The Miller Aud-cast | April 23, 2021

Hello and welcome to Miller Aud-cast, Episode 16. In this episode, we feature Marina Favila’s entry, “Holy, Holy,” a finalist in the Humor category for the 2021 Miller Audio Prize.

Marina Favila is Professor of English Emerita at James Madison University. She has published essays on Shakespeare, poetry, and film in academic journals, such as Modern Philology and Texas Studies in Literature and Language. Her published creative work includes pieces in Weirdbook, Wraparound South, and Flame Tree Press’s Haunted House Short Stories anthology.

Here’s what Favila has to say about the piece: “When I told a friend I needed to write artistic notes for “Holy, Holy,” she suggested I address how almost everything that makes us laugh juxtaposes the sacred and the profane. We’re academics by trade, so that sounded like a smart way in. Unfortunately, what I discovered is that any time you try to explain why something’s funny, it ceases to be funny pretty quickly. So . . .

I like Christmas stories. I try to write one every year. Of course, 2020 was pretty harrowing; and along with losing someone I adored, well, it was a crap year. But the person I lost loved to laugh—great, deep, soul-satisfying, belly-in, belly-out laughs. He also trafficked in the sacred and profane, spirit and body, especially the body, and he wasn’t afraid of a good Rabelaisian snort. He loved Shakespeare, too, especially the gravedigger’s scene in Hamlet, with its fall-of-a-sparrow stretch between godlike apprehension and Yorick’s dirty skull. So maybe this story is my way of trying to create a similar stretch for myself: from the grave to the gravedigger’s scene, from mourning to mirth. I wanted to celebrate the union of body and spirit, though I admit my connection is a bit unconventional. Anyway, hope the story makes you laugh. And what the hell, Merry Christmas!”

Stay tuned for Miller Aud-cast #17, coming soon. And don’t forget, submissions are open now for the 2021 Miller Audio Prize. The deadline for this year’s contest is June 15. Learn all about it at our website. Thanks also to the Missouri Review contest editor, Bailey Boyd, and to Patricia Miller, for her generous support for the Miller Audio Prize. Finally, TMR is open for submissions year-round, and we remain dedicated to discovering and publishing the best contemporary writing in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Be heard. Give us the opportunity to discover you: subscribe or submit your work today! Learn more at