Strategies of Making Things Up

Game Theory

Vol.57 Issue 02
Cover Artist: Federico Scoppa
Cover of TLR's "Game Theory" issue

Minna Zallman Proctor

The husband of one of our editors was pursuing a doctorate in Game Theory when I first arrived at the magazine six years ago. I thought then I had never heard of a more evocative subject for advanced study and immediately started trying to come up with ways to involve her husband in TLR. Keep in mind that I intentionally delayed asking her to explain exactly what Game Theory was…


David Cameron
Your Dreams Won’t Start Without You

Windy Lynn Harris
My Closet

Jacob M. Appel
The Children’s Lottery

Steven Boyd Saum
Waiting for the End of the World

Caitlin Vance

Brian Matthew Kim
The E Train

Joseph Sacksteder
The Korean Girl Problem

John Gallaher
In a Landscape: XXXVI

Jay Hopler
Cloud Chanty
Meditation on a Poem Currently in Revision

Sierra Nelson
Hollywood Treatment
No Hot Ashes

Gabriel Fried
The Story of the Castle Robbers

Eduardo Chirinos, PERU
Scene for a Movie
Curtains Blocking Out the Sun
Translated from Spanish by G.J. Racz

Curtis Rogers
Dunce Cap on a Martian
Aubade to Depleted Ozone
Old Man, His Head Two Paces Behind

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc
Hockey Dad
Men’s League

Julia Guez
Still Life with Worsening Income Inequality
Or the Quarry Implied by the Monument

Bin Ramke
Mean Also Means
No Place You’ve Been

Marcela Sulak
Tel Aviv, heroics & coupling

Philip Brady
To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet, Book XI The Etymology of Queens

Marilyn McCabe
The Details
The East Field

Lynne Potts
Failed Faith and the Naked Doll
Beatitudes of the Beaten
Moral Rectitude

Caroline Sutton
Tennis: Fort-da!

Utz Rachowski
Thuringian Scenes
Translated from German by Michael Ritterson


“Volterra Prison Theater,” © Federico Scoppa. Used by permission of the artist.



Jacob M. Appel (“The Children’s Lottery”) is the author of The Biology of Luck and Scouting for the Reaper. He practices medicine in New York City and teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop.

Philip Brady’s (poetry) newest book is To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet. He is the author of three collections of poetry and a memoir, To Prove My Blood: A Tale of Emigrations & the Afterlife. His collection of essays, By Heart: Reflections of a Rust-Belt Bard, was ForeWord Gold Medalist in 2008. He is executive director of Etruscan Press and the Youngstown State University Poetry Center. He plays in the New-Celtic band Brady’s Leap.

David Cameron (“Your Dreams Won’t Start Without You”) lives with his wife and children near Boston, where he works in higher education, writing about science and technology. A Pushcart nominee, his fiction has appeared in Carve Magazine and Digital Americana. He is also the fiction editor for Talking Writing magazine.

Eduardo Chirinos (poetry) is professor of modern and classical languages and literatures at the University of Montana–Missoula and the author of seventeen books of poetry. Two titles in English translated by G. J. Racz appeared in 2011: Reasons for Writing Poetry and Written in Missoula. A third, The Smoke of Distant Fires, appeared in 2012, and a fourth, While the Wolf Is Around, is forthcoming.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc’s (poetry) first collection of poems, Death of a Ventriloquist, was chosen by Lisa Russ Spaar for the Vassar Miller Prize. His poems have appeared in magazines including Guernica, The New Republic, and Tin House as well as on the PBS NewsHour’s Art Beat, and are forthcoming in jubilat and Slice.

Gabriel Fried (poetry) is poetry editor at Persea Books and author of Making the New Lamb Take, a collection of poems.

John Gallaher’s (poetry) fifth book of poetry, In a Landscape, will be out in late 2014 from BOA Editions. A chapbook of his work, The Future of Love, just came out.

Julia Guez’s poetry has recently appeared in Vinyl; No, Dear; and DIAGRAM. At work on her first full-length collection, she has earned an MFA from Columbia, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the “Discovery”/ Boston Review poetry prize. Guez lives in Manhattan, serves as the online editor for Circumference: Poetry in Translation and works at Teach For America–New York.

Windy Lynn Harris (“My Closet”) has published essays and short fiction in 34th Parallel, Living, Cynic, Sasee, and Quiet Mountain Essays, among others. She is a past winner of the Soul-Making Keats Literary Award and has recently finished her first novel.

Jay Hopler’s (poetry) most recent book is Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry. He is associate professor of English at the University of South Florida.

Brian Matthew Kim (“The E Train”) is an adjunct lecturer at Queens College, CUNY. His work has also appeared in The Telegram Review and Composite Arts Magazine. He is a founding member of the Oh, Bernice! writers collective, and he’s making his way through half of the Criterion Collection—an endeavor you can follow at

Marilyn McCabe’s (poetry) poem “On Hearing the Call to Prayer over the Marcellus Shale on Easter Morning” was awarded A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize in 2012 and appeared in the Los Angeles Review. Her book of poetry, Perpetual Motion, was the 2012 winner of the Hilary Tham Capitol Collection contest. Her work has appeared in Nimrod, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly, as well as French translations and songs on Numero Cinq and a video-poem on The Continental Review.

Sierra Nelson (poetry) is author of lyrical choose-your-own-adventure I Take Back the Sponge Cake and the chapbook In Case of Loss. Co-founder of literary performance art groups The Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society, Nelson teaches in Seattle, Friday Harbor, and Rome.

Work by Lynne Potts (poetry) has appeared in the Paris Review, Denver Quarterly, California Quarterly, Meridian, Southern Humanities Review, Oxford Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, Guernica, Cincinnati Review, and other literary journals. She won the National Poetry Review Press MS Award in 2012 and has a second book coming out in 2015 from the same press. She is poetry editor at AGNI.

Utz Rachowski (“Thuringian Scenes”) was born 1954 in Saxony (Germany). He was a former political prisoner in East Germany and was sentenced to twenty-seven months jail because of his own poems. He has published 14 books of stories, essays, and poetry. Awards for his writing include the 2007 Reiner Kunze Prize, a Hermann Hesse Grant in 2008, and a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2013.

G. J. Racz (translation) is associate professor of foreign languages and literature at Long Island University–Brooklyn, review editor for Translation Review, and past president of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA). His translation of Eduardo Chirinos’s The Smoke of Distant Fires was short-listed for the 2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.

Bin Ramke’s (poetry) twelfth book, Missing the Moon, will appear from Omnidawn this fall. His first book was a Yale Younger Poets selection. He teaches at the University of Denver, and on occasion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Michael Ritterson (translation) translates German-language poetry and fiction of the last two centuries. He has published first English translations of three works by the 19th-century realist Wilhelm Raabe. His translations of contemporary poets and writers have appeared in International Poetry Review, SAND: Berlin’s English Literary Journal, Seminary Ridge Review, and others. He lives in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Curtis Rogers (poetry) has pieces appearing or forthcoming in DIAGRAM, cream city review, Phantom Limb, Vinyl Poetry, The Atlas Review, and elsewhere. Currently, he lives and works in Washington, DC.

Joseph Sacksteder (“The Korean Girl Problem”) will release an album of Werner Herzog sound poems (as The Young Vish) later this year through Punctum Records. To check some of them out, Google his name plus Quarterly West, Sleepingfish, The Collagist, or textsound. He’s off to the Rocky Mountains for a PhD program in the fall.

Steven Boyd Saum (“Waiting for the End of the World”) is the editor of Santa Clara Magazine. His fiction and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Salon, Sou’wester, on KQED FM, and other fine places. He’s previously written for TLR on Ukraine, where he directed the Fulbright program, served as an election observer in the Orange Revolution, taught as a Peace Corps volunteer, hosted a radio show, and was arrested only once.

Marcela Sulak (poetry) is the author of Immigrant from Black Lawrence Press; she’s translated three collections of poetry from the Czech and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and she is co-editing Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Literary Hybrid Genres forthcoming from Rose Metal Press. She directs the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University.

Caroline Sutton’s (“Tennis: Fort-da!) writing has appeared in North American Review, Cimarron Review, Ascent, and Tampa Review, among others. Her essay “Eclipsed” received Southern Humanities Review’s Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award and is listed as a Notable Essay of 2012 in Best American Essays 2013. Formerly an editor at Charles Scribner’s Sons and Hilltown Press, Sutton currently teaches high school English in New York.

Caitlin Vance (“Tulips”) is a poetry MFA student at Syracuse University. Her poetry has appeared in Tin House, ZYZZYVA, and Booth.