Just tonight I heard beautiful writing, a first chapter of Donna Johnson’s in-progress memoir about growing up under the largest revival tent in the world. The Utter Reading was at our biggest independent bookstore, Bookpeople. So I was really not that surprised that the creators and editors of Austin’s own literary journal, Farfelu, were in the appreciative, rapt audience.

I met Elisabeth McKetta and Kim Pyle afterward, and they have just put out Farfelu Issue 9, their latest in a quarterly publication of poems, short fiction and art. It’s all done in a cozy undersized format, to make it stand out. Best of all, it’s got color or monochrome art in each issue, so it’s not one of the literary journals that “look like a socialist manifesto,” to quote the creators of the lit mag Tin House.

Elisabeth and Kim have this to say about their latest:

Issue 9 features eight black and white photographs by Clayton Cusak. In his own words, Cusak photographs “the rich visual subject matter of dilapidated, obsolete, and otherwise transformed structures and the relics they contain from previous inhabitants.” This issue is heavy in poetry, featuring work from five poets: Marcelle Kasprowicz, John Grey, Brian Brown, Misti Rainwater-Lites, and Erin Feldman. The two short stories in this issue, written by Ann Hillesman and Liliana Blum, depict two conflicting archetypes of Father: father as hero, father as villain.

As they point out in a friendly e-mail — coincidentally, sent today — books and magazine subscriptions make great holiday gifts. Their Web site makes it easy to order, and yes writers, there are submission guidelines there, too.

If you write in the Austin area, or even if you write much father afield, you ought to send Farfelu an offering, either of your writing or of a subscription. And a tip of the hat to the small journal, birthplace of many a burgeoning career. Harrison Cheung, who wrote in a Workshop series with us, had a funny short story published in Farfelu. These are the places you can stretch the wings of your writing.

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