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A poet & writer in Chicago, McKenzie's work appears in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, The Rumpus, Motherly, Memoir Mixtapes, & more.

While I always enjoying reading, I find myself hard-pressed to find books that are chilling, deceptive, imaginative, fantastic, and memorable — all at once.

But when I came across this book, which Stephen King called, “Insanely readable” and “one of the best novels [he has] ever read about writers and writing,” I knew I had to give Jean Hanff Korelitz’ The Plot a read. Now, I can completely understand why it earned King’s praise.

I graduated with my MFA in Poetry back in 2015, and all of the feelings I have carried with me from that program are reflected in…

Kerrin McCadden’s LANDSCAPE WITH PLYWOOD SILHOUETTES (New Issues Poetry & Prose)

No matter how long I’ve been reading and writing professionally, it still amazes me how much a little time away can contribute to my appreciation of a larger work. During my first year as the Layout and Design Editor at New Issues Poetry and Prose, I had the extreme benefit of working with Kerrin McCadden, upon her winning of the 2013 New Issues’ Poetry Prize for her first full-length collection, Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes. In subsequent months, I would focus on content, proofreading and the physical layout of her poems on the page. This is a job I tremendously enjoy…

It was a rainy day, chilly and overcast, with fog rolled out over the Adriatic for most of the afternoon. As a Midwestern woman, it reminded me of a later fall day, when the weather is trying to decide whether to warm up again or finally commit to the cold.

What better to make than a warm, cozy dinner?

The house was warm and smelled like comfy, Bosnian/Croatian stew all afternoon as the meat tenderized, the broth developed, and the vegetables settled.

This is one of my favorite dishes — not just Slavic, but of any origin — and when…

Let me point one fact out from the beginning: I admire young adult literature, and I believe it can be extremely powerful when the central characters are confident, self-possessed individuals, dealing with both personal and more widely-recognized issues. Rebekah Crane’s Aspen does not fall short of this; rather, as I will delve into in more depth later, the complications presented to the characters and to the situations that might otherwise be deemed ordinary or predictable set the stage for an example of YA literature which far exceeds that of the average teen story.

On the surface, this is a story…

Photo by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

I’m so excited, y’all — Hurmašice has been one of my favorite desserts for over TEN YEARS now, and I finally got up the guts to try to make them. And they were good.

Hurmašice is a light, oval-shaped cake that’s soaked in homemade syrup. You’ll find various recipes for this in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and across the Middle East, as well as a few other places!

Back in the United States, in Northern Indiana where I started my marriage with my husband and spent time with his state-side family, I first had Hurmašice when his stepmother made them. …

It’s 2021. This is going to be the year, my friends.

Every decision I made for myself and believed in during 2020, everything I put up on my vision board, “came true” — moving to a new place, creating new financial stability in my life, drinking more water, and finding art in even the little things (and spending more time creating). I don’t exactly believe in manifestation, but I do believe in putting your mind to something and working until you get what you want.

If it worked during the formidable 2020, it will work now.

So… This year is…

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you’re here.

Now, you may be wondering why I am here, and what Mediterranean & Me is all about.

As I write this, I’m remembering Meryl Streep in her role as Julia Child in Julie & Julia, specifically the moment when she arrived outside her Parisian home, exclaiming upon entry, “It’s Versailles!”

Every time I watch that movie (and it’s a serious feel-good movie for me, so I’ll just say I watch it often), a huge grin spreads across my face at Streep’s reaction to her new home, as well as her admiration for the…

Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

We’ve all been through the lame spell that is sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room. We sign in, we ask for a same-day appointment, we fill out the required (repeated) paperwork, and then we sit there.

We wait, and we read (flip-through) the old magazines. We cross and uncross our legs in the uncomfortable chairs. …

Upon reading Lori Day’s Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More, I am completely floored with possibilities. Her Next Chapter, at first glance, may be meant as an organizational tool for beginning and maintaining effective Mother-Daughter book clubs (which is covered in the Part 1 chapters); but Day’s book additionally discusses current issues and obstacles our young girls are facing, ways of handling those obstacles and teaching our girls about them through conversation and — get this — reading books (covered in the Part 2 chapters).

Last December, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to poet Shaindel Beers about her latest poetry collection, Secure Your Own Mask (White Pine Press, 2018). We discussed in-depth how personal her poems are, the role of the political and violence in her work, and even (after discovering we’re from geographically-similar places) the Midwest.

In the meantime, I wanted to share my thoughts on Secure Your Own Mask, because it was easily one of my favorite reads of 2018.

For me, poetry that values nature, that in some way echoes Plath, that deals in some of our harsher subjects, like…

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

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