CQR editor Syed Haider reads in San Francisco

Chicago Quarterly Review editor Syed Haider was one of four writers to read from their work at the Book Club of California in San Francisco on November 9, 2015. Haider and authors Christian Kiefer, Robert Kerwin, and Jack Shoemaker read from work published in Catamaran Literary Reader (CLR), a Santa Cruz-based literary and fine arts quarterly that explores West Coast themes by writers and artists from everywhere. Joining Haider at the event was CQR editor Elizabeth McKenzie, who is also a CLR editor. Haider read “Life of Ganesh,” an excerpt from his forthcoming novel of the same title.


CQR editor Syed Haider reads at the Book Club of California. He was joined by CQR editor Elizabeth McKenzie.
CQR editor Syed Haider reads at the Book Club of California. He was joined by CQR editor Elizabeth McKenzie.


Chicago Quarterly Review receives 4 commendations in Best American Essays 2015!




We’re very excited to announce that four essays published in the Chicago Quarterly Review in 2014 have been named Notable Essays of the Year in The Best American Essays 2015! Congratulations to our contributors:

Marcia Cavell for “Waiting” –Issue #17

Paul Skenazy for “The World Left Behind” –Issue #17

Harmony Button for “Dear Spider(s) –Issue #18

Michael Milburn for “Home Grown” –Issue #18 !!!


The Fall 2015 issue of Chicago Quarterly Review

We are thrilled to announce the release of our Fall 2015 issue (cover illustration by Rumi Hara) featuring work by Aliki Barnstone • Sharon Barrett • Heather Bowlan • Margaret Chula • Stephen Cloud • Douglas Cole • Diana Crane • David Downie • Peter Ferry • Mauricio Montiel Figueiras • Victor Florence • Edward Garner • Rumi Hara • Natalie S. Harnett • Charles Holdefer • Gary Houston • Suzanne Jill Levine • Erin Lillo • Julia Malye • Michael P. McManus • Devin Murphy • James Paradiso • Charles Parsons • Harry Mark Petrakis • Nicolette Polek • Trenton Pollard • Richard Rapaport • James Reiss • Timothy Richard • Jonathan Rose • Ryan Salazar • Jay Shearer • Peter Stine • Goro Takano • Barbara Tannenbaum • Alison Touster-Reed • John Twohey • Josh Wardrip • Joe Weil • Luke Whisnant • Jerry Whitus • David Winner • Gary Young • Eric Zurita

To purchase a copy, click here!

CQR_Vol 21 2015 copy




Guest editor of CQR #20, Michela Martini

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Meet the editor of our special Italian issue! Michela Martini, a native of Genoa, Italy, received her MA in Italian literature from the University of Genoa, where she studied with Edoardo Sanguineti. She has taught Italian language and culture at Suffolk University, Indiana University, Cabrillo College, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her translations of Italian poetry, also in collaboration with poet Robert Hahn, have appeared in the Chicago Quarterly Review, Catamaran Literary ReaderThe Literary ReviewPoetry InternationalGradiva, Journal of Italian Translation, Italian Poetry ReviewLiterary Imagination, International Poetry Review,Unsplendid, etc., and were anthologized by Geoff Brock in The FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2014. She is currently working as a translator and editor specializing in information technology, literature, and photography.

CQR at Printers Row 2015!

CQR editors Elizabeth McKenzie and Syed Haider with CQR friend and contributor Gary Houston in the Poetry Foundation tent, Printers Row.

Syed Haider with CQR contributor Peter Ferry, celebrating the release of Ferry’s new novel Old Heart.

CQR friend and contributor Liz Radford

CQR editor Elizabeth McKenzie

CQR contributing editor Umberto Tosi, signing copies of his novel Ophelia Rising

CQR friend and contributor Signe Ratcliff with Syed Haider and CQR friend and contributor Gary Houston

Syed Haider and Gary Houston with CQR friend and contributor Sharon Solwitz

Printers Row

Chicago Quarterly Review at Printer’s Row!


Come see us, June 6 & 7 in the Poetry Foundation tent! Current and past issues, lovely postcards, friendly editors and contributors standing by! Here’s where:

Tent: MM 
Quadrant: 3
Quadrant 3 covers the southern half of Dearborn St. between Harrison St. and Polk St and the two short blocks of Polk St. between S. Plymouth St. and S. Federal St. Look for the Poetry Foundation banner. 

A reading for the CQR!


Eight Chicago Quarterly Review contributors will read from their work from 4 to 6 p.m., Sunday, May 17 at The Celtic Knot Public House on Church Street in Evanston. You’ll hear from:
SHARON SOLWITZ, award-winning author. Among her honors: the Carl Sandburg, Midlands Authors and Pushcart prizes, plus inclusion in Best American Short Stories of 2012.
LIZ RADFORD – Her work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle and AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle. She is an MFA candidate at Northwestern.
PETER FERRY – Evanston writer whose work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Fiction and Story Quarterly; he is the winner of an Illinois Art Council Award for Short Fiction. He is the author of Travel Writing, and his new novel, Old Heart, is due in June, 2015.
DIPIKA MUKHERJEE: novelist, poet, sociolinguist. Her novel, Thunder Demon (2011) was listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Her poetry has been widely anthologized. She has edited two collections of Southeast Asian stories: Silverfish New Writing and The Merlion and Hibiscus. Her poetry collection, Palimpsest of Exile, was published by Rubicon in 2009.
STEVE CEJTIN – visual artist and principal of Hammer & Pixel designs, will read from CQR’s special issue featuring new literature from Italy, edited by translator Michela Martini.
GARY HOUSTON – well known actor/director, writer and editor emeritus of Chicago Sun Times “Show Book Week” and Chicago Literary Review.
UMBERTO TOSI – author and CQR contributing editor reads from Ophelia Rising, his new novel reimagining the life of Shakespeare’s fair maid before and after Hamlet.
ELEANOR SPIESS-FERRIS – noted Chicago narrative surrealist reads from her story, “The Art Store.”
Celtic Knot Public House
626 Church St
Evanston, IL 60201
(b/t Orrington & Chicago Aves)
Ph (847) 864-1679
Sunday 4-6 pm, May 17

The Italian Issue

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The Italian Issue. Cover illustration by Rossana Campo


It’s here! Guest edited by Michela Martini, long in the making, this special issue of the Chicago Quarterly Review is a stunning collection of poetry and prose translations of contemporary Italian literature, featuring these writers, translators and artists: Cristina Alziati • Traci Andrighetti • Jacob Blakesley • Margaret Brose • Rossana Campo • Mauro Casiraghi • Mauro Castellani • Patrizia Cavalli • Mara Cini • Bonnie Costello • Deborah Davies • Franca Di Muzio • John Domini • Fabio Donalisio • Rudi Dundas • Adam Elgar • Biancamaria Frabotta • Adria Frizzi • Sciltian Gastaldi • Georgia Emma Gili • Robert Hahn • Michael Kirylo • Alessandra Lavagnino • Ernesto Livorni • Valerio Magrelli • Nicola Manuppelli • Michela Martini • Silvana Mastrolia • Elizabeth McKenzie • Massimo Migliorati • Guido Morselli • Ellen Nerenberg • Aldo Palazzeschi • Katia Pansa • Gabriele Pedullà • Giacomo Pilati • Alta L. Price • Frederika Randall • Rosebud Rosabella • Edoardo Sanguineti • Angela Scarparo • Olivia E. Sears • Nicola Skert • Emanuele Trevi • Francesco Verso • Patrizia Vicinelli • Patrizia Villani • J. Rodolfo Wilcock.

Purchase The Italian Issue!

CQR reading at Green Apple Books/San Francisco

Zack Rogow and Syed Afzal Haider


Moazzam Sheikh
Zack Rogow reading from “Havana Twilight”
Elizabeth McKenzie and Syed Afzal Haider, Editors
Stephen Kessler reading selected prose poems from CQR #19
Catherine Segurson reading from “Flower Storm”
Evie Rucker reading “The Wonderful Day”
Donka Farkas reading her translation of David Frankel’s memoir “This is All I Remember”
In the Granny Smith room
contributors Evie Rucker and Stephen Kessler


Read CQR editor Elizabeth McKenzie’s short story in The New Yorker


Chicago Quarterly Review editor Elizabeth McKenzie’s short story, “Savage Breast” appears in the December 15, 2014 issue of the New Yorker. Below is an excerpt. The entire story is available here.

“Savage Breast,” by Elizabeth McKenzie

It had been an ordinary day, to a point. I had a headache that wouldn’t let up, and there was a party I’d promised I’d go to—I’d said see you soon to the people at work. But after I unlocked my door and kicked off my shoes all I could think about was jumping into bed. Once I allowed myself to think that this was a reasonable idea, I felt released from the grip of the party; I realized that if I slept right through nobody would really care.

I threw down my bag in the hall. A stale smell engulfed me, as if from a storage room that hadn’t been opened for a long time, but I was too dead to investigate. I groped for the light switch but instead felt a warm furry thing on my hand.

Next thing I knew, I was lying on my back in a bed.

The bed was hard, and there was a thin blue blanket over me. Looking up, I saw light coming through an old-fashioned shade that had been pulled down over a window. There was nothing like this in my apartment. Slightly yellowed, it had a cord hanging from it which had been crocheted around a plastic pull ring. There was a familiar water stain on the shade, a lion’s head coming out of a rose, and I sat up in bed with a gasp….

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