A journal of narrative writing.

Though the days grow shorter, the nights grow cooler, and the back-to-school sales have already come and gone, we’re thrilled nevertheless to present our new summer issue of Conte (a tad later than usual) since it’s hotter than a July 4th grill!

The ten potent poems in this issue are among the most expansive and daring that we have ever published, as they capture a broad range of voices, forms, and themes that are unified by their exquisite craft and emotional integrity. We begin with an intimate and ruminative prose-poem by our old friend and returning contributor Mark Cox, which is counterbalanced by Gabriel Arquilevich’s witty and scathing “To the Summer Poets Conferencing the Ski Resort.” Next, we showcase three exceptional poems by Alexandra Teague before moving on to Claudia M. Stanek’s somber “14th St., Buffalo, NY.” Nicole Cooley’s “Self Portrait as the Oldest Daughter” remains muscular and imagistic despite its brevity, and we follow her short poem with one of the longest we’ve ever featured in Cynthia Nitz Ris’ “Uncharted Waters,” which is a testament to the dramatic monologue’s capacity to conjure the characters, struggles, and passions of a bygone milieu. Finally, we round out this issue’s offering of verse with the unsettling gallows humor of Emari DiGiorgio’s “What to Wear on the Day I Might Die” before closing with Lawrence Wray’s taut and aching elegy “Last Effects.”

Our five prose selections begin with Gerri Brightwell’s “North,” a rugged yarn of survivalism with an emotional core as rugged and raw as the Alaskan wildnerness it takes place in. We follow this with Susan Chehak’s “What She Didn’t Do,” a haunting, Lydia-Davis-esque tale of alienation that casts its protagonist as an adversary in her own life. Next, PD Mallamo whisks us over the border for the gritty and strangely touching “Sun and the Moon,” a story as unflinching as it is redemptive. Linda Rebeiz’s lyrical and evocative “The Harmattan” follows, hurling us directly into the path of its metaphorical storm. Finally, we offer up “Citizen’s Interruptus” by Mark Mondalek, whose dark, suspicious world bricks us in with a slow crawl, one patient block at a time.

So let your windows linger open a little while longer, dear reader. There’s enough sunshine left to dry the linens clipped to your clothesline. We hope you’ll let the majesty of this, our nineteenth issue, wash over you like scattered spray from a sprinkler’s arc.

Adam, Robert, Eric, & Stacie