Henderson_Author PhotoArtis Henderson is the author of the debut memoir, Unremarried Widow, published by Simon & Schuster this January. The title comes from the official Army term for women like her, whose husbands died in combat. The term could also be applied to her mother, since Henderson lost her father in a civilian plane crash when she was only five. Part of what makes this book so layered and complex is its double story: how Henderson finally understands her mother’s grief by coping with her own. She chronicles two surprising love stories: between a seemingly mismatched husband and wife and between a fiercely attached mother and daughter.

Ravi_Mangla_b&wHow long did it take you to write The Lowland?

I didn’t write The Lowland.


Are you sure?

Pretty sure.

Understudies_RMangla-frontShe bought a home down the hill from my own, a snug little number done up in wisteria. Not so long ago she won a Golden Globe for her featured role in one of those paranormal romances. I hadn’t seen the film, but I had heard good things from Chudley and others. The house once belonged to her grandmother and she would visit in the summers when she was younger: playing in the park, swimming in the community pool. She was looking to reclaim a part of her past. Two spells in rehab, a nasty divorce and widely circulated honeymoon video. The Hollywood grind had ground her into something she no longer recognized. She was piecing herself back together. Or at least that was what Chudley told me.


January is a month for beginnings. This isn’t a new concept, nor is it one that I’ve ever particularly subscribed to: calendar dates are mostly arbitrary, rarely aligning with actual historical events and watershed moments. The president was inaugurated, again; the trees remained bare and scrawny; winter quarter at the university commenced. For me, though, two very new sensations appeared: my arms and legs began to shake uncontrollably, vibrating as if by some odd, latent tic; and I became convinced that I didn’t exist.

Come home to find the front door mid-sigh,
the kitchen still dizzy
with aftershave. Stale oatmeal paint,
carpet askew.
Throw his name to the walls.
Run through the house knuckling windows, sing
the hammer into the peach tree,
the sauce pan,
anything but the stillness that pools
blue in the mirror.

06[SIC] (October 2013) is a completely plagiarized text that is part of the DEAD/BOOKS trilogy (Blank, [SIC], and Ink, Jaded Ibis).

[SIC], the Latin abbreviation for “as written,” includes public domain works I have published under my name, including “Caedmon’s Hymn,” Sherlock Holmes, and the prologue to The Canterbury Tales[SIC] also includes works in the public domain after 1923, and so includes Wikipedia pages, intellectual property law, genetic codes, and other untoward appropriations.

The Parade

By Ben Nadler



I spent Veterans Day on my couch
watching a video about Jacob

on the New York Times website.
The topic was suicide in the military.

Jacky was the poster boy, they showed
videos of him singing sad songs

in his tent in Iraq. He’d been called up
from Individual Ready Reserve, sent over

to guard oil trucks on the highway.


It is with great sadness that we report the passing of author Ned Vizzini, who committed suicide in Brooklyn on December 19th.  Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

Below, in its entirety, is his December 2012 interview with Brad Listi on the Other People podcast, which Ned called the most candid he’d ever done.  If you would like to learn more about his life and work, please visit his website.


Isn’t a “self-interview” an exercise in narcissism?

I like to masturbate.  There’s nothing narcissistic about that.


You seem a little cranky, have I caught you at a bad time?

I left my reading glasses on an airplane so everything on my computer screen is migraine-inducingly minuscule and yeah, I’m fucking jet-lagged.


Always with the bad words.

There are no bad words.

                    All I remember is rushing water—
The creeks fed into us
as we wetted each other’s mouths

with brine. Everyone I knew was sixteen
& drunk. Nights, we smashed bottles
on ruined civil war forts. Damp tights stuck

to our thighs. The city kept on sinking,
or swimming, despite the tremors.
Each day, new shakes: thew thief,

Furious_Cool_Richard_Pryor_and_the_World_That_Made_HimThe first time Richard showed up for Miss Juliette Whittaker’s Youth Theater Guild at Peoria’s Carver Community Center, they were in the midst of rehearsing a play based on the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. All the parts had been cast, but Richard was so eager and insistent, Miss Whittaker gave him a role as a servant.

He was a “skinny little kid” in his mid-teens, she remembered, although “he looked about nine.”

One day, the boy playing the king was absent and Richard begged her to let him fill in. He knew the king’s lines. He knew everyone’s lines. “The other kids just broke up, he was so funny. When the original king returned, even he had to admit that Richard was better in the part. “So Richard stayed on the throne,” she was fond of saying, “and he hasn’t come down since.”

14book "RAW" by Mark Haskell SmithCurtis woke up to the sound of hammering coming from the kitchen. It wasn’t loud, not like a hammer hitting a nail. It was more of the persistent and highly annoying tap tap tap of careful carpentry. Curtis took a quick inventory of his body; the tap tap tapping wasn’t helping the pounding headache that was reverberating  through his cra­nium, and there was a taste in his mouth that reminded him of licking nine­volt batteries when he was a kid. He blinked and the sound of his eyes flapping caused a stabbing pain in his head to ping from front to back and awaken an unpleasant sensation in his stomach. Curtis couldn’t tell if he needed to vomit or take a dump or both, so he just lay there, hoping the sensations would subside. He shifted in bed and felt a sharp twinge in his right ankle, like it had been dislocated or just wasn’t hooked on to his leg properly.


What happens in We, Monsters?

One woman goes down the rabbit-hole of her fantasies.


What are her fantasies?

Books and BDSM dungeons.

paper dreams front coverI imagine that everyone reading this who’s familiar with Ninth Letter and our distinctive format expects me to write something along the lines of “literary publishing needs to be more experimental! more design-heavy! just heavier in general—we need more magazines you can hardly lift!” And it’s true, Ninth Letter is a journal that stands out, literally, on the shelf: oversized, full of color, elaborately designed, packed with inserts, foldout posters, and other gadgets. Some readers adore this; others very vocally do not. The response we most often get from people seeing Ninth Letter for the first time is, “This is a literary magazine?” The answer is yes, if by “literary magazine” you mean a publication which primarily exists to publish poetry and prose of extraordinary quality. But it’s true, we do things a little differently from everyone else. Our mission, in addition to providing a forum for great writing, is to find ways to utilize graphic design so that it illuminates and enhances the literary experience. When our experiments are successful (more often than not, I hope), Ninth Letter becomes a new kind of reading experience. We have been credited with, or accused of, attempting to “redefine” what a literary journal is—maybe we’ve even made that claim ourselves somewhere along the way. But I don’t think “redefine” accurately describes Ninth Letter’s goal. What we really want to do is experiment with what a literary magazine can be. In this new millennium of crossed genres and blurred boundaries in art and media, ever-evolving technology can provide endless opportunities for creative work. Design and writing seem a natural partnership, both in print and online. At least, that’s how we see it.