Most Famous Stories in the Portland Review

What is this? Helen. They want me to tell them more stories about famous foist stories in The Portland Review? Christ. I got a stomach problems. God. These kids don’t care. Fine. Fine!

Back in 1853 I was a clerk for a law firm on wall street, and since I’m a rather elderly guy today it might be hard for me to remember, but I did meet Herman Melville.


Mell, as his friend’s preferred not to call him, was a janitor sweeping all up over my firm. He kept coming by and asking me questions.

“Hello good sir.”

“What can I do ya for?” I said, doing some very important paperwork.

“Were you asleep?”

“Just restin’ my eyes, kiddo. What’s up?”

I was up shitcrick. This no nothing party member janitor found me napping at work. Now I made a handsome salary in those days, which was about seventeen cents a month. God, could you live like a king on that. I used to eat nothing but ham, which is odd because I’m a chosen person, if you know what I mean. What? Oh come on Helen. I’m just kidding. My uncle was in the vaudeville. Zeppo Marx. You know. The Marx Brother that the Marx Brother’s all hated. Zeppo. Yeah yeah.

“Good sir, can you do me a favor,” this Herman kid asked. “Could you read this story of mine, and start a literary magazine and publish it?”

“Kid, I don’t know the foist thing about publishing. I’m not even sure I know how to read.”

And then he pulled a gun on me and the Lone Ranger came out with Hemingway riding him instead of a horse and I took a nosh from the onion on my belt, which was not the style at the time because onions had just gone out of style, and well. Blackmail is such an ugly word. That’s what Hermy said. Uh.

Helen. I need a Fresca. What? Sanka? Well, that’s not the same. Sigh. Whatever.

And that’s how Tin House got started. Now stop calling me.




Most Famous Stories in the Portland Review

Hiya folks, this is Morty here again. I’m here to tell yas about the most famousest stories ever poiblished in The Portland Review. You can read part unos of this exciting new venture here: Not there! Here!

Now, before we go onta today’s story, let’s see if we can’t find us a bedder pitture of me. Morty. The second editor-in-chef for the rag. Now, back in those days the positions was called editor-in-chef and not capitalized because you worked for the cafeteria at the university and were considered worse than dogshit. Goddamned privileged students. But I diegress.

Oh jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. Helen! Ya been futzing with my computer box again! I don’t want to… oh…


Yeah. Anywhom. It’s unfortunabadly that we can’t find use a pitture of me this week, but next!

Today I’ll be talking about publishing Richard Yates’s Jody Rolled Some Bones.

Now, dis was the story that made all Dick famous. Foist published in The Portland Review in the late 50’s (1950’s or 1850’s, I can’t really remember) and then later picked up by some rag by the name o Harper’s Atlantic. 

It’s a classic story about sodgers in World War deuce and how their lives are decided by luck, no control over nothing. What? Sodger? You know, Helen. Like those guys who go to the wars. S-O-L-D-I-E-R-S. Sodgers. Christ. Ya got too much cream in yer ears. Gotta get rid o that infection.

So, originally Yates included this description of his ex-wife in the middle of the story:

goddamned cunt motherfucker cigarette need must kill all mother fucker mother fucker mother fucker.

And I cleaned that up for public consumption. Now this really disrupted the narrative, so I called Yates up.

“Hello Richard,” I said.

“You cockshit,” he said, “what do you want?”

“I’ve got a question about this story of yours that we agreed to publish.”

“You can’t not publish it. No backsies.”

Now, at that point I realized that that was true. No backsies. So I resolved to READ every submission sent to us, and not just pick a few at random. Had that written in the charter. So that’s why The Portland Review reads every submission now, unlike some rags out there today.

“Right,” I said. “I know, but you’ve got this paragraph of profanities in the middle of the story. You got them goys at the base being drilled by the sarge or whatever. And then you stop the story to go on this five-page-one-paragraph rant about your ex-wife.”

“Did you know that my daughter is dating some fruitcake with a candy-striped coat? Bald Jew.”

“Well, Richard. This might soiproise ya, but I’m a bald Jew.”

“What do you want?”

“Could you edit some o that profanities out? Not all of it, mind you, I think it’s good. But just some of it. Also, all of your stories seem to be about either sodgers. TB patients. Failed sculptoring ladies. Failed marriages. And guys who write ad copy and want to be real writers.”

“Fuck you.”

Needless to say I wanted to pull the story, but published it with that five-page-one-paragraph rant o cuss words. Then the Atlantic Herper’s took  it and then cut that pagraph out. Pussies.


What? Helen? Whaddya mean this story was had been low-hanging fruit? It was true. And that’s all that matters. Years later Richard came up to me and said, “Thank you for being the foist to publisher me. I wouldn’t be the sexcessful alcoholic I am today if it weren’t for you.”

Eh. I should get an assistant to type tings out for me.

Until next of the time!

Most Famous Stories in the Portland Review

Hiya folks, this is Morty here. No last name. Just Morty. I work for the Portland Review. Hey. Should that “The” be capitalized? Hah. I guess so. I was never able to quite figure that one out. So. Hiya folks. Morty here. And I made a mistake. I used to work for The Portland Review. You see, I’m eighty-nine years old. What? Oh. Sorry. My wife is telling me that I’m fifty-six. Either way, I used to work for the, I mean, The Portland Review back in the day. Here’s a picture of me:

Hey. I thought I had more hair. And more face.

So, one of the young punks who works for the, cripes, The Portland Review asked me to comment on some of the more famous works that have graced our fine feathered pages. Michael Magnes was his name. Managing Editing was his game. I can only assume that he’s dead now, since most Managing Editors only last a few days. It’s a vicious position, why I myself moidered seventeen of my Managing Editors back in my day. Course, it was legal to do so. What? Honey? Moidered? You know. Moidered. When you kill some goy. What? Not a Gentile. A Goy. G-U-Y. Christ. Ya got whitefish in yer ears Helen? Moidered? M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D-E-D, uh. Anywhom.

Magnes asked me to comment on some of the most famous stories in The Portland Review. Here’s the first installment. The foist of many I hope. What? What do you mean my accent isn’t consistent?

A Small Good Thing by Raymond Carver.

Ah. The famous Ray Carve. Everyone knows this story. It’s about a breadmaker or a goat or something. Foist published in 1983, I believe. No. 1982. See, most people thing that it was published in Ploughsares in 1983, but those creeps just copied our pages. And they actually paid Ray. You know, I agreed to publish it over a cup o Sanka, Sanka being the only beverage available in Portland at the time. God it was awful. That first line: Saturday afternoon she drove to the bakery in the shopping center.

Originally read: Saturday evening she drove to the bakery in the shopping center.

“Jesus,” I said to Ray. “Why would anyone go to a bakery in the evening?”

“Because,” he said, as he lighted a cigarette, “baked goods.”

“That ain’t an answer.”

“What’s in an answer,” he said, sipping his Sanka.

“You creep,” I said. “Lissen. Change that line to afternoon. Also, instead of a bakery how about a shampoo store? Everyone needs shampoo.”


And then he sent me the story with that one line-change, evening to afternoon, so I figured that he changed everything I asked him to. So I lighted a cigarette and published it. Three years later I read it and realized that creep didn’t do a goddamned thing.

So I called Ray up and said, “Jesus Christ, you crumb bum. How dare you not lissen to my changes. I’m the goddamned editor.”

“Morty,” he said, “calm down.”


“You know how the story ends?”

“What, with the people eating the bread after their dog or something has died?”

“Yeah,” he said, “dog.”

“And you wrote, smell this it’s heavy and rich and they smell it and they taste it and it taste coarse and sweet and it’s a small good thing after all of the tragedy that has befallen them?”

“Yep,” he said, “after their dog was eaten by a Leopard.”

“Hmm. Maybe you should change that to their kid?”

“I lighted a cigarette.”

“I’m just saying. Also, Shampoo is home-ier.”

“No,” he said, drinking a Sanka, “it isn’t.”

“Are you drinking a Sanka?”

“Sanka is a small good thing.”

“It tastes like shit.”

And then he hung up.


Well folks, hope you enjoyed the first installment of “Most Famous Stories in The Portland Review.” Noice to be back here. Morty out. What? Helen? You need more cream? Sure. I’ll just go to the bakery and purchase some. TiVo me the program. You know. The one with the negros on it. What? I can’t hear you. Eh.

Dispatches from the press room: Magnes’s Mailbag: And In The End Part 2/3/5: Sunday Mailbag Coming Down

Howdy folks. Elton here.

In the words of Bigfoot: “I not dead” [sic].

I was minding my own business down in the press room, trying to get this issue printed up after weeks and weeks of delays from those dopes upstairs. The editors–an incompetent bunch if I ever saw one–left Magnes to run the place while they all went gallivanting off into the sunset. And if the editors don’t know how to lick a stamp, then Magnes doesn’t even know what a stamp is. Which is funny, since he gets the mail more or less every week. And then wastes your time answering questions no one asked and clutters up your MyFace page and Twatter feeds with his inanity.

Anywhom, I was running the presses–because the magazine’s finally ready to go–when I heard this obscene ringing in my ear like a drill bit whirring into bone. My vision went black and I saw in my mind a red telephone on a rain-battered Ikea table (those Swedes can make anything, can’t they?). The receiver jumped with each ring and with each ring the drill bored deeper into my skull. On the third ring the black went white and the telephone vanished and when I could see again I saw the flesh melting off my own skull in the garbage-filled office of the Portland Review, an office that shuddered with each breath it drew.

What sorcery was this? I touch my face. My skin was still there, but it was my skull, unmistakeably bubbling in the corner, the rest of my body evidently incinerated into a pile of ash at my chin. But I was here. Was that body a creation of the Review or the occupiers or Magnes himself? And what of poor Patty, the tortured assistant to whom I never screwed up the courage to reveal my love? She was even more unrecognizable, reduced to rubble in the fray, just a scrap of her hair to reveal the body’s identity. Scraps of the occupiers decorated the walls and Magnes was locked in conflict with himself and the sentient office. The red telephone was there.

“Don’t answer it!” I yelled.

Magnes reached out his hand and I jumped for the wall and the phone line. Magnes’s hand shot back. His eyes were wild with terror and confusion. I pulled the cord from the wall and creaked my way upright. There was a full minute of silence save the sounds of the Portland Review’s labored breathing.

The phone rang.

The cord was still in my hand.

The phone rang again.

The drill worked deeper into my brain and I fell to my knees.

The phone rang again.

Magnes reached out his hand.

_ _ _

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD

Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Howdy folks. Elton here.

I’m sure you’re all wondering where I’ve been. Me too. One minute I’m changing my earplugs in the press room, the next I’m sitting cross-legged in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa. I think there may have been a writers’ workshop of some kind or another nearby, because I heard a bunch of idiots hooting and hollering about POETRY! And they were all wondering what was at steak and whether or not some asshole earned his cliche or not. And there I was, scratching my ass and wondering how in the hell I got there. It wasn’t even sweet corn, just that nasty starchy field corn that’ll make ethanol and feed cattle.

Anyway, I was just sitting in the dirt and the shade, watching aphids crawl all over everything, when an incredible sense of calm washed over me and I knew I was on corncation. I never liked Magnes, that squirrely turd of an administrative assistant, but he got the corncation thing right.

Here’s what I think happened: Patty, the idiots’ long-suffering secretary, got tired of Magnes eating her yogurt (Patty’s yogurt, DON’T EAT!), so she set up on a corncation. I was mistaken for Magnes and sent on corncation instead. And I spent six weeks in the dirt and the mud and the rain and the sun and the corn. I found myself steadily coming to peace with the fact that the editors of the Portland Review are incompetent slobs.

And now the issue is on its way to me. And maybe those kids running the show upstairs are damn dummies, but at least they’ve managed to churn out a product. Look for it in the middle of Novemeber.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD

TV Shows Better Than The Movies They Were Based On

1) Smoke on the Lanes

So everyone loves the Big Lebowski. What can we say about it? Go ahead. Quote from it for the next couple of minutes. Think about your favorite scenes. We’ll wait. You’re doing it anyway. Welcome back. So, remember Smokey? You know, the guy who was entering a world of pain when John Goodman accused him of stepping over the line?

Thursday nights at 1:37 A.M. on ESPN4 you could, for a brief period of time in August of 1999, find Smokey teaching you how to bowl. A brief episode guide is as follows: Episode one: Rolling for Dummies, Episode Two: Seven-ten Your Splits, Episode Three: Grinding Out Winners, Episode Four: Bogarting Other Lanes, Episode Five: Freak Out (The Art of Psychological Bowling), Episode Six: (Untitled #4). The show was a bizarre cross of Fishing with John and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, in that each episode was nothing but a series of non-sequiturs and inaction. It was the poster child for ennui–the show some, no one, called a harbinger of the Bush administration. The last episode was the least watched, but had John Goodman and Jeff Bridges reprising their roles–mostly arguing if bowler hats had anything to do with bowling. Sam Elliott even showed up to make some cryptic comment:

John Goodman

It was the hat Dude. The hat

Jeff Bridges

Man, Watler, you know you can’t, like, bowl with a hat on. You couldn’t see. The brim gets in the fucking way man. I mean, you see all the trouble I have with my hair. I just, it wouldn’t work.

John Goodman

It was designed by the Dutch in the 1800’s to make the game more combatative. Kings had started using it as a mean of warefare.


So, as you can see, you must, MUST, wear shoes or else you’ll slip on the floor.

John Goodman

You’re out of your element Smokey. What do you know about hats?

Sam Elliott

Well, the Dude, Walter, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the dude what acted out Smokey’s lines, were sure in some sort of bad place, you know.

Smokey died violently at the end of each episode being crushed by balls, sucked into the ball return, food poisoning from the wings, and of cancer on one very special episode. But the best part? Well, you can guess from the title, but for those of you who couldn’t tell, its theme song was Smoke on the Water.

2) McCabe and Mrs. Miller’s Place

John McCabe is a traveling hobo in the old west who won just won the lottery in L.A. He moves because up the coast to Portland because it is suffering from a lack of hardware stores, and his cousin Sol Star made a killing in South Dakota, so he hitches his wagon and is off! He gets to town but finds out that representatives from the Harrison Shaughnessy Mining and Drug Store Ccompany have taken over town! The only place he can rent in town is owned by Mr. Furley and he’ll only rent to John if he pretends to be gay but still live with a sexy lady (Mrs. Miller), who happens to be addicted to Spanish peanuts. So they live together. After that they try to keep up the ruse but regrettably fall in love with each other. There are many missteps along the way, such as when Mr. Furley’s cat comes to visit, and John quickly forgets about the drug store business when Rock N’ Roll is invented. He becomes a record produces so a mob kills him in the series finale. Mrs. Miller stays on, addicted to Spanish peanuts. Here’s a scene!


So. Is that cat coming by today to check on us?

Mrs. Miller.

Probably. I just

(Hears a knock on the door)

Oh no! Quick. Pretend to be gay.


(Clears throat)

Mr. Furley

(Poking his head through the window)

Hey! You kids decent!?


Sure am. Come in.

Mr. Furley

I am in.


Oh. Right.

(Comes in)

So you’re gay, right?


Boy, this sure is wacky.

Mr. Furley



3) Dr. Gonzo: Lawyer at Law

Benicio Del Toro reprises his role as Dr. Gonzo in this reality spin-off from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but there’s a catch: Raoul Duke is nowhere to be found and Dr. Gonzo spends his time charging by the hour for legal advice. Despite the fact that he hasn’t earned a J.D. and is currently not licensed to practice law in any American states or territories, Del Toro, as Dr. Gonzo, actually litigates real cases for this show, often high-profile divorces of the super-rich. The running logic so far is this: He’s not a lawyer, but he plays one on TV, which is good enough for the justice system as it stands today.

Just before entering the courtroom.

Two of our favorite episodes are described below:

1) Del Toro represents T. Denny Sanford (a billionaire who made his fortune by issuing predatory credit cards and makes his home in South Dakota in order to avoid paying income taxes in Arizona and Colorado, where he actually lives) in his divorce case against now-ex-wife Colleen Anderson Sanford. Their prenup stated that Denny could skip out on alimony, but Colleen’s legal team beats it somehow (Del Toro, even while playing Dr. Gonzo, still isn’t sure how), and Denny ends up paying alimony anyway. “Well, that’s what you get when you hire Dr. Gonzo,” says Del Toro at the end of the episode before chewing up a handful of bennies.

2) Del Toro spends a day as a Wikipedia vigilante, cruising through the United States v. [Somebody] pages, making corrections based on what he remembers from the single course in constitutional law that he took in college. It was a 200-level course and Del Toro informs the audience that he made it to class “like a third of the time, so my memory of it is still pretty solid.”

The series was cancelled after a single season. In the final episode, Del Toro, as himself rather than Dr. Gonzo, buys an LSAT test-preparation book and sits down at his kitchen table for a long night of studying. He says he hopes to enter UCLA Law the next fall, even if he has to get in through the “summer bummer” program.

-Yer ever lovin’ staff

Staff Note

Hey all,

We here at the Portland Review are gearing up to print our special fall movie/film issue, so for the website that means that content is going to be rather sporadic over the next month or so. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that you can order our new issue due out in late September/early October by mailing us a nine dollar check at PO Box 347. Portland State University. Portland, OR 97207-0347. And send us twenty-seven dollars for a year long subscription. Or just send us money because you love us, but that may or may not be legal. Or something. Make the check out to The Portland Review! (the exclamation point is not necessary, but we would appreciate it!)

Also, the fall means book fair season! So come catch our beleaguered representatives at the Brooklyn Book Fair on September 18th! We’ll have old issues and a special preview chapbook of our new issue! Did I mention that the preview chapbook is free? Oh yeah. It’s free. Painstakingly photocopied and stapled together in typical lo-fi fashion. We’re the Animal Collective of the publishing world, if such an annoying thing can exist. It probably shouldn’t.

Also, we’ll be at Wordstock in October. This is our hometown lit fair so we’ll have to be representin’ even though, I’m pretty sure, we’re all from Portland, Maine.


-Yer ever lovin’ staff