The April Issue of PANK Will Break You Down

The April issue of PANK is pretty massive in every way.  There’s a lot to talk about so let’s get to it, shall we?

I have a little story about Laura Adamczyk. I saw Lindsey Drager read at Stories and Beer in Champaign and the story she read was amazing and I thought, we have got to get this writer in PANK. You see where I’m going with this, right? So after the reading, I go up to Lindsey and tell her how much I enjoyed her story and that she should submit to PANK and she was very polite but perhaps looked at me strangely. I shrugged it off and chalked it up to my general public awkwardness. Later, I was talking to someone, I can’t remember who and I said, “That Lindsey Drager is awesome,” and he said, “yes and she is really excited to be in PANK but didn’t know how to tell you that at Stories and Beer,” and I said, “Right. Of course. Awkward!” I had already accepted something from Lindsey when I saw her read so this is an “I am an awesome editor” story. At that same reading, I met Laura Adamczyk who bought an issue of PANK even though in the first telling of this story, I confused her with Lindsey. Despite all this, I do know who they each are, as individuals, even if my mind is a sieve. A much better story is Laura’s Please Come In which I found so complex and tactile and the writing is simply superb. I can’t think of a better story to begin a conversation about the April issue.

Look, this issue is going to punch you in the face and that’s going to hurt, but sometimes it feels good to be punched in the face over and over again. Bones heal. Fractures mend. Let yourself be broken. We will hold your hands as you heal.

Jessica Abrego has three poems in this issue and you can see her slam poetry roots in her work. There is a real energy to this set of poems, one we think you will really enjoy because it is so warm and vibrant.

In Emily Darrell’s The Man in the Attic, there is a man who appears in a woman’s home and from there, this story is nothing like you would expect. I love subtlety in writing and this story has that and much more.

The title alone is worth the price of admission when it comes to Give a Man a Boner by Tracy Gonzalez. There’s a lot of rage in this little story but that rage is beautifully controlled and the last line will sit with you for a real long time, in the best and worst ways.

There is a great deal of wisdom and a kind of muted sadness in Jenny Halper’s Things Every Woman Should Know About Love. You might think this story is simply a list. Instead, this is really a story about a mother and a daughter and what they  learn from each other about love.

The four poems by Jeremy Allan Hawkins are full of charm and wit. They will make you think and smile or, at least, that is what these poems compelled us to do.

Kathleen Hellen’s bittersweet poem, Neither Shall You Steal, is a perfect snapshot of a mother and a son and how somethings something wrong is something right even if that is an impossible lesson to teach.

I love how Gary Moshimer writes about relationships and in Rose by Another Name, he details a marriage after a woman has a stroke and is unable to express happiness. I love excellent first lines and last lines and this story exemplifies just why.

We have another set of four poems from Dan Pinkerton.  These are smart poems revealing the brand of dry wit we love at PANK.

Intimate was the first word that came to mind when I read the three poems in the April issue by Carly Taylor. In each of these poems, we’re allowed to see those private moments between a couple, the ones that are strange and beautiful and unique, very much like these poems.

Brandi Wells makes another appearance in PANK with a letter to an exclamation point. We co-sign.

The Breathing Dead by Chelsea Laine Wells is a story that’s going to twist your heart into a terrible knot. There’s no dancing around this truth. The Breathing Dead is a hard story. It’s brutal and repulsive. When I read it the first time, I was really uncomfortable. I literally had to walk away from my computer and think, “Could we possibly publish something like this?” And then I read the story again and again. I considered the desperation of it, and how claustrophobic the story made me feel and I knew this was a story we wanted to bring into the world. There are ugly truths in this world and there are ugly people who do ugly things. Chelsea Laine Wells will break you with this story but she will do so beautifully. I am certain you will never forget these words or the ending which finally, allows us, a bit of hope and fresh air.

A writing teacher once told me to make my writing more muscular and I had no idea what he meant until I started reading more. When I read these two poems‘ by Ross White, I thought, “These poems are muscular,”—clean, tight, powerful. I love all the ideas each of them holds.

Nicole Monaghan’s Only After Drinking Heavily Can I Admit to All of It is a painful story about two marriages forever changed by the kind of decision that can never be undone. It’s a story you’ve heard before, but never told like this.

The Church of Best Guesses by Pedro Ponce was one of the runners up in our 1,001 Words contest last year.  As we lurch toward Easter, this story feels especially fitting.

Sterling McKennedy’s What We Had to Do reminded me, in a way, of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery but he offers a visceral and unique take on impossible, unspeakable choices.

Some stories you fall in love with instantly. Jaime Fountaine’s Len and Ernie was one of them. She has such a unique voice and captures a sense of oddity so nicely in this story about brothers, conjoined, on the verge of being not.

David Cotrone’s Porch works with metaphor and does so in a really poignant way.

The two poems by Adam Day are tight, compelling, and have a real staying power.

Faith Gardner’s I Wear A Leather Jacket in My Head reads like the best kind of manifesto–urgent and honest tempered with anger and a little hope.

We don’t understand much about math but Laura LeHew’s New Math makes perfect sense to us.

Experimental work has always been one of our first loves and Keith Nathan Brown’s Clock Time gives us a chance to return to our roots a bit with a piece that is challenging but engaging and uses form in really interesting ways.

This may be somewhat nepotistic but when we read Underskirts, by Kirsty Logan, we knew we had to publish it. The elegance of this story, the language, this is exquisite writing and we could not pass that up.

Refinishing, by Adam Weinstein, is another experimental piece, a narrative, a set of information, really, framed by quotations. This description does not do the piece justice. You must read.

Finally, we have a sophisticated poem in two parts by Rose Hunter, two memento moris, two vices, lovely, lovely writing.

As always, we would love to hear what you think about this issue. We are so proud of the April issue and every month we get stronger because you encourage us to. We thank you for reading, for writing, for supporting us in all the ways you do.

  • M. Bartley Seigel

    The day after Divination in DC, which, as you may remember, I MC’d, I ran into one of the writers who had performed (one of OUR writers!!!) at a different event. We chatted politely and I asked her if she was having fun at AWP. She was having fun. Then I asked if she was doing any readings while she was in DC. She very politely informed me that she had already, in fact, done a reading, a great reading, mine, and that it was too bad I hadn’t been there. We laughed. Awkwardly.

    Dismay. Shame.

  • Consider me broken down with face blown irreversibly off! Great job putting together fantastic issue after fantastic issue!!

  • Dawn.

    Yaaay! I can’t wait to be repeatedly assaulted by this massive issue over the weekend. Lovely write-up, Roxane.

  • I am really enjoying this issue. It’s excellent for reading in small pieces.

  • chelsea laine wells

    Everyone’s writing is so beautiful. I’m so proud to be a part of this. Thank you Pank.