cream city review  |  fiction / non-fiction / poetry / art

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  • Issue 38.2

    Featuring forty-six works of fiction, poetry, art, & nonfiction!

    Available now for $12! 

  • AWP 2015!

    Come Visit Us In Minneapolis!

    At AWP 2015 cream city review will be part of an offsite reading with Line Break and Devils Lake.

    There will also be a “Returning the Gift” panel, based on our previous issue, 38.1.

    And, as always, there will be a cream city review table at the Bookfair.

    We hope to see you there, April 8-11 in Minneapolis, MN!

  • Next Year is cream city review's 40th Anniversary!

    40 Years of Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Reviews

    Our team is hard at work planning a number of events for our 40th anniversary.

    We’re planning to make it an year worth remembering!

  • New Pages Reviews Issue 38.1

    Thank you to Justin Brouckaert for his wonderful review of Issue 38.1 in New Pages!

     Click here to read his thoughtful critique.




“Why I Learned The Trade” Sarah Pemberton Strong #tbt

For today’s throwback Thursday we are featuring Sarah Pemberton Strong’s poem “Why I Learned The Trade,” which was first printed in our 31.1 issue from Spring of 2007.

Why I Learned The Trade
Sarah Pemberton Strong

It’s not about the money he’d say
folding cash into his wallet. I didn’t believe him.
Come on just once just try it he kept nagging
as if plumbing were sex until to shut him up I said
Yes. I called in sick, went with him to a strange part of the city.

On the cracked cement floor of a garage near the freeway
he put a torch in my hands. Like this he said
and the whistle of gas roared in my ears the flame burst out and I
my God turned metal into molten silk and back again. Don’t
touch it now he said but I burned
my fingers on that line of brightness
as if it were a sweet I could pop in my mouth, the copper
burnished violet-red and blue-green where I’d kept the flame
too long, the shining drop of solder beaded on the joint
like icing at the bottom of a spoon.

As I walked home men raised their heads and stared
as if I’d called their names. Bottles in the gutter gazed
up at me, even the cigarette butts had eyes. I had become
a goddess, my body decked in steel toed boots and dirty
overalls, it wasn’t the money. All that first night my fingers
cracked sparks, burst dam meets downed electric wire. Power
flooded through me like sex in dreams, like joy I twisted the sheets with it—
copper, fire, water, lead; my skin, my blood, I was all elements.


As a special, between now and the time of AWP (April 8-11), you can purchase the 31.1 issue featuring this poem along with two other Midwest-focused issues for just $12. That’s three issues for just $12. Simply download our order form here, and indicate that you would like to purchase the Midwestern Writers Bundle.

You can also come to the “Voices of the Middle West” book fair, where we will have a table! Visit here for more information. Finally, you can also come visit our table at AWP in Minneapolis, MN. Visit here for information on AWP. This bundle will be available at both of these locations!



Cream City Review/UWM to Host Midwestern Friendlies Meet

cream city review/UWM will be hosting the last Midwestern Friendlies meet for this academic year!

When: Saturday, March 7, 7-10pm (discounted Friendlies menu and drink begins at 6:30pm in the Friendlies room)

Where: Polonez, 4016 S Packard Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53235 (Voted Milwaukee’s best Polish restaurant & owned by the family of one of our own poets, Peter Burzynski!)

Who: Writers from UWM’s creative writing graduate program will be joined by readers from other Midwestern graduate writing programs, including Northern Michigan University, The Ohio State University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

About the Midwestern Friendly Reading Series 

This reading series is the brainchild of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign MFA candidates Sara Fan, Zachariah McVickers, and Kristin Walters. The term “Friendly” comes from the colloquial name for exhibition matches in soccer leagues, which have no competitive value and serve to better the skills of all participants.

We believe the Midwest is a major hub for writing talent and potential. Thus, we want to create a student-run league that fosters a fun, supportive network of emerging writers in the “Flyover States” so that we can share our work, meet like-minded peers and widen our respective audiences. And travel and meet each other!

The meet is free and open to all interested – please spread the word! We will be organizing a carpool for those who live near UWM and want a ride. For questions, more info or to join the carpool, e-mail

Here’s the Facebook event:

We hope to see you there!



Congratulations to Kimberly Blaeser!

We’d like to say, once more, congratulations to the new Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Kimberly Blaeser.

Kim B.

And don’t forget, you can still purchase issue 21.1 featuring Kim’s poem “your old lost loves” for just $5.




“your old lost loves” Kimberly Blaeser #tbt

For today’s throwback Thursday, we are featuring a poem by the new Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Kimberly Blaeser! cream city wants to congratulate her on this honor!

Here is her poem “your old lost loves,” which appeared in cream city review issue 21.1 from 1996.

your old lost loves
Kimberly M. Blaeser

for I have left
the same handsome men
standing in photos
with that girl
from my past
seeing them grow younger
leaner, taller
each year
hearing their deep
fine words
in the rustle of each fall’s leaves

we walk
country roads
ankle deep in mud
I turn to you
young laughing ghost
hubba hubba
never quite matching
your daring
ooh la la
I need those memories
fourteen kids
and no papa

some lovers I know
in stories
some by heart
for I stand
just as you did
on the same lake shore
watching darkness come
suns setting in unison
casting long shadows
one after another
across the years

old lost loves
you and I
clasping identical dark hands
smelling of clay and damp pine
hearing again
song of owl and loon
endless and lonesome
lingering night sounds
echoing forever
back and forth across
a single lake
called time


As a special for this week’s throwback Thursday, if you order in the next two weeks you can get the 21.1 back issue of Cream City Review, featuring this poem by Kimberly Blaeser, along with work by Alexander Long, Vivian Shipley, Sandra J. Chu, Thomas Larson, and many more, for just $5! Simply download our order form here, and indicate that you would like issue 21.1!

Also, we would like to invite everyone to the official “passing of the torch” reading, featuring the outgoing Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Max Garland, and the incoming Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Kimberly Blaeser. This event will take place at Woodland Pattern Bookstore on Sunday, February 22 at 2pm. Click here to check out the Facebook event page.