The Fourth River

A journal of nature and place-based writing, published by Chatham University's MFA in Creative Writing Programs

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Letters from Lindsay House

By on October 6, 2014

I am a person who believes in celebrating one’s own birthday lavishly and extensively. This weekend I did just that with friends and family at my home on Friday night, with my kids at the city’s terrific Children’s Museum on Saturday (note: the Gravity Room is fun for them, not so fun for easily queasy grownups), and with myself and my own writing on Sunday. I ate delicious food, wore my favorite clothes and just generally reflected on the goodness in my life here in Pittsburgh.

Working with the staff of The Fourth River is a big part of that goodness, and I’d like to share with you some of what we’ve been up to lately in a new series I’ll call “Letters from Lindsay House,” in honor of the birds’ nest office on the third floor where all The Fourth River magic happens.  Watch for new posts on the first Monday of the month.

Right now, we are reading through submissions for our 12th print issue, due out in April of 2015, and working on a new blog series called “A Second Look,” in which assistant editors look back at work in our archives and re-introduce us to pieces with fresh eyes. Look for the first post later this week!

Other delights this month include hosting the editors of The Kenyon Review for a Q&A about publishing on October 17th, and participating in the Conversations & Connections conference on October 18th on Chatham’s campus. Editors from The Fourth River will be available during the “Speed Dating” portion of the program to talk one-on-one with participants about their work, and I will join my colleagues from Creative Nonfiction and Barrelhouse to talk about the things editors love to see in a submission, and the things we wish we would see a little less of. Our fiction editor, Marc Nieson, will discuss place as a character in fiction; poetry editor Heather McNaugher will talk about balancing truth in poetry, and our executive editor, Sheryl St. Germain, will join a panel of creative nonfiction writers who concern themselves with the problem of making the personal universal. It’s going to be a great, lively day, capped off with a keynote address by Roxane Gay, author of the novel An Untamed State and the essay collection, Bad Feminist. Registrations are still available, and I encourage you to check it out.

I’ve always loved having a fall birthday. All that color, all for me, right? It’s definitely arrived in Pittsburgh, and today isphoto 1 the first day for tights and the new boots I got for my birthday. This is my most invigorating season—the crisp, colorful edge of everything before the real cold comes. May your sweaters be cozy, your lattes be spiced with pumpkin if that’s your preference, and your writing be as clear and bracing as the breeze through the colorful campus trees. Hope to see you soon!


Sheila Squillante
The Fourth River






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Wiley Cash

Carolina Minded: An Interview with Wiley Cash

By on June 24, 2014

Interview by Rachael Levitt When bestselling author Wiley Cash passed through Pittsburgh on the promotional tour for his award-winning novel A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME, he sat down with THE FOURTH RIVER to talk plot tricks and book deals.

Essay: “The Seedbank of Mount Sutro,” by Elizabeth C. Creely

By on May 26, 2014

  Mount Sutro, a hill in San Francisco, is difficult to characterize. At 908 feet, it’s a very tall hill that comes close to being a small mountain. (Another 92 feet, and it would have that distinction.) Many hundreds of

Essay: “Adhering,” by Nicole Parizeau

By on May 15, 2014

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Interview: Marjorie Agosín

By on April 28, 2014

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issue 11 release flyer

What’s New at The Fourth River?

By on April 8, 2014

  Quite a lot, actually, so thanks for asking!   1.       The Fourth River, Issue 11 Release! On Tuesday, April 15th, we will launch issue 11, which features poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction from some terrific writers, including Barbara Hurd,


Book Review: One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson

By on March 31, 2014

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Book Review: Before and Afterlives, by Christopher Barzak

By on March 19, 2014

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Interview: Adam Tavel

By on March 3, 2014

Adam Tavel received the 2010 Robert Frost Award, and his forthcoming collections are The Fawn Abyss (Salmon, 2014) and Red Flag Up (Kattywompus, 2013), a chapbook. His recent poems appear or will soon appear in West Branch, Indiana Review, Zone


CLOSE READING: “The Pastoral Poem in the Broken World,” by Dilruba Ahmed

By on February 17, 2014

Dilruba Ahmed is the author of Dhaka Dust (Graywolf Press, 2011), winner of the Bakeless Literary Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, Cream City Review, New England Review, New Orleans Review, and Indivisible: Contemporary South Asian American Poetry. Her