Come on in, the writing’s (super) fine

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Heat does strange, contradictory things: It relaxes and excites us, soothes and provokes us, speeds us up and slows us down. In the heat of the moment, passions ignite. But turn up the heat and watch them critters squirm: "She got me hot, I couldn’t stop," the artist known as Prince once sang. So our annual Summer Fiction issue, hitting the streets each July and fueled by our finalists’ high-octane imaginations, takes advantage of readers’ steamy relaxation to cook up a seductive literary concoction. Whew! And with more than 350 submissions to read through, more than ever before, our judges really had to sweat this one out. Their selections — seven short stories, 10 poems and 12 flash fictions — are presented here for your summer reading pleasure. Take a runner and dive right in.

The judges

With so many submissions to check out, we backed up our crew of experts with a few Metro Times editors and staff writers:

Lolita Hernandez, a down-home fiction writer who works with the UAW-GM Quality Network Program in Communications, is putting together a new collection, Detroit Stories, which for once, she says, "has absolutely nothing to do with the factory."

Joining her in evaluating the prose entries this year was our listings editor, Nate Cavalieri, a true renaissance man who plays keyboards for Detroit rockers the Sights.

Judging the poetry submissions were two of Detroit’s finest poets: Christine Monhollen, editor of Dispatch Detroit and publisher of Doorjamb Press, and poet Dennis Teichman, publisher of Past Tents Press, one of the Motor City’s longest-running literary projects.

Judges for flash fiction (stories of 100 words or less, a category new to our contest this year) included Metro Times managing editor W. Kim Heron, staff writer Sarah Klein and yours truly, arts editor George Tysh.

Special prize

As in the last two years, we’ve selected a writer to be the guest of the Walloon Writers’ Retreat (at Michigania on Walloon Lake), a prize that includes enrollment fee, room and board for the weekend of Sept. 26-29. This year’s winner is Matthew Olzmann, whose poems ("Statistics"; and "When We Both Looked Like Bukowski and The Legends I Built All Let Me Down") appear in these pages. He’ll participate in the fourth annual weekend of workshops, panel discussions and readings with such authors as Eric Jerome Dickey, Ben Hamper, Michael Moore et al.

Short Stories

Trip to the Jubilee Barn  -David G. Hardin
The End of the World  -George Dila
Sawtelle Boulevard  -Miriam G. Sherbin
Cancer is Funny  -Michelle Woolery
You knew her as the breath...'  -Candy Lee Laballe
The Farmer and the Donkey  -Patrick Dostine
Before Jake...'  -Erika Stone


North of the City  -Kim Webb
The Plain of Sudden Circumstance  -Vievee Francis
Y2SLAVE  -Darsan Mitchell
When We Both Looked Like Bukowski and The Legends I Built All Let Me Down  -Matthew Olzmann
Statistics  -Matthew Olzmann
Day So Hot  -Christopher Dungey
Random Interview in Jerusalem  -Ella Singer
Batteries in July  -Lisa Wood
Traveling Economy Class  -Hugh Timlin
Art Fair: Passacaglia on Garden Ornaments  -Kit Nicholls

Flash Fiction

Untitled   -Michael O’Reilly, Royal Oak
Eleven Weeks   -Lara Wasner, Southfield
Cats   -Roberta Ralston, Detroit
Untitled   -Katie Chase, Ann Arbor
Bread   -Karin Hibbert, Mt. Clemens
This One Thing is Certain   -Robert Lazich, Royal Oak
Untitled   -Erik V. Wicks, Royal Oak
Modern Romance   -Philip Stenger, Detroit
Rule's Walk   -Robert Barnette, Detroit
Ipso Facto   -Hugh Timlin, Mt. Pleasant
Matinee   -Andrew Wright, Detroit
Easy With the Hair   -A. Zayne Tawil, Grand Blanc

E-mail George Tysh at [email protected]

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