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10 Questions for Aeriel Merillat

- By Edward Clifford

Greg was gone for nine months before he returned. The same amount of time it takes to grow a child, Jess would often say. What he went through was much more difficult than being pregnant, he would remind her, letting his voice catch on the last vowel. He did this often lately, said things in a different tone or rolled his eyes. A change Jess still hadn't gotten used to.

Don't cause unnecessary conflict, she reminded herself. Over and over in her head she repeated the words that appeared on page six of the twelve-page pamphlet, until she could breathe normally again.
—from "The Return," Volume 61, Issue 4 (Fall 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
One of the first stories I wrote was about a...


10 Questions for Steven Duong

- By Edward Clifford

My friend the songstress says there is no
point in writing nature poems anymore, not
unless you choke the verses with smoke and oil
and insecticides—the Anthropocene
demands a new syntax. These days,
she says, the body is everything
it isn't. The corpse is still a body, but so is
the rapper's discography and the bicameral legislature
—from "Anatomy," Volume 61, Issue 3 (Fall 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In kindergarten, I wrote a short story documenting the adventures of a spider and a scorpion. I forget their names. At the time, I had a pretty loose command of the English language, but what I did know was that this unlikely animal friendship was sure to...


10 Questions for Karen S. Henry

- By Edward Clifford

Sir Patrick Steward read a Shakespeare sonnet-a-day on Twitter in order to get us through the Covid-19 pandemic. His gravelly yet elegant voice could turn the words in just the right way to make them clear to almost everyone, although sometimes he had to start over, because he tripped on the words. As he said, the language is complex. He introduced many of the poems briefly, giving us a bit of the context we needed to follow him. He felt a dose of Shakespeare would inoculate us against the dread of impending doom hanging over us.
—from "Of Crooked Eclipses," Volume 61, Issue 3 (Fall 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
One of my first successful pieces was a fable I wrote when I was a sophomore in high school....


10 Questions for Joanne Dominique Dwyer

- By By Edward Clifford

I don't believe in Judgement Day,
but there are people who devoutly do.
They bank on the dead rising like rehabilitated birds:
parrots & finches, tanagers & herons—
birds whose necks were broken and then restored.
Or the dead rising like repaired robots.
The thin pink-colored sugar water
in hummingbird feeders will re-inhabit veins.
—from "Erasure," Volume 61, Issue 2 (Summer 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
My early poems were roused by love; the most ordinary human impetus to take ink to paper.

My first love poem was for/about J. He had recently died in an Arizona jail. The story was that alcohol had been smuggled into the jail and J. was singing...


10 Questions for L.S. McKee

- By Edward Clifford

You hold my fists of loneliness
that clench the clumsy weight
of last ditch caresses. Beat into
your vinyl sheen is the pain I lug
to your altar to put the pain in
my hands:busted knuckle,
bound wrist, sprained heart,
—from "Alva and the Ode to a Punching Bag," Volume 61, Issue 2 (Summer 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I was a bookworm growing up, so I took a stab at writing a few “novels” in elementary school. One was called “Enemy Lovers,” which is hilarious to me on many levels. I probably got the idea from a vague understanding of Romeo and Juliet and—even more likely—my sneaky watching of soap operas after school. I also found several...

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