectively.

Our non-fiction features David Travis Bland and Elaine Wang whose essays look into poverty and depression, detailing the process of human beings thriving despite living off the scarce scraps of the streets and dealing with deep, personal issues in strict mental hospitals.

The poetry portion of our issue presents a plethora of voices and styles, notably the sprawling and sparse piece ‘On SABBATHA Eve’ by Ashley Chambers or the bilingual playfulness of Ansley Clark, whose poems engage the human struggle of voicing that which cannot or should not be voiced. For example, Chamber’s great lines, "I let my talons out: the same / savage pink protects his holy / fiddling I don in order to succeed / at words unfamiliar with mouth " or Clark’s simple premise, "…I mean really how hard is it / to remain quiet about what I do not yet / possess."

I hope you find as much joy as our editors did in reading such strong and powerful works that chronicle the human condition from all over.

Not to mention, our growing catalog of videos featuring readings by renowned poets and writers that visit Texas State University, such as a few of those who graced the Katherine Anne Porter House and/or the Witliff Collection this last fall: Carolyn Forché, Ben Fountain, Brian Turner, and Kim Barnes.

Happy holidays and a peaceful spring to you, our readers. Enjoy.

—Jane Hawley and Reyes Ramirez, Managing Editor and Co–Managing Editor


Jenny Xie - Atlas at the Starlite Inn
Claire Miye Stanford - The Day You Begin to Forget


J. Camp Brown - Hug–Eyed Bill and the Gravid Shadow; Mandolin in White Wood, Tuning
Ashley Chambers - On SABBATHA Eve
Ansley Clark - Backyard; Passage; Lake; I’m Getting Ahead of Myself
John Findura - Regenerating My Limbs; Calculating the Odds; Regenerating the Scale on Which I Balance My Emotions
Elizabeth Tannen - Morning Meditation; Smoking on the Stoop at Night


Elaine Wang - This Is How It Happens
David Travis Bland - Millwood Ave, Scrapping, and Good People Larry


Different Ways of Calling Something a Story:An Interview with Stuart Dybek
Signposts Along the Path:An Interview with Kelly Davio
Recipes For Surrealist Soup: An Interview with Eric Howerton
Of Cards and Community:An Interview with Viola Canales

Book Reviews

The Trace by Forrest Gander, Reviewed by Eric Blankenburg
The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin, Reviewed by Anabel Graff
The Patron Saint of Ugly by Marie Manilla, Reviewed by Michaela Hansen
The Blast by David Ohle, Reviewed by Phillip Mandel
Urban Tumbleweed: Notes From A Tanka Diary by Harryette Mullen, Reviewed by Casey Winters


One of the major perks of pursuing an MFA at Texas State University in San Marcos is our continuing reading series featuring premiere poets, writers, and critics of the English language, owing in no small part to the Texas State English Department, The Lindsey Reading Series, and The Burdine Johnson Foundation. Below is just a sample of some of the readings, talks, and Q&As delivered by the wonderful guests who have recently visited us at the Wittliff Collections in the Alkek Library at Texas State University, and the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center in Kyle, Texas. We hope you enjoy them. For more videos and sound recordings, please visit the Front Porch Audio/Video Archives.

Brian Turner Reading from Front Porch on Vimeo.

Brian Turn reads his work at the Katherine Anne Porter House in Kyle, TX.

Kim Barnes from Front Porch on Vimeo.

Kim Barnes reads her work at the Katherine Anne Porter House in Kyle, TX.

Ben Fountain from Front Porch on Vimeo.

Ben Fountain reads his work and answers questions at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Carolyn Forché from Front Porch on Vimeo.

Carolyn Forché reads her work and answers questions at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos.


Executive Editor
Tom Grimes

Managing Editor
Jane Hawley

Co-Managing Editor
Reyes Ramirez

Poetry Editor
Jennifer Whalen

Fiction Editor
Stan Rivkin

Nonfiction Editor
Heather Lefebvre

Eric Blankenburg

Copy Editor
Sessa Kratz

Interviews Editor
Amanda Scott

Public Relations Manager
Samantha Tanner

Book Reviews Editor
Mallory Chesser

Blog Editor
Josh Lopez

Assistant Blog Editor
Alicia Salzmann

Abby Ashford-Grooms
Lauren Bull
Elisabeth Garry
Katrina Goudey
Anabel Graff
Stephen Harmon
Ram Hinojosa
Gabriel Schnell
Benjamin Seanor
Casey Winters

Faculty Advisor
Steve Wilson

Founding Editors
Michael Hart
Evelyn Lauer
Josh Magnuson
Toby Peterson
Michael Wolfe

Advisory Board
Katie Angermeier
Ben Engel
Evelyn Lauer
Herpreet Singh


logo for the CLMP

All photos were taken at the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, by Sameera Kapila and Herpreet Singh.

Website design by Sameera Kapila