SMC’s national literary arts journal, published twice yearly, showcases the work of established authors alongside emerging writers, with a focus on West Coast fiction and nonfiction. Founded by novelist and SMC English instructor Jim Krusoe (The Sleep Garden), the Review has presented readers experimental, thoughtful, and funny original writing — including essays and short stories by Victoria Patterson, Keenan Norris, and Gary Amdahl — in more than 30 years of publication, and is a celebrated national magazine. Recent stand-out work appears in the annual Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories, and PEN/O. Henry anthologies.
The spring 2020 issue, edited by Andrew Tonkovich, features 12 original pieces, with work including both stories and essays from first-time and returning contributors.
In a continuing trend, political irony and dark humor, meditations on history, and artistically experimental work dominate in what longtime editor Tonkovich calls a joyful exploration of precarity. There is also empowerment and affirmation, if also a commitment to both skepticism and literary curiosity.
Celebrated novelist Max Byrd (The Sixth Conspirator) offers a meditative retake on Western (in)justice. Veteran contributor Diane Lefer (Confessions of a Carnivore) explores both virtual promise and history’s demands. Poet Brynn Saito (Power Made Us Swoon) explores her father’s internment. Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) finds death in musical competition. Returning contributor David Preizler takes us inside the world of prisoners fighting California wildfires. The reliably absurdist JP Vallières delivers another of his provocative faux allegories. Jacqueline Keren constructs a post-collapse world struggling for health and meaning. Lara Markstein goes on the road with the “best-ever doom metal band.” Rita Chang-Eppig tells a dark love story. Luke Muyskens explodes virtual reality, and Marcus Spiegel sends up online reactionary trolls. A personal essay by SMC workshop alum Tupelo Hassman celebrates place and perspective.
“In this issue, the imagination is totally up for grabs,” says editor Tonkovich. “In these stories, our shared dystopian extended unreality seems to meet hyper-reality. Whichever premise, all the pieces share emotional precision, love of character, along with plenty of humor and joyful language.”
Cover art for the spring 2020 issue is by celebrated Orange County artist Deborah Davidson, whose work appears on many recent covers.
Santa Monica Review is sold at the SMR website, SMC Campus Store, Beyond Baroque and Small World Books in Venice, and other local booksellers. Copies may also be ordered by mail and subscription. For more information, visit our website at smc.edu/sm_review and “Like” us on Facebook.
Santa Monica Review | $7/issue | $12/year subscription
Issue Launch Party: SMR Presents...
Join us at an intimate Santa Monica performance space to enjoy literary readings by four Santa Monica Review contributors — Diane Lefer, David Preizler, Ryan Ridge, and Steve De Jarnatt — with book signing and refreshments. Welcome by short story writer, novelist, and teacher Michelle Latiolais (She; Widow). Free parking on premises. Please visit Brownpapertickets.com for ticket details.
Sun, April 5 | 5 p.m. | $10
The Edye at SMC Performing Arts Center
SMR at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Join staff and volunteers of Santa Monica Review at the SMC/SMR booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, one of the nation’s largest literary festivals. Stop by to pick up a free copy of the magazine. We’d love to see you!
Sat – Sun, April 18 – 19 | 10 a.m. | Free
USC University Park Campus