Featured Writer: Sheila O'Connor

An excerpt from Evidence of V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, and Fictions (Rose Metal Press, 2019)

Anniversary Special!

In 2019, Ninth Letter celebrates 15 years of publication, and to celebrate, we are offering ALL back issues from volume 1, number 1 to volume 15, number 2, for only $5.95! Prices are good through 12/31/2019. Visit our webstore to order!


Journal – No. 7

Spring/Summer 2007 – Vol. 4, No. 1

Sample Spreads




Chris Abani, Brock Clarke, Stephan Clark, Mickey Hess, Kelly Magee, Daniel Wallace, Kellie Wells


Diana Marie Delgado, Andrew Grace, Benjamin Grossberg, Dory L. Hudspeth, Gary L. McDowell, Karyna McGlynn, Wayne Miller, John Murillo, Sara Pennington, Elizabeth Klise von Zerneck, Thom Ward, Philip White


Terry Caesar, Ben George, Kathleen Kirk, Kim Dana Kupperman, Joe Oestreich, Elena Passarello, Judith Valente, Nicole Walker


Urban Vinyl: Art Toy Phenomenon, Fabiola Elias and Jeffrey T. Jones (writers)

Where We're At

Songs and Poetry: An Interview with John Darnielle by Laura Bandy

Haunting Graceland, by Cory Holding

Halfway House: A History of Horse Thieves and Hospitality, by Amy Sayre-Roberts

Editor's Note

Happy spring everyone! Things at Ninth Letter are growing and expanding in so many new and exciting ways it’s hard to keep track of them all—we’ve got our design team settled into a new studio space on the UI campus, thanks to the good people in the School of Art & Design, and genius designer Mason Kessinger has set us up with a fantastic redesigned web site (www.ninthletter.com) where you can find brand-new online content every month to keep you satisfied during the long stretches between print publications.

Our next Featured Artist to be showcased on ninthletter.com will be Jan Erkert, renowned choreographer and head of the UI Dance Department. Jan will be working with a team of artists, including our own Daniel Goscha, to create a dance/video hybrid electronic art project.

As always, we couldn’t keep up the good fight for art and literature without the support of many wonderful people on campus and in the community. On behalf of the staff of Ninth Letter, I offer our thanks to the following people and organizations:

Institutional Support

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

Individual Sponsors

  • Publisher 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.




Jodee Stanley

Creative Nonfiction Editor

Steve Davenport

Poetry Editor

Tyehimba Jess

Art Editors

Joseph Squier and Nan Goggin

Art Director

Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud


Natalie Berberet, Kyrsten Blinstrup, Laurie Cheng, Sam Copeland, Kelly Cree, Megan Delaney, Fabiola Elias, Diana Jarvis, Jeffrey Jones, Borami Kang, Kristen King, Jonathan Lopez, Clinton Miceli, Hank Patton, Megan Severson, Ashley Skinner Brett Tabolt, Cathy Wendt, Ho-Mui Wong

Assistant Editors

Christine Bryant Cohen, David Coyoca, Adam Deutsch, Andrew Ervin, Harmony Neal, Juan Sánchez, T ed Sanders, Amy Sayre-Roberts, Leslie Singleton

Editorial Assistants

Lillian Bertram, Jaime Brunton, Eve Eure, Russell Evatt, Rebecca Faught, Cory Holding, Brian Keyes, Aaron Madrigal, Arley McNeney, Lara Mann, Jackie May, Christy Scheuer

Now Available! Volume 16, no. 1 - Spring/Summer 2019

Featuring new work from: George David Clark, Millie Tullis, nicole v basta, Beth Kephart, Jacob Aiello, Steve Tomasula, Alex McElroy, Melanie Ritzenthaler, and more. Plus: The Audacity of Language: Eight CantoMundo Poets


2019 Best of the Net

Nominees Announced!

We're delighted to announce that 9L has nominated the following works from our Summer 2018 and Winter 2019 editions for the 2019 Best of the Net anthology:

Katie M. Flynn, The King of South Phoenix
Jess Williard, The Spoils
KB Kinkel, Recambrian
Shangyang Fang, Tether
Jason Gray, Letter from the Frozen City
Beth Gilstrap, How to Tattoo a Disordered Woman
Lauren W. Westerfield, That Same Summer
E. Kristin Anderson, Find an Answer in Floorboard or Flowers
Darci Schummer, The Veil
Natalie Wee, When my grandmother begins to forget

Some Kind of Second Heart: New Bulgarian Writing

Current Web Edition: Summer 2019

Featuring Jessica Staricka, Danielle Dubrasky, GE Gilbert, Kristine Langley Mahler, Johann Sarna, Cullen Whisenhunt, Sara Baxter, Harris Lahti, Alyse Knorr, Demi Anter, Len Lawson, Kailey Tedesco, Rachel J. Bennett  


Featured Writer: Katherine Vaz

Featured Writer: Emily Arnason Casey

"Sorrow Is a Mother," from Made Holy (Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction, University of Georgia Press, 2019)

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.