Sommer Schafer, “The Great Unraveling”

Brenda Peynado, “True Love Game”

Abby Geni, “Porcupines in Trees”

Eric Kraft, “Why I Write”

Laura Maylene Walter, “Museum of Menarche”


Beth Ann Fennelly, “The Parable of the Armoire,” “Emulsionar, “The Neighbor, the Chickens, and the Flames”

Elissa Washuta, “The American Fencing Handbook”

Ann Glaviano, “Fred, Darling”

Kate Partridge, “See Alaska Before You Die”

Steven Moore, “The Road to Kama Daka”


Raymond Gibson, “from Tsalmaveth: I, II, III, V”

Alicia Mountain, “Upland Honest”

Kay Cosgrove and Lauren Hilger, “Halloween as Catullus”

H. R. Webster, “Snapdragon” and “What Follows”

Kate Nitze, “Etiquette”

Andrew Koch, “Giant” and “Bathymetry”

Willie VerSteeg, “Recreation”

Sonya Bilocerkowycz, “)))” and “Fatalism: after the borscht and before the cutlet”

 Quinn Lewis, “The Tearing Away”

Emily Vizzo, “‘On the mosquito you are simply wild,’ Davis said. ‘All who agree with you are wild.'” and “’The question was whether the entire American venture in Panama could be rescued from humiliating defeat'”

George Looney, “The Rule that Makes Its Subject is a Sentence of Hard Labor,” and “Stupidity is a Better Kept Secret than Displayed.”

Zhang Zhao, “Chef” (translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain)

Amorak Huey, “Ginsberg in Kalamazoo”

Colby Gates, “The Soul is a Hand Dried from Washing”

Audrey Gradzewicz, “The World Without R” and “Nocturne”

Benjamin Myers, “Listening to Reggae at the Nashville Airport”

Paige Lewis, “The River Reflects Nothing”

Melissa Cundieff-Pexa, “Who Now to Rebel Against” and “Snakes”

Special Feature: 2016 Literary Award Winners

Anna Leahy, “Marrying Absurd: An Update” (creative nonfiction)

Brandon Rushton, “Incident Ending in the Dissolution of a Time Traveler,” “Exploration of the Self as Separate Species,” “Totalitarian Methods of the New Trapeze Tutor,” “Portrait of the Body Post-Hibernation,” and “Meditations on Municipal Revenge” (poetry)

Megan Cummins, “The Beast” (fiction

Art Feature

Meadow Jones, “The Poster Children Want Us to Save the World”

Where We’re At

Anna Sidigu, “Sister, Sister”

Will Schwartz, “The Boredom and the Passion” 

Editorial Staff

Editor: Jodee Stanley

Fiction Editor: Philip Graham

Poetry Editor: Janice N. Harrington

Assistant Editors: Michael Hurley, Caitlin McGuire, Katherine Scott Nelson

Editorial Assistants: Chekwube Danladi, John Dudek, Nolan Grieve, Ceridwen Hall, Michael Hurley, Damian Johansson, Roya Khatiblou, Katherine Kendig, Skyler Lalone, Calgary Martin, Caitlin McGuire, Zachariah McVicker, Natalie Mesnard, Taylor Micks, Laney Ontiveros, Annah Sidigu, Will Schwartz, Kristin Walters, Jess Williard

Editorial Intern: Randi Clemens

Art Directors: Nan Goggin and Brock Landrum

Designers: Jessica Chen, Katie Gamble, Meadow Jones, Mitchell Oliver, Eric Pryor, Anna Renken, Amanda Sturgill, Xue (Lemon) Zhai

Support at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

College of Fine and Applied Arts
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of English
LAS Humanities Council
Office of the Chancellor
Office of the Provost
School of Art and Design

Individual Sponsors

Patron: Sarah Knox, M.D., John Hall, M.D.

Friend: Raina Bahns, Gladys Justin Carr, Joan Golder, Kathleen Harleman

Information about supporting Ninth Letter can be found at; all donations and gifts to Ninth Letter are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.