Journal – No. 9

Spring/Summer 2008 – Vol. 5, No. 1

Sample Spreads



Natalie Bakopoulos, Jason Napoli Brooks, Blake Butler, Dina Guidubaldi, Said Shirazi, Steve Tomasula, Tom Whalen


Carolyn Alessio, Ron Carlson, Nick Kowalczyk, Susannah B. Mintz, Lia Purpura, Mark Sanders, Arthur Saltzman, Brandy T. Wilson


Erinn Batykefer, Curtis Bauer, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Mary Biddinger, Brian Christian, Adam Clay, David J. Clisbee, Frankie Drayus, Camille Dungy, John Estes, Twilight Greenaway, Francine J. Harris, Leslie Harrison, Tung-Hui Hu, Tim Hurley, David Keplinger, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Daniel Khalastchi, Greg Koehler, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Susan Lewis, Bradford Gray Telford, Miles Waggener, Mark Yakich

Art Feature

Dave King

Editor’s Note

As we began production on this issue in January, we received some sad and surprising news; Arthur Saltzman, author of “Squaring the Circle” in this issue as well as many other essays and numerous books of nonfiction, passed away suddenly at the age of fifty four. He left behind a terrific body of literary work, and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to present one of his final essays in print.

This issue, being our ninth, is a somewhat special anniversary forNinth Letter. Four years and still going strong, still experimenting and still expanding—not literally, I hope, or soon you’ll be able to incorporate our issues into your daily workout. In honor of our ninth issue, we’ve invited some of our former designers, alumni of the UIUC School of Art UIUC School of Art & Design, to reminisce about their 9L experience, and you’ll find their words near the end of the issue, in the Where We’re At section. Also in this issue’s WW@ is an odd and funny report by guest author and 9L friend Amy Güth. For more info about Amy’s other terrific writing, check out her website,

In our own corner of the cyberrealm, continues to seek out new works from writers and artists working in the video realm. Recent and upcoming Featured Artists include Caitlin Berrigan, John Bresland, Enid Baxter Blader, Michael Meyers, and Aileen McCormack. We’re also continuing our ongoing collaboration with UIUC’s Department of Theater, and throughout 2008 will be featuring dramatic readings of selected works from current and past issues of 9L, performed by UIUC drama students and available as audio downloads and podcasts.

As long as you’re online, go check out Luna Park Review, Travis Kurowski’s new review of literary journals. Anything you ever wanted to know about contemporary litmag publishing can be found right here.

Now, before you move on to discover the wonderful world of literature on the following pages, take a second to recognize the following people and organizations, without whom Ninth Letter could not exist.

Institutional Support 

  • The Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • College of Fine and Applied Arts
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Critical Research Initiative Program
  • Department of English
  • LAS Humanities Council
  • Office of the Chancellor
  • Office of the Provost
  • School of Art and Design

Individual Sponsors


  • Richard Powers
  • Robert Skiba


  • Kathleen Harleman
  • Keri Kaeding and Steve Danzer

And thanks to our faithful readers, as well as any newbies that have picked up Ninth Letter for the first time. Enjoy this new issue, and many more to come.


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.



Jodee Stanley

Creative Nonfiction Editors

Steve Davenport and Audrey Petty

Poetry Editor

Tyehimba Jess

Fiction Editor

Alex Shakar

Art Editors

Joseph Squier and Nan Goggin

Art Directors

Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud, Daniel Goscha


Agatha Budys, Samuel Copeland, Katherine Clementz, Russel Dietrich, Tirso Gamboa, Joseph Muran, Andrew Nguyen, Brett Tabolt, Anastasia Tumanova, Kristie Weaver, Ho-Mui Wong

Assistant Editors

Lillian Bertram, Jaime Brunton, Adam Deutsch, Andrew Ervin, Aaron Madrigal, Lara Mann, Arley McNeney, Amy Sayre-Roberts

Editorial Assistants

Caroline Duda, Dana Burchfield, Russell Evatt, Cory Holding, Brian Kornell, Matt Minicucci, Paul Pedroza, Micah Riecker, Heather Salus, Christy Scheuer, Crystal Thomas