Category Archives: Lit Mags

Tonight’s Google Hangout with Gum Tree Live!

true stories, live reading, lit mag


Don’t forget about tonight’s Google Hangout with Gum Tree Live, at 5 pm Pacific time.

Here’s our Google+ site. 

Here’s the Under the Gum Tree Facebook page. The link to the reading will be in one or both of those places. Please join us for a cross-continent live reading of true stories by great writers.


Fourth Anniversary for Under the Gum Tree

true stories, creative nonfiction, litmusI received my print copy of Issue 17 today. It’s a fat one– 108 pages! And it is, as always, beautiful. The art on the cover and inside are interpretations of poetic forms by Scott Helmes, an artist who introduced himself to us at AWP in Minneapolis. I was quite pleased to find his work had been selected by our Art Director.

Make sure you check out Brad Guillory‘s piece, “Lyrics and Panic: The time my mom found my tapes and the devil,” it is really funny and perfect for October. He put a link to both of the TV specials he refers to in the piece on his website. And we have a 24-frames piece this issue, a real monster. It is so long, it really should be a Feature, but we’re thrilled to have Ben Winterhalter‘s amazing writing for this department.

If you write true stories about film (or music or food!), check out Under the Gum Tree. October is open submission month, which means there is no fee to submit.

Please mark your calendars for #gumtreelive! On October 21 at 5 pm Pacific time, you can join a handful of our Issue 17 contributors on a Google Hangout as they read excerpts from their pieces to celebrate this new issue. More information is at the Under the Gum Tree Facebook page.

Thanks for your support!


Summer Reading: True Stories

#undergumtree #telltruestories I love getting the email notice that the new Issue of Under the Gum Tree has arrived! It means, of course, that all of my team’s hard work has produced a thing of beauty that others can enjoy. It means that it is almost time to get to work on the next issue. And although I’ve already read every word between the covers several times, it means that my print copy will soon arrive, and I get to sit in the shade by the pool and read them all again.under the gum tree, creative nonfiction

The publisher had an Amazon-related snafu recently where all of our subscribers were deleted and their subscriptions cancelled! Major snafu for a little lit mag like us. Each issue we just about cover our operating costs (we are a 100% volunteer staff!). Though Janna contacted every subscriber individually, most haven’t taken the time yet to solve the problem.  Our goal is to reach 100 subscribers before Issue 18.

Will you help?

If you’ve previously subscribed, then, yes, really, you do need to subscribe again. Sorry for the trouble. If you haven’t before, consider it now. Beautiful art and photography, stunning high quality design, and true stories.

“The editors of Under the Gum Tree have created lovely space for creative nonfiction and visual art, prioritizing connection between artists, readers, writers, between people. It is the kind of publication that makes you feel, and allows the human experience, in all its variety, to coexist in these pages, as well as in the space between these pages and the reader, and in doing so, makes something beautiful.” In Stories (and Art) Without


Issue 16 is available for your summer reading now. In it, you’ll find an excerpt from Nick Jaina‘s musical memoir Get it While You Can, as well as many never-before published pieces of literary magic.

Thanks for your support!

@undergumtree #telltruestories #CNF


The #AWP15 Rundown part 1: Small Press Publishers


The first year I attended the conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, I went as a writer. I was really focused on improving my own writing and hearing amazing authors read their work. That role for me has gradually morphed, and this year I identify more as an editor, and attended the conference as the Senior Editor of Under the Gum Tree #telltruestories. My attention was split between panels and readings that would promote and inspire the literary magazine and those that would help me support my freelance editing clients.

Man, it was a good mix.

At their annual pre-conference meeting, CLMP‘s Jeffrey Leppendorf and SPD‘s Brent Cunningham discussed their respective non-profit service orgs–here to support small presses. They also announced their Firecracker Award winners, which included our friends at Etruscan Press, publisher of Renee D’Aoust‘s Body of a Dancer and Peter Grandbois’ Nahoonkara, two books I often use with my clients and refer back to again and again when I want to be moved by language.

Small presses are so important to today’s publishing landscape, and this was illustrated at panel R154: Small is the New Big: Working with Independent Presses to Build a Literary Career. Two agents from Folio Literary Management (Michelle Brower and Erin Harris), the executive editors of two mid-size presses (Coffee House’s Molly Fuller and Greywolf’s Ethan Nosowsky), and the executive editor of Harper Perennial (Cal Morgan) talked about the role of small presses. The big takeaways:

  • Some agents will shop your work to small presses if they believe they are cultivating the career of a writer at the beginning of his/her career arc, even though small presses don’t pay large (or any) advances.
  • A smaller press might be the best fit for your less commercial book because of the opportunity it provides an author to acquire cultural capital, as well as the small press ability to maximize the possible audience. You will be the big fish in their small pond rather than the other way around.
  • Small presses with good reputations are scouted for talent. Even the execs at the Big Five know that small presses have the most creative, most adventurous writing. They read Greywolf books. They read Coffee House Press books. They even read Nouvella, Rarebird, Semiotext.

Gotta love it.

University Presses are considered small presses, and quite a few panels at #AWP15 were inspired by University Press publications. Like this one:

Published by the University of Nebraska-Gender Programs, the anthology Being: What Makes a Man, was the catalyst for panel R274: Tender Moments: The Role of Tenderness in Men’s Narratives. Kevin Clark, Lee Martin, Dinty Moore and James Engelhart were assembled by Jill McCabe Johnson to have a conversation. No conclusions were drawn, other than the fact that there is a subtext of great tenderness in nearly all of the most admired writing by men. Even Hemingway, Richard Ford. Think about it. My takeaways:

  • Tenderness appears in the moment where the façade we create can’t stand any longer. It is woundedness. It is when the writer is open to his own pain and is able to transcend self-pity. It is when he is aware of other people, when he has empathy for the human conditions.
  • A good writer of any genre and of any gender will focus on language to avoid sentimentality, and as I believe it was Lee Martin said: “Earned sentiment is found in the furniture of the world.”

#AWP15  #underthegumtree  #CNF

Under the Gum Tree 3rd Year Anniversary Reading

Under the Gum Tree Issue 13 October 2014 is here and gorgeous!

Have you purchased your digital or print subscription?

Our three-year anniversary issue features stories by J.J. AnselmiJonny Blevins, Brigitte Bowers, Mary Collins, Lesley HowardCannon Roberts, Kate Washington, and Wendy Patrice Williams. Photo essay by Anna Ladd and visual art by Allen Forrest.

Under the Gum Tree, Sacramento Editor, Janna Marlies Maron, Robin Martin

And you may realize that October is our anniversary month! Every year we do something special. This year, we are starting a new on-line reading series:

Gum Tree Live!

Please join us on Google+ for our premiere broadcast on October 9, 6 pm Pacific.

Click this link October 9 at 6 pm already and you’ll be right in! 


Look how great all the print issues look here on Magcloud.

Thanks for your support of this project.

New York Times Mag, Maud Newton & the Wreckage Tour

Maud Newton, who I know originally from my work with Narrative Magazine, talks about Wreckage of Reason II in her last New York Times Magazine mini-column this weekend, out online today and in the print magazine this Sunday. In her column, titled,”And for the Rest of Us, There’s Twitter,”  Newton writes: 

In her latest story, “How to Shake Hands With a Murderer,” published in the anthology “Wreckage of Reason II,” Elizabeth Bachner turns to ancient myth for inspiration, charting a modern katabasis — a tale of descent into the underworld. Borrowing from “Leda and the Swan” and Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” she creates a lyrical narrative about lost love and the lengths to which the lonely will go to recapture the feeling. “Wreckage of Reason” is a collection of experimental writing…” You can read the rest here. 

This week’s stop on The Blog Tour, features a fascinating interview with Laynie Browne and Julianna Baggott.

Also, last week, WoRII blog tour organizer Lillian Ann Slugocki posted Holly Anderson’s link to her Author’s Corner Interview. Check it out!
WORII contributors Margarita Meklina & Karen Lillis did a reading at Bird & Beckett Books with two other women experimentalists in San Francisco on July 27th. (Sorry to get the word out late; for sure it is sad to have missed it!)  It was called “Fertile Chaos: Experiments in Prose & Narrative.” One of those other women experimentalists was my colleague at Narrative Magazine, Olga Zilberbourg. About her: “Where Does the Sea Flow, a short film based on one of Olga’s stories, was short-listed at the Manhattan Short Film Festival. Olga’s English-language writing has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Santa Monica Review, Eleven Eleven Journal, Café Irreal, Mad Hatters’ Review, Prick of the Spindle, HTMLGiant, and other print and online publications. Olga serves as a consulting editor at Narrative Magazine.” 

The literary world is indeed a small one.  Best of luck to Maud Newton on her book. Hi Olga! Sorry to have missed your reading.

Wreckers, keep on working it! 


Under the Gum Tree begins its third year

Sacramento Editor, Robin Martin, Twosongbirdspress, Under the Gum Tree, Janna Marlies MaronExciting things are happening at Under the Gum Tree.  My friend and colleague Janna Marlies Maron is stepping it up with more creative non-fiction stories and beautiful visual art.

I’m very excited about this event: a cross-country cross-time zone reading. On November 15th at 6 p.m. PST, we’re celebrating with a party here in Sacramento, where Under the Gum Tree has its home base. Our readers around the country will be having their own parties, complete with large-screen TV and video cameras. Party brought to you via Google + and Hangout.

 I hope to see you there.

Look at this gorgeous cover on Issue 9. Do you have your copy yet?