Archive for the ‘Contributors’ Category

Why We Chose It: “A Slow Poem” by Daniel Liebert

By Matt Valades, Poetry Editor

Back in the pre-virus Fall of 2019, a seemingly distant past grown fond and yellow at the edges, when the coming year held only promise instead of plague, the poetry editors here at The Greensboro Review sat down less than six feet from editor-in-chief Terry Kennedy to discuss and select poems. I happened to bring up “A Slow Poem” by Daniel Liebert, one of a series of similar short prose poems in his submission. While many of these poems stayed with us, both Julia, my coeditor, and I admired this one most, the first in the set.

“A Slow Poem” struck us for its economy as well as its tension between the casual voice and intense, lucid images that, as Terry brought up in our meeting, raise the stakes over the course of the poem. This poem, unusually, does not have an “I” in it, no involved speaker for the reader to identify with. Instead, the separate images in the poem’s hypothetical poem become more specific as it proceeds from “a madman scrubbed and suited for visitor’s day,” then culminates in final lines that are simply unforgettable. The circular, repeating syntax and phrasing describes a poem in the act of its own making, which fits well with its quiet build. A lack of sentimentality but a powerful feeling comes from this poem, despite being only four short sentence fragments. We finished reading it together feeling curiously satisfied but not quite sure how, a good sign.

We chose it to close out the issue for its sense of closure with a lightness of touch. Hopefully, the poem’s care and power offers some much-needed (though temporary) satisfaction to readers of Issue 107. We think it will.


Matt Valades is a poet and recent MFA graduate from The University of North Carolina – Greensboro. His poems have been published in Subtropics and Carolina Quarterly, while a review of his has appeared in PN Review (UK).

Why We Chose It: “The Fair” by Will Hearn

By Evan Fackler, Fiction Editor

When Nic, the African-American narrator of Will Hearn’s story “The Fair,” travels to Neshoba County to meet his girlfriend’s all-white family for the first time, his interactions are shadowed by the general history of race in the American South, as well as the specific history of the murder of several Civil Rights activists in the area during the Civil Rights Movement. Meanwhile, Nic’s own upbringing in Louisiana and his knowledge of (and love for) the Creole language (as opposed to his girlfriend’s continental French) come to mark him in complex ways as a body differently situated within the cultural and historical space of The Fair. 

In prose both strikingly clear and richly evocative, “The Fair” is both deeply personal and profoundly political. It’s a story that explores not only how the histories we share end up coloring the specific ways we relate to one another across various sites of difference, it also explores the central irony of this legacy: that we are rarely ever actually present for those historical moments that give context to our most intimate interactions. The pervasive but unsettling disembodiedness of this shared history is suggested by Nic’s experience of the faira place where he goes throughout the story without ever being able to fully recall it.

This is complex and interesting work, and a prime example of what I search for when I’m reading through submissions for The Greensboro Review: stories that locate a shared political and cultural history within the minutiae of daily, intimate life.

Will Hearn’s “The Fair” appears in our new Spring 2020 Issue 107.


Evan Fackler is an MFA candidate in fiction at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he lives with his wife and their cat, Zadie. His reviews and interviews can be found at Entropy Magazine and storySouth.

Happy pub day to Jennie Malboeuf

Congrats to , whose debut collection, God had a body, is out today from Indiana University Press!

“Animals in Captivity,” appeared in the GR 106 this past fall.

“There is a fierce spirituality and mordant wit in God had a body, Jennie Malboeuf’s first book of poems. Here is a poet with a transformative vision of divine and earthly enterprise as well as a sharp eye for the repercussions of physical detail.  Malboeuf’s use of enactments and embodiments—actions and images—startle and awaken the reader to a powerful new voice in American poetry. What a glorious debut collection.”

Stuart Dischell, author of Children with Enemies

Happy Pub Day to Anthony Varallo

All of us at The Greensboro Review congratulate Anthony Varallo, former GR contributor, on the publication of his novel, The Lines (University of Iowa Press, August 2019). Set in the summer of 1979, when America was running out of gas, The Lines tells the story of a family of four—the mother, the father, the girl, and the boy—in the first months of a marital separation.

Happy pub day!

“A darkly cutting investigation of dysfunction in which the kids, more often than not, are way sharper than the parents.”—Kirkus starred review


Why We Chose It: “Violation” by Sharon Solwitz

By Richard Moriarty, Fiction Editor

What we loved about Sharon Solwitz’s “Violation” (in our Spring Issue 105) when we first encountered the story was how seamlessly it alternates between two very different perspectives while maintaining a consistent point of view. Attempting this style of narration comes with plenty of challenges: it’s hard enough to capture all the complexities of just one character’s perspective as a story unfolds. Sydney is a high school student recently bereaved of her younger sister; McCann is a police officer who carries the guilt of failing to prevent a shooting while on duty at the school where he worked. The events of the story elucidate the struggles of these two very different characters; they also manage to depict the common ground between them. The fine balance of character summary and present action in this story creates this sense of a similarity in experience between the characters. Sydney cannot listen to her friend describing her own familial difficulties without becoming wrapped up in her own: the narration allows us to feel her regret for not being able to treat her sister better while she was still alive. McCann is unable to so much as sit down by himself for a meal at home without his thoughts drifting back to the day he was taking his lunch break when the shooter entered the school’s library; we can feel his remorse because of the way his memories follow him throughout the story.

“Violation” is the work of an author who knows her characters so thoroughly that she can move around in time—stepping back into the past or throttling ahead into the future—to provide an insightful detail at just the right moment in a scene so it deepens our understanding of her characters without distracting us from the moment at hand. From our first read of the story, we were convinced the series of events that unfold was the right sequence needed to render its characters as close to life-like as possible. After encountering characters as richly detailed as Sydney and McCann, we decided to accept the story right away.


Richard Moriarty just finished his second year in the MFA program at UNC Greensboro. He’s originally from Kansas City. He went to University of Miami (the Florida one) for undergrad, where he studied advertising. He’s working on a collection of stories tentatively titled River Runners. Books currently on his nightstand: The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington, Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, and Run the Red Lights by Ed Skoog.