Author Archives: Darian Araiza-Samples

Issue 45

Fall 2022
Order Online

Digital Issue Forthcoming


Jodie Noel Vinson
First Do No Harm

W.J. Herbert
Journal of the Plague Year
Ice Storm
Liminal Passage
The Birth of Venus

Zoe Pappenheimer


Kyle Impini
A Song for Mrs. Harris


Vernita Hall
The Sol Notes: Dead Reckoning


Jane Zwart
To Shuck Miracles

Certain Maples

Erin Carlyle
Are We Really Living in a Simulation

Marcus Cafagna
Friendly Fire
Lost the Signal

Kathryn Hargett-Hsu
Petition for Naturalization

John Sibley Williams

Donte Collins
Prologue #9


Raphael Rae
Introduction to Safecracking for Transsexuals

Hannah Sward
Nobody Wants a Crying Stripper


Carolyn Flynn
A Recipe for Desire

Laura Newbern
Creative Nonfiction Editor

Peter Selgin
Fiction Editor
Chika Unigwe
Poetry Editor
Kerry James Evans
Managing Editor
Darian Araiza-Samples
Assistant Managing Editor
Cas McKinney

Assistant Editors
Mer Alsobrooks
Shannon Yarbrough
Tim Connors
Courtney Schmidt
Denechia Powell

Unclassifiable Contest 2022 Winner and Finalists

The 2022 Unclassifiable Contest has ended, and a winner has been chosen by judge, Michael Martone!

Winner: “Postcard of Delicate Arch” by Emily Farranto

 I love the postcard as a form, and this fiction presents itself as a postcard diary (a collage of postcards) recording a trip west and return to the record of it in the delivered postcards, a scrapbook of postcard messages sent from the writer to the writer. Postcards, analogue tweets, inhabit a strange quasi-public, quasi-private space. They interact with the delivery system as well—postmarks, sorting barcodes, machinery damage, smears of ink—as if the transport itself is making a commentary on the text, aging the age. The text captures the sadness of postcards and the existential nature of the ephemera we all are constantly producing, the fictional residue of the vanished factual living. Publishing a story in a book or magazine creates the illusion of permanence—this will last, the type is set. But postcards (and this fiction) are about things disappearing before our eyes. Sublime evaporation. Sublime. Evaporation.

Michael Martone

Tori Rego, “Erased Pink Eraser”
David McDannald, “Online Dating is the Devil Theorem”

Thank you to all who submitted, for stretching our minds and engaging our imaginations! We hope to see your work again next year!

24th Annual Arts & Letters Prize Winners

Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction Zoe Pappenheimer, “Apparitions”

“Apparitions” is a beautifully written story that weaves together two very compelling storylines and juxtaposes two very complex relationships. I loved the seamless way the author moves between past and present, between memory and present action, and the way the tension grows gradually through small moments in the story, through those unspoken conversations that seem to be taking place between these characters. As the title implies, there are metaphorical ghosts in this story, including ghosts of all of the characters’ former selves, but there is also a very emotionally charged surface story, one that raises questions that are both topical and timeless. This is truly a remarkable story by an extraordinarily talented writer. I loved everything about it.”

– Andrew Porter, Judge

Holly Pekowski, “Almost There;” Adam Peterson, “Stumbledown”

Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction
Jodie Noel Vinson, “First Do No Harm”

“First Do No Harm” is a timely, deeply personal meditation on the experience (and ripple effects) of long Covid, as well as a rigorously researched investigation into medical history (and its own ripple effects today). The author writes of volunteering at a vaccine clinic as “an acknowledgement that we are all connected, that our decisions—to get on a plane, to shop at a store, to wear a mask, to get the jab—have consequences on other lives; that to do no harm is never a passive decision, but an always active awareness.” This essay in itself is a beautiful reminder that we are all connected, a beautiful example of an active, compassionate awareness at work. I’m grateful to have read “First Do No Harm” and am honored to award it the Arts & Letters/Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction.

– Gayle Brandeis, Judge

Alisa Koyrakh, “The Love of Doing”

Rumi Prize for Poetry
W. J. Herbert, “The Birth of Venus,” “Liminal Passage,” “Ice Storm,” and “Journal of the Plague Years”

“The other selections were great, but I kept coming back to these…they work beautifully separately and apart. I love this poet’s lyric touch. Elegant diction and a light touch with imagery…These poems have an irresistible grace to them!”

– Allison Joseph, Judge

Laurence O’Dwyer, Vernita Hall, Saudamini Siegrist, and Donte Collins

Each winner receives $1000; the winning will appear in our Fall Issue.