Phantom Drift Receives Oregon Literary Arts Publishing Fellowship

Announcements were made by Oregon Literary Arts, Inc. Phantom Drift received a Publishing Fellowship. Fiction Co-Editor, Leslie What, will be representing the journal at a reception on January 22nd. According to Managing Editor, David Memmott, Phantom Drift is one of the few literary journals in the United States focused on fabulist writing. “We aim to nurture the literature of fabulism, the fantastic, and the surreal by publishing an appealing, top-quality literary journal featuring only the best of fiction and poetry from the U.S. and abroad. Our support for writers takes the form of not only providing a showcase for their works, but offering payment, a practice that both assures us the best of writers’ work and supports literature as a whole.” The journal does not charge submission fees and is open for submission from January 1 – March 1. Issue Number Four, subtitled “Between the Real and the Impossible (October 2014) includes both established and new writers from across the U.S. and Canada as well as from Hong Kong, Australia, and Wales.

Phantom Drift has won wide praise and has furthered Oregon’s stature as a home of superb imaginative literature.  In her review for New Pages [Feb. 2013], Julie J. Nichols says this about our second issue:  “This is a wonderful magazine, an awesome one—full of wonder…not a magazine to take lightly, but it sparks with light.”

The non-profit organization’s commitment to publishing the journal is reinforced by their outreach efforts, including their presence at Wordstock in Portland, Eastern Oregon Word Round-Up in Pendleton, and various ensemble readings. The journal was featured on “Talking Earth” (KBOO Radio, Portland) and has been a centerpiece in the workshop, “Writing the Weird” by poetry editor, Matt Schumacher, which has been presented in Crescent City (College of the Redwoods), La Grande (co-sponsored by Arts East and made possible by a grant from Union County Cultural Coaltion), Oregon City  (Clackamas Community College ) and Newport (Writers on the Edge).

Fiction Co-Editor, Martha Bayless writes “Responses from readers, teachers, submitters and contributors strongly indicate that fabulist literature has been underrepresented in the American commercial marketplace, but that there is a great hunger for innovative imaginative writing. This operating grant from Literary Arts, Inc., will help the journal attain the next level where its editors hope to connect more with a growing  community around the world.

In January, Phantom Drift announced the addition of a new fiction co-editor, Peter Grandbois, who brings with him a rich background in fabulist literature. Grandbois also serves as an editor for the surrealist journal, Boulevard, and teaches at Denison University in Ohio.

Submissions can be made through the website at:

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Phantom Drift Announces New Fiction Co-Editor

Grandbois photo

New Fiction Co-Editor

Phantom Drift Limited is excited to announce the addition of Peter Grandbois to our editorial staff. Peter will be sharing the fiction editing load with Leslie What and Martha Bayless. He is an Associate Professor of Creating Writing and Literature at Denison University in Ohio. His specialty is fabulist and magic realist literature. He served as an associate editor at Narrative Magazine for four years and is currently an associate editor at Boulevard Magazine. Peter’s novel The Gravedigger was selected by Barnes and Noble for its “Discover Great New Writers” program. The Arsenic Lobster: A Hybrid Memoir was chosen as one of the top five memoirs of 2009 by the Sacramento News and Review. His novel Nahoonkara won the gold medal in literary fiction in ForeWord magazine’s Book of the Year Awards for 2011. He has also published a collection of surreal flash fictions, Domestic Disturbances. His essays, plays, and short stories have appeared in numerous journals and been shortlisted for both the Pushcart Prize and Best American Essays.


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Submission Period Opens January 1

Phantom Drift will be open to submissions for Issue #5 beginning January 1 and will extend through March 31, 2015. Please use on-line submissions manager on our website. Guidelines are posted under each category.

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Pushcart Nominations for 2014


The Editors of Phantom Drift, Limited, wish to congratulate the following contributors to Issue #4, Between the Real and the Impossible, whose work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


Kailyn McCord, “The Leaving”

Joseph Rathgeber, “Penttbom”

Robert Hunter Whitworth, “”How We Parted, How We Met”

Charles Wilkinson, “Line of Fire”


Rob Cook, “How We Loved Each Other in the Indoor Wilderness”

Jeffrey H. MacLachlan, “I Want to Show You More Stories”



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Front cover for PD4 Unveiled

Below is the front cover design for Phantom Drift 4: Between the Real and the Impossible, with cover art, “Higher Consciousness,” by Damian Michaels, Australian-artist and editor of Visionary Art Magazine. Design is by Kristin Summers, redbat design.

PD4 Cover

Cover Art, “Higher Consciousness,” by Damian Michaels

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“Olimpia’s Ghost” selected for YEAR’S BEST WEIRD FICTION

Sofia Samatar’s story, “Olimpia’s Ghost,” which appeared in Phantom Drift 3: Rewiring the Weird, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffman’s story, “The Sandman,” was recently selected for the first annual Year’s Best Weird Fiction, edited by Laird Barron and Michael Kelly.

Congratulations, Sofia. You can learn more about the anthology with link below.

Year’s Best Weird Fiction

Here is the full Table of Contents for 2014 annual:

* “Success” by Michael Blumlein, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov./Dec.
* “Like Feather, Like Bone” by Kristi DeMeester, Shimmer #17
* “A Terror” by Jeffrey Ford,, July.
* “The Key to Your Heart Is Made of Brass” by John R. Fultz, Fungi #21
* “A Cavern of Redbrick” by Richard Gavin, Shadows & Tall Trees #5
* “The Krakatoan” by Maria Dahvana Headley, Nightmare Magazine/The Lowest Heaven, July.
* “Bor Urus” by John Langan, Shadow’s Edge
* “Furnace” by Livia Llewellyn, The Grimscribe’s Puppets
* “Eyes Exchange Bank” by Scott Nicolay, The Grimscribe’s Puppets
* “A Quest of Dream” by W.H. Pugmire, Bohemians of Sesqua Valley
* “(he) Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror” by Joseph S. Pulver Sr., Lovecraft eZine #28
* “Dr. Blood and the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron” by A.C. Wise, Ideomancer Vol. 12 Issue 2
* “The Year of the Rat” by Chen Quifan, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August.
* “Fox into Lady” by Anne-Sylvie Salzman, Darkscapes
* “Olimpia’s Ghost” by Sofia Samatar, Phantom Drift #3
* “The Nineteenth Step” by Simon Strantzas, Shadows Edge
* “The Girl in the Blue Coat” by Anna Taborska, Exotic Gothic 5 Vol. 1
* “In Limbo” by Jeffrey Thomas, Worship the Night Ranger“Moonstruck” by Karen Tidbeck,Shadows & Tall Trees #5
* “Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks” by Paul Tremblay, Bourbon Penn #8
* “No Breather in the World But Thee” by Jeff VanderMeer, Nightmare Magazine, March.
* “Shall I Whisper to You of Moonlight, of Sorrow, of Pieces of Us?” by Damien Angelica Walters, Shock Totem #7.

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Metaphors of Impossibility in Matt Schumacher’s SPILLING THE MOON


Essay by Gregg Murray

 Matt Schumacher’s Spilling the Moon rejoices in Surrealism’s games with the impossible and Oulipian spirals into the imagination. But the stakes are noticeably higher than your typical exquisite corpse or computer-generated n + 7.

Schumacher’s personae spend time as the “forefather of proletariat watersports,” a foosball “athlete”—no, not the human, the sliding shishkabob!—a “boy pretending to be thunder,” and a weeping willow that parties and laughs. From these impossible vantage points, crucial aspects of the real become more clear, and more magical.

Imagination sutures the impossible and what we actually endure. Play, such as highly experimental and imaginative verse, coaches us through the pain lodged in the unconscious, revealing beauty through, for instance, metaphor and wordplay. Some scholars have asserted that this is the creative literary response to the trauma of World War I. By this they mean not merely experimental representations found in modernism’s themes of alienation and isolation, but also the playful explosions found in Dadaism and Surrealism.

Perhaps the impossible nature of Schumacher’s own profession—poet and English professor in an asinine economy that devalues non-”useful” writing—informs one of his most impressive works, “Excerpts from a Surrealistic Resume.”

I swore one more morning as a door-to-door worm farm salesman
Would land me six feet under, serving as their food,
But later, I returned to work with nature
As a grizzly bear sperm collector.

The turn of phrase has higher stakes than just some crazy guy imagining crazy jobs. Schumacher’s “returns” to nature are always freighted with the very real understanding that human beings have ripped the Earth apart, made it a laboratory where cows are hooked up to milking machines and chickens gutted piecemeal on assembly lines. Is the antidote to fly above it all, as Schumacher so often does in these verses? These acts of the imagination allow the poet to return to the world’s undeniable magic.

My alluring yet ephemeral tenure
As paratrooper deducing he hasn’t a chute,
My bold career spearheading
Blindfolded brain surgery,
The glint of my knife guided only by luck.

This is humorous verse, of course, but verse that suggests metaphors of impossibility in our own professions. Schumacher dares us to confront the dread realities that inform these exercises in impossibility. In “Elegy,” the speaker tells of a Richard Withers, a man who “made a living out of frightening birds.” Eventually, Withers was murdered by a drunken mob and used as an actual scarecrow, at which point the poem reads:

They draped him on an oak limb
Hung small,
While the ash branches burned below.
Perhaps you will find this
I was only a child…”

This conditional implies that the reader will somehow smile that Withers’s labor is as effective in life as death. This could be the just-so story of the scarecrow. But this “perhaps” hinges another way as well, when the young speaker suggests that, in a vision, he saw Withers alive.

A valley of flaming oak trees,
His coat undone,
His scarred eyelids wide open.

I watched white owls rise from wounds in his palms.

Perhaps it is laughable that the boy is haunted by this cryptic, confusing space between the real and the impossible. But the dark truth is that the impossible legend—or is it a legend?—affects the boy in a real way.

Lastly, consider “In High Speed Pursuit of Romance,” in which the speaker offers, perhaps, a statement of Schumacher’s poetics:

Excuse me while I perform a bizarre, ecstatic dance
With my ankles blanketed by my fallen pants,
For I hear strange maracas. And I have ring-a-ding plans
For this hullabaloo. I mean to entrance.

This poetry is an ecstatic dance, but I would assert that the author remains committed to the tension between the real and the impossible, even when wonder appears to overpower struggle. Later in the above poem, the speaker jokes that “Romance can’t strut past me this time, that condescending heiress./ I’m going to give her electroshock right through her pantsuit.” This misguided Don Juan moves between cliché and playful self-deprecation, explaining that his “cologne alone is a whole wild west show.” But his duderanch antics are no more ridiculous than the discourse surrounding romantic love. His elegant, imaginative final lines suggest that such antics are precisely the magic of “romance,” its powerful bullshit discourse. There’s something in the metaphor—not the whole thing, mind you—but the magic of it. The poem ends, “I’m the man who’ll pour this whole sparkling city/ Into his champagne glass.”

Put one way, it is impossible to put a city’s lights into a champagne glass. Yet, tilt it up to the skyline. Hold it steady in a toast to the impossible. Those bright lights are actually what you’re seeing reflected, like metaphors, right there in your glass! Isn’t it magical?



Note: “Excerpts From A Surrealistic Resume” first appeared in Buffalo Carp, “Elegy” in Slightly West, and “In High Speed Pursuit of Romance” in Exquisite Corpse. Poems are reprinted below by special permission of the author.





Suspended by the eight-to-five slugfest
My job as human piñata in a baseball bat factory entailed,
I endured a strange, painful living.
The precise disguises I devised
As impersonator of the most ordinary people
Were never lucrative, however loudly I ballyhooed.
I swore one more morning as a door-to-door worm farm salesman
Would land me six feet under, serving as their food,
But later, I returned to work with nature
As a grizzly bear sperm collector.
As crepuscular shadow chaser I invented paraphernalia
Like the sunset net™ and daylight derailer™.
I distilled ambergris from the moon.
I miss my stint as weeping therapist,
My alluring yet ephemeral tenure
As paratrooper deducing he hasn’t a chute,
My bold career spearheading
Blindfolded brain surgery,
The glint of my knife guided only by luck.
A true, high-octane brand of danger
Fuels my flames of yearning
To buckle up as arsonist driving a gas truck,
But life as a smirking mesmerist
I liked best, hypnotizing crowds into milking cows
Which didn’t exist. It was serene
To see people’s dream lives
As they foliated, each dream an unfurling leaf
Reflected in the lakes of their faces.



In my childhood, I remember, my grandfather said
The Homer Methodist Church stood
Where Richard Withers, the town orphan,
Mad[e] a living out of frightening birds.

At harvest, when the moon rose over the corn
The farmers hired Richard
To lift his arms in their fields like a priest.
For miles the crows grew quiet when he came,
As it left out of earth’s will, circling
Like angry, silent old men, surrounding the grave.

Grandfather said Richard’s body
Might have amounted to a corpse, perhaps
By piling the wool rags
And flannel he wore.
Richard kept
A weathered felt hat
That smelled of clover
And pollen he’d caught with his fingers;
It took an odd shape, like a gourd.

Richard had spent his last money at Waterham Tavern
The night the drunkards
Beat him to hell.

They draped him on an oak limb
Hung small,
While the ash branches burned below.
Perhaps you will find this
I was only a child—
But the winter I turned thirteen
I think I saw Richard Withers alive in a valley—

A valley of flaming oak trees,
His coat undone,
His scarred eyelids wide open.

I watched white owls rise from wounds in his palms.



Excuse me while I perform a bizarre, ecstatic dance
With my ankles blanketed by my fallen pants,
For I hear strange maracas. And I have ring-a-ding plans
For this hullabaloo. I mean to entrance.
Romance can’t strut past me this time, that condescending heiress.
I’m going to give her electroshock right through her pantsuit.
I’m going to leave an eel in her wig.
I’m going to shoot the bull right
Between the horns and drag it around the OK Corral as long as I like,
Like on communicating cowboy
With a story more bewitching than peyote.
When she sees this suit, this tie
She will buy me drinks galore.
She will be thinking who is this guy this guy this guy
He is the walking duderanch cavalry glamour store.
My cologne alone is a whole wild west show.
I will charm her alarm her disarm her. Even underarm her.
I can do that. I’m a trendsetter.
When I ask Miss Unknowable to dance,
She’ll swoon statuesque from her plaster barstool.
I’m the man who’ll pour this whole sparkling city
Into his champagne glass.

Gregg Murray lives in Atlanta, where he is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College. He has poems recent or forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Caketrain, [PANK], Berkeley Poetry Review, New South, Phantom Drift, and elsewhere. His chapbook “Ceviche” is slated for April of 2014 from Spittoon Press. In addition to his poetic output, Gregg holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota. Please visit his website for more information, including links to published essays, reviews, and scholarship (


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Contributors for Phantom Drift 4 Announced

The editors of Phantom Drift are pleased to announce the following contributors for our next issue, Number Four, which will be published in October 2014.


  • James Braziel
  • Allegra Hyde
  • Kailyn McCord
  • Susan Morehouse
  • Jennifer Pullen
  • Joseph Rathgeber
  • Julie Turley
  • Tom Weller
  • Durand Sheng Welsh
  • Erik Wennermark
  • Robert Hunter Whitworth
  • Charles Wilkinson
  • Meeah Williams


  • L.N. Allen
  • Matthew Broaddus
  • Mercer Bufter
  • Rob Cook
  • Stewart Finnegan
  • Rebecca Lilly
  • Rebecca Macijeski
  • Jeffrey H. MacLachlan
  • Joshua McKinney
  • Gregg Murray
  • Dan Raphael
  • Mark Russell Reed
  • Rena Rossner
  • Peter Sears
  • Noel Sloboda
  • Alex Vigue
  • Jaime R. Wood


  • John Thomas Allen
  • Chris Gavaler
  • Peter Grandbois
  • Matt Schumacher
  • Leslie What (Intro)

Featured Artist: 

  • Damian Michaels

Special In-Memoriam Tributes for: 

  • Russell Edson
  • Thomas Wiloch

Congratulations to all. Number Four should be our best issue yet. You can subscribe to Phantom Drift on our website at:


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Submission Period Closed for PD4

We closed the submission period for Phantom Drift #4 on March 31. Editors are busy reading submissions. If you submitted, you should hear from editors soon. We received 500 short stories and over 600 poems. I will be listing acceptances over the next month. PD4 will be released on October 1, 2014. You can subscribe through our website at

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PD3 on the way

We are awaiting shipment of copies of Phantom Drift 3: Rewiring the Weird which should be here in the next week or so. If you are too impatient to get a copy from us directly, you can also order from ( and from Barnes & Noble ( If you order through either of these outlets, we hope you will write a brief review on their website. Thanks.

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