TOM JENKS, Contributing editor of The Paris Review, former fiction editor of Esquire, and senior editor at Scribner’s. With Raymond Carver edited American Short Story Masterpieces (Dell).

On short story “Cloth.” “Wow! What a bravura performance, line-by-line, moment-by-moment. Very powerful.” 8/98

WRITERS’ FORUM, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

“Thanks for sending ‘Escape’ to us at Writers’ Forum. I think it is a terrific story and I would like to publish it in our next available issue, #25. In addition to being dramatic and insightful, the story has some excellently witty moments. The ‘bone-colored mannequin’ on page 3 is one, and the bit on p. 7, in which Cambridgeans seem to think that Harvard Divinity School is an oxymoron, is another. Good work!” C. Kenneth Pellow, Editor, Writers’ Forum, 3/98


“Dennis, I love ‘Popeye’s Dead.’ My editor-in-chief agrees with me that the dialogue is superb, and your sensibility is in NYS’ ballpark...” Mark Wisniewski, Fiction Editor, 11/97

SALT HILL JOURNAL, Syracuse University (www.hypertxt.com/sh/index.html)

“We love your story ‘Chrysalis’ and want to publish it in our fall issue.” Deborah Olin Unferth, Fiction Editor, 3/98

SUN DOG: THE SOUTHEAST REVIEW, Florida State University

“I’m writing about your short story ‘Banjo Grease.’ We like it, and we’d like to print it here at Sun Dog. The story is funny, creative, well-written, and full of life—just the sort of thing we’re looking for.” Michael McClelland, Fiction Editor, 10/96


“Presentation is great, the story is memorable, tight writing, solid characterization with a sense of mystical, internal environs.” Carla Perry, Editor in re: “Big Whitey.” 1/98


“I was immediately taken by the voice, the images, the control. This is an accomplished writer, says I.” Bob Richmond, Editor in re. “Nolde’s Sun.” 1/98


“Thank you for a terrific story!” Gwen Moore, Editor, on accepting “Day Laborer” for publication. 2/98


“Popeye’s Dead” and “Passing Through Ambridge” are excellent tales, both very clever, original and well-written, and since I could not choose between them, I’d like to take the pair.” Gregory Smith, Editor, 5/98


“This note only gets put in with my responses to people where I end up saying to myself ‘in a perfect world Harper’s could use this.’” Hal Cohen, in response to “Say Hello To Stanley,” 9/25/97

CHICAGO REVIEW, University of Chicago

“We enjoyed this piece—its humor, its sharp, quick dialogue, and its fable-like quality.” L.A. Duck,

Editor, on “Popeye’s Dead.” 5/96

‘Escape’ was a treat. Your wit and intelligence as prose stylist made the story a tough call. We were especially impressed by your powerful narrative voice, your beautiful characterizations and compelling sense of poetics.” Neda Ulaby, Editor, 6/98

FUEL Magazine. An Economy of Words & Pictures, Chicago, IL

“Dennis, thanks for submitting your story “Oh Josephine”—it was a fantastic read! I would love to use it in the next FUEL, a double issue (23/24). . . I am very excited about the piece and very glad you would consider FUEL.” Andy Lowry, Editor, 5/98

CROSSCONNECT*, University of Pennsylvania (ccat.sas.upenn.edu/xconnect)

“Thanks for sending us such a great story!” Annette C. Earling, Fiction Editor, on “Big Whitey.” 5/98 (*CrossConnect is ranked as the premier online literary journal.)

“We’ve included ‘Big Whitey’ in our annual ‘Best of the Year’ print edition. Congratulations!” David Deifer, Editor, 1/99


“I love your work. . .” Kate Gale, Editor, 6/98


“What a vivid story—both Grace and the Maine setting are well-rendered and precise.” On

“Ambush,” 7/98.

THE ALSOP REVIEW (www.alsopreview.com)

“Lovely story. I’ve read this four times now and keep finding more to like. Your story will appear in our September issue.” Jamie Wasserman, Editor, 8/98, on “Cloth.”

“It’s my pleasure to tell you your short story ‘Say Hello to Stanley’ was selected by the editorial board as the winner in our fiction competition. Congratulations!” Jaimes Alsop, 1/99

“The Alsop Review showcases outstanding poets and writers. It is my pleasure to invite you to appear as a featured writer. Please send me 6-8 stories, photo and bio. Your pages on AR will be your permanent ‘home’ on the web from which you may add or subtract as you like.” Jamie Wasserman, Ed. 3/99


“Congratulations on being included on our cover. Les Barnes (Fiction Editor) and I enjoyed your story immensely and wanted to make sure you received that extra bit of recognition.” Todd Moffett, Editor, 1/99, on “Escape.”

SHENANDOAH, Washington and Lee University

“We found ‘Cloth’ to be a fine story with moments of brilliance . . .” R.T. Smith, Editor, 1/99

PASSAGER, University of Baltimore

“We loved the story (News From Heaven) ... Please send more. Your work is great.” Kendra Kopelke, Editor, 3/99

LYNX EYE, Los Angeles, CA

“Thanks for a great story (Say Hello to Stanley). . . Contest winners to appear in our May issue.” Pam McCully, Ed., 3/99

SOU’WESTER, Southern Illinois University

‘Escape’ is a fine, strongly made short story. Each time I read it, I like it more, and that is a sure critical sign, one that I trust.” Fred W. Robbins, Editor, 3/99

BIG BRIDGE, (www.bigbridge.org)

“This is the first story I have received in a long time that I just read straight through online. I want to use it in Issue 3 of Big Bridge It’s the way you told your story through product, the iconization of the

objects of consumption that begin to define the individual, or hide the individual, that I found compelling. ” Michael Rothenberg, Editor on “Scatology,” 4/99.

AMARILLO BAY, (amarillobay.org)

“I enjoyed reading “Mechanic”--crisp style, good dialogue, mean twist. I'd like to use it in the November issue of Amarillo Bay.” Richard Moseley, Editor, 6/99

CONSPIRE, (www.conspire.org)

‘Tracks’ is a wonderful piece of work and I am accepting it for publication in the November Issue of Conspire.” Fanoula Sevastos, Editor, 7/99

TERRAIN, (www.terrain.org)

“I recently came across your good work in The Alsop Review, and I thought I'd inquire as to whether you might be willing to submit fiction for the next issue of Terrain.” Simmons Buntin, Ed., 6/99

“Thanks for the note, and your interest in submitting. I'm very glad to hear that, because your work--from what I've read on The Alsop Review--is most excellent.” Simmons Buntin, Ed., 7/99

“All of the fiction you submitted was outstanding. These two (‘Ambush’ and ‘Man in a Bright Nightgown’) fit upcoming themes (Dec. 1999 and March 2000).” Simmons Buntin, Ed., 8/99


“I loved your story Ambush and it remains solidly in my mind. I must have edited this story 5 or 6 times . . . and it ‘hit me in the gut’ every single time To the many individuals purchasing copies, I

always say, ‘Read Ambush!’ So that tells you what I think of your writing. Wow.” Cynthia Warren Leffner, Editor 10/1/99

JACK SMITH, Editor, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Missouri

Passing Through Ambridge. These guys have flesh on their bones. Wow, what characters! The Scar

is another favorite of mine And the style in both pieces is really unique—this is one thing I really like about what I see in the entire collection. A voice not like the other voices you see in other fiction. A mix quite often of more elevated diction with low style—this really works for me diction which sort

of reminds one of the jarring diction/imagery in a 17th century metaphysical poem: jars in order to call attention, to make something fresh “ 9/22/99

G.K. NELSON, Editor, Savoy Magazine (www.savoymag.net)

“I read your short story, “Soil,” with a good deal of interest, and would like to use in in Savoy...

Regardless of your decision, “Soil” is a wonderful story that should be read by as wide an audience possible. If you choose, for any reason, not to place it here, I hope you are able to place it somewhere.” 11/11/99

“Bravo, sir. Startling, delightful and literate like Nabakov, I absolutely adore this story. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement ” Mike Maiello, author, reader


ANDREI CODRESCU, Exquisite Corpse (www.corpse.org)

Regarding “Grief”: “Dear Dennis Must: We are taking it. Lovely story!” 5/22/2000


Regarding “Grief”: “Exactly the right title here. What a painful but fascinating view of grief and what it does to us humans. Your powerful story remind of the last scene in M Butterfly the film somehow, probably because of the lipstick around the father's mouth. It has the same pathos as well.”

Ellen Shull, Bob Richmond, Editors 6/16,2000

ABLE MUSE, (www.ablemuse.com)

“Everything is perfect. I'll be looking forward to the tapes and phot. It will be my pleasure to publish your delightful story on Able Muse.” Alex Pepple, Editor



“Thank you for sending “Comin' For To Carry Me Home” to Harvard Review. We are really sorry not to be able to publish it, as there is so much to praise here. We loved the music of the piece, it seem almost like notes for a poem. In the end, though, the sustained emotional state seemed a bit too constant, as though the story doesn't move enough, or “travel” from beginning to end.” Grace Dane Mazur, Editor 11/2/2000


“I'd like publish “Comin' For To Carry Me Home” in the August 2000 issue of Linnaean Street. A very powerful and exciting story. The trajectory is straight up. When it bursts, it blinds with a shower of sparks. Your story is potent -- on the web, on the printed page, recited on the radio or performed in a theater.” Andrew L. Wilson, Editor


“My reaction to 'Horace' when I read it was pure excitement and wonder. Although 'Horace' doesn't shoot up into the stratosphere like 'Comin For To Carry Me Home,' leaving a fluted trail of sparks, it does something maybe even more wonderful: it spreads out shimmeringly, quickly across a number of distinct levels (at least five that I could identify, and probably more like ten -- by contrast, the average New Yorker story can barely manage two!), controls them all, brings them into a beautiful and achingly sad pattern, and then rubs the result hard (but still, I thought, with considerable tenderness) like a handful of black river mud in the reader's face...” Andrew L. Wilson, 2/2/2001


Regarding “The Cello.” “What a splendidly marvelous story. Your have created a world filled with interesting people. But Avrum is by far the most interesting of all. Somehow, once we had read the story aloud, everyone of us sitting around the table let out an audible “oh,” and then a couple of us asked the reader to bo back to certain parts.” Ellen Shull, Bob Richmond, Editors 2/15/2001

BLUE MURDER, (www.bluemurder.com)

“Thanks so much for the opportunity to read 'The Avengers.' What a terrific story! I was hooked from the first sentence. This is a wonderful piece, very stylishly written, with a powerful voice and deliciously dark foreboding. Our readers will love it as much as I do.” Elise Lyons, Editor


WAG: A Magazine for Decadent Readers (www.thewag.net)

'Boys' is a wonderful story -- it moved me tremendously. I'd love to run it in WAG.” Doug Childers, Editor 4/6/2001

SAVOY MAGAZINE (www.savoymag.net)

“Among the best fiction offerings of 1999 was Dennis Must's 'Soil,' an avant-garde romp through the post-modern world of Leonard Hart. “Leonard's father, brother Felix, and he vowed early on to get out of town. His mother and sisters had no such ambition. 'Perfectly fine for us under the willow tree in our backyard.'” G. K. Nelson, Editor 5/2/2001

THE PAUMANOK REVIEW (http://www.etext.org/Fiction/Paumanok)

“It brings me great pleasure to accept 'Horace' for publication in the summer edition of The Paumanok Review. Congratulations on this outstanding work!”

Katherine Arline, Editor 5/16/2001

LIMESTONE, A Literary Journal (University of Kentucky)

Regarding “Lily Pond”: “Thank you for your excellent contribution to our journal.” Jo Ann Circosta, Rynetta Davis, Editors (Graduate School of English) 5/18/2001

ELIMAE (www.elimae.com)

Regarding “Typewriter,” “Portmanteau,” “The Rabbi's Wife”: “Your technical ability and craftsmanship are tremendous: I would like to take all three of these stories, if you are open to it.” Deron Bauman, Editor 5/26/2001

LINNAEAN STREET (www.linnaeanstreet.com)

Lament is the standout -- how piercing -- (it) seized my imagination. And heart. Lament is definitely a story I want to publish.”

Andrew L. Wilson, Editor 11/7/2001

METAZINE, Web Magazines Index (www.perrylane.org)

Typewriter, a fiction by Dennis Must. Full article at ELIMAE. Find this superb fiction using archives once it rolls off the new page. It is worth the extra clicking.” 7/24/2001


“It has seemed to me, since returning your ms. (Run Home, Jimmymuller) that the book is at once a memento mori and a raw birth, tearing away the fatuous niceties in the domestic heart of our land, and, amazingly done without anger or despair, but joy.” 11/8/2001


“...The Alsop Review also has the distinction of being the first Web-based magazine to publish a sheaf of stories by Dennis Must, author of the lauded story collection, Banjo Grease. Must's working class heroes are the real item, and the stories are laced with such clamped-down hurt and fiery longing as to awaken in the reader's brain heretofore unknown regions of perception and emotional poignancy. Most of these stories are in the gregarious first person, dealing confessionally with patches of life in the dead-end rural Pennsylvania town of Hebron. Many writers can pull off a laconic swagger, yet few ever

achieve Must's shorthand urgency, or manage his crisply offhand way of alluding to the Depths:

"The Post Office Cafe was where our old man hung out on Saturday morning. James and I thought he'd be lubricated enough by noon to answer our genealogical questions. Regaling several of his drinking buddies and Grace, the bartender, with ribald wit, Father greeted us amiably. His friends suggested we were damn near old enough to drink the old man under the table.

“But drinking held no attraction for either of us."

"The Scar" introduces us to two adolescent boys who've decided to amble across the tracks to search out the poorer relations they've heard so much about -- the ones their father sums up in the snarled insult, "Vipers." The story encapsulates their adventure. Things get seedier and stranger as they make their way into Hebron's underbelly: a Baptist sanctuary resembles a "mechanic's garage" -- on the bulletin-board by the door is tacked a sheet of paper that reads: "Sin and Mary's Burden, Preacher Billy Leech.Pancakes & Sausage Following." Then the road turns to gravel with a spilled-out culvert running beside it. By the time they reach Grandma and Grandpa's house, they might as well be in the Sudan, and Must shocks the boys' (and the reader's) Calvinism with a shining erotic image:

"Shoeless children attired only in underpants raced sinisterly in and out of the house, its door wide open to a black interior. Two teenage girls (we guessed they were all siblings) ran down to the water’s edge, taunting James and me to join them. The older, boyishly gaunt, flashed an obscenity while provocatively snapping her sister's dress above her head--she was stark naked." ("The Scar," Dennis Must)

Warning: not all of Alsop's twilight is so brilliant. Andrew Wilson, 2002

GHLL: The Green Hills Literary Lantern

“I'd sure be honored to have "Typewriter" for the next issue unless I see one of yours I like

even more. But that one's a piece of art I’m soliciting here because as you know, your work has a

lot of power for me--lots of staying power, and I want to make sure GHLL gets some of it!”

Jack Smith, Editor 12/19/2001

“I went over the five pieces you sent, and I'm drawn to each of them for different reasons, though "Typewriter" and "Lament" are my favorites of the five. Hard to decide which of these two I like more! I guess I'll go with "Typewriter"--really, really works so well for me with the closing scenes, esp. with the call home. I'll say this, though, speaking of closing scenes, I am really impressed with the incredibly powerful metaphors and the imagery that results from them in the closing lines of "Lament." As I say, hard to choose between these two, but something in me wants "Typewriter" a little more. You've really nailed the writer's life here, that need to capture something that's worth something--even to, and maybe especially to, yourself. On the other hand, you've done quite a job with the problem of loss (of various kinds) in "Lament"!


Geoffrey Clark: Author of several novels and short story collections

“I want to congratulate you on Typewriter, which really hit me where I live with the famous shock of recognition–in fact sent a quick email to Jack (Jack Smith, editor of GHLL) this morning in which I noted that if I ever taught Creative Writing again, I’d want my classes to read that piece at the outset. Don’t think I’ve read anything so penetrating on the mysteries & agonies & even soupcon of joy of and on the creative process in a long time, if ever. You’ve got it all there, the anguish, the unspeakable

communication between the self and the other, and the blackly comic, sardonic quality of “A Hunger Artist.” (I’m probably not the first to cite Kafka in connection with your work.)”


Nat Sobel, Literary Agent of Sobel Weber Associates

I very much admired your story, "Star Crossed," in Bayou and thought that you might enjoy hearing from a fan of your work. I don't know if you are even at that point in your writing to start exploring representation, but this story made me feel that you have the talent to write a publishable book.


Editors “Full Circle, A Journal of Poetry and Prose”

Everyone responded to your story with enthusiasm and to quote members of our editorial board: “I am very smitten with this piece. Lovely writing. The slight tension. The view and perspective of the narrator and the relationships. The tension comes out via the garden, and spills into the relationship.

Exact. Beautiful.” And “I agree with all you say. Read this three more times this morning. Love it.” 11/25/02

Dear Dennis, Thank you for your beautiful writing! As always, Allegra Allegra Wong, Editor, Full Circle 4/02/03

Mississippi Review

I looked at it for a very long time, and think quite highly of it, but at the last minute decided against this very fine piece. I have regrets about it already, because it's quite moving. In the end, I let the rest of the accepted pieces sort of determine how this "fit," and it didn't. I am very sorry, and I wish I had a better response. I think it's first rate work and I hope you'll continue sending it to first rate mags. Best wishes.

W.T. Pfefferle wt@wtp62.com http://wtp62.com


WAG: A Magazine for Decadent Readers (www.thewag.net)

Thanks a million for sending along your story, "Star-Crossed." It's a terribly moving story, and I'd love to put it up on the Wag Web site. Please keep Wag in mind for future stories--I love reading your material.

Take care, Doug Childers, Editor 1/6/03

CROSSCONNECT*, University of Pennsylvania (ccat.sas.upenn.edu/xconnect)

If you have not yet found a home for "Avengers," XConnect would be extremely pleased to publish your

work in our upcoming web issue. I found your writing to be both refreshing and artful, and I would like very much to share your work with the XConnect community.

Ryan Ly, Associate Editor, Fiction 2/11/03

LIT, New School University

I'm the prose editor for LIT, the New School's literary journal. I saw your work in Zone 3 and The Crucifix is Down. I liked both of your pieces very much. I wondered if you might be willing to submit a piece for our next issue.

Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing from you, Danielle Winterton

Prose Editor, LIT

I'm happy to say we'd love to take Lament. Thank you again for submitting your work ... I really love your story.

Danielle Winterton 12/2005 Prose Editor, LIT


On Grand Guignol

“Great writing here! Getting used to your style with each piece...” Paul B. Roth, Editor & Publisher, February 2006


“I’m the guest fiction editor for Able Must, and Alex Pebble sent your stories via scan. I’ve already read BLACK WINE, think it’s a wonderful, spare and surprising story and would like to use it in this issue.” Thaisa Frank 6.8.09


On The Fringe

“This is a great, suspenseful and mysterious story. We’re glad you’ve shared it with us.” Troy Ehlers, Editor in Chief 6.22.09


“Congratulation on being chosen as one of fifteen finalists of the Michigan Literary Fiction Awars. We enjoyed reading your submission and it is our pleasure to name your work among the best we received.” Ellen Bauerle, Senior Acquiring Editor, 2008 Michigan Literary Fiction Awards Finalists (novel ms.)