Winter 2013

Welcome to Ninth Letter's Winter 2013 web edition. This first-ever complete online issue of 9L showcases student writing, and features our favorite poetry and fiction by creative writing students across the continent.


Web Issue #1




















Contributors' Notes

J. Scott Brownlee is a Writers in the Public Schools Fellow at NYU, here he teaches poetry to undergraduates and second graders through the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, RATTLE, Nashville Review, BOXCAR Poetry Review, and elsewhere. A poet-of-place, Brownlee writes primarily about the people and landscape of rural Texas. His book-length work, County Lines, was recently named a Semifinalist for the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.

Matthew Burnside is author of Escapologies, forthcoming from Red Bird Press. He attends the Iowa Writers' Workshop and serves as managing editor of Mixed Fruit magazine. He keeps a list of his sins at

Portia Elan holds degrees in medieval history and library science: she knows a great deal about heresy, Dewey, and queer politics, but little-to-nothing about chemistry, coffee-making, or Romanticism. Her poems can be found in The Journal, PANK, and Birdfeast. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Lisa Fay Coutley's poems have been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers' Conferences, and an Academy of American Poets Levis Prize. Her chapbook In the Carnival of Breathing won the Black River Chapbook Competition (Black Lawrence Press, 2011).

Samantha Deal grew up in Boone, North Carolina, and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a BA in comparative literature and a minor in creative writing. While at Chapel Hill, she received honors in creative writing. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming in: The Cellar Door, Cold Mountain Review, Inkwell, The Journal, and The North Carolina Literary Review, where she was a finalist for the 2012 James Applewhite Poetry Prize. Currently, she is pursuing her MFA in creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Andy Hobin is an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech, where he edited fiction for the minnesota review. Find his work in The Rumpus, Midwestern Gothic, Staccato, Communicating Literature, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and A Prairie Home Companion's "First Person" series. Favorite animals: sandpipers, not-yappy dogs, hummingbirds. Least favorite: peacocks, cats, alligators.

Nathan Logan's latest chapbook is Arby's Combo Roundup (Mondo Bummer, 2010). He runs Spooky Girlfriend Press and is a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of North Texas.

Gerardo Mena is a decorated Iraqi Freedom veteran. He spent six years in Spec Ops with the Reconnaissance Marines and was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal with a V for Valor for multiple acts of bravery. He has won several awards, has twice been nominated for a Pushcart, and was selected for Best New Poets 2011. For more information go to

Katie Jean Moulton is the Associate Editor of Indiana Review. Her work is forthcoming in Post Road and Columbia. She is an MFA candidate at Indiana University, where she was awarded fellowships in fiction and for international travel.

Beatrice Adela Mora graduated from Sarah Lawrence this winter with a BA in Liberal Arts. Originally from Orange County, California, she studied Theater, Poetry, Film, and Latin American Studies as an undergrad, and hopes to remain multi-dimensional in her professional pursuits.

Brianna Noll is a PhD candidate in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in CutBank, Salamander, The Pinch, Redivider, Silk Road, and elsewhere.

Eric Paul is a writer and musician from Providence, Rhode Island. He has been the lyricist and vocalist for various experimental music acts. Eric has released over ten albums in his fifteen year career and performs regularly worldwide; he is currently earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Steel Toe Books releases Kentuckian Ron Paul Salutsky's first book of poems, Romeo Bones, in 2013. A doctoral candidate in English at The Florida State University, Ron fills his time rock climbing, edible landscaping, working for the teacher’s union, and working on a second manuscript, Of the Limits of Love, of a Lamb’s Ear. Find more at

Cara Stoddard is an MFA candidate in nonfiction at the University of Idaho. Her essays and poetry have previously appeared in Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, Knockout, and The Gettysburg Review.

Christine Stroud is currently a candidate for an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University and works as an Assistant Editor for Autumn House Press. She lives in Pittsburgh with her boyfriend and two cats.

Matt Thompson lives in Brooklyn and studies at New York University. His fiction, book reviews, and interviews have appeared in places like Unsaid, Everyday Genius, The Collagist, elimae, Monkeybicycle, and Spork, among others. He is concerned primarily with running long distances.

Laura Usselman is working toward an MFA in fiction at Virginia Tech. She enjoys 1960s television and making her students read Malcolm X and E. B. White, which they dislike but which might someday be good for them, like castor oil. Her work has appeared recently in The Coffin Factory's MFA Corner.

Heath Wilcock is finishing up his Bachelor's Degree in English Creative Writing at Arizona State University. He is currently wallowing in the MFA application process. On weekends, he performs improvisational comedy at The National Comedy Theatre. Heath lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter in Tempe, Arizona.



Editor: Jodee Stanley

Assistant Editors: Lora Beros, David Ethan Chambers, Natalie DeClerck, Nicole Emrikson, Lindsay Franklin, Emily Harnden, Gretta Hermes, Monique Lassere, Joseph Park, Sidney Sheehan, Timothy Stilling

Imagery: Harrison Hakes, Kendall McCaugherty, Alejandra Rodriguez, Grace Hamann, Caitlin Howe, Maria Ludeke, Serena Moy, Elaine Palutsis, Will Ryan, Tyler Schmidt, Heather Sitckney,


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