Hey! Get out of here! We’ve moved to www.brawlermag.com
See you there!
First and foremost, we have to apologize for our sporadic publishing schedule as of late. Don’t fret, we are always committed to putting out the best fiction and poetry we can get our hands on. We’re also making up for our long absence with a special holiday edition of Brawler. We figure that over the course of the next month-and-a-half, you’re all going to be spending an awful lot of time in food comas, or cornered by relatives and their awkward questions about your personal/love lives. To offset the amount of cringing you’re going to be experiencing throughout the season, we have given you a Santa satchel’s worth of poetry to enjoy.
We have to start off by mentioning the 14-part poem by Steve Pump. “14 rounds for deuk koo kim” is the most ambitious work we’ve published yet. Everyone will be shaken awake by this poem. The personal narrative spins through time, back to an ill-fated bout in 1982. The piece is filled with bloody remembrances, family history, uncertainty, hooks, jabs, and Joe Louis. This is the kind of poem that an editor dreams of finding in his inbox.
Brawler also welcomes back two past contributors, Marilyn Fleming, and Annie Grizzle. Fleming’s “Yamaha” hits us, then trails off like the sound of an engine being sucked into an unseen horizon, while Grizzle’s reworked post cards continue to chill and delight us in their playfulness with the past. Our favorite is the featured image above.
“A Solution to Illiteracy,” by Holly Day, is as grim as the anatomical diagrams it deals with, but within the tissue of the piece is a haunting spirituality. The poem is a ghastly blessing.
Thank you all for continuing to read Brawler. We hope that this batch of work will help you ride the horrific, emotional waves of the holiday season. As someone once told us, “It’s all just novel fodder.” Forget your family drama, forget the dry turkey, the unbuttered mashed potatoes (yes, it’s possible), the midnight services, the nights spent back in house that used to home, but now is as cold and alien as the arctic, and just read.
Happy Holidays from the Brawler staff.
We’re back! After an unexpected absence in June, we have returned with a healthy dosage of poetry. We’ve got two, brand-new, poems from Milwaukee Poet Laureate/ punk rocker/time lord, Jim Chapson. It’s always a pleasure when Jim sends us new work, especially when he just came out with a new book not even two months ago. Chapson is the kind of poet that makes us feel guilty for not getting anything done during the summer.
This month, we also have a selection of work from Emilie Lindemann’s “Small Adult Trees/Small Adulteries.” The greatest joy of making Brawler is that we constantly get to discover new poets that amaze us. Emilie Lindemann’s work is surreal, but grounded in gritty details, and equipped with a skillful patchwork of words. We know you’ll like her work.
We also have Skyler Osborne, a local Milwaukee poet who would rather be a professional skateboarder, but it’s better for us that he’s currently sweating over word choice, rather than busting out 900′s off the Hoan Bridge. We’re pleased to have Osborne on Brawler for the first time, and we say “first time” because we want him back.
As we write this, we are currently two hours away from Brawler Bouts #2. By the time you all read this, tonight will have gone extremely well, with half of the audience leaving with their preconceptions of literature safely stowed away in their handbags, next to old blush and forgotten tissues. We also decided to get a little outside of our comfort zone for this month, choosing two pieces that are more on the humorous side. It shouldn’t be a crime to be funny in writing, and we don’t mean “funny,” we mean funny, funny for the masses, funny that doesn’t involve pulling out your Victorian anthology to look up a punch-line intended for lovers of BBC America.
Andy Westby’s Horatian prose-ode to the psychology of vandalism, entitled “CumFart.” goes deep into man’s obsessions, and hatred of the color teal. Rachel Niemann’s Missed Connection is unafraid to touch on what keeps us lonely hearts up at night, which is to say, a wild turkey. Both the wild turkey, and CumFart are Milwaukee mainstays, and themes that residents of the city’s East Side will already be familiar with. For those of our readers who live outside the Cream City, we could not ask for a better representation of our fair town than our beloved taggers and half-domesticated animals.
We also have Andy Freeburg’s poem “Exploded View Diagram,” which we hope will be the first of many pieces by Freeburg featured on Brawler. “Exploded View Diagram” is not an entirely comfortable poem. It is disjointed and darkly-driven, which is to say, we love everything about it.
Finally, we are including a wish list for future submissions. This does not mean that we will not be considering work that falls outside of these boundaries, but we would like to encourage artists in Milwaukee to try their hand at these genres, and send us their best work. Something that we here at Brawler are particularly interested in is photography, but maybe we should just let the list speak for itself. If you are unable to submit your work via the Submittable site, due to format, please email us at email@example.com.
Wish List for July
1. Photos, preferably a series, telling some kind of narrative about Milwaukee or the Midwest
2. Formal verse, any and all kinds
3. More short shorts!
5. Found objects that inspire existential dilemnas or hernia-inducing laughter/tears
Brawler Bouts is back! On May 31st, we’ll once again be at People’s Books, hosting a night of fantastic readings. Stephen Anderson, winner of the 2005 Kay Saunders Memorial New Poet Award, will be our featured reader that evening. Round Two will also be showcasing the inimitable talents of Mollie Boutell, Nathan Royster, and Skyler Osborne. We’ve been told there will be props, and at least one brass instrument, so come out and support Milwaukee’s finest. Doors open at 7, and, as always, this reading is absolutely free.
Finally, it doesn’t hurt to be outside. In honor of the sun, as well as the sudden emergence of beautiful people much more beautiful and fit than anyone writing or reading this, we have three new poems, and one short short. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have your beach body primped and ready for the sand, just so long as you can apply a deconstructuralist approach to the mid-18th century writings of Voltaire. But seriously, put down Candide and check out the latest and greatest lit from the Midwest.
Sam Pekarske, a familiar face around Brawler, has graced us with her three part poem, “frank, alberta, canada.” We also have two first-time Brawlers, Juliana Roth, and Marisola Xhelili. Roth’s uneasy short short, “Good Samaritan,” is a dizzy blitz of violence and love. Xhelili’s poems are so good that we’re both furious that she hasn’t submitted earlier, and looking forward to hopefully showcasing more of her pieces in the future.
Zadig may be fascinating, but there is also a world outside the literal bindings of philosophical prose. For those of you who are interested in the very real, very sunny world of Milwaukee, there are two big events that you should know about in May. For starters, the Midwest Small Press Festival is massive this year, with loads of independent publishers from the greater Rust/Corn Belt, which is taking place during the final weekend of the month, tripping into June. May 31st is also going to be the night of Brawler Bouts: Round Two. More details about the Brawler reading will be coming out in the next couple days.
Thank you all for supporting Brawler, now get reading.
First things first, thanks to everyone who came out to our inaugural Brawler Bout reading. A special show of gratitude to the poets themselves, as well as the staff of People’s Books Cooperative, who were fantastic hosts. Before last Friday, we never knew that works on chicken sex could be so engaging, unless we’re talking about Chaucer’s Chanticleer. There will be more information on our next Brawler Bout coming in the following weeks, and with it, the promise of more poetic topics not covered during your run-of-the-mill reading.
April is National Poetry Month, and that means that Brawler has to fulfill its obligation. As if we’re not interested in poetry all the time, come on. Whether Poetry Month is the literary equivalent to Sweetest Day, or not, is a whole different argument. At the very least, Sweetest Day as makes us more appreciative of the one you love, much like how April has motivated us to try something new. For this edition of Brawler, we’ve asked poetry editors from two of our favorite Midwestern publications to answer a couple questions about writing in the region. We’re thrilled to have Michael Marberry of The Journal, along with Christina Olson from Midwestern Gothic, on the site this month.
We also have brand new fiction and poetry for your reading pleasure. From the short short (well more like short short short short) story of Sara Caron, to Eric Lutz’s boozy brood in the second-person, we’ve got your needs covered. There’s also poetry from Mitchell Grabois, and Annie Grizzle’s multimedia experiment with vintage postcards, which we’ve filed it under “poetry” to save ourselves the trouble of trying to classify it.
Thanks for coming to Brawler. Keep reading, and keep sending us your work.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Milwaukee, you’ve been great to us this past month, coming out to our reading, interviewing us on Riverwest Radio, so we’d just like to say…well..we love you.
As of this month, Brawler is one year old. We’re just beginning to be able to sit up, respond to simple spoken requests, use our index finger to point out toys, and maybe, with the aid of furniture, stand up. That being said, we are grateful to every writer and poet who has submitted their work, and thus given us the pleasure of reading it. If we didn’t accept your work, it’s probably because one-year-olds are terrible readers.
There’s a few groups within the community who have been extremely helpful during our fledgling steps, especially the Milwaukee Writers’ Workshop, the poets of Sunday Morning Press, and People’s Books Cooperative. We’ve also been the recipients of a fair amount of humbling attention from writers and organizations outside the Milwaukee area.
We want to emphasize that we are committed to publishing good work from anywhere, not just the Midwest or Milwaukee.
This month, we went through the site and picked out our favorite work from our first year. Does anything else really need to be said about that? Maybe the difficulty of the task is important to communicate. It was challenging, but now that we’re done with it we can step back and say that we’re extremely proud of the writing we’ve shared with the wider world.
What we’ve thrown into the literary ring during out first year measures up to the output from any other publisher, online or in print.
So once again, thanks to all the writers and poets out there who submitted to Brawler, and a deep kowtow to those listed below. Three of these poets will be at our first ever Brawler Bout, on March 22nd at People’s Books, which everyone should attend. Here’s the Facebook page for that, in case any of you are between the ages of fifteen and sixty-five.