Welcome to the Good Life Review

Issue 2, Winter 2020

2 Inside: Jim Peterson, Kendall Klym, Caleb Nichols, Stelios Mormoris, Tyler Jacobs, Kerby Caudill, Megan Saunders, Lynn Magill, Clare Bercot Zwerling, Gabriella Bedetti, and Don Boes


He is describing luggage he needs for their travel, and his hand gestures are terse and caring at the same time. I’ve always been attracted to his hands. They slice through the air and form several rectangular shapes, and then it starts to rain.

– Baggage

Good Friday

The boy stood between his parents. His father was a heavy, mounding rain cloud of the plains. His mother, the cold dark soil of the Midwest.

– Good Friday

Roger and Flight 8124

Tried to recall my first ciggie again. Had it been Pearl? The best answer was somehow simultaneously yes and no. When would she have even tried? Did she even smoke? Had she been in the Jeep with me and Charlie? Yeah, front passenger.

– Roger and Flight 8124

The Heart and Other Organs

One day, you led me to a shadowy corner of the narthex where tilty circular stairs mounted the air. We tiptoed the steps, like a series of half-tones, to the pipes in the loft.

– The Heart and Other Organs

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

I had gone in to get her, confronted by dazed residents sitting like barnacles on ripped red vinyl chairs in a hot, smoke-filled lobby that burned my eyes and turned my stomach.

– Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

The Truth About My Old Haunts

Fear, misery, love, desire for vengeance are emotions strong enough to worm their way into the bowels of a house, coil into the walls, lurk in the long dim corridor shadows, fester at the back of musty cupboards and bedroom dresser drawers…

– The Truth About My Old Haunts

You Shall Be the Earth

At first, they removed the dirt with naked hands, the rocks hurt them, as if they were fighting them to avoid uncovering the hell of a son, a daughter stretching out their hand waiting for the fingers, the palm freed from solitude and abandonment.

– You Shall Be the Earth


War Time, 1942

                        …In a month,
my father will be sent by ship into battle,

unaware of the utter darkness there,
till his unit enters Buchenwald.

War Time, 1942


Just a face on a shirtless body,
a body so much older than the last time I saw it.
Mom texts
but I know the difference in wreckage,
how the body puffs when pickled, eats itself
when sleep or food is forgotten.

– Mugshot

I Remember Good Days

On a Sabbath afternoon, we might watch men filling buckets
with slick, gray fish from the even grayer river

– I Remember Good Days

Love Poem for My Mother

Always her voice from the trenches,
rifle rising, taking aim:


    life isn’t easy, you know  
    good isn’t good enough
    I’m the only one can tell you this

– Love Poem for My Mother

Mass in Quarantine

the eyes, mustaches, and cheekbones
for years settling on your dreams like dew.
You didn’t want to say Mass alone.

– Mass in Quarantine

The Last Trick

I have taught you all you need to know. 
A grosbeak skittered across the path,


but my dog was not distracted.
His eyes shone with new understanding.

– The Last Trick

news & updates:

02.04.21: Check out the lineup of great conversations and food celebrating Black History Month hosted by UNO. Details here.

01.09.21: Submissions are now open for the 2021 Honeybee Prize. Winners in 4 categories will be awarded $200 and publication in our Summer 2021 Issue. More about the contest and judges is available on our contest page and also in Submittable.

12.31.20: Issue #2 is live. View the full issue here or peruse by genre: translation, nonfiction, flash nonfiction, poetry, flash fiction, or fiction.

12.12.20: The Good Life Review is nominating for the Pushcart Prize! 2020 Nominees include Clif Mason, Tomas Baiza, Mary Duquette, and Jamie Wendt.

12.01.20: Interested in connecting with other readers and writers? Check out our new community board, a curated list of events, readings, and workshops to inspire and motivate.

11.10.20: GLR is pleased to offer a new submission category: Stage & Screen. Send editors Jake Lawson and Joe Atkinson your scripts. Read what they’re looking for here.

9.15.20: It’s such a difficult time in the world, and your art is important! If for any reason you find our submission process inaccessible, please contact us. In addition, submission fees are now waived for BIPOC.

The Good Life Review is a literary journal made with ♥ from Omaha, Nebraska. We are committed to exploring the overlooked and are taking active steps toward a more diverse and equitable publishing platform. | About us

GLR publishes four online issues a year. We’re interested in fiction, nonfiction, flash, poetry, translations, scripts, and anything amazing that doesn’t fit into a tidy genre. We have published first-time, emerging, and established writers. We read submissions blindly and let the work speak for itself. | Past issues


Rounding out our second series, episode 2.6 includes highlights of the interview where Fiction Editor Trelana Daniel talks with Tyler Jacobs about his poem, “Standing Water in Central Nebraska.” Tyler is a student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney where he studies English and Creative Writing. He recommends taking classes with Brad Modlin and Jessica Hollander, but says that any class with the English department there is bound to be enjoyable. You can read his poem which appears in Issue #2 here.

Soundbites is a weekly podcast with contributors of The Good Life ReviewFollow us for additional gems and interview highlights.

The 2021 Honeybee Prize

Submissions for the 2021 Honeybee Prizes will be open until April 15th. The 3-5 finalists in each of 4 categories, Poetry, Nonfiction, Script Writing, and Fiction, will be sent to our guest contest judges who will select a winner and runner-up. This year’s judges are as follows:

Poetry: Douglas Manuel
Nonfiction: Marco Wilkinson
Fiction: Kate Gale
Scriptwriting: Michael Oatman

The winning entry will receive $200 prize, publication in the Summer 2021 issue of The Good Life Review that will include an endorsement from the respective judge for that category, and a jar of honey from a Midwest apiary.

Visit our contest page for more info about the judges and submission details.

featured from the archives:

“Flash” by Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason

3am, naked man in Nebraska
drives his truck through a church,
sideswipes a school,
ends up spinning on the State Capitol’s lawn; | Read more

“Alice and Juno in Hell” by Mary Duquette

The first call came on Thursday over the landline. It rang ten minutes after Alice got home from her new job as Kitchen Assistant at Jacque’s. She sat in her apartment in front of the television set with her coat on and her feet stretched out over the ottoman and picked up the phone on the second ring. | Read more

“Rabelais” by Tim Tomlinson

I once had a writing teacher who told me you can’t write about shit and piss and farts and vomit and I said oh yeah, why not? Didn’t Rabelais’s Gargantua let loose a torrent of piss over the city of Paris? | Read more

We are currently accepting submissions for the 2021 Honeybee Prize. More details about the contest can be found here. Please read our submission guidelines before submitting. Send us your wild and wonderful work through Submittable.

Does your original photography or artwork tell a story? Send us an email to be featured in an upcoming issue. Photo cred: Zac Bunch

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