• purchase issue 27The Northern Virginia Review is an annual publication of essays, fine art, photography, poetry, and short stories produced by the faculty, staff and alumni of Northern Virginia Community College and by residents of the Northern Virginia and greater Washington metropolitan areas.

Come Join us for the TNVR Launch of Volume 28, Thursday March 20th. Details Below:

Vol. 28 Launch Flyer

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TNVR Artwork Deadline Extended to October 15th!!

We have extended the deadline for artwork submissions. Please feel free to send us your work by October 15th.

Adam Chiles

Editor-in-Chief

 

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TNVR is now accepting submissions for Volume 28

Detailed submission guidelines can be found at our website: http://blogs.nvcc.edu/tnvr/

·    The deadline for fiction, non-fiction and poetry submissions is October 15th, 2013.
     The deadline for photography/artwork is September 15th, 2013.
     All accepted work will be considered for our annual contest:

The Northern Virginia Review’s annual contest awards cash prizes for best submissions in poetry, prose, and visual arts. Prizes are awarded at our annual spring reception highlighted by notable guest speakers, most recently award winning poet T.R.Hummer and musician Billy Cioffi, former Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal, Virginia’s former poet laureate Claudia Emerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Henry Allen, and bestselling author David Baldacci.

Works by contributors to The Northern Virginia Review have been published nationally and internationally. Among their many prizes are the Redbook Fiction Prize, first prize for fiction from the Maryland Writers’ Association, the William Carlos Williams Award from the America Academy of Poets, the Dorothy Rosenberg Prize for Lyric Poetry, and frequent Pushcart Prizes nominations.

 

 We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Adam Chiles, Editor-in-Chief
Ruth Stewart, Associate Editor

 

 

 

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The third Annual NOVA Woodbridge Writers’ Retreat

Announcing: The third Annual NOVA Woodbridge Writers’ Retreat: May 15th-18th 2013

The 3rd annual NOVA Woodbridge Writers’ Retreat. Each student manuscript will be critiqued in a panel workshop by three writers in this unique format. Richard Bausch, Tom Zoellner and Robert Bausch will read and respond to each student manuscript in one large group. Enrollments are limited to 18 students. Workshops begin on the evening of Wednesday, May 15th at the Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) in Woodbridge, Virginia. The workshop will run from 8:30 am until 1:30pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There will be afternoon craft talks and evening readings in the theater. Cost: $650.00. This includes dinner Wednesday, breakfast and lunch on Thursday and Friday. Hotel accommodations are available at a reasonable cost. Transportation from hotel to the sight of the workshop, NVCC’s Woodbridge Campus, will be provided.

 

This is the most reasonably priced workshop in the country. Seating must be limited to the first 18 who enroll. For more information about payment and the workshop, please e-mail Robert Bausch at rbausch@nvcc.edu. Or call, (703) 878-5664. Enrollments begin March 5th, 2013. Manuscripts, limited to 15-18 pages max, must be submitted by April 10th, 2012. Novel chapters, short stories, creative non fiction and memoir may be included in the workshop.
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Quarantine by Richmond poet Brian Henry

Quarantine

by Brian Henry

By the time the sun touched the grass
beneath my back where I lay
beside my wife and son who seemed
to be breathing a fog of breath
I thought hung above each mouth
I knew I had died and was dead
though thinking through where I was
as if the thinking could bring me
where death is not an is
instead of where I found myself
watching my wife and son without
seeing them beside me on the ground
but knowing they were there
breathing as I was the air above
the mouths there and perhaps thinking
as I was thinking to keep myself here
where I could not be dead could not be
dead could not be anything but alive
and tracking the sun coming over the trees
even though the moon had not moved
and my wife my son and I were growing
into the grass beneath us and the moon
does not care about the bodies there
in that field on the earth at dawn
the moon cannot see and if
the moon could see it still would not care

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The Heavy Light of Shifting Stars by Maryland poet Michael Collier

The Heavy Light of Shifting Stars

by Michael Collier

                Sometimes the nite is the shape
of a ear only it ain’t a ear
we know the shape of.
-Russell Hoban
Riddley Walker

The huge magnanimous stars are many things.
At night we lower window shades
to mute the sparkling circuitry of the universe;
at day the sun’s clear mist, like a beautiful
cabinetry, shrouds the workings of the sky.

Everything is hidden, everything is apparent,
so that light coming toward us, held
in the faces of our old regrets, is blue;
while the light passing away, blurred
by our stationary focus, is red.

We cannot see these colors with our eyes,
just as we cannot feel the sun pushing the stars
outward or bending the paths of their light.
Years ago when the world was flat, and then even
when the world became round, light was light,

dark was dark, and now, now that the world
is almost nothing compared with all that is-
all that we know-light identified each atom
of the universe, and darkness swallows stars
like a whirlpool at the heart of a galaxy.

The huge magnanimous stars are many things.
We look to the sky and ask, What has changed?
Everything.  But nothing we can see, and our seeing
changes nothing, until we move, and moving
we become the light of our atoms moving.

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Book Nine by Richmond poet Kathleen Graber

Book Nine

By Kathleen Graber

      One man prays: How shall I be able to lie with this woman?
Do thou pray thus: How shall I not desire to lie with her?
Another prays thus: How shall I be released from this?
Another prays: How shall I not desire to be released?
—Marcus Aurelius

 

When we are lost in our longings, Aurelius, already it is too late:

 

there is already nothing we can do. I have rarely desired an end

 

to my desires. We are so in love with our wanting. Last week,

 

though doctors were quick to repair it, a baby in India was born

 

grasping her own beating heart in her fist. Today, a Dumpster

 

arrives from Dave’s Trash Removal & I begin to fill it. I toss in

 

a transistor radio that hasn’t worked in years. A man walking past

 

asks if he can take it. Later, he returns & carries off a broken TV.

 

A neighbor salvages the dented gray fuse box; a girl wants a window,

 

a paper bag full of tangled cords. All night I listen to the wind

 

& the echoes of feet kicking through rubbish, like a mouse nesting

 

inside a drum. My older brother is dead a decade. Yet here

 

in its enormous gold frame is the familiar, pastel portrait

 

someone named Maxwell drew for our mother, an inaccurate

 

rendering of the two of us when we were small. I can’t look at it;

 

I can’t throw it away. Every change is a death, you tell yourself,

 

turn thy thoughts now to thy life as a child. . . . One day, I tell myself,

 

I will shut all the doors, leave everything behind. The museum

 

is showing a hundred tricked-out Victorian photographs

 

of that other world: the hoax of floating fairies, women haunted

 

by ghostly blurs. Another century & still we want to believe

 

in what we know cannot be true. Your words, Aurelius, have found me,

 

but you could not. If we are disappointed, we have only ourselves

 

to blame: Wipe out thy imagination. We fill out hands when they are

 

empty. We empty ourselves when we have held too much too long.
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Providence by D.C. area poet Sally Keith

Providence

by Sally Keith

 

The restaurant owner opened the doors
to let in the smell from the sea
which stuck on the breeze. On the table,
a white linen, a low candle, a tiger lily bouquet.
The specials chalked in cursive we read
from a slate, while the waiter, starched shirt
and folded apron, explained them and we ordered,
at first, a carafe of a thinner than usual pale colored wine.
My mother sat across from me.
She did not lean into her elbow on the table, did not
slide her weight up her arm to make a leading shoulder.
The light in her eyes was first a pool, then a line.
Outside the skiffs in exit sailed toward us.
On the corner a crushed Diet Coke can.
What she then told me, I remember.
Salt was exploding all over the sea.

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Erasers by Baltimore poet Mary Jo Salter

Erasers

by Mary Jo Salter

As punishment, my father said, the nuns
would send him and the others
out to the schoolyard with the day’s erasers.

Punishment? The pounding symphony
of padded cymbals clapped
together at arm’s length overhead

(a snow of vanished alphabets and numbers
powdering their noses
until they sneezed and laughed out loud at last)

was more than remedy, it was reward
for all the hours they’d sat
without a word (except for passing notes)

and straight (or near enough) in front of starched
black-and-white Sister Martha,
like a conductor raising high her chalk

baton, the only one who got to talk.
Whatever did she teach them?
And what became of all those other boys,

poor sinners, who had made a joyful noise?
My father likes to think,
at seventy-five, not of the white-on-black

chalkboard from whose crumbled negative
those days were never printed,
but of word-clouds where unrecorded voices

gladly forgot themselves. And that he still
can say so, though all the lessons,
most of the names, and (he doesn’t spell

this out) it must be half the boys themselves,
who grew up and dispersed
as soldiers, husbands, fathers, now are dust.

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Former Automotive Plant by Richmond poet Allison Titus

Allison Titus

FORMER AUTOMOTIVE PLANT

What poor moon deserves this night,
Drab corset of grief.

I know there’s some harmonica
Somewhere, some chicken

Feathers and cord grass that might hold
The dark apart from the body.

But tonight the twilight tethers its husk
To October’s horizon and bears down, until even here

At the edge of this concrete field,
Epic maze of rust and chain link, there is nowhere to go

That isn’t slowly subtracting its ache,
Each long white hour,

From decades of unribboning.

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