Author Archives: artificebooks


Citizen J on Tour



Citizen J small

“‘Stylishly gun powdered’ and slickly political, Olszewska’s addictive poems are fast, fidgety, and charmingly noirish. Hyper wordplay makes for dangerous gunplay; ‘this isn’t a game/for blanks.’ Beware Citizen J.”

—Robyn Schiff, author of Revolver and Worth

14.95 + 3, shipping this September






Hello again.


You can preview work by A5 contributors Molly Brodak, Laura Kochman, Gabriel Blackwell, and Russ Woods by going to the main site and clicking on the giant red rectangle. Preorders are still open and SHIPPING IS FREE FOR ALL ORDERS PLACED DURING THE NEXT TWO WEEKS.





I have many more nice things to say about these three majesties than anyone has patience to listen to, so I’ll stick to the basics. Jess has worked extensively on events for public & private nonprofits and knows pretty much everyone everywhere, to say nothing of how much I enjoy and admire her writing (check out her new echap &roaring&roaring). Alban is steadily building an intimidating portfolio of cover designs for publishers like Curbside Splendor, Mud Luscious Press, H_NGM_N BKS, Tiny Hardcore Press, and YesYes Books (his work on Corey Zeller’s Man vs. Sky just slays me, and have you seen Frequencies, Vol. 1?). He’s the sole proprietor over at smooth Grand Rapids pebble trnsfr.  Jeannette has been editing at Love Symbol Press for a while now, and I couldn’t be more excited about bringing on her poetic sensibility (read small breaks of light!), permanent enthusiasm, and intensely sweet disposition.


Everyone who sent in an application has our thanks, and we’ll respond to all of you in the order we received your emails. Thanks for your patience so far. We will be filling the remaining positions (1 Content Editor + 1 Assistant Editor), over the next several weeks. If you haven’t applied yet and would like to work at Artifice, you still have time! Go here for descriptions of each position and how to apply.


Once again, those who love Artifice and want to hold it close can take the first step here.






Last Wednesday, Tadd posted a note announcing that Curbside Splendor is taking Artifice on as an imprint, and that I have signed on as editor. Those are true things. Curbside and Artifice are an ideal match, and I couldn’t be more excited about working on the next phase in the expansion of this little magazine.

What changes for you, writers, designers? None, for the moment. Artifice 5 is ready to go to press—Tadd and I have been sending out acceptance letters for a while now—and as soon as it goes, work on 6 will start. Submissions remain open. Those of you who didn’t hear back from us this round, please don’t withdraw. We still have your work and are considering it for the next issue. Thanks to all for your patience.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be filling five new editorial positions at Artifice. We’re looking for people who know what we’ve done so far and what gets us all excited, but who also have clear sight in all directions. We’re looking for people who have some kind of magazine or journal experience. We’re looking for people who live in Chicago, though living somewhere else will not be a dealbreaker in every case.

We need:

– 2 content editors to help with choosing pieces for Artifice 6 and beyond

1 PR editor to manage our Facebook and Twitter accounts, pitch and coordinate events, and be the nice one

– 2 assistant editors to screen incoming submissions, stuff envelopes, and surprise us with freakish confidence and ability

Please send letters of interest along with any other material you think might boost your chances to jobs [at] artificemag [dot] com. As is the case with most small literary magazines, right now we can pay our editors only with love and respect and some free stuff.

I want to thank Tadd for the opportunity to continue the work that he and Rebekah started, and the privilege of working alongside him on the forthcoming issue. Also, thanks to Victor David Giron at Curbside Splendor for bringing us on and for all his support. Final thanks to all of you who have ever sent Artifice your writing or bought a copy. More issues and new projects to come.

❤ Peter

Editor’s Note

Hey guys. It’s been a while. This transition phase we’ve been in has taken a little longer than expected. That’s okay. Sometimes good things come out of longer than-expected transition phases.

For example: Curbside Splendor, that rockstar of Chicago publishing, is taking on Artifice Magazine as an imprint. This will mean better distribution and a more regular schedule, not to mention the fact that the folks at Curbside are awesome to hang out with.

For another example: Peter Jurmu is coming on as an editor. Peter’s worked as fiction editor at Redivider and Catch Up Magazine. He’s been working with me on Artifice 5, and he’ll be taking over as Ed-in-Chief for Issue 6. I’m pretty thrilled to have him come on our staff. He’s a fantastic editor and, like the folks at Curbside, a lot of fun to hang out with.

As for me, I’ll be hanging back a bit, working on Artifice Books, helping out occasionally with the magazine. I love this magazine, but I never intended it to be my project alone. I’m sincerely grateful for the people on staff and on our board who have helped out over the years: Ian McCarty, Alvilde Falck, Kaisa Cummings, Laura Donnelly, Roxane Gay, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Elizabeth Lyons, Colin Raymond, and Kathleen Rooney. And particularly to Rebekah Silverman, who started Artifice Magazine with me, and helped make it so much of what it is, and what it will continue to be. I am glad that I have been able to be part of such an exciting project, and I am glad that it will continue to have a life outside of any one person.

Things We Are Reading Right Now

Mason Johnson is playing Pokemon instead of reading. If he were reading, he would be reading I Love Science by Shanny Jean Maney. Or Chew vol. 5.

Julia Hendrickson is reading Color Plates by Adam Golaski (Rose Metal Press, 2010), a collection of short stories that recreate the narratives behind the Impressionist paintings of Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, and Edgar Degas; and is about to crack open Marcel Proust’s Days of Reading, in a tiny beautiful edition from Penguin’s Great Ideas Series.

She’s also reading The Studio, which is part of Whitechapel’s Documents of Contemporary Art series. It’s an interesting compilation of essays on the subject of the artist’s studio, put together by Jens Hoffmann. Some of the texts are only loosely related to the theme, but it’s historically useful and a diverse read; an answer and a challenge to the recent Studio Reader.

James Tadd Adcox just finished I Love Science, and plans to say nice things about it in some public forum. It really is a fantastic book. He’s also reading Darcie Dennigan’s Madame X, Joshua Young’s To the Chapel of Light, and Emily Kendal Frey & Zachary Schomburg’s OK, Goodnight.

Kaisa Cummings is reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck right now. Summer is a good time for big literary commitments like that.

Russ Woods, who tends to dip in and out of books a lot, is currently reading Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel, A Journey Around My Room by Xavier de Maistre, The Malady of the Century by Jon Leon, and Issue 3.1 of Gigantic Sequins.

Alex Allison is reading The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood, and received and spun through the excellent I Am A Very Productive Entrepreneur by Mathias Svalina. He intends to heavily steal from both books in the future.

Meghan Lamb is reading Michel Houellebecq’s The Elementary Particles. She would like to note that it makes her sad thinking about covert masturbation, flaccid penises, and sickness as a metaphor for all things (all subjects that she can never get enough of, it would appear).

Matt Rowan is reading Iceberg by Paul Kavanagh (“a really wonderful story with all the really excellent fantasy of a Roald Dahl novel but something much more sinister, as well”);

God Bless America: Stories by Steve Almond (“like reading George Saunders mixed with Jim Shepard. Does that make sense? Doesn’t matter. Almond’s got his finger on the pulse of what shapes and sizes we Americans come in. It’s nice to see a collection with a title that’s paradoxically satirical and sincere at the same time. “);

Why They Cried by Jim Hanas (“a surprisingly fun collection of stories, interesting reading it alongside Steve Almond – for both their similarities and the definite stylistic distinctions”);

Letters From Robots by Diana Salier  (“Diana does fractured prose poetry – if I’m not totally mislabeling her work – as well as anyone. Tons of lyricism. Turns of phrase that ring in your ear”);

and Revelation by Colin Winnette (“Colin has this amazing way with words. Truly admirable. Very enviable. That bastard’s done it again”).

Red Lightbulbs/Artifice Reading This Tuesday


1. We are watching the Poland vs. Czech Euro Cup game right now and we have a really bad feeling about Poland’s chances.

2. Update: We were right to have a bad feeling about Poland’s chances.

3. This Tuesday, June 19th, we’re going to be co-hosting a reading with the fantastic Red Lightbulbs at Beauty Bar. Readers will include Tyler Gobble, Michelle Sinsky, Joshua Kleinberg, Russ Woods (reading the words of Cassandra Gillig, who is underage and can’t come inside), Russell Jaffe and Cassandra Troyan reading! Plus possible TBA readers!

4. Beauty Bar is at 1444 W. Chicago Ave, in case you didn’t know or couldn’t remember.

5. There is a suggested donation of $5.

6. If you haven’t checked out the new issue of Red Lightbulbs, you should. It’s here.

Notes on Submissions, Editorial Process, Loving Stampedes

It’s that time of the year (Monday, April 7th), and we’ve been throwing ourselves into the submissions pile for Artifice 5 with abandon. Here are a few things we’ve been noticing, w/r/t all that, both about our editorial process as well as our submissions:

1. We mentioned this on Facebook earlier, but dang, y’all, poetry is killing it this time around. We’re waiting for fiction writers to step up.

2. Specifically, we’re waiting to open up that one submission that turns out to be a fiction submission that we realize we love like we’ve never loved anything on a page before. We want that to happen SO BAD right now.

3. Particularly fiction that does something interesting with the space of the page.  Fiction that requires us to worry about how we’re going to lay it out. In the best of cases, maybe, fiction that we don’t even want to accept, because we know what a pain-in-the-ass layout’s going to be, except that of course we will accept it, because it is so wonderful.

4. Re: poetry. We tend to really go for multiple poems that are part of a larger project. (See, for example, the Kent Leatham poems in Issue 2, available for preview here.)

5. So far we have accepted: a drama written by artificial intelligence; a memo from the Regrets Office; a loving stampede; and at least one exception. So we’re probably good for those.

Though we’re always up for reading more exceptions.