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Full-Text Articles in Creative Writing

Articles Of Faith, Elizabeth Oness Jan 2000

Articles Of Faith, Elizabeth Oness

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

In her award-winning collection, Elizabeth Oness travels a vast emotional terrain, from the loss of innocence to sexual betrayal to the helplessness of parents before their children. In “Momentum, ” a woman carries the burden of a dead friend's secret for years until she finally decides to reveal it, only to discover that other, darker secrets still lie in wait. “Rufus” follows the quandary of a young man who is forced to choose between the affection of his girlfriend and his compassion for a homeless man who has taken up residence in his car.

Articles of Faith is a collection ...


Troublemakers, John Mcnally Jan 2000

Troublemakers, John Mcnally

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Troublemakers is an often hilarious, sometimes frightening, occasionally off-the-wall collection of stories about men living on the edge. From the streets of Chicago's southwest side to the rural roads of Nebraska to the small towns of southern Illinois, these men tread a very fine line between right and wrong, love and hate, humor and horror.

Each story is a Pandora's box waiting to be opened: a high school boy with a new driver's license picks his brother up from jail; a UPS driver suspects his wife of having an affair but cannot find any tangible evidence of ...


House Fires, Nancy Reisman Jan 1999

House Fires, Nancy Reisman

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

These eleven stories travel from snowbound Buffalo in the 1940s to present-day Boston, Providence, and San Francisco and across the domestic terrain of desire's unruly claims to the nuances of grief. In the title story, a young woman whose sister has been killed in a fire reckons with her parents' silent suffering and finds transcendence through film. In a series of stories set in post-World War II Buffalo and Manhattan, the members of a close-knit Jewish family are caught up in a maze of clandestine desires—none of which can be fulfilled. The collection's final series turns to ...


Out Of The Girls' Room And Into The Night, Thisbe Nissen Jan 1999

Out Of The Girls' Room And Into The Night, Thisbe Nissen

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Everyone does it: women of fierce independence, men of thin character, rambling Deadheads, gay teenage girls, despondent Peace Corps volunteers, anorexic Broadway theatre dancers, the eager, the grieving, the uncommunicative. Even the confused do it. And they don't just fall in love with each other—they fall in love with certain moments and familiar places, with things as ephemeral as gestures and as evanescent as sunlight.

Quirky, real, idealistic, deluded, bohemian, and true, these are people who can—and often do—fall in love with a pair of ears, August afternoons, saucers of vitamins, New Age carpenters, and dead ...


The River Of Lost Voices: Stories From Guatemala, Mark Brazaitis Jan 1998

The River Of Lost Voices: Stories From Guatemala, Mark Brazaitis

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

No abstract provided.


Friendly Fire, Kathryn Chetkovich Jan 1998

Friendly Fire, Kathryn Chetkovich

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Friendly Fire describes how we are sometimes brought down by those we love. Kathryn Chetkovich's stories detail the lives of women finding their way in a contemporary world where the traditional maps of love, family, and community are no longer particularly reliable.


Within The Lighted City, Lisa Lenzo Jan 1997

Within The Lighted City, Lisa Lenzo

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Lisa Lenzo's stories explore what happens when safe boundaries are crossed. Often impetuous or unintentional, these crossings-over are never taken with full knowledge—characters step or glide or slip into trouble, and occasionally they hold still as danger overtakes them. The result is the loss of lives, limbs, or simply the illusion of safety. Yet despite their trials, the characters in these stories come away with a sense of hope for what remains.

All of the characters in Within the Lighted City are Detroiters or former Detroiters, including a near-albino teenager, an angel, and the Zito family—Ralph and ...


Thank You For Being Concerned And Sensitive, Jim Henry Jan 1997

Thank You For Being Concerned And Sensitive, Jim Henry

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Jim Henry's stories defy convention. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes. Although the plots vary—from a corpse returning to visit his family weeks after his burial, to the musings of a congressman grappling with the weight of history, to a wealthy family's elaborate plot to cheer their mysteriously wounded mother—all express a sense of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the absurd in the everyday. Henry's characters are for the most part misfits, outsiders looking in on a world whose seemingly natural order is turned upside down. In a throw-away culture obsessed with sex ...


Hints Of His Mortality, David Borofka Jan 1996

Hints Of His Mortality, David Borofka

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

The award-winning stories in David Borofka's Hints of His Mortality focus on the male of the species, on bewildered, guilt-ridden, hypersensitive characters adrift in a sea of changing roles and expectations. Although they yearn for the ideal—whether physical or spiritual—and for that sense of divine connection suggested by Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality, they usually end up settling for what seems the next best thing: sex or religion.

The amorous scrimmage between male and female in these taut, intense stories is a contest that leaves no one unmarked. The hapless ministers in Borofka's memorable collection find ...


Western Electric, Don Zancanella Jan 1996

Western Electric, Don Zancanella

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

All eight of Don Zancanella's wry, pristinely written stories have memorable settings in the historical or contemporary American West, ranging from love among abandoned missile silos to a tale of Laotian refugees in Wyoming to an account of a traveling chimpanzee show. Collectively they form a kind of alternative history of this too-often-stereotyped region.

Some of the stories take as their theme the coming of technology to the western wilderness—television, telephones, telescopes, missiles, even an imaginative account of a visit by inventor Thomas Edison to the Rocky Mountains. Others focus on small-town intolerance, calling into question the myth ...


Listening To Mozart, Charles Wyatt Jan 1995

Listening To Mozart, Charles Wyatt

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

With all the drama and complexity of a symphony, Listening to Mozart traces forty years in the life of flutist James Baxter. Many of the stories in this collection—actually a novel in stories—center on or revolve around James' relationship with Anna, a potter and artist. Each story is a separate movement, yet they combine to create a deeply textured whole work. The stories chronicle James' inward journey, as well as his life and loves, with a voice repeatedly transformed through the years.

“Bach Suite”serves as a prologue and deals with the split in consciousness that often accompanies ...


May You Live In Interesting Times, Tereze Glück Jan 1995

May You Live In Interesting Times, Tereze Glück

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Obsession, adultery, infidelity, unrequited love, suicide, betrayal, death—Tereze Glück's clear-sighted characters coolly assess their actions and reactions. When a man's wife dies suddenly, he feels liberated, and learning this stuns him. Taking a leap into personhood, a child watching her mother in the garden experiences empathy. A woman addicted to a lover realizes how she has squandered herself. A kiss in a taxicab sets two people on the road to inevitability. Scars, even small ones, reflect the power and mystery of the roads people take from one life into another. In the intense title story, suicide, long-distance ...


Igloo Among Palms, Rod Val Moore Jan 1994

Igloo Among Palms, Rod Val Moore

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

The stories in this prize-winning volume are set in fictional towns, along highways, and in industries on either edge of the Mexico-California border. The author uses memory and imagination to transform these scenes into a defamiliarized frontera, a region of subtle misplacements and cultural contretemps. In these engaging and extremely human stories, gringos move south and Mexicans move north in a search for growth and difference but find that the border is much more fluid, much harder to definitively cross, than they imagined.

For instance, in “Grimshaw's Mexico,” Officer Grimshaw chauffeurs his family south of the border to buy ...


Where Love Leaves Us, Renée Manfredi Jan 1994

Where Love Leaves Us, Renée Manfredi

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

These nine superbly crafted stories, set primarily in Pittsburgh's Italian American neighborhoods, concentrate on families, on the poignant nature of father-daughter relationships, and on the fate of those who are refugees from their physical or spiritual communities. “Love is born only out of wreckage,” Manfredi's characters declare bravely. Her vigorous families are both the wrecking crews and the architects of the human foundation.

In “The Projectionist,” a displaced Sicilian is forced to confront the family he lost in war-torn Italy at the same time that his current family is disintegrating; his disillusionment with the American dream overwhelms him ...


Macauley's Thumb, Lex Williford Jan 1994

Macauley's Thumb, Lex Williford

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Lex Williford's seriously eccentric characters find that traveling down life's highway leads to the breakdown lane as quickly as it leads to the fast lane. Their quirky philosophy can best be summed up by Bucklin Rudd, who just lost his business and his wife after losing the last bit of his good sense: “Nothing like working half your life for something just to find out you think you're pretty damn sure you don't want it.” The ten stories in Macauley's Thumb—set variously in Texas, Old and New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, and Illinois—explore ...


The Good Doctor, Susan Onthank Mates Jan 1994

The Good Doctor, Susan Onthank Mates

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Many of Mates' characters have experienced some sort of cultural dislocation. In "Theng," refugees from Cambodia living in Providence, Rhode Island, struggle to maintain their dignity in the face of despair and the bittersweet memories of their former home. In "Shambalileh," a Persian woman, unable to have children with her American husband, is forced to reexamine her status both as wife and foreigner. Unifying these incredibly diverse stories is the brave honesty with which the characters confront the tenuousness of their situations. For the most part, they share the tenacity of the women in "Shambalileh," who "with great caution...began ...


Happiness, Ann Harleman Jan 1994

Happiness, Ann Harleman

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

In Ann Harleman's remarkable debut collection, men and women of extraordinary passions look for and sometimes find the hidden heart of ordinary life. Testing themselves and each other, they search for ways to connect. "Understanding," says the troubled voyeur-narrator of "Imaginary Colors," "is the booby prize"; these characters go for experience. Reckless explorers of inner space, they try the limits of their lives.

A gravely ill woman seeks forgiveness from her grown-up daughters for an adulterous past which she does not really regret. A boy watches anxiously—and enviously—while his brother flaunts an interracial love affair in front ...


My Body To You, Elizabeth Searle Jan 1993

My Body To You, Elizabeth Searle

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

In the thirteen stories of My Body to You, thirteen women or girls pilot their own bodies through a shifting universe of lovers old and young, parents devoted and destructive, sisters of different sexes, children and adults living in the mysterious world of autism. All these characters share keen powers of observations and a heightened sensuality. In a wild variety of settings, they struggle to control—or dare to abandon themselves to—their intensely private passions.

A woman in love with a gay man she calls Sister Kin attempts to escape the bonds of her own body. An eighteen-year-old virgin ...


Imaginary Men, Enid Shomer Jan 1993

Imaginary Men, Enid Shomer

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Even the tamest characters in Imaginary Men test the rules to see where they can be broken and where they hold true. In Enid Shomer's world, endless misunderstandings sprout from goodwill, women and men burn with a desire that forces them to create themselves as they evolve, people grasp their relatedness to others only fleetingly, goodness is as great a mystery as evil.

For the unappreciated Harry Goldring, tormented by his unshakable label of family mensch, wildness is expressed first in panic attacks, then in daydreams. At the other end of Shomer's highly colored spectrum is killer Elvis ...


The Ant Generator, Elizabeth Harris Jan 1991

The Ant Generator, Elizabeth Harris

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Punctuated with weirdly comic moments, the stories in The Ant Generator reflect Harris's view of the world as a slightly strange place with shifting, dubious boundaries. Men and women encounter the commonplace improbabilities of modern life: a woman who works in an archaeological museum dreams of order but experiences random violence, a bored schoolteacher gets into the Book of World Records by standing on one foot.

In the various interactions of mind and matter in Harris's affecting stories, people try to force their experience into simple shapes, against natural and social opposition, with comic or tragic results. Sometimes ...


Traps, Sondra Spatt Olsen Jan 1991

Traps, Sondra Spatt Olsen

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Heroines in Sondra Spatt Olsen's compelling stories often find themselves in bad situations: a wife with an irresponsible husband, an older woman who wants to leave her younger lover, a suburban housewife who wants sex with her doctor, a teacher who falls in love with her student, a young girl haunted by her mother's judgments, a demanding career woman unsettled by her boyfriend's success, a young woman who finds that her friends, when drunk, are potential murderers. But just as Chekhov gives us pleasure from moments of pain, Olsen illuminates the universal humor and pathos of bad ...


A Hole In The Language, Marly Swick Jan 1990

A Hole In The Language, Marly Swick

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

These stories are delicate seismographic meditations on disaster and its aftershocks. The characters are survivors, digging their way out of the past, shaken but hopeful. Despite all their tragic losses, there is a pervasive sense of humor, hope, and forgiveness: abandonment leads ultimately to reunion, grief to solace. This is contemporary America—a jigsaw puzzle of fragmented families constantly picking up the pieces and fitting themselves together in new ways to form unforgettable pictures.


Lent: The Slow Fast, Starkey Flythe Jr. Jan 1990

Lent: The Slow Fast, Starkey Flythe Jr.

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

In these riveting stories, the individual is thrown into the larger, insensitive space of war, religion, or so-called progress, where persistence or survival must be supported on the smaller and sometimes socially inappropriate measure of personal beliefs and desires.

In the title story, the woman discovers success, conviviality, and spiritual pleasure in a church family only to find her own, smaller family is falling apart. In "Walking, Walking," an old woman sees the ghost of her son and wonders why in life he could not do right and why now, in death, he can't rest. The deception of the ...


Line Of Fall, Miles Wilson Jan 1989

Line Of Fall, Miles Wilson

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

With a full range of narrative techniques, the fourteen stories in this volume explore the arcs people trace as they make their way in the world. Miles Wilson's compelling narrative presents characters at crucial moments in their trajectories, when the nature and outcome of their lives can be illuminated. Though built out of the texture of ordinary life, these stories concentrate their focus where the luminous intersects the commonplace.

Many of the stories are set in the American West, which often rises out of the background, virtually assuming the role of another character. In "Outsider," a fable of the ...


The Long White, Sharon Dilworth Jan 1988

The Long White, Sharon Dilworth

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

In the sparsely settled hills of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, winter's toughness is matched only by the animosity and affection of its inhabitants for each other and for the land that unnerves them. In The Long White, Michigan writer Sharon Dilworth evokes a place dominated by two great lakes whose power and ferocity influence the lives of every inhabitant. The particularities of place and character come together with the clarity and exactitude of a fresh snowfall that both veils and illuminates a landscape.

Memorable in this collection is Dilworth 's uncommon portrayal of the long-standing prejudice between the Finnish ...


Fruit Of The Month, Abby Frucht Jan 1988

Fruit Of The Month, Abby Frucht

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

This fine debut of twelve stories explores a topography of the interior, probing the thoughts, motivations, and little-understood impulses behind moments of aggression, jealousy, and loneliness. Turning her eye on the academic landscape as well as the workaday world, Frucht keenly observes people forging friendships, groping for greater self-understanding, and attempting to find meaning in their lives and loves.

Whether writing about a couple trying to conceive a much-wanted child or a lonely husband mourning the changing political attitudes of his wife, Frucht brings her characters and their lives into memorable focus. She builds a fictional world that resonates with ...


The Venus Tree, Michael Pritchett Jan 1988

The Venus Tree, Michael Pritchett

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

In The Venus Tree Michael Pritchett powerfully explores the themes of lost innocence— innocence abandoned, stolen, and occasionally regained or revisited. As his characters encounter many emotionally charged and sometimes profoundly unsettling situations, Pritchett's sympathetic writing renders their struggles with deft, compassionate, and lyrical strokes.

In "People," the owner of a souvenir shop on the interstate highway befriends a young woman who he believes can help him overcome the poverty of his own background. A widower in "Time Lines" must come to grips with the death of his wife before he loses the woman who tries to help him ...


Eminent Domain, Dan O'Brien Jan 1987

Eminent Domain, Dan O'Brien

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Eminent Domain bears the hallmark of a mature and talented author. While subtle metaphors and analogies resonate throughout the text, the surface of these stories is charged with vivid scenes of fishing, caring for game birds in winter, branding calves in Nebraska, and rescuing a wounded mountain climber.

With both humor and poignancy, Dan O'Brien explores the lives of his diverse characters. In 'The Inheritance,' a businessman goes fishing after the death of his father and realizes, through memories he tries to evade, the richness of the inheritance his father has left him. 'Eminent Domain' tells the story of ...


Resurrectionists, Russell Working Jan 1987

Resurrectionists, Russell Working

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

"The stories in this accomplished collection range in setting from the West Indies to the Pacific Northwest, presenting characters that include a photojournalist in Haiti introduced to the islanders' belief in zombiism, an ex-policeman working in a paper mill, a hospital patient on New Year's Day, and a teenager practicing martial arts. Their stories are at times grotesque and desperate but always engrossing.

What sets these stories apart from other contemporary fiction is their skilled and evocative sense of place-Working creates atmospheres that almost become separate characters with their own critical significance and influence. Convincing in his portrayal of ...


Star Game, Lucia Nevai Jan 1987

Star Game, Lucia Nevai

Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

In these authentic and descriptive tales, Lucia Nevai quietly portrays the lives of a cross section of our times: a reconstituted stepfamily struggling to put down new roots, self-destructive women caught in unfulfilling relationships with men, rural dwellers evoking the basic desires and pains of their unchanging but nevertheless eventful lives.