Open to Submissions April 20th

Four Ties Lit Review will open to submissions from April 20th to June 1st.  We invite submissions of Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Graphical Story Telling (comics), Book Reviews, and Graphic Art. The theme for this issue is “Work,” as broadly conceived as possible; we all do it in one way or another. Whether it’s the ‘ol 9-5, Homework, Housework, working on your relationships or yourself, send us your best pieces. We’re looking forward to seeing them.

This year we will offer potential contributors the opportunity to support 4Ties and receive critical feedback from one of the highly qualified editors of 4Ties. The nominal fee will support 4Ties and help our editors avoid having to picking up extra hours waiting tables, though we really appreciate the folks who have chosen such as their line of work… See our Submission Guidelines for more information. We use Submittable as our submission manager.


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Book Review: Virgin by Analicia Sotelo

A Review of Virgin by Analicia Sotelo
(Milkweed Editions, February 2018)
ISBN-10: 1571315004
ISBN-13: 978-1571315007
Reviewed by Amanda Galvan Huynh

As a Chicana who grew up in Houston and in the backyard of Texas, I was ecstatic to sit down with this bold book as the title itself feels like a resistance to the very culture Latinas are raised in; the cultural and religious upbringing where good Mexican daughters listen and obey. These poems handle themes of desire, heartbreak, coming into womanhood, shame, and naiveté with a strong voice. Even before the first poem is read attention to the collection’s layout reveals that this book breaks bread into seven sacramental sections: Taste, Revelation, Humiliation, Pastoral, Myth, Parable, and Rest Cure.


From the beginning, Sotelo’s not entertaining the idea that these poems will be submissive. The opening poem “Do You Speak Virgin?” sets the pace as this satiric poem shows her talent to manage culturally embedded images. While weddings typically conjure images of happiness, a beautiful bride, and giddy bridesmaids, Sotelo raises the question of whose nightmare wedding this one belongs to:

“bouquet of cacti wilting in my hand
while my closest friends…

stir the sickles in their drinks…

before I sign off on arguments
in the kitchen & the sight of him

fleeing to the car

once he sees how far & wide,
how dark & deep

this frigid female mind can go.

– from “Do You Speak Virgin?”

The virgin archetype with an awakened twist. Sotelo not only flips the Latinx’s view of women on its head but the accepted American view of femininity too. These poems make a reader confront their held beliefs of what being a woman means; a theme repeated throughout. She builds the juxaposition between the idea of the virgin against an awaken female figure with power and desire:

“The man
I once wanted is grilling

these beautiful peaches. He offers some—
I’m embarrassed. I try not
to touch his hand

I try to touch his hand.”

-from “Summer Barbeque with Two Men”

While Sotelo challenges the concepts surrounding femininity, she reweaves myths, folklore, and history, and she amalgamates her own story into them; giving a portrait of the self. Within the section “Pastoral,” many poems circle around a missing father, however Sotelo enhances this narrative with the use of Dalí, Giorgio, and Nietzsche to depict the absence and artistic characteristics of the father. Sotelo creates an emotional depth that can be understood by someone who might not be as familiar with these individuals through the use of color and other subtleties.


Similarly, in the section “Parable,” Sotelo takes her time to bring Frida Khalo, God, and the Minotaur into poems revolving around a mother figure. The balance of these figures gives the poem a chance to breathe without being overwhelmed. Sotelo has a gift for this as even in the section “Myth,” her wit runs with poems centered on Ariadne and Theseus: “Ariadne’s Guide to Getting a Man,” “Theseus at the Naxos Apartment Complex, 6 a.m.,” and “Ariadne Plays the Physician.” Other figures grace the pages of this book, and the reader begins to anticipate who will make the next appearance.


Both insightful and fun to read it’s of no surprise no surprise that Analicia Sotelo’s debut poetry collection Virgin was selected by Ross Gay for the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize for Poetry. Not to mention the recognition Sotelo’s previous work has received by Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship, 2016 DISQUIET International Literary Prize in poetry, and Best New Poets 2015. Imaginative and wonderful in sensory details Sotelo does not hold back in this debut; it yells: ¡Viva La Mujer!

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An Open Letter to Four Ties Lit Review Readers, Contributors, and Editors

Since Volume 1 Issue 2, Four Ties Lit Review has relied solely on open calls for submission and reading from the “slush pile” to find the content for each new Issue and Volume. And we’re proud of that fact. We’ve always felt finding pieces for our magazine this way and using quality writing as our only measuring stick to find Intelligent and entertaining pieces to publish democratizes the magazine in a way that enhances the publication. We have always fought against the impulse to contact our talented friends and ask them to send us work or to email the artist of the moment and ask for a submission. Of course, we read any submission sent to us with an open mind but we’ve resisted using those personal resources to directly ask for submissions because there is a problem with utilizing those resources in that way. Relying on our own networks and our own tastes, even with a diverse staff, can create a kind of homogeneity in the magazine that we’ve always wanted to avoid. For the most part, we have been successful. 4Ties gets submissions from high school students to retired PhDs. We’ve received submission from across the English speaking world, and we’ve published pieces from folks who live in Australia, India, Canada, England, Italy (Ok we know India and Italy are not English speaking countries, but the point remains) and more, not to mention we hear from and publish writers from all parts of the United States.

A few years ago 4Ties began directly emailing institutions, mostly MFA programs, and asking them to forward our open call for submission to their students and staff. We purposely did not include schools in cities that have thriving writing scenes, New York, Los Angles, and Chicago for example. The folks from those places are perhaps over-represented in the publishing world.  This year when we open to submissions on April 20th, We’ll begin a new initiative to further diversify the pool of authors we notify about our open submission period. We’ll make contacts at Historically Black Universities and Native American Institutions. We’ll connect to BFA, AFA, and certificate programs (Yes, there is a such thing as an AFA). Not to mention, we’ll make efforts to contact community writing centers so that their students also can have the opportunity to submit to 4Ties.

We value including diverse voices among 4Ties Authors and Artists, and we know that addressing diversity in our magazine is not an issue that we can solve on one Monday afternoon in April, but we are committed to the process of making 4Ties more inviting and more diverse. We believe it will only improve the magazine, but we’ll need your help along the way so please contact us with your input and ideas. Embracing diversity is an issue in our society on which everyone needs to contribute. We look forward to hearing from you.

Write On

Matt Larrimore

Editor in Chief

Four Ties Lit Review

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Book Review: A Review of Indictus by Natalie Eilbert

(Noemi Press, January 2018)

ISBN-10: 1934819719

ISBN-13: 978-1934819715

Reviewed by Amanda Galvan Huynh

For the past week, I have carried Natalie Eilbert’s second collection of poetry with me both physically and emotionally. Indictus, Winner of the 2016 Noemi Press Poetry Award, is a book I could not read in one sitting. It still lingers in my mind as Eilbert calls for a reader’s full attention to the said and the unsaid; to reflect on its echoes of the present.

Majority of the poems in Indictus take the shape of free verse, narrative, prose, and sequences which allows for disjointed images bolster the faulty reliance on memory; the way memory can deceive, rearrange, and rewrite a new truth or one it would prefer to believe. Eilbert crafts dynamic poems that hold an unyielding truth to the aftermath of sexual assault, trauma and what it means to survive.

The collection’s opening poem “To Read Poems Is to Follow Another Line to the Afterlife. To Write Them Is to Wed Life with Afterlife.” sets an unapologetic and chaotic tone as the rest of the book revolves around the central idea of memory: the real, the unreal, the gaps, and the imagined. Eilbert’s first poem grounds the reader in the etymology of the collection’s title:


“INDICT, in its earliest use, exclusively meant to bring lawful charges against-but something marginalized groups know a lot about…language shifted to accommodate the reality of the court…It was left to the imagination of the survivor to alternate the course of events. At this same point, poetry meant a fable or tale in verse.

INDICTUS points to the unsaid.

In this way, to indict is to write the unsaid.”

from “To Read Poems Is to Follow Another Line to the Afterlife. To Write Them Is to Wed Life with Afterlife.”

It does not take a reader long to realize and admire Eilbert’s keen eye for language as the play of and on language frequents these pages. This decision also focuses on the power of language, an awareness of who gets access to it, and a reclamation of it to use as resistance, to use against oppressors. A quiet rage moves over and under the layers of these sharp and dense poems. Eilbert reclaims language by the attention given to words, their sounds, their order, and their mishearing:

“I thought and I thought and I thought, but could never property

express my shelves. I gendered myself until little holes trepanned outward.

I’m a bad denim vest. I’m a bad feminine land. I art my way

out of my pants and my importance is mistaken.”

from “Man Hole”

She creates a duality which asks a reader to reevaluate and rehear what is given; to distrust and trust at the same time. This choice in style parallels the reality of doubting one’s self post-trauma; holds the truth that trauma sits firmly in the present and can haunt an individual. Hoes does one write about the reverberations of their hurt? Begin to heal? Eilbert leaves these questions open, understands that every survivor’s story and pain is unique.

While beautifully written this collection calls for an in-depth reading as the surreal images at times can be disorienting and may require rereading. However, this necessary book is worth the extra time and meditation.

To write that Eilbert’s collection is brave would be a disservice as these poems are a strength for all bodies surviving in our current and turbulent times. Eilbert’s words give us space to reflect on our pain, others’ pain, the ones who come forward and the ones who cannot. With the rise of sexual assault accusations being taken seriously a new (and long past due) era unfolds for the future of women and femmes. One crucial voice rising in solidarity takes the form of this heroic book.

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Well, what do you know…

The Library of Congress has granted Four Ties Lit Review an International Standard Serial Number, an ISSN, the serial equivalent of the ISBN.  So what, right? So first, the Library of Congress knows who we are. That’s pretty cool, but it also registers 4Ties with a list of national and international organizations making it easier for folks everywhere to find 4Ties.

Not to mention that using an ISSN will lead to more protections for the intellectual property of 4Ties authors and editors and that’s why we took the time to secure an ISSN for 4Ties; Look for our ISSN on the cover of issues and the 4Ties Masthead (coming soon-ish).

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4Ties’ Authors and Artists News and Notes

4Ties Issue 3 Volume 1 contributor, and managing Poetry Editor at Driftwood Press, Jerrod Schwartz, let 4Ties know that Driftwood Press is venturing boldly into print publication with their Adrift Poetry Chapbook Series. Good luck to them and all those who enter the new contest!



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Are You Going to AWP?

Most years the Conference for Writers and Writing Programs marks the unofficial launch of the new season for 4Ties and this year will be no different. Many of 4Ties editors, contributors, and readers will be at the conference in Tampa Bay on March 7th through the 10th. We’d like to post News and Notes from the Conference this year on the 4Ties Blog. If you are planning to attend AWP and would like to contribute to our blog posts drop us a line ahead of time at and let us know what you’re excited about.

See you there

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Who knew eMail could be so exciting

We just eMialed THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS with an application for an ISSN (no not an ISBN)! Oh, the places we will go…

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Wish us luck!

We’ve just applied for The Whiting Foundation Literary Magazine Prize!

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Issue VI Issue I PDF format

The Pdf format of Issue VI Volume I is now available; you may open and save the file from the link below.

Four Ties Lit Review Issue VI Volume I pdf

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