Ink In Thirds

New Magazine Combines Stunning Photos With Stellar Prose
Review of Ink in Thirds, Fall
2016
 by
Rating:
Keywords:
Conventional (i.e. not experimental),
Experimental,
Quirky

Delivering ten issues a year, Ink in Thirds is a print and digital magazine founded by previous Three Line Thursday Editor Grace Black and is based out of Alabama.  I am honored to have been asked to write an unbiased review of this fifth issue by Ms. Grace herself. While she is an editor, she is also a seasoned and widely published writer whose work I have had the fortune to read and review on previous occasions.

Ink In Thirds not only delivers to approximately fifteen hundred subscribers, it also delivers quality writing, photography, editing, formatting, and is truly an all-encompassing, solid read and visual delight.

Established as a magazine of “poised prose, precarious poetry, and photography to pilot our own realms again” this thirty-four-page gem definitely encourages you to do just that. Within moments of its arrival to my doorstop, I tweeted to all of my writing friends to check it out, read the guidelines and submit, submit, submit, stating “You’re going to want to get published in this one.”

Accepting the “weird” and “unique” is their specialty as long as the work makes the reader feel. They will consider all types of prose including flash fiction, drabbles, 3-word stories as well as poetry and photography. They read all year long, do not charge a reading fee and respond to submissions in a timely manner.

Visually, this literary magazine can be described using one word, luxurious. From cover to cover you will be rewarded with a smorgasbord of delights for the eye. Careful, precise placement of the contributing photographs are well-placed throughout, rhythmically moving you from page to page. The front cover is a photograph by the talented poet and photographer Matt Adamik whose work I am familiar with. In both of his submitted photos (the cover and page 14) he uses the technique of bokeh (intentional blurring) to heighten the intensity of the subject matter. A brilliant choice to highlight his work on the cover as it sets the tone for the entire magazine as a whole to be one of reflective pieces’ juxtapositioned with bold and intense photography and color that leave the reader anxious to see what they will find when they turn the page.

Ink In Thirds opens up with a clean Contents Page followed by a letter from the editor whose opening line, “The supple succor of silence in each drop of rain as it falls helps create a backdrop for this issue,” is as beautifully written as any poem on the pages that trail it, validating her passion for creating something distinct. One only need to turn the page to reveal that she succeeds.

As much as I would love to comment on each submission, neither time or space allows. A quick read through the Contributors Notes confirmed my suspicion that the majority, actually all but one, of the submissions come from seasoned writers with extensive publishing credits, nominations, awards and/or varied educational backgrounds which is slightly disheartening. As a writer of poetry myself, I strive to comment on new writers specifically within a review in order to encourage them to continue to submit.

As a huge William Carlos Williams fan I fell in love with Ray Busler’s piece entitled, “The Orange” as it reminded me so much of Mr. Williams’ work with its simple subject matter turned into a thoughtful retrospective. The accompanying photograph, courtesy of John Wilson, makes this gray print on black glossy page a true stand-out alongside Mr. Wilson’s subtle photo of oranges, where I believe he uses the exposure technique of ‘dodging and burning’ (in digital processing it’s known as tone mapping) to make the oranges appear to linger in the shadows of the written words beside it which just so happens to be a poem about oranges.  Outstanding layout concept that impacts the reader’s senses.

The adjacent page finds the print choice in opposition with black print on a gray page (so clever) to showcase journalism Professor Howie Good’s piece “Sorry, Something Went Wrong.” Good’s contribution is three short, oddly connected works of prose which, upon careful examination, are actually revealing observations that are not only entertaining but well-crafted in their verse. Take for example this line:

“If you’re going to choose a place to die, then Mars is probably not a bad choice. But don’t expect to look much like Matt Damon.”  I literally laughed out loud.

Unafraid of color and standing behind their desire to encourage “poised prose” and “precarious poetry”, Ink In Thirds rewards the reader with a splash of unexpected turquoise on pages 17 & 18 accompanied by two standout pieces. Writer Sara Codair’s prose entitled “Anxiety Meets the Data Maze” is a relatable tale written with powerful words that bring to life familiar imagery. Using Anxiety as a representative of life’s protagonist is creative with lines like, “Anxiety is detaining me” and “I rule, not Anxiety. I banish Her with a wondrous work of wizardry.”

Also highlighted in the sea of turquoise is a reflective poem by seasoned writer Changming Yuan called “Loose Thought” in which she uses the vivid images of tiny tropical fish swimming carefree in a pond as a metaphor for our ever changing thought patterns as we move through our lives.

 

Like a tiny tropical fish

                                         Swimming along a summer streamlet

                                         Elusive

                                         To the nimblest human hand

                                         Even after rushing into the pond or lake

                                         It can never be caught

                                         Within the largest net

                                         Of language

 

 

Additional works worth mentioning are “How to Speak” by Felino A. Soriano, an entwined re-wording of how each aspect of our upbringing lends itself to how we are perceived, and CR Smith’s three-line, untitled poem on page one. Ms. Smith uses five carefully chosen words that relay the message that reflection upon one’s past is an often distorted view of reality as each of us tend to “distill” our memories if only for self-preservation.

Ohio native Carl Boon, who currently resides in Turkey, contributes “Love in Three Parts” to September’s issue with a hauntingly sad, yet beautifully written triad of ways human beings bleed; by accident, by choice and too often, by fear. This piece squeezes the heart.

Ink In Thirds September Issue No. 5 has earned the distinction of five stars.  This issue has it all.  Strong, well-crafted work that leaves an imprint, and calculated and careful placement of both written content and photography. The magazine itself is printed on high quality, glossy paper and attention to every detail is evident. The work as a whole is balanced, including choice of varied contributors from all over the globe, although I would have enjoyed seeing a few new or first time published writers between the pages.

Grace Black’s promise to distribute “poised prose, precarious poetry, and photography” was a well-received delivery of a remarkable literary magazine.

 

 

Morning Routine

We check the time,

the weather.

We update our status

and scan the

status of others.

We tweet,

snapchat

and Instagram our

way to the coffee pot.

Mostly though,

we check to see,

if

by chance

the world,

overnight

has ended.

Emerald,
dew kissed
blades
rooted
within
fertile soil
separate us.
You lay still
underneath
this earth,
I alone,
above it.
#fieryverse

Into The Void Magazine | Review | Issue One

Inaugural Issue of Irish Lit Mag Leaves Readers Breathless
Review of Into the Void Magazine, Summer
2016
 by
Rating:
Keywords:
Conventional (i.e. not experimental),
International

Into The Void Magazine is a non-profit, quarterly print and digital literary magazine based out of Dublin, Ireland. They are proud to provide “a platform for fantastic fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual art from all over the world.” Accepting of work from all genres and styles with the commitment to publish material they feel is “heartfelt, genuine and screaming to be seen.” I am delighted to receive the opportunity to review their inaugural issue.

At roughly 8 x 6 inches in size, the magazine has a vividly colorful cover image by photographer and writer Annie Dawid entitled “Window” and was the perfect choice for their first issue. The photo is reflective of the colorful and inspiring contents just beyond page one.

The issue opens with a dedication to spoken word poet and blogger Adam Gottschalk. Sadly, Adam passed away on June 16, 2016. As a follower of Mr. Gottschalk’s WordPress blog, I feel quite honored to have the opportunity to review his work.  Experiments on Breathing or One Moring in Hunan is Adam’s contribution to this first issue. In this four part non-fiction piece, he poignantly explains why he writes poems and why he will never stop. With quotable lines like, “I write poems to sew up holes the way one stitches wounds” one can truly feel how internally passionate he was about his writing and his eagerness to leave his impression upon us. His words are profound. In Part IV he reveals what he has learned about life so far;

The experiments continue. My conclusions thus far may be misguided but isn’t that

predicament the ultimate beauty in any experiment, any science, any poem, any day?

One prepares oneself at any moment to start from scratch again.

Words for us all to take into consideration wouldn’t you agree?  Thank you Mr. Gottschalk for making a difference on this earth with your words, personality and insight.

The Front Matter of the magazine includes a clear listing of all of the authors in page number order. This list is separate from the Contributors Notes, which in this issue, is in the back. Contact information is displayed in the front as well.

Issue One is sprinkled with both color and black & white images. The eclectic variety includes “10cc,” a unique piece (also my personal favorite) by Hungary based Pop artist Gergley Gyuircza, a nature inspired work entitled “Rockpools” by Australian painter Britta Stephen, and an oddly charming group of “Shoe Sculptures” by Boston University College Fine Arts graduate Gwen Murphy, along with several other visually enticing works.

The combination of fiction, non-fiction and poetry within the issue does not disappoint. Several standouts include Steve Lambert, Grace Black, Lynda Kirby, Neil Slevin and Dominic Martin, although I have to say, I truly enjoyed everything from cover to cover. The magazine is not theme-based, however, this particular volume is flavored with a feeling of careful intuitiveness. The contributions are fresh, profound and each piece delicately compliments those before it and after. The ebb and flow is natural, making it a polished read.

MFA candidate Steve Lambert’s contribution, “Another Poem About the Moon,” captivated me. The imagery of this piece was supplied by its whimsical structure. The clever mingling of words fold you into their love affair with lines like “we are like children, orphans on purpose, moving from meal to meal,” and “riding your bike on the beach with me, controlling the tides, making them dance behind you.” The imagery reads like a love song, light and airy. In the end you are enchanted by their story and the innocence of young love.

Poet Grace Black’s poem “Cobalt Veins,” while short in verse, packs a punch, leaving the reader in a state of utter sadness and feeling sympathy for her “gutted-out womb.” With an MA in Writing, Lynda Kirby’s prose entitled “The Painting,” was truly lyrical in the gentle telling of a young woman embracing the memories of her aging Grandmother with words knitted together like this, “applause ricocheting from the roof where the notes linger and memory dies” that leave you wanting to reach for a phone and call home.

Complementing the issue is a haunting and regret filled poem by writer Neil Slevin. “Ghost”gracefully describes the “close call” of two former lovers who chose separate paths to follow. The line “as I watched your life without me in it,” caused my heart to squeeze once and then again as he wonders “what could have been.”

To ensure a fresh perspective when reading for a review I almost always read the Contributors Notes after I have read a particular writers work. Being that I do read a large amount of work, I don’t like to be biased in regards to what I expect from a seasoned writer versus an emerging writer.  Every once in a while, as in the case of Mr. Martin, I am shocked by how wrong I can be when it comes to predicting the bio of a particular author.

“Soft in Mouth,” by Italian based writer Dominic Martin, was one of my favorite reads in this issue. This short story is a heartfelt classic “boy meets girl” tale set during World War II with a twist.  Meet Dick and Jane.  Jane is doing her part to support the war effort by filling the gap in the industrial field left by men who went to serve their country. Jane meets a pilot, Dick, who she begins a steamy relationship with whenever and wherever they can.  Jane is strong, independent and clearly the driving force of the pair. She is unafraid, wanton with him. Their affair is casual but intense. They pluck through life, each note on the guitar string a hasty intercourse. Mr. Martin’s story-telling ability is profound, detail orientated and elegantly sexy while in the same breath, simple and sensual. With descriptive verses like “She felt the hair behind her ear, the weakness in her middle like a sprain” and “She was the life in his throat” he demonstrates her independence by revealing small nuances to the story.  Mr. Martin’s writing is expressive and appear to come from a place of knowing. His choices are careful, the lines are soft with structure but hard in meaning as he keeps independent their love in a bubble, protected by the realities of the war around them. Take for instance this excerpt;

In the morning he watched the creasing of her back and the taut, heartbreaking lines behind her knees. He was on ancient land. It was in her power to end him; throw his heart into the sea. A thousand miles away her cousins knelt on Nazi throats.

The entire story moves swiftly then pauses, then picks up again, leaving you breathless. It is a rollercoaster of a ride that, for me, was going to reveal a worldly author, perhaps even a tenured Professor but alas, I was incorrect and I will leave it at that. I will definitely seek out other work by this author.

Other contributors worth a mention are Cinthia Ritchie, Bruce Majors and Joni Bour. As I stated earlier though, all the work in this issue is of high quality and I enjoyed reading every piece and I wish space allowed me to comment on them all.

Visually this magazine uses space fantastically. Often editors will allow one poem per page, even if the poem is the length of a haiku. Into the Void fills each crevice, packaging pieces together in thematically appropriate groups. Take for example Steve Lambert’s piece on page three. Opposite his poem is a collection of photographs by award winning Italian photographer Marco Castelli.  His take on “Universes in universes” is a group of photos that give the illusion of five different views of the moon but the photos are, in fact, photographs of bacterial colonies. This juxtapositioning of a poem about the moon and photos that hold the appearance of being moons is what makes this magazine unique.  Time, thought, and creativity is brought to each page. The Editorial team does this throughout the magazine and they do it brilliantly.

For writers considering submitting, there are a few things you need to know. They do charge a very small reading fee, however, they also pay upon publication. They welcome seasoned writers as well as promising new authors.  They nominate for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Currently they are reading for their next issue. The deadline is Midnight, September 25, 2016.

Into The Void Magazine‘s inaugural issue is going to get a strong five out of five stars from this reviewer for the simple fact that for a first issue, this literary magazine is outstanding.  The combination of quality content, formatting, submission placement and integral artwork left me ecstatic to have a copy in my ever growing collection of literary journals. I will be anxious to see Issue Two.

Note: If you ever find yourself in Ireland, be sure to stop by Books Upstairs, located at 17 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2. Copies of Into The Void Magazine are kept in stock there.