Are You Making These 10 Terrible Keto Mistakes

Looking good is everyone’s desire. There is no way you’d want to look bad. And good looks don’t come easy. Some part of it is God’s gift, while the other part can be worked upon by us. Having a good physique is one of those aspects that can contribute to your good looks. A smart, well-built body goes a long way in exhibiting your charisma.

Keto diet (also known as Ketogenic diet) is a low carb, average protein and high-fat diet that instructs the human body to burn fat rather than carbs. This is often not done right by amateurs and so here are 10 mistakes that you might be doing while pursuing the Keto diet.

1. Lack of Minerals and Vitamins

Dry Skin, Depression, Weight gain and Fatigue are a few health issues that might knock on your door when your diet is low on minerals and vitamins.

A good ketogenic diet must include a good amount of vegetables which are considered as low carbohydrate foods and rich in nutrients. Remember, not everything that you eat is bringing to you all the minerals and vitamins that your body deserves.

The only want to handle this is to prioritize what you have. Prefer Vital keto, leafy greens and veggies such as leeks, mushrooms, and pumpkins for solids while Powerade Zero Keto can be one of your preferred keto liquids.

2. Not Planning Your Diet

Following a ketogenic diet is a lot more difficult when you don’t have a solid plan in place. You will start good, maybe carry on for a few days but then you are bound to fall apart.

Instead, if you have a list of actions you can stick you probably you’d be at a much better place. It is always better to have some keto-friendly food in your hand than to start your day with an empty refrigerator.

3. Your body is Not Getting Enough Sleep

Stress hormones get a reason to rise when your body is not getting enough rest and sleep. And when this happens, the human body gains unwanted fat and disrupts sex hormones.
So, make it a point to get adequate sleep. Although the number of hours you sleep matters to some extent, what is more critical is the quality of sleep you gift your body. Here are a few tips to consider when you decide to doze off next:

  • Sleep in a very dark room.
  • Put away gadgets at least 2 hours before you sleep
  • Use earplugs if there are disturbances around you
  • Sleep in a cold room
  • Consuming Artificial Sweeteners

Most artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin have the potential to mess with your good bacteria and cause gut inflammation and irritation.

Also, for your information, the sugar substitutes are perceived the same by your brain as it perceives normal sugar or cocaine. Therefore, all this might increase your craving and make it harder for you to stick to your keto diet.

5. Avoiding Low-Carb Veggies

Since vegetables are high in carbs, many people on a keto diet form an opinion that they must ignore veggies. This is hardly true.

Vegetables supply fiber, micronutrients, and nutrients to your body and are always to be taken. It is crucial that you include a lot of veggies in your diet plan. Some of the best options for you are:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage

Apart from these, you must also make it a habit to consume reliable energy aid keto-compliant drinks such as Powerade Zero Keto, since it is free of calories and sugar and contains only 35mg of potassium and 100mg of sodium.

6. Taking a Lot of Stress

Cortisol levels rise whenever we are in stress. This affects normal hormone production and contributes to unwanted weight gain.

Plus, when you adopt the low-carb diet plan it is bound to place a good amount of stress on you at the start. So, it is advisable that you don’t make additional changes to your lifestyle and sleeping patterns such that your body gets used to ketosis.

Ultimately, stress is never good for your health and should you wish to achieve a life with minimum / no stress, try yoga. It works.

7. Restricting Your Water Intake

Dehydration is highly probable when you are on a keto diet. Most people are very conscious about what they chew, but very few focus on what they sip.

Drinking up is a great idea. Waking up to have a glass of water is the best way forward. Also, sipping water throughout the day can help you consume half your body weight in measures of water.
Apart from that, there are many other liquid keto supplements in the market that can work wonders for you. Powerade Zero Keto is one of them. Try it.

8. Have a Lot of Dairy Products

Since the Keto diet shouts in favor of having high-fat products, you might end up having a lot of dairy products. After all, they are high in fat content.
But there are a few downsides to heavy consumption of dairy products too. You must be aware of the following:

  • Milk and Yogurt are high in carb content
  • Having uncontrolled amounts of dairy can lead to a reverse effect in your pursuit of weight loss

So, keep a check on what you are eating/drinking and in what quantities. This is where having a plan again helps.

9. Not Taking Enough Electrolytes

Although this falls under the micronutrient category, this is being covered under a separate category for its importance.

If at times you feel muscle ache, fatigue, nausea, brain fog, etc., your body is indicating lack of electrolytes. Here is why this happens.

When you start your keto diet, your body is burning up existing glucose. This might result in a drastic fall of electrolytes in your body and you must not let this happen. Therefore, consume appropriate amounts of electrolytes.

10. Avoiding Proteins

The ideology that consuming too many proteins would start a metabolic action to raise your blood sugar and knock you out of ketosis is not true.

The concept is known as gluconeogenesis and is contrary to many opinions. You simply don’t need to worry about having excess protein in your ketogenic diet.

So, instead of avoiding proteins invite them to your diet. The amino acids in proteins help repair and build muscles and other body tissues. It would also help you in weight since it will make you full always.


Overall, the only way to have a successful ketogenic diet is to ensure that you don’t commit the above 10 mistakes. Try to accommodate these considerations and you would be off to exercising a very successful keto diet.…

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Can I Get Approved for Medical Marijuana in Ohio?

Even though marijuana has been legalized in the state of Ohio, a lot of people are still hesitant about the idea of using it for medical purposes. The stigma with marijuana has been around for a long time and it’s quite difficult to shake off.

Luckily, the state has established a great medical marijuana program that assures aspiring medical marijuana patients that they can be approved. Of course, the program also has its own requirements and qualifications but for as long you follow these steps, your chances of getting approved will improve.

Application Process

Ever since the bill was approved summer of 2016, the medical marijuana program in the state has been up and running. However, unlike other states, the program’s application process doesn’t seem to be pretty easy. In fact, it’s quite challenging that most people don’t really expect to get approved.

But don’t worry. The following steps will guide you through the process and will increase your chances of winning their approval.

Find a Doctor

By now, you must be aware that for you to get a medical marijuana card, you need to have a qualifying condition. With this, it’s so much easier looking for a doctor to recommend medical marijuana as a form of treatment.

First thing you need to do is find a doctor who has been certified by the State Medical Board. These doctors are certified that they can recommend to patients. Fortunately, here’s a list of doctors that you can scan through to find the most suitable one for you.

Once you find a doctor, book an appointment and prepare yourself for that appointment. By preparations, we mean both financial and mental preparations. The visit won’t come cheap because these doctors have their own set of specialties; prepare around $100-$200 for the session.

Second, mentally prepare for one of the longest sessions of your life. You and your doctor will be discussing marijuana and your condition extensively to see if you do really qualify for that form of treatment.

This doctor will also be the one to submit a complete patient’s registration to the Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy. This registration will have lots of information to be filled up by your doctor.

Application Fee

Along with the submission of the doctor’s recommendation to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, you will be required to pay the application fee. The doctor will tell you how much so prepare an additional $50 for that.

Don’t be surprised with the amount you spend for your application alone because this is such a controlled industry and the state wants to maintain its integrity all the way.

Additional Information

Don’t forget to submit anything that will prove that you live in Ohio. The Board of Pharmacy will recognize your state-issued driver’s license, ID card, or your passport. All of these valid IDs will be needed before you submit your application.

Waiting Time

After the submission, you will have to wait for the approval of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. The waiting time is only usually two weeks to a month. If you haven’t received anything, you can personally contact them through their website or phone number.

The process is fairly simple and you can also look it up here on Veriheal’s website: The websites has simplified the process and also shortened it. Another great service the website has offered is that it ge………..2ts in touch with patients whose cards will be expiring soon.

It aims to help the patients renew their medical marijuana cards without all the hassle. The patients will be re-certified by approved physicians and will only pay the $50 fee to be approved again.

What’s Next?

Once you get approved and receive your card, you can now head on over to the most convenient dispensary near you. Just don’t forget to bring another valid ID card and enough cash to buy everything you want at the dispensary.

In Ohio, there are already over 13 dispensaries in Ohio that have been operating. Although there have been 56 licenses released for dispensaries, only one-fourth of the dispensaries are actually operating.

But that doesn’t have to be bad news for you because you still have lots of dispensaries to choose from. Buckeye Botanicals and Clubhouse Dispensary are just two of the most famous ones in Ohio that you can visit. The dispensaries are relatively close to each other so they’re not hard to reach.

Don’t be intimidated by the process for applying to the state’s marijuana program. Just prepare enough cash to pay for the doctor and application and you’ll be fine. Don’t hesitate just because it can be quite expensive, just think of it as an investment. What are you waiting for? Book an appointment with your doctor now and be a step closer to using medical marijuana.…

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Read This: #OscarsSoWhite edition

Whether or not you are gearing up to watch the Oscars broadcast this weekend, you should take time this week to read some of A. Van Jordan’s poems on film from The Cineaste.

The Academy of American Poets site has one on Old Boy, a movie I hope I will never have to watch again, and another on Un Chien Andalou, a film some students couldn’t believe I made them watch. (Me neither!)

What I really want to recommend, though, is that in honor of #OscarsSoWhite you head over to the Michigan Quarterly Review and read Jordan’s poem about Do the Right Thing. Spike Lee’s film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay in 1989, but lost to Dead Poets Society.

I want to say that Jordan captures in words the sweltering feeling Lee creates though images, but that doesn’t do either of them justice. Just read these lines and then go check out the rest for yourself. It’s a scorcher.

The days were a skillet on a red-hot eye of a stove.
The men on the corner, the couple in their apartment,
the kids playing under a fire hydrant’s relief
were all sitting, loving, or playing in a skillet.…

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“69 Hidebound Opinions”

These quotes come from C.D. Wright’s essay “69 Hidebound Opinions, Propositions, and Several Asides from a Manila Folder Concerning the Stuff of Poetry,” which you can (and should!) read in the anthology By Herself: Women Reclaim Poetry.

“Asked informally “What’s a young poet to do,” Robert Creeley proposed, “form a company.” He meant start something: a magazine, a book press, go on-line; publish yourselves. One outfit flies by night, start another by day. Form a company in the repertory theater’s sense of the word ensemble–let all do their parts.”


“Poetry and advertising (the basest mode of which is propaganda) are in direct and total opposition. If you do not use language you are used by it.”

One more:

“Lately silence, as the formal element I have been missing, has shattered the noise. If the incision of our words amounts to nothing but a feeling, a slow motion, it will still cut a better swath than the factory model. It is poetry that remarks on the barely perceptible disappearances from our world such as that of the sleeping porch or the root cellar. And poetry that notes the barely perceptible appearances.”

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What Makes Good Fiction: Mark Slouka’s “The Crossing,” A Study In Suspense

Slouka manages to employ an unusual level of suspense and tenderness in this story. Admittedly, the plot and the situations of the story – a rushing river, a father eager to please his small son, a divided family – are already given to suspense and tenderness. But what is it that makes the development and the climax of the story get our hearts beating so fast? By dropping breadcrumbs in the opening paragraphs the author gives us a taste of the world outside the events of the story without revealing enough about them to satisfy our imaginations. He then ingratiates us into the world of the father and puts us on his side, before throwing him back into doubt. Finally, he makes us choose – the beauty of the earth or the sanctity of father and son?

The information that Slouka scatters in the beginning of the story make us want more, and it makes us care deeply about what happens to father and son. We glimpse the son’s smallness and, indeed, his entire childhood in those “miniature jeans.” We glimpse the father’s deep depression in the simple sentence “and he hadn’t been happy in a while.” We know the father has a history with and love for the river valley: “nothing much had changed.” Later, we learn more about his need for “the nests of vines like something scratched out, the furred trunks, soft with rot,” but before we acquire that intimate knowledge, Slouka has already made him into an expert on the place. Of particular interest to us readers is the description of how the father picks up the boy from his regular home (with his mother). We know the boy’s parents are divorced, separated. We learn that perhaps the father has done something wrong, because of his hope that “maybe—maybe he could make this right.” We see his care for his son – care not to hit the boy’s head on the ceiling when he playfully tosses him over his shoulder.

As the boy’s mother shakes her head, still in a bathrobe, we enter firmly into the father’s corner. We want him to succeed with his son and take him to the wild place by the river he loves so much. We want to know why he loves the river, and what has gone missing from his heart and his body that the river can bring back.

The second key device that Slouka uses to endear us to the world of the story is even more important; he subverts the father’s authority. As we go into the river country with father and son, we are greeted with Queen Anne’s Lace, the promise of a campfire, and elk – with beauty and hope. After fording the river all this will be possible, and more. The river flows slowly over rocks. But suddenly, “he felt a small shock, as if he were looking at a house he’d grown up in but now barely recognized. The river was bigger than he remembered it, stronger; it moved like a swiftly flowing field.” He considers turning back. Anxiety defines him. And yet all he says to his son is “‘Well, there she is.’”

The reader has entered a position of knowledge and distrust; we now fear for both father and son and feel an even stronger affection for the boy than we did before. We feel as determined to cross the river with them as ever, but we have lost the ability to trust the father’s skill or his understanding of the wildness to which he is trying to return.

When father and son successfully cross the river, and arrive at the barn, we have further bonded with each of them. Suddenly, Dad is an expert again, and the world is a beautiful and enchanting place. The “barn was just where he remembered it, standing against the trees like a rib cage.” As we observe him making preparations for the night ahead, we feel safer, warmer, as does his son. Slouka describes them deftly: the son’s question “‘Do the elk have to sleep in the rain?’”and the father’s putting “his arm around him—that tiny shoulder, tight as a nest” tell us more about this boy and this man than anything else could.

All this, against the backdrop of careful images seeded in a scattered but deliberate pattern – the “white noise” of the river, the “stars through the missing places in the roof” of the barn, “car-sized boulders nudged together like eggs,” the “hollow tock of the stones knocking against each other in the deeper water” – prepares us for the second fording of the river. This heartbreaking painting of scenes and descriptions makes us appreciate the intractable world for its beauty as much as we love father and son for their need and vulnerability. And when they cross the river the second time, our hearts go into our throats – for them, for their failure, for the father’s burning love for his son, for the boy’s tiny existence, and for the wildness that can’t help but be what it is.…

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Contributor Interview: Mia Sara

Mia Sara used to be an actress, but recovered her senses and now she writes. Her work has been published in The Superstition Review, Helix, poemmemoirstory, The Summerset Review, PANK, and the Write Room, among many others.

Her chapbook, Mid-Life With Gorilla was published by the Dusie Press, and she had a long running column “Wrought and Found” for PANK Magazine. She lives between New York City and Los Angeles with her husband, Brian Henson, and her children. Her website is

TCR: I’m only going to ask one question about your acting career, so let’s get that out of the way. How does/has acting influence(d) your writing?

Mia Sara: I was a very unhappy actress. It was something I felt I could do, and I needed to work, and I got lucky at the get go, however I was never going to be the kind of actress I admire, because I just didn’t have the drive for the process. I miss traveling, I miss hanging around with film crews drinking too much coffee, the hotel rooms, even bad hotel rooms. Most of all I miss call sheets. If I could find someone to slip a call sheet under my bedroom door every night, so I’d know exactly what I should be doing at every point in the day, I’d be a happy a girl. Because of all those years feeling anxious, unsatisfied, and guilty about it, becoming a writer has been like some spiritual conversion, like all of a sudden I know what gratitude is. Now I understand the artists I love, no matter their medium, because I would write even if I never published a word. I have to write. It’s the only way I can figure anything out. So, maybe all those years of misery and dread were what I needed to overcome, and if so, totally worth it.

TCR: “Life at the Castle” uses Bunratty Castle as a frame in which multiple issues are explored. What led you from the castle steps to urban sprawl, drug use, motherhood, etc.?

MS: I’ve been to Bunratty Castle. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled all over the place, and I’ve felt a sense of belonging in some unexpected places, but no place has had the effect on me that walking into that castle tower, up those wonky spiral stairs, and into the great hall, the bedchambers, the whole building felt like it was saying “So there you are. What took you so long?” Bunratty Castle has become my totem place, representing the ultimate dream of home, and belonging, and the rightness we seem to expect from raising a family. And I also know what a fantasy all of that is. I’m an escapist. I live in my head. I’m also a perfectionist, which is deadly. It’s a way to avoid what’s right in front of you, which can never be perfect, like your house, or your clothes, even your child. I was thinking about that, and how drug use is also a tool for avoidance, and in that way trying to make a connection, to better understand it, to relate to it.

TCR: Many of the descriptions are literal but also provide a history pulled into the present (and future?). Talk about giving physical details that depth of time.

MS: I’m just into details. When I’m reading something, anything, it’s the voice that draws me in, or doesn’t, but it’s the specific physical details that pin me to piece. A felt soled moccasin, a green Bic lighter, the mayonnaise stains on a white linen apron. Like a movie set, with set dressing, and props, and costumes, it’s the details that tell the story for me. That’s my way in.

TCR: Who are you reading right now?

MS: I’m primarily a poet, so I read a lot of poetry. Right now I’m reading Lighthead and How To Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes, The Gaffer by Celeste Gainey, collected poems of Robert Lowell, and I am also a detective fiction addict, so I’m re-reading James Crumley, (the total master!) so “The Dancing Bear” is here on my desk with all the poets.

TCR: Tell us about your editing process.

MS: Well, editing is painful, but I gotta say, poems are easier for me than essays. It’s been a long time since high school and I didn’t go to college, so I came to writing a little bass ackwards, and my grasp of grammar is shaky. I just try for a clean line, a varied rhythm, and I know I use too many damn commas, (!) so I try to remove as many of those little monsters as I can.

TCR: What project(s) are you working on?

MS: I am just about to launch a column for the fine folks at Barrelhouse magazine. Not sure what to call it yet, but if you have a look at the blog over there in June, you’ll find me. I’m slowly putting together a manuscript for a full length poetry book. That’s my summer project.…

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Summer Reading

Fall is here. The weight of our own mortality complements the length of our shadows. Pumpkin spice pop-tarts and gingerbread shoelaces for breakfast, dead-leaves-and-butternut-squash casserole for dinner. What did TCR staff read this past summer, aside from thousands of submissions?

I’m a big believer in the therapeutic benefits of sunlight and, because I live in New England, I take warm weather very seriously. I began the summer hoping I would spend it lying on the various beaches of Rhode Island, reading a novel a day, and returning home in the evenings happy and without sunburn. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened, and because of my busy work schedule and a few other unpleasant realities, I had to do most of my reading in short twenty-to-thirty minute intervals. While I’d much rather read on sand, or water, or fluffy green grass, I typically did it in the front seat of my car or at a plastic table in the break room.

Because having to stop in the middle of a chapter when your break time is up isn’t all that fun, I chose short stories and essay collections over novels. An essay collection I liked, and am a little late in finding, was Unspeakable by Meghan Daum. A short story collection I tried really hard to like, but didn’t, was Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes. I also read back issues of literary magazines, picked up from local bookstores and online, which I enjoyed the most and found was a better fit for my crazy schedule. It felt nice to finish a whole story, along with one or two poems, before an interruption. I found a poem—his only published poem—written by a musician I like named Will Butler (frontman of the band Arcade Fire) in last summer’s issue of Tin House. I recommend that poem, titled Oyster Bar, and all music by Arcade Fire as well. –Emily Chase, Fiction Reader

I knew I would be going into working on my poetry thesis this fall, so the the logical choice for summer reading might have been books by poets I admire. Nope. I needed a break, so I reread a few favorite novels. In addition to those, my most interesting read was Einstein’s Jewish Science by Steven Gimbel. Gimbel follows Einstein’s career through the lens of his Jewish ethnicity and young fervor for the faith. Sometimes Gimbel gets too bogged down in definitions as he tries to suggest Einstein approached science with a particularly Jewish outlook. Despite the slower portions, I would recommend it to anyone with a particular interest in Einstein or Jewish cultural figures.
–Randall Weiss, Poetry Reader

This summer I moved to Chicago, where I work at the third-busiest Starbucks in the city. I no longer have a book budget. When I do buy one, I feel guilty. Also, the amount of time I have to read is drastically reduced. As soon as I am in the store, my time is no longer my own. I am constantly on the go. Being a supervisor means that my breaks are not even time to myself. I must constantly be available to answer questions, to ensure things run smoothly. It is a lot of physical and mental work. My schedule is not consistent. I can close one night and have to be back first thing in the morning to open the store. I would love to come home and read. I have a stack of books waiting for me. Often, I’ll pick one up with every intention to read it only to fall asleep after a few pages. I always want to say to them: it’s not you, it’s me. Being behind on what I want to read. Not reading as much as I want, as much as I should, feels like a failure. This angers me sometimes because it’s not like I’m not doing anything. But when my time is limited, something had to give, and it was reading. I hear myself saying: if you wanted to do it, you would find the time. The desire is there. However, when I have time, I want to spend it writing my own book. I want to see friends. I want to explore the city that is my new home.

I’ve reread, in short bursts, some of my favorite books like Paul Monette’s Becoming a Man, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Wendy Ortiz’s Excavation, Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, and the Dover Thrift Editions of Great Ghost Stories. I’ve made very slow progress on Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Sarah Einstein’s Mot, Paul Lisicky’s Unbuilt Projects, Wendy C. Ortiz’s Hollywood Notebook, not to mention all the queer theory books I’ve wanted to read. I’m trying to restructure my life so I get to a point where I have the time and energy to read. And this time I’ll appreciate it more because I know what it is like not to have it. It’s a promise I must keep to myself, it’s a promise I must keep to all the possibilities waiting for me in those unread books.
–Brian Kornell, Interviews Editor

I don’t get outside much. I also have three books I’d planned on reading this summer. A list: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, The Pig Who Wants to Be Eaten by Julian Baggini, and The Business of Naming Things by Michael Coffey.

In a grand stroke of economic thinking, I decided I would read outdoors any chance I got, and in an effort to fight my concerningly milky complexion, I would do so with my shirt off. Things went well at the beginning; McCarthy and I started strong, but sitting in the backyard naked from the waist up felt weird, especially considering I wasn’t sure if my neighbors had gone to work, or if they even work at all. At first, I was resolute: I was determined not to let my anxiousness keep me from finishing what I’d set out to do and more importantly, from perfecting my tan. Eventually, this determination crumbled under the weight of my self-consciousness and I gave it up.

Besides, I figured, there was still the weekend at the beach house. It was the perfect opportunity. Two full days with a clear schedule and no distractions, the soft crash of waves, and direct, unfiltered contact between UV radiation and my upper body in a socially acceptable setting. About ten pages of Coffey fell away before I realized how much I missed swimming in the ocean. I became consumed with the thought of how wasted it would all feel if buried my nose in some melodrama about sad drunks, when I could be falling headfirst into the sensory wormhole of summer.

So: I had some drinks, I swam, I ate oysters.

I’m almost finished with The Business of Naming Things. I’ve promised myself I’d pick up Blood Meridian again, but that’s what I said that about Cities of the Red Night and Ulysses last summer. Oh, and it turns out I don’t really tan. I just burn real easily.
–Christopher Walker, Fiction Reader

This summer I read as many things as I could, which is to say I read almost nothing, unless you consider holding a baby and staring off into space reading. I did read some novels from the Library of America’s new Women Crime Writers of the 1940s, both of which were very good, and which I hope to write about soon. I read A House Made of Stars, by Tawnysha Greene. I read Citizen, by Claudia Rankine, on an iPad, which was new for me, and which wasn’t good for the book, because the photos in it took up two pages each, which made as much sense as calling holding a baby reading.

I read a Philip K. Dick novel (Martian Time-Slip) and short stories by Elizabeth Hardwick, Daphne Du Maurier, William H. Gass, Elizabeth McCracken, and Jim Shepard. I read in bed, and I read in the basement. I had trouble focusing on reading, so I read briefly, and quickly, because the baby was calling me away, and the sky wasn’t falling, but I had to check, and check often, to see that it wasn’t. I read some of a book by Helen Caldicott, and had to stop because it was only helping to clarify my dread and premonition of impending loss.

I’ve been reading Robin McLean’s Reptile House, which is very good. It makes me want to write more, and better.

I’ve been reading The Locusts Have No King, by Dawn Powell.

I am not reading enough, not quite as much as I’d like to.
–Robert Long Foreman, Fiction Editor

At the beginning of the summer, I finished Volume I (Swann’s Way) of In Search of Lost Time and about two hundred pages of Volume II. I did all of this reading on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, mostly in a bathtub full of cold water or under a diseased looking coconut tree, because it was very hot and there was no other way to cool down. When I returned home, I found that I could no longer read Proust, because I like it too much, and it was beginning to upset me. I cried, for the only time this summer. This is how I always get. I have been working on a lot of very good books, this way, for years.

Almost all of the following reading I did in bed at home, because I can only really, truly read when I am lying down on my right side. I read some stories by Chekhov and Mikhail Zoshchenko, and I started to read The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, but I got distracted when my daughter spilled her chocolate milk, and I forgot about the book, and then it disappeared. I still haven’t found it. I read part of The Little Magazine in Contemporary America. I read two books by Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris and At Large and at Small, which are two of the best books I can remember reading, and I recommend them for and to everyone far and wide. I read some essays by Montaigne, and I read two Best American Essays collections (2012 and 2003). I re-read Theodore Roethke’s The Far Field and all of Louise Bogan’s poems, and a book called A Poet’s Prose, which is a collection of all the non-poetry Louise Bogan wrote, and which I enthusiastically recommend. I read several literary magazines, but I didn’t really get into any of them. I started reading Emily Dickinson chronologically, which I will now continue through the fall and winter. I read John Donne enthusiastically. I read a lot of poems from here and there. I read How to be Drawn by Terrance Hayes, which I liked even more than Lighthead. I re-read The Trumpet of the Swan because my daughter started it. I read Margaret Atwood’s upcoming novel The Heart Goes Last for a book review. I read A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories of Lucia Berlin, which is outstanding, and contains a very strange introduction by Lydia Davis. I read a bunch of Hilton Als essays that I found online. I started reading The Book of Disquiet “by” Fernando Pessoa. I can tell that this is one of those books that I will work on for years. It’s very good.
–Christine Gosnay, Editor

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What a Poetry Editor Wants

National Poetry Month is over now, and the poetry readers of America can go back to loving poetry in private, as many of us are inclined to do, rather than performing our love in poetry in public, which seems necessary for reminding those outside of our clan that poetry is a thing.

Sometimes I feel alone in the culture as a poetry lover, but I never feel alone with poems. At some level I know that a poem is a well-wrought collection of words, divorced from the writer’s intention etc., but the poems that make me stop what I’m doing and read again feel more like people than linguistic constructs. I like keeping company with poems that have a strong voice and an idiosyncratic way of seeing the world.

Like good friends, good poems can be more complicated than is convenient. Sometimes they don’t make much sense. Sometimes they confess something ugly or remind us that we’re acting like jerks. But then sometimes they comfort us when we’re sad or say something that cracks us up.

I know when you, poets, submit to The Cossack Review, you’re not submitting yourselves. I’m not necessarily looking for the most personal poems, but I hope you’ll send your most person-like ones. I look forward to making their acquaintance.…

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Lopez’s “Good People” Uneven But Charming

Good People, Robert Lopez’s latest short fiction collection, is like a younger sibling: Both are often irritating, but you want them in your life.

Lopez is the author of Asunder, Kamby Bolongo Mean River and Part of the World. Vol. 1 Brooklyn praised Asunder, Lopez’s first collection of stories, for its “precisely-crafted disorientation.” In its review of Kamby Bolongo Mean River, Bookslut compared Lopez to Samuel Beckett and praised the novel’s “grim humor and emotional influence.” Lopez’s work has also appeared in Threepenny Review, New Orleans Review and Blackbird

Most of the stories in Good People are in first-person. The shortest ones tend to be vague—far too much artful showing and not enough clear, basic telling. In “Family Man on the Isle of Wight,” Lopez offers a six-page monologue. The story might be about the narrator’s uncles, or another character’s uncle. There might be an actual battle. Maybe it’s metaphor for the French invasion of the Isle of Wight in the mid 1500’s The story is a single massive sentence, and while it is engaging in some spots, it feels like a performance art script gone wrong. Here is a bit of “Family Man’s” opening:

“Let me understand something to you, if we can take a moment together, spare a little time reaching out as we catch up over coffee because I know we’re all busy, we have things to do, there’s laundry, there’s what to have for dinner, there’s dental hygiene and all the rest, but for now let me say this, please if I may and then I’ll let me go, I promise, you can hold it to me, look at my face, see, do you see what I mean by the look on my face, good, I know, because I will swear a blood oath if that’s what you require . . .”

Two pages of phrase-stacking later, Lopez finally offers up “I haven’t been nowhere forever, there, I’ve said it . . .” Even later, Lopez offers this compelling imagery: “. . . look at the uncles, and all of them, on the battlefield, laying in waste, filthy, stained, years ago like this, every day, dying in each other’s arms, but not anymore . . .” It seems to go nowhere, however.

“Why We’re Trapped in a Failed System” is less cryptic but still problematic. Here, the reader gets a two-page summary of a troubled romantic relationship that might be heading to its conclusion. Or the two people in it are learning to argue better. Or not.

Nonetheless, right when it’s time to set the book aside, Lopez introduces several remarkable characters. True to the book’s title, the author excels at presenting good people. They are not the brightest people. They are not the most ethical, and they are mostly men. Some are not sane. But they are worthy of our empathy as they manage troubled pasts and challenging daily lives.

The narrator in “Welcome to Someplace Like Piscataway,” originally published in The American Reader, is a gambler trying to reconnect with his damaged sister. He specializes in poker and is trying to read tells from their childhood. The narrator offers the following about his youth:

“I can’t remember ever seeing my sister and mother and father all in the same place at the same time, not even at dinner. I’m not sure if my sister remembers all of this the same way. You can’t tell with her and also she might be crazy. She looks like someone who has spent time in a sanitarium. I think our father spent a lot of time at the park and on his way home he’d stop at the ROTC. I’d find flyers under my bedroom door almost every day.”

At the same time, the narrator is also trying to manage his latest wife, a fellow gambler who might be scamming him. Will the protagonist ever be Rotarian of the Year? Probably not. But you will wish him every success.

The protagonist in “Guiding Eyes for the Blind Dog Training School” is a childless smart-ass biding his time in suburbia with his wife:

“I don’t think I belong here, in this community, but I’m doing what I can, what’s expected. Everyone here wears golf shirts tucked into Bermuda shorts, and boat shoes. Everyone here drinks domestic beer from cans and has procreated at least once. They drive tanks, shuttling children to camp to hockey to soccer to arts and crafts to the mall.”

Later, our hero offers his stance on home maintenance: “There’s certain shit you have to do if you’re stupid enough to buy a house out here. You have to cut grass. You have to shovel snow . . . you have to rake leaves, but this is where I draw the line. There’s nothing so fucking pointless as raking leaves.” But his neighbors’ home catches fire, killing their son. By story’s end, the narrator all but admits to being changed by the tragedy, and begins to inch towards maturity.

If you haven’t noticed yet, Lopez can also be funny. “Anytime, Sweet” might be the most absurd and fantastic story ever set in a diner. “How to Direct a Major Motion Picture,” Good People’s final story (and co-written with Samuel Ligon), is a caustic, Machiavellian set of instructions that could either lead to an Oscar or to exile from the film industry. Probably the former.

Does every story in Good People work? No. But many do and are worth reading.…

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