Call for Poetry Editors

Coffin Bell Journal is currently seeking two poetry editors for immediate start. Poetry editor duties are as follows:

Duties and Responsibilities of the Poetry Editor

1. Reading submissions. Poetry Editors will read between 5-15 poetry submissions per week using Submittable, casting votes on each and leaving feedback where appropriate.
2. Proofreading. Poetry editor may be assigned light proofreading duties prior to issue launch in place of weekly reading assignments.
3. Feedback. Poetry editor will be required, on occasion, to provide written feedback on assigned reading.

Interested? Please send your CV, any relevant experience, and a paragraph summation of why you would be a good fit for Coffin Bell to Editor positions will be filled as soon as possible.

To Keep the Sun Alive and the Threat of a Story

Catapult $25
272 pages
460 words

Review by Lauren Hakimi



“All that remains of us are the stories we tell,” Rabeah Ghaffari told Bustle upon publication of her debut novel, To Keep the Sun Alive. Indeed, for the novel’s protagonist, Shazdehpoor, life as an exile from Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution means still trying to piece together an important story. Over the course of a single day in Paris, the widower reflects upon his and his family members’ lives in Iran at the brink of revolution—indulgent meals and afternoon siestas on the ancient family orchard, young love, and family drama that comes to parallel the struggle for the soul of the nation.


People today tend to misunderstand—or be entirely ignorant of—the turning point in 1979 that transformed Iran into what it continues to be to this day. Images of burning US flags and bearded men in turbans may come to mind. Ghaffari, herself an Iranian immigrant, sheds light on the history surrounding the revolution by giving human faces to different sides of the struggle.


Where one character simply would not do the trick in representing such a complicated history, Ghaffari recruits a whole cast of compelling and multi-dimensional characters, a set of opposing pairs that represent various interrelated battles taking place at the time. Akbar-Agha the judge and his brother Habib-Agha the mullah characterize a battle between law and religion. The matriarch Bibi-Khanoom and her delightfully racist niece Ghamar characterize contemporaneous culture battles and discussions about morality. Shazdehpoor’s opium-addicted son Jamsheed becomes radicalized while his other son Madjid realizes, only once he is in prison, how the revolution got taken away from the people who’d supported it. When the ancient Zoroastrian holiday Chaharshanbeh Suri and the Muslim day of remembrance Ashura fall on the same day, the opposing pairs that animate the novel are brought to a climax.


Among the many dichotomies of the novel, the culture battle between European and Islamic influences is portrayed against a backdrop that can only be Persian. The author, who is also a filmmaker, honors the culture’s long literary tradition with rich imagery and a sometimes fable-like tone. Mirza, the lonely storyteller, interrupts the main narrative to tell Madjid stories that flash back to Iran’s history. And of course, no Persian literature could be credible without a character who accidentally eats his pet chicken.


When Madjid, one of the ‘suns’ to which the novel’s title refers, is released from prison, Mirza tells him a fable about an apothecary-poet. When a general comes to kill him, the poet says, “You can hack my body into a thousand pieces, burn my remains, and bury the ashes deep beneath the earth—but I will live on… I am a story. You cannot destroy what you cannot grasp.” Such is the threat that literature like Ghaffari’s is capable of posing.

Call for Editors: Social Media Editor & Blog / Newsletter Editor

Coffin Bell is seeking two creative and organized individuals to join the masthead as Social Media Editor, and Blog / Newsletter Editor. Duties are outlined below.

To apply, please send an email to with subject line: Application: [position title] by midnight on August 18, 2019. Please include your resume, your social media handles, a paragraph explaining why you would be a good fit for the position, and a brief bio. If applying for Blog / Newsletter Editor position, include a couple of hypothetical blog post subjects that correspond to the type of content you’d like to write.

For Social Media Editor, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts are required and familiarity with LinkTree a plus.

For Blog / Newsletter Editor, familiarity with MailChimp and WordPress preferred.


Social Media Editor Duties
  • Follow editorial calendar to promote published work on dates provided using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (you will be given Coffin Bell‘s login credentials).
  • Twitter: Engage followers by posting dark artwork (always credit the artist), horror-themed trivia, and retweeting other journals and calls for submissions by accounts we follow. Promote weekly blog posts by Blog / Newsletter editor by tweeting a link to the post (day of publish preferred). Retweet all tweets that mention us (excepting replies to such tweets, e.g. “Thank you!”).
  • Facebook: Engage page followers by posting questions, calls for submissions, random dark art and trivia, and other appropriate content. Promote blog posts by Blog / Newsletter editor by posting the link.
  • Instagram: Engage followers by posting dark artwork, dark author quotations, etc., our calls for submission, and promote weekly blog posts by Blog / Newsletter Editor with artwork from post header and link in bio. Use LinkTree to keep the link to our pre-order page active.
  • If you are an artist / photographer with a dark aesthetic, feel free to promote your own work so long as it loosely adheres to our aesthetic / mission.
  • For issue launches, post countdown-to-launch on all three platforms starting three days out from launch date. Issues go live on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.


Blog / Newsletter Editor Duties
  • Update Coffin Bell‘s blog each week on Monday at 8AM. (You may make the post at any time prior to that and schedule the post to publish at that time.) What you post there is up to you, as long as it’s pertinent to the literary community and adheres to our dark aesthetic. (Examples might include reviews of horror books, histories of horror [with sourced cited], aesthetically dark “roundups” of books, art, or products, dark art / photography [you may run a feature on the artist], weird / bizarre news, or guest posts by writers whom you solicit.)
  • All blog posts must adhere to site style, using featured images and justified text. Art will be supplied to you, or you may find and use art that pertains to each post for the post header. (If an art feature, use some of the artist’s work.)
  • All blog posts will be promoted by the Social Media Editor, so you will email that editor each week with the link to your post, and cc the EIC on that email.
  • Newsletter Duties: Once a month, Coffin Bell sends via MailChimp our newsletter titled “Lucky Thirteen.” Predictably, it goes out on the thirteenth of each month. We will provide you our MailChimp credentials and previous newsletters for reference. Part of your duties will include emailing contributors with interview requests (questions will be provided to you, but we encourage tailoring them to address the specific work of that author) in time to run two new interviews in each newsletter. Author email addresses will be provided to you.
  • Design each newsletter in MailChimp and schedule send. A walk-through will be provided if you are unfamiliar with the interface.


Are you creative, organized, able to meet deadlines, interested in the literary world, and darkly dispositioned? If so, we’d like to hear from you! Please follow the directions listed above to apply by August 18, 2019 at midnight.