Update and a New Feature

We’re less than halfway through our open submission period and we’ve received over 200 submissions for issue VI! There were over 3500 pages viewed by 1100 visitors from the last week in April through last week. Thank you for the support. We still have some new book reviews and a couple of new features to debut before the new issue.

The first new feature is a database of literary awards…

Many question the value of literary awards. Our community is flush with acts of literary genius just from last few years/decades, not to mention the centuries-old history of English publication. There is always something important/amazing that we still haven’t read yet. But tastes change and keeping abreast of the most current trends in what is seen as the current pinnacle in writing is of great import to many writers and readers.

Worldwide there are hundreds of literary awards and prizes, so many that not only is it impossible to keep track of who has won which award in the last year but anticipating even the major awards takes a serious act of calendar and schedule keeping.  However, being ignorant of who the award winners are or having your knowledge subject to random acts of the fickle media seems unacceptable. So we here at 4Ties felt it behooved us and would be a service to our audience to keep track of at least when the major awards were given and who their current winners are.

We’ve started off with the major American Literary Awards linked here. We’ve captured just a few to start. There are so many awards in just this limited category it’ll take us several updates to achieve a comprehensive list. We’ll update you as the list grows.

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Submissions & New Work from a Favorite Author

We received our 150th submission on day 12 of our open submission period.  Thank you for the support! We are busy reading these early submissions and like what we’re seeing. Please keep them coming; we are open to submissions unit June 16th. If you’re wondering if 4Ties is the right place for your work, check out Issue 5 Volume 1 and our archive of previous issues as well as our Editorial Statement. We’re sure you’ll like what you see. Here are our submission guidelines, or you can visit our Submittable page to submit right away.


If you missed it, we made the review of “Strange Company,” the new book from 4Ties author Jean Ryan, part of our permanent reviews.  You can find previous work by Ryan in 4Ties:  “Chasing Zero” appears in Issue 1 Volume 2, “Lovers & Loaners” is in Issue 4 Volume 1, as well as a review of her earlier book “Survival Skills.” And check out our Interview with Ryan too. We’re very proud to be a small part of an author’s larger success.  If you are or know of a 4Ties author with other publications in the works, contact us.


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Book Review: “Strange Company” by Jean Ryan

Reviewer Matthew W Larrimore


Interest in Eco-lit is rising faster than sea levels and Jean Ryan’s “Strange Company;” the author’s 3rd full-length publication and 2nd collection of short stories may just breach the levy for some readers. Ryan plies her considerable writing skills in this 118 page, 20 story collection that returns to this fertile genre for the author.

The reader will enjoy the bright, intelligent, well-written narrative as Ryan harvests verdant insights into the creatures that surround and fill our natural world.  The first essay examines interspecies relationships, the second, the life span of a Mayfly among other things, the third, the precarious fragility of the habitat of the South American Quetzal. The piece on the Praying Mantis may have the reader shorter of breath than a smog-induced asthma attack. The book’s range is quite remarkable and includes the inspiration found in albino deer, the medical miracle of the horseshoe crab, the endearing monogamy of pinecone lizards, and so on.

How do humans fit into the web of the natural world? The narrative puzzles and seems to find one answer, and then another. Time and again Ryan’s narrator enriches each story by insightfully musing on the larger meaning of those stories. “Strange Company” reminds us, our world is filled with natural wonders that are worthy of our attention and deserve to have time and energy invested in them to safeguard their future. She has faith that we will rise to the occasion. “I believe, I have to believe, we will find an answer to this mania [of human destruction/carelessness], that harmony [with the natural world] is possible, that what seems hopeless will shift into awareness, that we will surprise ourselves and prove to be a species worth saving [too].”

Reminders that we have failed to meet our duty as stewards of the natural world have become all too familiar. And just as “Strange Company’s” clanging eco-alarm becomes as predictable as the rising sun, the narrator’s insights shifts to a more celebratory tone. The narrative becomes envious of the lavish color of a Katydid, impressed by the glorious month-long song of the cicadas, thankful for the charity shown to an injured Mockingbird.  There is much worth celebrating.

Then the narrative tone shifts once more, nourishing the reader with food for thought.  There is a story about the discovery of the Lascaux Cave paintings in France. Ryan’s narrative wonders; why would a Neolithic man bother to paint the animals of their time but not create portraits of themselves. Was it a tribute for a successful hunt or a catalog of trophies? No one will ever know, but the reader learns the cave paintings with which most people are familiar, are a recreation of the originals. The original caves are just a few miles away from the modern recreations fashioned for tourists. Historians and Artists recreated the paintings because human presence ruined the originals. The paintings were not purposefully vandalized, but the simple act of visiting them, the humidity exuded by the human body, the CO2 in our breath, created a new environment in the old caves that encouraged mold, we could not protect the old paintings from ourselves. We loved them to death.

In the end, “Strange Company” gives the reader a gift, a story of why the natural world is a place of wonder for the narrator. The six-year-old in all of us should find something as precious in our natural world to hold on to, to tether us to it forever.

If you are a reader of Eco-lit, a fan of Ryan, or are in search of a gift for a burgeoning eco-activist, purchase a copy of “Strange Company,” it is well worth the read.


Strange Company by Jean Ryan

MadeMark Publishing

ISBN-10: 0998395773

ISBN-13: 978-0998395777




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What a weekend!

Four Ties’ first weekend open to submissions for Issue VI was rather successful. We received nearly 70 submissions; that includes our first two Graphically Storytelling submissions ever! Please keep those submissions coming and spread the word that 4Ties is open for accepting submissions. Later this week we expect to post our first review of the season, and in a bit of news about the review, returning this year, Interviews with Authors…more on that later.

If you’re new to Four Ties Lit Review and or trying to decide if you want to submit to us, have a look around; check out our editorial statement, our submission guidelines, and our online or pdf of last year’s Issue 5. There were a lot of great pieces from new and established authors that are great reads, some of them even chose to let you hear them read their own pieces, a feature we’ll be including again this year.  We hope you enjoy Four Ties Lit Review and thank you for the support.

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We are Open for Submissions

We are open to submissions for Issue VI Volume i. It is once again a themed issue; we’ll be returning to the idea of “Work” for our theme.  Whether it’s homework, housework, working on yourself, to save the planet, or about that place you go to / thing you do for a paycheck send us your submissions. We are accepting Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Art and new this year Graphic Storytelling. For our Submission guidelines visit our Submit page. Or if you can just visit our page on Submittable via the link below.


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Submissions Page updated with new issue information

We’ve just updated our Submissions page for Volume VI

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Opening for Submissions

Four Ties Lit Review will be opening to Submissions on Friday May 5th2017 for Issue 6 Spring / Summer 2017 . We will remain open to submissions through June 16th  and plan the publish the issue Mid-August. We will be accepting submissions of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Graphic Art. For this issue we will also consider submission of Graphic Storytelling. Once again we will use Submittable to manage submissions. More details to follow.  As always thank you for your support and please share our open submission period with your writing / artist contacts. Thank You.

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We’re a bit late but congratulations Bob.

The 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan. Poetry is alive and well in 2016 we just have to learn to see it in all its forms.

“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, with all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves. Let me forget about today until tomorrow.” – “Mr Tambourine Man”


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Poetry Helps Us Remember Too



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A new virtual reading

Poet Josh Anthony reads his poem Wretch Palm


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