announcements team member spotlight

Introducing Annie Barker

Introducing Annie Barker

March 18, 2023

2023 has been a fast moving train thus far. One minute I was celebrating the new year and then I blinked and somehow it’s mid-March. Part of the reason for that is the sheer number of exciting new endeavors we have going on at TGLR– the launch of Micro Monday, book reviews, a team reading, AWP, contributor interviews and promo, and of course our quarterly issues. With all this, my plan to introduce new and existing team members has waned a bit but I’m excited to pick up where I left off at the turn of the year and shine a spotlight on our editors, their writing lives, and their contributions to our efforts. And today I’m pleased to present highlights of my Q&A with Annie Barker who is not only an editor on our flash nonfiction team but also serves an associate editor.

Annie has been with TGLR since day one and has never wavered in her dedication to our mission and vision. Late in 2022, when I asked the team if anyone wanted to volunteer more time to fill gaps in our processes, Annie was among the first to jump in. She’s now doing all the copy editing for our quarterly issues as well as leading an email campaign to connect to other writing programs in the region. I’m grateful she’s been open to assisting as we learn and grow. 

I’m also grateful she took the time to answer some questions so I could share more about her life and her thoughts on writing. The first question, and one of my favorites, is about when she discovered her love of writing. 

Apparently (and this is so embarrassing) I learned this shortly before I wrote the words “As I must breathe, so must I write” in my childhood journal. I don’t know how old I was when I wrote this because after discovering this passage as an adult I immediately ripped out the page and shredded it.

I then asked what prompted her to get an MFA.

I actually never intended to enter the MFA program. I was just going to enroll in UNO for one MFA Enrichment semester (essentially the same as one semester of the program, but with no commitment to continue). I had it all figured out. I was working on a memoir about my search for my biological father and my plan was to attend one residency to learn some useful things, and then work with a mentor for a few months to whip that book into shape.

I clearly didn’t know what I was getting into. Shortly after arriving at the lodge for my Enrichment residency, I called my husband and told him, “Ah, sweetie, I have some bad news. I want to enter the program,” because at some point during those first two days, I realized that in this motley group of creative, hardworking, and courageous writers, I had found my people.

Even more miraculous, I had also rediscovered a forgotten part of myself, a creative, playful, risk-taking part I had last encountered around the age of – oh, I don’t know – twelve? I knew a good thing when I felt it, so I took the leap.

I also asked Annie some of the same questions we’ve asked our contributing authors over the past year including what the most difficult and satisfying parts of the artistic process are for her. 

Like many writers, I find the blank page a little terrifying. I’m getting better at just diving in wherever (which is the best advice I’ve received on this subject), but if I find myself reorganizing my sock drawer it’s probably because I’m starting something new.

As for something satisfying, I LOVE the revision process. I think this is because I generally, in a lot of areas of my life, like to improve things (my handwriting, my house, my husband).

Well played Mrs. Barker!! I then asked her if there ar any personal writing projects she’s actively working on.

I divide my time between writing CNF essays and poetry and shepherding my long-form memoir (working title is “Searching For Sea Glass,” and it’s about the search for my biological father) toward publication.

And of course I wrapped up the Q&A with our classic Nebraska TGLR question, which is what she thinks of when she hears the phrase “The Good Life.” 

I immediately think of something that’s been hard to for me to achieve–a balanced life. One that offers equal time for serious work, creative writing, rest, quality time with family and friends, and opportunities to play and be silly. This might ultimately be a quixotic goal, but I think Nebraska, with its wide open spaces and laid-back work culture, is a place that encourages a purposeful life, so I plan to stay here for a long time and try to get as close as I can to the ideal.

Annie… Thank you for taking that “leap” with us too and for your thoughtfulness and dedication. We are fortunate to have you on the team and I’m grateful for all the care and consideration you give to each and every piece of writing!!


PS. More about Annie and all of our TGLR editors is available on the Masthead.

announcements team member spotlight

Introducing Cid Galicia

Introducing Cid Galicia

January 13, 2023

Today we want to shine a spotlight on team member Cid Galicia. Cid is currently in his final semester in the MFA program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. When I first met Cid about a year ago, what stood out to me was the energy and enthusiasm he had for the program and the people he was connecting with. He was eager to learn more about TGLR and our team and didn’t skip a beat before volunteering to be a part of it. He joined in the spring as a reader for our 2022 HoneyBee Prize (our 8th issue). A few beats later, when an opportunity at a more permanent spot as an editor opened up, he was the first to throw his hat into the ring. 

Now, as we near the release of our 10th issue, I’m excited to finally, *FINALLY*, officially introduce him and share more of what he’s shared with us about himself and his writing life, beginning with why he decided to pursue an MFA. 

Honestly, it was covid.  The idea of an MFA and transitioning into the higher education community has always been a goal, but it continuously seemed like a far-off destination.  During covid, I was very lucky that no one in my family was deeply affected.  I had peers and coworkers who had the opposite and even deaths in their families/communities.  That is when my mortality/finiteness kind of slapped me across the face. I had this realization that if I had any remaining goals I wish to pursue/achieve, I should have started yesterday.  I was on an amtrak train home for the holidays (I love writing on trains) and that was the moment I decided I would begin pursuing graduate school for my MFA.

I love the fact that he pinpointed the exact moment, which made me curious if there was some point in time or event that sparked his passion for writing in the first place. 

As with many writers, at a young age, I found myself in a different mindset than many of my peers.  And, in order to clear my thoughts and calm myself, I just began to consistently journal.  In high school, after a struggling freshman/sophomore year, I was finally able to test into AP English classes.  I had an amazing teacher, Ms. Majerison,  that year who introduced me to poetry, and that is when I became deeply interested in the craft and began to pursue it on my own.

I then asked some of the same questions we’ve asked our contributing authors over the past year including what fuels his desire to write and also what the biggest influences in his writing have been. 

Human relationships are the most fascinating experiences to me, and all platforms: friendship, family, young, old, intimate, and platonic.  I love watching, observing, and experiencing them personally.  I love thinking and writing about them.  Most of my poems stem from that idea of human connection.

One of TGLRs previous poetry editors, Ally Guenette, completed her thesis on discovering your writer-genealogy–which I thoroughly enjoyed. Interestingly, and cliche enough, my first adolescent inspirations were Poe and the rap group Bone: Thugs In Harmony.  Back then, rap/rappers really had a lot of strong poetic connections.  Later was introduced to Rilke and T.S. Eliot.  I was drawn to Rilke because he also had a deep focus on love and relationships and Eliot for his long poems and vibrations of form and the musicality in his work.

By his own account, Cid has “been in a ravenous state hungry for experience, growth, and community” and has found what he’s been desiring in each semester of the MFA program. Here’s a little more of what he elected to share about his experience with each of his mentors in the program thus far…

Semester 1: Elizabeth Powell

She was my first mentor in the program and met me exactly where I was–an adult educator who had not been in academia for decades.  She helped me navigate the university topography again and reassert my voice.  My first poetic love is for old forms: sonnets, sestinas, and villanelles.  She, however, pushed me outside of those and, in response to my forced evacuation from Hurricane Ida, introduced me to hybrid poetic writing as a new vein for written expression.

Semester 2: Maray Hornbacher

This lady is a badass!  Can we say badass and post it?  Anyway, I was feeling on fire after semester 1 and wanted to see how I could push myself.  I remember my first impression of her, my first semester, was something like this:  I bet she’s awesome, but she would burn me alive! Not this semester, but one of them for sure! By the end of my time with her I had written over 40 pages of critical writing and had 2 poems accepted to journals!  Marya is fire!

Semester 3: Kate Gale

If you can survive The Marya you can pretty much figure your way through just about anything. I decided to take myself to the next step and that was to ask if Kate Gale, head editor of The Red Hen Press, would accept me as an intern for the optional third-semester internship option. Through that experience, I have been able to work through the many moving parts of literary press anatomy. My highlights have been managing the creation of a poetry anthology, making my blog posting debut, and teaching poetry through their Writers In The Schools program.

That sounds like an action-packed ride for sure and though everyone’s experience is different, I’m 100% with Cid in that applying for the program was one of the best decisions of my life. It is, after all, part of what led me to the “good” life I’m living right now. This is precisely why I’m always curious about other people’s thoughts about the phrase “The Good Life.” Cid’s Response: 

Now that I have roots in The South–specifically New Orleans, when I hear The Good Life I think of live music, dancing, drinking somewhere with the Open Container law, writing near The Mississippi, and a good make-out session.  That sounds really good to me.

Cid’s recent publications include “Letters to Marya” in Trestle Ties and “Danni” in the Elevation Review. He’s also got several poems forthcoming in 2023: “2am Dances With My Father.” in South Broadway Press, “We Swayed Furtively” and “Mongamish” in Roi Faineant, and “Club Dances and Car Window Kissing” in Trampoline. 

Cid… Thank you for jumping in on this journey with us and for the fantastic energy you bring to  the team. I feel fortunate to have met you and look forward to future shenanigans! Best of luck with that 4th semester!!


PS. More about all of our TGLR editors is available on our Masthead.

announcements team member spotlight

Introducing Terry Belew

Introducing Terry Belew

December 10, 2022

Today’s team member spotlight is on Terry Belew. Terry is currently in the midst of getting his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha which is where I first met him. Unlike many of the folks on our team who have been with us since the inception of the journal, Terry came to us this past spring when he volunteered to read for our 2022 HoneyBee Prize (our 8th issue).

We’re extremely grateful that he decided to stick around for more TGLR shenanigans and are delighted to announce that he is now an editor on our Poetry Team. In fact, Terry eagerly offered to play a more active role on the team and is not only organizing and facilitating meetings for his team, but also assisting with marketing campaigns and coming up with fundraising ideas. Over the last six months I feel like I’ve gotten a good sense for who he is but wanted to take this opportunity to share a little more about him and his writing life with our readers. I asked Terry a number of questions, beginning with where he first discovered a love for writing and poetry.

I started to enjoy writing in elementary school when we were asked to illustrate and narrate children’s books. I became interested in poetry in high school after reading William Blake and Chaucer. Poetry really piqued my interest when I was a student at Missouri State and that’s when I took an introductory workshop class with my mentor and friend, Sara Burge. 

I then asked what prompted him to pursue an MFA.

One of the primary reasons I am pursuing an MFA, other than to write more and work with accomplished writers on improving my writing, is to help build my literary community. The literary community, at times, seems quite large. Still, we really are a small portion of the population and the more we can interact with one another and learn from one another, the better off the literary community will be.

I then asked some of the same questions we’ve asked our contributing authors over the past year including what the most difficult and satisfying parts of the artistic process are. 

Right now, one of the most difficult parts is generating new material. At times, new material comes forth on a daily basis and I need to do a better job of making more time to write, but right now trying to generate new content is a struggle.

As for something satisfying it would be reading poems to my wife, who is a non-writer, and her being moved by them. I also am thankful for her listening to a poem over and over again, even though I might have changed three words or re-lineated and expect the poem to be better.

He also shared that his desire to write comes from simple observation and a love of manipulating language which I relate to and appreciate. I then asked Terry if he has any projects he is working on and/or recent or upcoming publications to share.

I recently “completed” my first book-length manuscript and have been submitting to book contests. I’ll continue to add and subtract content until it one day hopefully finds a publisher willing to take it in.

I’ve also had a few poems published in the last year or so, in West Trade Review, Solar, The American Journal of Poetry, Book of Matches and Split Rock Review, and in print in Storm Cellar. I try to keep submissions out, especially during the academic year, so hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to have a couple more forthcoming by the end of the year.

Amazing poems and that’s quite a lot for such a short time! Congratulations!! When I see this list and read the poems, it definitely makes me think he is making the most of this one precious Good Life. It definitely made me curious for his answer to what he thinks about when he hears the phrase “The Good Life.”

I’m not well-traveled, so the first time I went to Nebraska for my first residency and saw one of their mottos is “The Good Life” that’s my natural association. Having worked on The Good Life Review for a couple of months now, that’s also another natural association. 

When I think of “The Good Life” as a kind of situation, I think of living in the Midwest—as backward as some things are, I really enjoy the ability to live in nature and to have access to it constantly. 

Terry.. Thank you for being on the team and for being so willing to sacrifice your time and effort on making our journal and organization a success. And also for being open to this little Q&A. I hope you stick with us for a long time!!


PS. More about all of our TGLR editors is available on our Masthead.

announcements team member spotlight

Introducing Tacheny Perry

Introducing Tacheny Perry

November 26, 2022

2022 has brought a number of BIG changes to our growing TGLR fam and with those changes, a renewed sense of enthusiasm for our organization and mission. As we glide toward 2023, I’m excited to introduce/re-introduce new and existing team members and shine a spotlight on them, their writing lives, and their contributions to our efforts as a budding literary journal. Up first, is the lovely Tacheny Perry who is an editor on our flash fiction team and who also recently stepped into the role of Managing Editor.

Tacheny joined our team in 2020 shortly after we released our 1st issue but it really feels like she has been with us since the very beginning because of the time we spent together in the MFA program at UNO. In truth, when Tacheny volunteered to take on more work for the journal, we were not yet operating with all the traditional roles of a publication, so I’m grateful she’s been open to assisting as we learn and grow. 

I’m also grateful she took the time to answer some questions so I could share more about her and her thoughts on writing. The first question, and one of my favorites, is about when she first discovered her love of writing. 

I was in grade school when I first fell in love with writing, first grade, to be exact. We had been assigned to write and illustrate a story. Mine was about a dinosaur I rode to school and was maybe eight sentences long. Nevertheless, I was hooked.

I then asked what prompted her to get an MFA.

It was a couple of things. First, I wanted help with the manuscript I was working on (a manuscript that quickly got put aside for other projects once I really got into the program). Second, I had just spent the last eight or so years as a full-time stay-at-home mom and I wanted to nourish a different side of myself and seek out intellectual challenges. Plus, the low residency program gave me the opportunity to get out of town and have someone else cook for ten days a semester! 😊

I also asked Tacheny some of the same questions we’ve asked our contributing authors over the past year including what the most difficult and satisfying parts of the artistic process are for her. 

It varies, but currently, it’s difficult to carve out enough time to be able to get words onto the page. Life is busy, motherhood is tiring, and sometimes Netflix is easier at the end of a long day.

As for something satisfying, I really love editing. I like taking an initial idea or a sloppy story and turning it into something meaningful. I love seeing patterns and significant details rise to the surface and making a story shine.

I asked what her biggest fear is, as a writer.

I think my biggest fear as a writer is that I can’t actually write. Of course, we all have stories that don’t work and drafts that are embarrassing to read in the morning, but sometimes I worry that even the pieces I like are terrible and everyone around me secretly wonders why I even bother. Then I have to remind myself that even if that is true, I like the stories and I am someone. Worse case, I’m enough of an audience.

I then asked what fuels her desire to write. 

I write for two main reasons, first because I’m called to. I don’t mean that in a vain way. I simply mean it’s how I process emotions, events, thoughts, and dreams. My brain constructs and organizes through storytelling. Second, I write because I want to connect with people. There have been times in my life when I have felt very isolated and during those times what I needed most was to know there was another human out there who’d felt the same. I want to be that for someone else. I want to connect through the characters I create.

I think this answer is both relatable to most writers but also gets at the very heart of why we’re so passionate about publishing other people’s work. Those human connections are so valuable, I daresay vital, to our existence. We (TGLR) want to be a conduit for those connections and when we see it in action, it can be pretty amazing.

And, in a way, each story, poem, or shared experience shapes who we are. Following that line, I wanted to know more about author(s) or other persons that have influenced her writing.

I think it would be too hard to pick only a few authors, there are so many I admire and try to emulate in my own way, but it’s easy to pick my biggest influence: my family. When I was struggling with reading in grade school my mom was there to encourage and read with me. When I finished writing a story or a poem in junior high or high school my dad, an author himself, was there to praise a specific phrase or creative character. And when life rolled forward and writing got buried under other obligations, it was my children who helped me find my voice again and my husband who told them to stop yelling long enough for me to get a thought onto the page. 😉

And of course I could not end without asking the classic Nebraska TGLR question, which is what she thinks of when she hears the phrase “The Good Life.” 

When my relatives from California visit Nebraska they love waving at everyone they pass because the people smile and wave back. That is what I think of when I hear the phrase “The Good Life.” I think about living in a place where people ask how you are and really care about your answer; where family is a phone call and a short drive away; and where there is always a neighbor who grocery shops better than you do and who has the sugar you need to finish your cookies.

When the cookies are done, Tacheny, let me know and I’ll come get some. 😉 And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being on the team, for helping with calendars, meetings, and communication, and for conspiring with me about the future!