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A Queered Bildungsroman: A Review of Who Is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht

Rosalie Knecht’s newest novel Who Is Vera Kelly? (Tin House Books, 2018) aims to answer the difficult question posed in its title. In large part, it’s a coming-of-age story about a girl growing up in the sixties. But unlike the classic bildungsroman, this noveldefies the reader’s expectations and blurs the lines of genre. It is at once a period piece set partially in South America during…

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Overcome By Events: A Review of Crash Course by Julie Whipple

Julie Whipple’s Crash Course (Yamhill Canyon Press, 2018) is a lucid and engaging examination of a tragedy that occurred in the city of Portland. On December 28, 1978, a DC-8 jet airliner plummeted out of the night sky and crashed in an empty lot located on East Burnside, costing ten people their lives. Whipple’s account invokes the “tick-tock” tension of a thriller, the drama of the courtroom trial, and the cool-eyed analysis…

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The Resilience of Writers Who Continue to Submit

One of the most difficult aspects of writing to publish is the seemingly endless number of submissions sent out, only to be responded to with varying degrees of “sorry, try again.” We at Portland Review are inspired by and support the resilience of the writers who push through and continue to submit. When that letter or email of acceptance finally arrives, it is accompanied by elation and a renewed…

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10 Tips for Public Reading

As I finish up my first year in Portland State University’s MFA in creative writing program, I still find myself wondering how writers work up the courage to read their work to a live audience. I’ve learned that when writing for the ear, simplicity in language is easier for the brain to comprehend, as are sentence constructions that front-load the verb. Since we have evolved to rely…

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