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Roundup - 1.21.24 / Sheldon Lee Compton


Alban Fischer's cover design for the book Bariloche by Andres Neuman

/ Yep, the above cover was designed by the one and only Alban Fischer. I'll link you to his website shortly and you can see for yourself. He's a master, having a seemingly endless source of creativity and skill.


/ One of my favorite stories as an editor has to do with the late Cami Park, a writer I included in a print issue of Wrong Tree Review, a journal I co-published back in the early 2000s. I asked her to add ten words to her 90-word story to meet guidelines and she stood her ground like a boss. I published it as it was. Cami later passed away in 2010 and we lost a fierce writer of fiction. Here's a brief memoriam for her at Big Other and here's one of her own works at Fictionaut called "On Mondays, Francesca Takes the Stairs."


/ An old friend of mine I've not heard from in years is Mel Bosworth. We were both highly active in the indie lit community back in the early 2000s and read and published one another's work. He had a YouTube channel that he used to read stories and poems by writers he admired. He once sent me a pack of Marlboros through the mail. We were close. And then, poof, he was gone.


So I was ecstatic to find that as recently as October of last year he had a story published at New World Writing. Here's that story. And, Mel, I miss you buddy. I don't know what happened, but now I know you're still writing and still being published by indie lit journals. I'll be looking for you with renewed interest now.


/ Read this book Straight to Hell: Ten Art Suicides. First, the title is fucking horrible. The author clearly expresses her certainty that these people have split hell wide open. I don't have some big spill to go on about it. I'm just saying I hate that she did it.


It's also written badly. It begins, if I remember correctly, with Hart Crane. This chapter was great. It was revelatory, finely paced, tactfully handled. The next was Yukio Mishima. The author started slipping here, offering judgmental, negative commentary on Mishima's character, his role as a family man, his homosexuality. If I wasn't the kind of reader who cannot step away from a book once I've started reading it, I would have wiped this book from my memory if at all possible.


And it just gets worse from there. Do I recommend it? Only in the same context as looking at a car accident, rubbernecking because your morbid curiosity outweighs your moral compass.



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SHELDON LEE COMPTON is an author with Cowboy Jamboree Press, publishes the Poverty House collective, teaches in the MFA program at Concordia University, St. Paul, and is interviews editor for Hobart. He lives in Pike County, Eastern Kentucky where he also works as an addiction counselor. He is on Twitter @ShelCompton.

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