For its fifth issue, Broad Street brings together true stories told through powerful, evocative writing, stunning photography, and gorgeous graphic design. The new issue features new, original work: poems by Sherod Santos and essays by Peter Grandbois, Walter Cummins, Valley Haggard, and many more. Broad Street’s previous issues have been noted by the Pushcart Prize and featured in Writer’s Digest. Now, more than ever, Broad Street believes in the power of true stories, honestly. Says legendary essayist and editor Phillip Levine: “Broad Street is a consistently lively and intelligent literary journal with a daringly eclectic aesthetic. It tries harder, and it succeeds.” Online at broadstreetonline.org.
I bought and read this magazine because I know one of the contributors (I won’t say which)—and I found I couldn’t put it down! First of all, it’s beautiful, even on my old laptop—so much gorgeous art interacting with the essays and poems. I was especially impressed by the diversity of takes on the theme—a lot of the work is about how one small thing triggers a chain of memories and emotions that overwhelm the writer for good or for bad. There’s one long essay about finding a tiny doll and a book in a mother’s things and how those objects unlock the writer’s past. And a couple of pieces about what the tiny holes for earrings mean … and one that compares reading Emily Dickinson and her technique to looking at bacteria under a microscope! There’s a lot of really sad stuff too, and heartbreak—one of my favorite stories was about a man who has to get legal help to commit his wife to an institution in order to protect his children. And a stark list of the various costs of cancer treatment. And a memoir written by a young man who was in a mental institution—wow. But I’ll end my rave review by mentioning some of the happy pieces that lifted my heart back up. I loved “The $4.99 Carwash” and “Worlds Go On”—actually there are three things about soap bubbles, which are small things that bring partial cures! I also loved the photo essay and what the photographer wrote about “street photography” and how you spend years waiting for one little moment to capture. Broad Street is maybe my new favorite litmag.