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Date: 04/24/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman

When I was eight years old, my mom invented a game called “getting lost.” She was worried, she later told me, that I was starting to feel less loved. At four and a half I’d drawn a chalk mural to welcome my new triplet siblings, but Mom feared that I’d grown to feel lost in their shuffle.
      We sat together in her minivan the first time we played the game. “Okay, Vince,” she said. “Tell me where to turn.”
      I pointed left and she swung out of the driveway. At the end of our street she paused to adjust her glasses...

--from "Why I Get Lost" which appears in the Spring 2017 issue (Volume 58, Issue 1)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

In the third grade,...

Date: 04/18/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman

"My love,

The tide is poised. Between you and I the end of the world

where an abandoned crane will either spit blue
blazing desert from its graffiti lips or smash
the crow-bedecked tenements in search of a trumpet..."
--from "The American Dream Writes to Orpheus" which appears in the Spring 2017 issue (Volume 58, Issue 1)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

My first published poem was called The Catheter Speaks and it is about the aftermath of birth. It was a young, scrappy, wrenching poem.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?

This is a very hard question! At the risk of...

Date: 04/13/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman

“On a recent list of top ten composers, my moody Chopin
didn’t make the cut—the critic said he’d never truly loved
the Romantic mode. It’s too personal, a biometric lock. Too magician
swallowing the handcuff key. The mystery of a list like this is less
of content than of order—I could tell you dark-horse Verdi here,
hipster Schubert there, a sheepish what up to damaged-goods Wagner--"
--from "The Romantic Mode" which appears in the Winter 2016 issue (Volume 57, Issue 4).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written.

When I was eight, I wrote tiny picture books; one was a play about teleporting animals, another a story about raccoons who only ate kosher chicken carcasses. My work is still dotted with animals and meditations on religion, so I'm not sure how much has changed.

...

Date: 04/11/2017
Blogger:
Llyn Clague



To me, a young American in the ‘50s and ‘60s with a strong anti-Establishment streak and a poetry bent, Yevgenii Yevtushenko was a magnetic figure. After my six-month sojourn in the Soviet Union as a student learning Russian, his work appealed to me even more. I met him only a few times at public readings, and we were certainly not personal friends, but he has had a lifelong influence on my poetry.

In one important respect, Yevtushenko, who died on April 1, 2017, represented a contrast to American poetry at mid-century. A number of our prominent poets—Lowell, Plath, and others— suffered from mental illness, suffering which inspired, and was integral, to their poetry. At a time in my life when I questioned my own emotional stability, as well as my incipient addiction, Yevtushenko stood as a figure of sanity, of finding an emotional health, in a life of poetry....

Date: 04/06/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman

"That morning, I had not exactly been spying on the Christian girl taking her bath outside in the strange area my father had rigged up for her, because though it had been permissible for him to get by the women of the house the idea of this young girl who lived with us and who ate with the children, who helped us for some vulnerable reason everyone protected which I didn’t understand, no one let her bathe where other women did or use the same small chamberpot since both her bathwater and waste were to be poured out elsewhere and so avoid any mixing with ours. In this way we stayed apart: otherwise her muslin dresses and water-harshed hands were ours as were her apples, jokes, and tendrils of hair escaping her bun..."
--from "...

Date: 04/04/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman



"What will survive of us is love, or so Philip Larkin famously asserted — and believed no doubt since he’d never been to Boonville and, of course, never made the acquaintance of Rose and Edwin. Everybody in Boonville knew they hated each other, but there’s always a chance love conquered in the end. Who knows? Of course Faith Dawn, who was only ten at the time of her visit, knew very little about hate in general and none at all about hate in Boonville. Her mother had effectively left town when she was twenty — a decade before Faith Dawn’s birth — so Faith Dawn was able to ignore all sorts of facts because she’d never learned them in the first place..."
--from "What They Were" which appears in the Spring 2017 issue (Volume 58, Issue 1).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

I started writing...

Date: 04/04/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman



"What will survive of us is love, or so Philip Larkin famously asserted — and believed no doubt since he’d never been to Boonville and, of course, never made the acquaintance of Rose and Edwin. Everybody in Boonville knew they hated each other, but there’s always a chance love conquered in the end. Who knows? Of course Faith Dawn, who was only ten at the time of her visit, knew very little about hate in general and none at all about hate in Boonville. Her mother had effectively left town when she was twenty — a decade before Faith Dawn’s birth — so Faith Dawn was able to ignore all sorts of facts because she’d never learned them in the first place..."
--from "What They Were" which appears in the Spring 2017 issue (Volume 58, Issue 1).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

I started writing...

Date: 03/28/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman


"NINE YEARS AFTER my mother died, I saw her in Berlin. She was Turkish this time, religious too from the look of it so there was a headscarf. Her skin was slightly darker but it was her, no doubt. The same shocking blue eyes, almond at the edges, and the same huge belly she'd had in the final, dandelion-puff phase of her life: round and fragile, apt to blow away. Luckily, I knew a bit of Turkish from two trips to Istanbul..."
--from "Oranges" which appears in the Spring 2017 issue (Volume 58, Issue 1).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

When I was 11 and my brother was 13 we wrote our first musical theatre song, me writing the words, Joe writing the music. The song was – I swear –...

Date: 03/23/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman



"The x could have been
anything at all,

the sound of wind chimes,
a gong, a choir, a cantor,

a mermaid, a schoolman,
cathedral bells...
"
--from "Variable" which appears in the Winter 2016 issue (Volume 57, Issue 4).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

In general, it takes me ages to write a poem, as each piece goes through multiple edits over a period of months but there was one exception. My first publication in a professional journal, Alaska Quarterly Review, was a poem I wrote for a class assignment while I was doing my MFA. I’d been sick a lot that semester, hadn’t finished my homework, and I was nervous about it. Then something magical happened. About half an hour before class, on the same morning it was due, the poem (entitled “x...

Date: 03/21/2017
Blogger:
Amal Zaman



"The mouse pup moves in anguish but its screams are ultrasonic, heard only by its mother. The fingers and toes are clearly defined--each one finishing in a delicate nail. Round, black eyeballs are visible underneath translucent eyelids: it's a miniature alien nestling in the palm of her hand. Ziggy drops the pup onto the cold, stainless steel countertop and stretches out the tiny body against the ruler. This newborn mouse--only four days old--flails its stunted limbs, unaware of its greater destiny."
--from "Data Driven" which appears in the Spring 2017 issue (Volume 58, Issue 1).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

One of the first stories I wrote was “The Red Bicycle”.  I felt compelled to write it after I visited Rwanda and the DR Congo a few years ago; the aftermath of their civil wars still...