When Jilted Alice Spoke

FIRST BYLINES: In many respects it’s easier to publish an established, even an award-winning writer, than it is to publish someone for the first time.

The reason for this is simple. When a query or story crosses our desk by a known writer, we are usually familiar with their work, maybe personally familiar with the author. In other words, these authors have a head start in the publishing game.

Still, we cull through hundreds of submissions seeking that story, essay, comic, or poem by a writer — older or younger — who has a unique voice, and has yet to be published. In essence, we become partners with authors beginning their careers.

Most important, we seek to showcase new work that is provocative and beautiful, work that adds to the conversation between artists, scientists, essayists, columnists, bloggers, poets, and fiction writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review.

At forty-three, Jilted Alice finally decided to find her voice. She drove along the two-lane ribbon of road near Butte, Montana towards Basil’s house. Although it was her sixth Thursday date night at Basil’s, Alice was honored to have her protector, Stagecoach Mary, riding shotgun this time. Alice knew she’d have to be on her best behavior tonight.

Alice flirted with the possibility that she might be Basil’s first true love. Her mind and body were nimble enough to carry out this new relationship. In an act of puppy-love trust, Basil gave her a copy of his house key after their third date so she could let herself in before he got home from work. Alice would arrive early and surrender to the house’s majestic calm, longing for her own peace. Her routine consisted of gracefully preparing dinner with her nine fingers and mixing Basil’s special drink with her long toothpick. To commemorate that tonight was special, Alice had brought a freshly baked huckleberry pie. Under Mary’s approving eye, Alice cut the pie into five slices: one for each of the special men in her life.

Alice hadn’t spoken a word since she was eighteen when her bitter mother died. Alice’s father had run out on them years before and quickly remarried. Alice portrayed herself as mute to all she met. It’s what attracted Basil to her. It’s what attracted all the men to her. But these men, without fail, also assumed that she was deaf. They never bothered to ask; they just calculated that her signing and smiling equaled deaf-mute. Her expressive hands waved in the air, compelling her sign language to float across to her intended’s eyes. When she first started signing, Alice thought it was an odd way to speak: from her hands to their eyes: no lips, no ears.

The men she dated were full of assumptions. They all reasoned that she made up for her lack of hearing and speech by overdeveloping her sensual side, her tactile needs, and her risk in pleasure. In short, they presumed she was easy.

They would talk and talk to her as if she was a confessional with lipstick. They were attracted to her silent, unquestioning sexuality and implied lack of judgment. Alice intuited that she exuded these qualities to the world but she just didn’t believe it. It was like her restaurant job. She loved turning out dinners for others but she never ate her own food.

Mary turned to Alice and said, “Girl, look at you in that kitchen.” Mary was Alice’s best friend. She knew all of Alice’s secrets.

Last year, after her restaurant was burned down, Alice tried to start over in Montana. During her inspection of an old restaurant in Bannack, Alice discovered a sepia photograph of a large, severe black woman holding a shotgun and a bottle of whiskey. The inscription at the bottom, in thin, black letters, read, “St. Mary, 1865.” Taped to the back of the picture was a long toothpick. The picture enchanted Alice. An afternoon’s research at the library revealed to her that this was Stagecoach Mary.

Later that night, Alice went back to Mary’s drafty, old restaurant. The place was in complete darkness except for the streetlight pressing its face against the front window. Alice grew nervous as she felt the draft in the room change directions.

“I knew you’d come by,” said Mary. “Best huckleberry pie in these parts.”

Mary emerged from the shadowed carcass of the old bar. Alice was calm again. Somehow, she knew she was supposed to be here.

“Yeah, I know,” said Mary, “you don’t speak. All the better ’cause I talk too much. You see, Alice, we’re partners here. And we’re gonna’ get along like beans and bacon.”

Surrounded by the reverent darkness, Alice couldn’t help but smile as Mary delicately fed her a huckleberry with her fingers. After that intimate communion, without uttering a word, Alice completely accepted Mary into her life.

“Men,” said Mary, “put the ‘queasy’ in cuisine.”

Alice took a deep breath and snapped herself back to the present. A pang of guilt wafted in the air. She lit some candles and waited for Basil.

Alice peeked out of Basil’s front window and saw Basil bounce out of his old Jeep.

“So, that’s him,” said Mary unimpressed. “Child,” she continued, “that boy look like he won the lottery. I mean, look at him, smilin’ and thinkin’ of voluptuous you.”

Alice let go of the thin curtain. Basil had a tender manner. He reminded Alice of her father. That’s what had impressed her. He always handled her gently, like he was fitting a whisper-thin leather sandal on a child’s foot.

Basil opened the door, stepped into his house and smelled the air, knowing he’d find that glorious mix of perfume and tantalizing food. He knew the routine. Alice watched him eat and drink. She’d push his black hair to the side since it had the wonderful tendency to fall over his eyes while he ate. He would ask her to stop but that endeared him to her even more. It reminded her of her father’s hair when she was a child.

Alice made sure that Basil ate his slice of huckleberry pie. Afterwards, they went to Basil’s bedroom without a word. He had a single bed so they lay on their sides, face to face. Their bodies were only inches apart, their mouths, their lips, closer still. They almost never touched.

“That boy knows you’ll cause a world of trouble if he breaks into your space,” noted Mary. “Your rules entice him.”

Alice stared into Basil’s eyes. Believing Alice to be deaf, he would talk about his passions, his dreams, and his fears. About how his mother used to hit him. About how he had gone from being angry to lonely to lustful. Things he had never told anyone else. It was like therapy for Basil and Alice knew she could offer him release.

Alice listened carefully to Basil but as the night wore on, his speeches turned her eyes around, inward. She gave the illusion of listening by occasionally letting him caress her face while he spoke.

Instead, her mind drifted back to her own past like an anaconda swallowing its own tail. Back to her mother dying, still cursing Alice’s father. How Alice chose silence for all her coming days. She replayed how she ended up here in Montana, how she had lived and worked in the three greatest eating cities in the country with the help of men; how these men had driven her out of these cities just as fast; why she hated men; why she loved them; why she had decided to do what she was doing; why Stagecoach Mary was her best friend.

“It’s this simple,” Mary interrupted, “This boy, Basil, is still made of tomorrows. You, Alice, are made of yesterdays.”

Basil tried putting his hand on Alice’s waist but she winced. His hands were rough and not at all symmetrical. It made her think of Caesar’s hands. Alice slowly began to shake her head.

“He knows to back off and keep gabbin’” said Mary. Alice looked up and smiled at Mary.

Alice thought about what she was doing to Basil. She thought about forgiveness. Her childish thoughts came back to play in her head. Even her name: she was forever one letter away from being Alive.

Alice watched Basil’s expression but she was already fixated on something else. She’d never forgotten Caesar’s hands. It was five years ago in the elevator on her way to a sous chef interview in Manhattan where she made contact with Caesar’s hands. He became fascinated by her when he discovered she was a deaf-mute. Caesar asked her out and she nodded in agreement, her eyes swimming toward the shores of his hands.

Caesar rattled on that night in her apartment about how beautiful she was. All the while, she remained silent, entranced with his gorgeous hands waving around like a symphony conductor’s. She could tell the exact moment when it occurred to him that he could say anything he wanted to her and she couldn’t hear. It was clear that Caesar expected Alice for dessert. She got up, shook her head, and opened the front door, resting her right hand on the doorjamb. Caesar stopped at the doorway, daring her to refuse him again.

Alice sighed deeply and shook her head quietly and with purpose. The menace in his eyes surfaced quickly. Caesar slammed her front door and stormed off. The door crushed her right index finger, destroying her cooking promise and her beauty forever. She didn’t scream or curse. She walked the few blocks to the emergency room, losing her finger, but never uttering a word.

Alice blinked and was back in bed with Basil. Stagecoach Mary reached out to Alice and told her to put away the angry memories, to move on with her life. The connection between these two women, bridged over a century, was immediate and visceral to Alice. Mary loved telling the story of her long toothpick, so while Basil droned on about his job, Mary asked Alice if she wanted to hear it again. Alice was grateful for the distraction.

“Back in 1863 now, Julian Santos lands himself a job as bartender in Cyrus’ Saloon, a shady and disreputable bar in Bannack, Montana. His only possession was a guitar his Spanish grandfather made him.

“One night, Julian’s performin’ for some drunken miners with gold dust to spend when suddenly the noisy saloon goes quiet with a shudder. They’s all starin’ at a black stagecoach driver: two hundred pounds, a rifle in one hand, a pistol and a Bowie knife tucked away in my belt, puffin’ a cigar and wearin’ a scowl.

“Everyone knows not to cross me. Even from five counties away, people heard of Stagecoach Mary.

“I’s the only woman in town allowed to drink in the saloon. So I sits down alone, like I always did, opened a bottle of whiskey and began a deep and personal relationship with it.

“Now Julian comes up to Ol’ Mary and asks me to take a drink with him. I holds up my half-empty bottle of snake juice and tells him I’s plannin’ on killin’ the rest of the night by myself. But he jest looks at me, all serious. Leans over and tells me, all soft in my dusty ear, that he could drink my eyes in. Well, darlin’, Ol’ Mary nearly lost herself a lung in that saloon from laughin’ so hard. What the hell this crazy Spaniard be talkin’ ’bout? So this Julian’s pretty embarrassed right about now, especially since they’s all lookin’ at me laughin’ at him. Pretty soon, they starts to laughin’ themselves. Girl, it spread like wildfire on dry brush.”

Alice could never help but smile at this part of the story.

“Well, child,” continued Mary, “Julian walks off, all red-faced. A couple times later, you know, over a few weeks here and there, Julian tries to tell Ol’ ugly Mary that he loves me. Starts talkin’ ’bout my pretty eyes. I don’t know what the hell he’s goin’ on about except I keep tellin’ him that he’s got himself the wrong Mary or some kinda’ brain fever. This Mary here is black as burnt wood and got a face that’d make a horse get up on two legs and jump off a steep rock. So each time he comes for his courtin’, I sends him away like it’s all a big mistake and he heads away sulkin’.

“Now, one night while I’m delivering mail to Virginia City, I get word at one of the stops that Julian done hung himself to death, all on account of his lovin’ me and bein’ rejected. Well, all I could do was start to cry but the boys, they all start lookin’ at me. So I turned that cry into a mighty laugh for poor Julian.

“Them boys took up the laughter with me. I seen some poor, horrible sights in my day. Menfolk is the ugliest things.”

Alice motioned quietly. Basil stirred and got up to use the bathroom. Alice wondered if he’d be coming back. She thought about winding up alone in bed. She thought about being stood up at the altar, waiting for Reuben.

After Caesar in New York, Alice moved to New Orleans and met Reuben. She told herself she was never going to fall in love again. Pale, tall, pudgy, and a sloppy dresser, Reuben looked like a giant ear of corn that had been half-husked. He told her she was perfect and all her defenses broke down. She got a job as saucier at a trendy restaurant in the French Quarter next door to an old-time pharmacy. The pharmacist flirted with Alice several times until he realized that she was in love with Reuben. After a brief romance, Reuben kissed the stub where Alice’s tenth finger belonged and asked her to marry him.

One week before their wedding, Reuben confessed that he had cruel sexual intentions in store for her and Alice winced. When he realized she could hear him, he looked at her strangely, seeing her imperfections for the first time. Alice never saw Reuben again.

On the night of her cancelled wedding, Alice wandered into the church where she was to be married. One of the priest’s cats walked up to Alice, sensing her profound pain. The cat rubbed its long body against Alice’s ankles, circling them over and over, reminding her how she kept coming back to the same place in her life no matter how far she traveled, despite how much wiser she thought she had grown.

“You should have kept the cat,” she Mary, “they’re good when the blue demons come.” Then, after considering Alice a bit more, she added, “In fact, you should have taken two of them, like aspirin.”

From then on, Alice’s eyes turned cold and held the loneliness of a prairie moon. She would walk around and sign to no one in particular, cursing the heavens for creating this need of hers, this need for men. Like the opposite of a vampire, she would seek them out and give her lifeblood to them.

Briefly, and for reasons of her own, she dated the pharmacist next door to the restaurant.

Basil came back to bed, quiet as a prayer. Alice realized she was the closest thing that he would ever come to a church. This bed was the altar where he chose to make his confession. Alice wondered if she was capable of giving Basil absolution. In a way, his confessional to her was a fitting end to her relationship with men. This was the final excursion into their hearts before she launched towards uncharted waters. In her mind’s eye, she saw her own confession. She thought of mercy for Basil. Then suddenly, her past swept up and covered her present situation like a fine cotton bed sheet being stretched out for the first time. Her memories crept up in front of her every time she was at Basil’s.

After Reuben, Alice moved to San Francisco and bought a restaurant. Cooking became her life. Her lack of a right index finger kept her from top-quality work but she made do. And she continued not to speak. She would constantly be on the run from intimacy in her personal Witness Relocation Program from men.

Then, one day, Alfredo walked into her kitchen and swept Alice off her feet. His business card told her he was a vice president at a successful investment firm. His face told her he was handsome, romantically foreign, and younger than she. He was the first man she ever knew who didn’t talk incessantly. She thought he might be it: the one that would bring balance to her disturbed and uneven ledger. After three months of dating, looking for red flags, and finding none, she agreed to have him take care of her finances. He moved in and made sure everything was in both their names.

photo by Eric Steginsky

The week after Alfredo moved in, Alice was at her bank to make a deposit. The teller informed her that Alfredo had closed her account that morning. He had taken all her money and disappeared. The investment firm had never heard of him.

Alice pursued Alfredo, having worked too hard to save money in this savage world. When she finally confronted him, he told her the time he invested in their relationship was fair exchange for the money he had taken. That night, Alfredo burned her restaurant to the ground and collected on the insurance. And again, Alice stayed silent.

Basil shifted and Alice focused on what he was saying. His speech had not been affected yet. She glanced past Basil at Stagecoach Mary. Alice thought of her mother who died shortly after finding out that Alice’s father had sired a child with another woman while still married to her.

“I think someone needs to stop listening to this no-account pisspot dribble on ’bout his sad life and hear the end of my story,” said Mary.

Alice reflected for a moment. Ashamed at getting this sweet ghost upset, she looked up from Basil and her eyes pleaded Mary to go on.

“All right then. So, I gets back to town and, sure enough, everyone’s talkin’ ’bout poor Julian and how he done kill himself. Cyrus, his boss, hands me Julian’s guitar. Says Julian wanted me to learn to play it.

“Now I starts to feel bad for Julian and even think that I treated him wrong. Maybe, I’m figurin’, he seen somethin’ in me I can’t see myself, like maybe he had a special mirror. Cyrus goes on ’bout how he’ll teach me to play Julian’s guitar on Thursday night. Now, he knows that Thursday’s the night I deliver gold dust to the miner’s court over at Rockslide but Cyrus starts wailin’ ’bout how he ain’t gonna’ get into heaven on account he can’t fulfill a dead man’s last wish. I says fine. I’ll learn guitar Thursday night before I head out.”

Mary became quiet for a moment. The image of this black angel crackled in Alice’s eyes like a campfire.

“Mary here ain’t never been much for gettin’ attention but, I gotta’ say, for once it was nice. Too bad it was comin’ from a dead man. There ain’t never been anythin’ wrong with sweet Julian, I tells myself, except I kept sendin’ him away. Sent him to die is what I did. Well, Thursday night comes along and I park my horses and coach in the back of Cyrus’ saloon. Turns out Cyrus don’t know a damn thing about guitars. We’re in the back room of the saloon and he’s tellin’ me to hold the guitar like a cello and even I know better than that. Julian’s luscious instrument sounds like we doin’ surgery on a goat.

“Outside, I hear my horses gettin’ nervous so I go to see about them. I’m holdin’ the guitar in my left hand on account that my right hand is my shootin’ hand. I still remember what a cool, clear night it was. And I see Julian in my coach huntin’ through the mail. Huntin’ for the gold dust delivery.

“Julian looks up and sees me. He’s got a gun in his holster but he ain’t that quick. He didn’t give a damn about Ol’ Mary, just wanted her gold dust. Fooled the whole damn town, too. Cyrus and him probably plannin’ to leave tonight.

“Now, he’s nervous and holdin’ his gun all wrong like he’s cradlin’ a baby. He can’t hold a gun and I can’t hold his guitar which should make us about even. Only we ain’t close to being even. My only problem is I don’t want no blood getting’ on the letters. So, I walk real slow towards him.

“Child, I crashed that guitar across poor Julian’s face. Now I gotta’ tell you, Spanish wood ain’t too stable ’cause that wood splintered and shattered everywhere. I kept one of the long splinters of guitar wood as a souvenir. Used it as a toothpick. Julian talked kinda’ funny after that. I’d bring him a huckleberry pie every Thursday night when I’d visit him in jail and I’d ask him to tell me about my pretty eyes again.”

Alice breathed deeply and watched Basil. He was finally dead. She got up and padded over to the kitchen. From her pocketbook, she took out the small vial of meprobromate and observed it was half-full. She was glad that something productive came out of dating the pharmacist in New Orleans. He had told her how the meprobromate, if taken in extended, small dosages, would slowly turn your stomach to stone. It was her own recipe: meprobromate and scotch stirred with her guitar toothpick. She had made it for Basil on each of their Thursday night dates. She also added some to the huckleberry pie for good measure. Stagecoach Mary grinned and said, “Come on, girl. You know you did the right thing.”

She knew she did. Alice’s mother had died of a broken heart. Her father had run off and remarried. Alice hadn’t found her father yet. But she had found his son from his other marriage. Basil. He looked just like Alice’s father.

Alice thought of the stack of maps in her car. She looked at the huckleberry pie on the kitchen counterÑone slice down and four to go. Mary brushed the black hair from Basil’s peaceful face and caressed Alice’s hands.

“Let’s go now, child.”

And with that, Alice picked up Stagecoach Mary’s framed picture and left the house, locking the door behind her.

When Jilted Alice spoke, she said out loud, “Now where do the rest of them live?” She didn’t recognize her own voice. But she liked it. She got into her car and quickly drove down the road, eager to speak to the other men in her life.

Joy E. Stocke


Joy E. Stocke

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In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.

With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.

In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.

In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.

She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.

In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey.  Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.

Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013).  The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.

She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.



Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition


The Eagle of Ararat
The Eagle of Ararat-Part II: The Meaning of Freedom


Where Were the Shells Fired From?


Suzanne Opton and Michael Fay – The Human Face of War


Katherine Schimmel: A Meeting in a Garden and a Mystic Pen


Anatolian Kitchen: Cuisine at the Crossroads – For the Love of Beets


ABULHAB – Arabic from Left to Right: An Interview with Type Designer, Saad Abulhab

BELBRUNO- Ed Belbruno – The Colors of the Universe: Microwaves and Art

CLARKE – Rock & Roll, Cybernetics, and Literature: Bruno Clarke’s Intersecting, Interconnecting World

COMBS – Hazard: A Sister’s Flight From Family and a Broken Boy

FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir

EARLE – An Extraordinary Hope Spot: Sylvia Earle on the 20th Anniversary of Cabo Pulmo Marine Park and the Future of the World’s Oceans

FULBRIGHT –  Harriet Mayor Fulbright- World Peace through Education

JOSEPH GLANTZ –  Inner Lights, Electric Kites – The Sparks of Philadelphia’s Creativity

HALIFAX – Joan Halifax, Roshi – Letting Go, Letting in Light: Halifax Talks about Her Life & Groundbreaking Book, Being with Dying

HONEY – The New York Hall of Science Hosts 1001 Inventions – Muslim Heritage in Our World: A Conversation with Dr. Margaret Honey

KUPCU – How to Weave a Culture: The Art of the Double-Knot with Murat Küpçü

Jonathan Maberry’s Ghost Road Blues

MAJOR – A Landscape Critic in the Gilded Age: Judith Major and Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer

MAURO – New World Monkeys: Primates, Boars, and a Conversation with Author, Nancy Mauro

MEHTA – Talking about Global Healing with Political Scientist Vipin Mehta

OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur, and Space Traveler

SHOR – Music in Stone: Jonathan Shor Constructs a Lithophone for Quark Park

SMITH – ROLEX ARTS INITIATIVE-Poet Tracy K. Smith: Memory, Creation, Mentoring, and Mastery

SODERMAN – The Solace of Vacant Spaces: An Interview with Visionary Peter Soderman

EVAN THOMPSON – Waking, Dreaming, Being: Philosopher Evan Thompson Explores Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience and Meditation

TIMPANE – This Has Never Felt Like A Job
Poetry, Science and the Big Bang: John Timpane Goes to Cambridge

YUNUS – Opening the Gates of Capitalism: In Ecuador with Economist Muhammad Yunus, “Banker to the Poor”

ZALLER – Robert Zaller – Cliffs of Solitude – A World of Activism: Talking of Troubadours and Poetry with the Historian

Every River Tells A Story: Founders Kim Nagy and Joy Stocke

Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk – Death and Sex: Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk Get Intimate about Their New Book

Orhan Pamuk – The Melancholy Life

Per Petterson: Language Within Silence


Istanbul, Memories and the City: by Orhan Pamuk, Translated by Maureen Freely
The Road to Home: Rachel Simon’s The Story of Beautiful Girl


Anatolia – Istanbul’s Flaming Horn
End Times Down at the Kingdom Hall
Reclaiming Friday the 13th


Love Affair with Turkey

Anatolian Days and Nights – The Steamy Side of Istanbul


The Bath: Athens, Greece


The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation


 2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..


Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson

Quark Park

Algorithms, Google & Snow Globes: David Dobkin

WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK

Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn


UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul


Conservation – East of an Aquatic Eden and into the Desert
Controversial Marcellus Shale Gas Pipeline Threatens Delaware River Basin and Rural Communities in the Northeast


Migration, Remittances and Latin America


The Slow Web Movement: Wild River Review’s Philosophy on the Media


Rumi and Coke


Post-Thanksgiving Plane Ride with a Soldier on His Way to Iraq
Turkey – Of Protests and Fruit: A Report & Updates from Istanbul

Kimberly Nagy

Kimberly Nagy, Contributor

Kimberly Nagy

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In 2006, Kimberly Nagy founded Wild River Review with Joy E. Stocke; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.  With more than twenty years in the field of publishing, Nagy specializes in market outreach and digital media strategies as well as crafting timeless articles and interviews. She edits many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.

Kimberly Nagy is a poet, professional writer, and dedicated reader who has interviewed a number of leading thinkers, including Academy-Award winning filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll, MacArthur Genius Award-winning Edwidge Danticat, historian James McPherson, playwright Emily Mann, biologist and novelist, Sunetra Gupta and philosopher Alain de Botton.

Nagy is an author, editor and professional storyteller. She received her BA in history at Rider University where she was influenced by professors who stressed works of literature alongside dates and historical facts–as well as the importance of including the perspectives of women and minorities in the historical record. During a period in which she fell in love with writing and research, Nagy wrote an award-winning paper about the suppression of free speech during World War I, and which featured early 20th century feminist and civil rights leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

Nagy continued her graduate studies at University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she studied with Dr. Karen Kupperman, an expert in early contact between Native Americans and the first European settlers. Nagy wrote her Masters thesis, focusing on the work of the first woman to be accepted into the Connecticut Historical Society as well as literary descriptions of Native Americans in Connecticut during the 19th century. Nagy has extensive background and interest in anthropological, oral history and cultural research.

After graduate school, Nagy applied her academic expertise to a career in publishing, in which she worked for two of the world’s foremost publishers—Princeton University Press and W.W. Norton—as well as at Thomson, Institutional Investor MagazineRoutledge UK, and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

TWITTER: kimnagy

Kimberly Nagy in this Edition


Postcard from Haiti


Lady of the Largest Heart: Remembering Muna Imady


Pamela Tanner Boll – Dangerous Women: Creativity, Motherhood, and the World of Art
Suzanne Opton and Michael Fay – The Human Face of War


Slim Hopes
Who Does She Think She Is?


Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs


Christine Matthäi – The Light of Innocence: On Playfulness, Trees and Growing up in the former East Germany
Every Face Tells a Story: A Conversation with Photographer, Beowulf Sheehan


The Triple Goddess Trials: Fire in the Head: Brigit’s Mysterious Spark
The Triple Goddess Trials: Introduction
The Triple Goddess Trials – Meeting Virginia Woolf at the Strand
The Triple Goddess Trials: Me and Medusa
The Triple Goddess Trials: Aphrodite and the Lightbulb Factory
The Triple Goddess Trials: Goddess of Milk and Honey
The Triple Goddess Trials: Kali’s Ancient Love Song


ASHLEY – Renee Ashley: A Voice Answering a Voice
BELLI – Giocanda Belli – The Page is My Home
BOLL – Pamela Tanner Boll: Dangerous Women: An Interview with Academy Award Winner Pamela Tanner Boll
DANTICAT – Create Dangerously- A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat
CHARBONNEAU – A Cruise Along the Inside Track: With Le Mobile’s Sound Recording Legend Guy Charbonneau
de BOTTON – The Art of Connection: A Conversation with Alain de Botton
GUPTA – Suneptra Gupta – The Elements of Style: The Novelist and Biologist Discusses Metaphor and Science
HANDAL – Nathalie Handal – Love and Strange Horses
KHWAJA – Waqas Khwaja: What a Difference a Word Makes
MAURO: New World Monkeys: An Interview with Nancy Mauro
MORGANSing, Live, & Love Like You Mean It: An Interview with Bertha Morgan
MOSS – Practical Mystic–Robert Moss: On Book Families, Jung and How Dreams Can Save Your Soul
OGLINE – BEN FRANKLIN.COM: Author & Illustrator Tim Ogline explains why Ben Franklin would be a technology evangelist today
OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur and Space Traveler
PALYA – Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs
SCHIMMEL – Moonlight Science: A Conversation with Molecular Biologist and Entrepreneur, Paul Schimmel
SHORS – Journey into the Male & Female Brain: An Interview with Tracey Shors
von MOLTKE and SIMMS – Dorothy von Moltke and Cliff Simms: Why Independent Bookstores Matter, Part I
WARD – On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part One, and
On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part Two
WILKES – Labor of Love: An Interview With Architect Kevin Wilkes


Truth Hunger – A Meditation on Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir


PEN WORLD VOICES – The Chador and the Walled Homestead: Modern Poetry of Pakistan
PEN WORLD VOICES – Found Poetry: A Wishing Poem


Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library at 100: From the Stacks to the Streets
Paul Holdengraber: The Afterlife of Conversation
That Email Changed My Life: Rolex Arts Initiative. Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Tracy K. Smith Celebrates Rolex Arts Initiative


First Editions / Second Thoughts — Defending Writers: PEN and Christie’s Raise One Million Dollars to Support Freedom of Expression
ON AFRICA: May 4 to May 10 — Behind the Scenes with Director Jakab Orsos: Co-curated by Award-Winning Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Page is My Home: Giaconda Belli – Nicaraguan Poet, Writer and Public Intellectual
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
The Power of Conversation: David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer – The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture


NEW FROM WILD RIVER BOOKS – Brief Eulogies at Roadside Shrines
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library
Wild River Books Announces the Stoutsburg Cemetery Project: The Untold Stories of an African American Burial Ground in New Jersey
Wild River Books: Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay
Wild River Review and Minerva’s Bed & Breakfast Presents – “BITTER” Writing in a Weekend: How to Write About the Things We Can’t Change


ALLEN – Quarks, Parks, and Science in Everyday Life: Filmmaker Chris Allen’s Documentary Where Art Meets Science in a Vacant Lot
HOLT – Rush Holt: An Interview with Rush Holt
MANN – Boundless Theater: An Interview with Emily Mann
Keeping Time: A Conversation with Historian James McPherson


Lady of the Largest Heart: Remembering Muna Imady


Living the Dada Life: Andrei Codrescu Style
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul


Controversial Marcellus Shale Gas Pipeline Threatens Delaware River Basin and Rural Communities in the Northeast
Down on Honey Brook Farm

Cool Chick


Cool Chick     

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Cool Chick is an inspired force of literary nature — a lifelong writer who is dedicated to the wild river school of writing.

Educated at Wild River Community College, later attending Wild River University, Cool Chick is working on her PhD in changing the world – one story at a time.

Saad Abulhab

Type designer, librarian, and systems engineer, Saad D. Abulhab, was born in 1958 in Sacramento, California, and grew up in Iraq. Residing in the US since 1979, he is currently Director of Technology of the Newman Library of Baruch College, the City University of New York. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University, and a Master of Science in Library and Information Sciences from Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn. Involved since 1992 in the field of Arabetic computing and typography, he is most noted for his non-traditional type designs and the Mutamathil type style which was awarded a US Utility Patent in 2003. Designed more that 16 fonts families since 1998 and wrote several articles in the field of Arabetic typography and scripts.

Opal Palmer Adisa


Opal Palmer Adisa

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Opal Palmer Adisa, Ph. D, diverse and multi-genre, is an exceptional talent, nurtured on cane-sap and the oceanic breeze of the Caribbean. Writer of both poetry and prose, playwright/director, professor, educator and cultural activist, Adisa has lectured and read her work throughout the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Germany, Spain, France, England and Prague, and has performed in Italy and Bosnia. An award-winning poet and prose writer, Adisa has sixteen titles to her credit, including the novel, It Begins With Tears (1997), that Rick Ayers proclaimed as one of the most motivational works for young adults.

She has been a resident artist in internationally acclaimed residencies such as Arte Studio Ginestrelle (Assis, Italy), El Gounda (Egypt), Sacatar Institute (Brazil) and McColl Center, (North Carolina) and Headlines Center for the Arts (California, USA). Opal Palmer Adisa’s work has been reviewed by Ishmael Reed, Al Young, and Alice Walker (Color Purple), who described her work as “solid, visceral, important stories written with integrity and love.”

Following in the tradition of the African “griot” Opal Palmer Adisa, an accomplished storyteller, commands the mastery and extraordinary talent of storytelling, exemplary of her predecessors. Through her imaginative characterizations of people, places and things, she is able to transport her listeners to the very wonderlands she creates.

A gifted diversity trainer, literary critic, and proud mother of three accomplished children, Opal is the former parenting editor and host of KPFA Radio Parenting show in Berkley, California. Columnist for The Graduate Parent for the “Healthy You,” website and wrote a bi-monthly poetry column for The Daily News, St. Thomas. Adisa has published hundreds of articles on different aspects of parenting, writing and poetry and is currently completing a book on effective parenting.

A Distinguished professor of creative writing and literature in the MFA program at California College of the Arts, where she teaches in the Fall. She has been a visiting professor at several universities including, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and University of the Virgin Islands. Her poetry, stories, essays and articles on a wide range of subjects have been collected in over 400 journals, anthologies and other publications, including Essence Magazine. She has also conducted workshops in elementary through high school, museums, churches and community centers, as well as in prison and juvenile centers.

Opal Palmer Adisa is a vivacious, motivational speaker who will enthrall and mesmerize you with her words.


Works by Opal Palmer Adisa

Boonoonoos Children

Phyllis Carol Agins

Phyllis Carol Agins

Phyllis Carol Agins

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Phyllis Carol Agins’ fiction includes two novels: Suisan and Never the Same River Twice, as well as numerous short stories, published in Kalliope, Paragraph, and Lilith Magazine (Fall ‘06), among other journals. Her children’s book, Sophie’s Name, has been in print since 1990, and she also co-authored One God, Sixteen Houses, an architectural study. For many years, she served on the board of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and taught writing at Penn State Abington. Lately, she divides her time between Fairmont Park and the Mediterranean coast. She has completed a comic novel about young widowhood and is polishing a literary mystery centering on the Shakespeare authorship question. Her next book will follow a Jewish family as they leave Algeria to make a new life in France and America.

Works by Phyllis Carol Agins

Under Her Hat

Angela Ajayi

Angela Ajayi spent over ten years in publishing, mainly as a book editor, until she became a freelance writer. She holds a BA from Calvin College and an MA from Columbia University. Her essays and author interviews have appeared in the Star Tribune and Afroeuropa: Journal of Afro-European Studies. She currently writes book reviews for The Common Online. Her first short story, “Galina,” will be published by Fifth Wednesday Journal this fall. She likes to think she defies easy categorization, identifying through birth and citizenship as a Nigerian-Ukrainian-American writer. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter.

Bill Alexander


Bill Alexander

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Bill Alexander is a published fiction writer for Venture Magazine, Spectrum Magazine, and Drumbeat Magazine. As an intern for Wild River Review, he contributes to the column Wild Table, sharing his thoughts and insights on food and culture. Born and raised in New Jersey and a New Orleanian at heart, Bill is an avid storyteller and devoted writer who believes strongly in originality over faddism.


Works by Bill Alexander

Embers of September: Every Family Has a Story to Tell

Chris Allen

Chris Allen became interested in filmmaking during High School, and has pursued it ever since. He studied Bhakti Yoga (which he still practices) in Chicago before receiving a degree in Film and Television from New York University. After raising three children and producing videos in corporate America, Allen started his own film company, Open Sky Cinema, writing and producing documentaries. They include “The Delaware and Raritan Canal,” “Lost Princeton,” “A Warm and Loving Look — The Poetry of Stephen Kalinich,” and “Open Sky.”

In his documentary, “Quark Park,” Allen filmed and interviewed dozens of scientists, artists, sculptors, landscape architects, and architects in collaboration with Quark Park’s creators Peter Soderman, Kevin Wilkes; and with the Wild River Review.

Works by Chris Allen

An Interview with Rush Holt

Renee Ashley

Renée Ashley is the author of five volumes of poetry: Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea (Subito Book Prize); Basic Heart (winner of the 2008 X.J.Kennedy Poetry Prize); The Revisionist’s Dream; The Various Reasons of Light; and Salt (Brittingham Prize in Poetry, University of Wisconsin Press), as well as a novel, Someplace Like This, and two chapbooks, The Museum of Lost Wings and The Verbs of Desiring. Ashley teaches poetry in the low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing and across the genres in the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators. She has received fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in both poetry and prose and a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A portion of her poem, “First Book of the Moon,” is included in a permanent installation in Penn Station, Manhattan, by the artist Larry Kirkland. She has served as Assistant Poetry Coordinator for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and, for seven years, as Poetry Editor of The Literary Review. Her new collection, The View from the Body, was published by Black Lawrence Press in March 2016.