Faculty member Marianne Boruch’s critical piece “The End Inside It,” which she delivered as a lecture at the January 2011 residency, appears online and in Volume 33 of The New England Review:
On the radio, Merce said, Do it backwards.
Jump first, then run,
even when it was just with his arms, when he got old,
even if some people hated it.
—Jean Valentine, from Break the Glass
Or closure, as it’s called among poets, but not a “we need closure on this” sort of thing, certainly not that cheap and cheesy “because we have to get on with our lives,” though at the end of all poems is the return to the day as it was, its noon light or later, supper and whatever madness long over, reading in bed those few minutes, next to the little table lamp. But to come out of the poem’s tunnel of words—the best way is to be blinking slightly, released from some dark, eyes adjusting, what was ordinary seen differently now. Or not. At times the shift from reading to not reading is so graceful it’s transparent, the poem itself Robert Frost’s “piece of glass” skimmed from winter’s icy drinking trough and held up to melt and melt the real world into real dream, then back, his moment of clarity unto mystery returned to clarity again. Of course, that actual gesture comes early in his “After Apple Picking,” a poem full of what might “trouble” his dreams in the wake of such hard work. Its last line is one low-key gulp, his “Or just some human sleep” itself following something about exhaustion more wistful and weird: “Were he not gone,/The woodchuck could say whether it was like his/Long sleep, as I describe its coming on…” As in—hey! Let’s ask this woodchuck here, shall we? And how absolutely odd and brilliant that we never see this move as comic, though it could be right out of Bugs Bunny or The Simpsons, depending on when you started to find things funny. But Frost isn’t funny, at least not in this poem, where sleep isn’t exactly sleep either...[Keep Reading]…
Marianne is the author of The Book of Hours (2011, Copper Canyon Press).
A short piece by Rolf Yngve (fiction, ’12) appears at The Common, a journal of “fiction, essays, poetry, documentary vignettes, and images that embody particular times and places both real and imagined.”
People would tell us to go see the big tree, and finally we flagged ourselves into one of the cheap cabs that go between Santa Maria del Tule and Oaxaca de Juarez on a set route. It was getting dark early under an overcast sky, the remains from tropical storm Ernesto, who had petered out after making some news in the Yucatan.
We found the big tree, a knob made for the grip of some great giant who could use it to lift the entire town – the entire state – out of the Mexican ground. It seemed to squat between the mayoral offices and the church. All the nearby buildings clung to earth like the homes of dwarves...[Keep Reading]…
Grandmother’s summerhouse is where Uncle lets Cousin fall from a highchair. Niece hears the ensuing chaos from where she is watching TV, on the front porch. The Bionic Woman is trying to convince her Indian student, Paco, that she is not a spirit. Now, thirty years later, Niece is living with Aunt and Uncle while getting her PhD in acoustical engineering at the university they both have retired from, Cousin has just had a baby, and Aunt tells Uncle he will not be trusted alone with new Granddaughter—ever—because of Fall From Highchair ca. 1973. Also, the plastic water bottles he buys because of his need to drink lots of water (because of his organ transplant), and to most conveniently monitor the amount of water he drinks, are polluting the planet “for Granddaughter.” …[Keep Reading]…
Nathan Poole (fiction, ’11) has been named one of two winners of the 2012 Narrative Prize, a $4,000 annual award for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative magazine. Nathan won for his short story, “Stretch Out Your Hand.”
I saw it go out from the ends of her hair. So many long strands of light. Milky, drifting upward—each hair casting off something that looked like silk until all the filaments were impossibly thin and lucent and seemed lost where they passed through the lamplight. They rose from Ruth’s head and congregated in the joists of the ceiling. A bright, glowing nest.
“The fever’s broken,” my father said. He lifted my younger sister out of her bed, legs dangling, toes pointed down. Her arms hung unfastened behind his neck, where the fingers curled up in two loose fists. He pressed his cheek against her forehead to feel her temperature again and he held it there for a long moment.
“Momma, it’s broken,” he said, nearly shouting at my mother.
“O Jesus, thank you. Thank you, Jesus,” my mother said, patting the base of her neck with her hand—a little rhythm she makes when grateful. She sat down on the edge of Ruth’s bed and touched the empty indented place on the mattress. She patted it with her palm and smoothed the sheets. “For this,” her hand seemed to say as it formed its particular rhythm, “for the coolness of this place, right here, on this bed. Thank you.”
Hannah Fries (poetry, ’10): Hannah’s poem “Epithalamion” recently appeared at Mass Poetry:
The elm weaves the field’s late light, this hill
hanging from the tree’s roots like the moon
From its shadow and the whole
world beneath suspended.
Roots knead the earth’s thick sorrow.
Still, leaves from this.
From this unshackling, birdsong.
I am a blade of corn where you kneel,
wind and quaking stalk.
The elm’s body a vase of poured sky.
The tree will die.
Someday, the tree will die.
For now, this axis—
what we choose to compass by.
Faculty member Alix Ohlin‘s novel Inside (2012, Knopf) has been named one of five finalists for the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, which “recognizes writers of the year’s best novel or short story collection.”
Each of the five finalists will receive $2,500, with the eventual prizewinner receiving a total of $25,000. The finalists were chosen by a jury of Lynn Coady, Esi Edugyan, and Drew Hayden Taylor. They read 116 books from 45 publishers.
Finalists for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize will be reading at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on October 24 and in Owen Sound, Ontario, on October 25.
Friends of Writers would like to remind MFA program alumni of the Reading Series project. Through this project, Friends of Writers offers small grants of $100 to alumni to support already-planned readings to promote new publications.
- Grants of $100 will be made to alumni to support already-planned readings to promote new books
- Because the spirit of this project is to share resources with as many alumni as possible, each alum is eligible for one mini-grant per publication
- A publication is defined as a chapbook or book
- Within one week after the event, recipients must submit an Event Report (template provided)
- As possible FoW board members will attend readings
- FoW will give out 15 grants in the first 6 months of the grant year and 15 in the second half
- When FoW sends you a check, we’ll also be sending materials about the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson and about FoW’s work (e.g. the Holden Scholarship)
Friends of Writers requests that:
- You list FoW as a co-host of the reading
- You create a space at the reading to share information about the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson and about FoW, including – if possible – a laptop open to our website
- You share a list of attendees with us so we can tell them more about FoW’s work to support students and alumni of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson.
Questions or comments or to get an application: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Shadab Zeest Hashmi (poetry, ’09): Shadab’s poem “Betrayals” recently appeared in the San Diego Free Press.
Who stepped on my wings
when I was climbing up the library ladder?
Who trapped the dove
when it rode the fox?
The fox runs through the forest
like a red bullet
belly full of lies
in fine print …[Keep Reading]…
Shadab is the author of the poetry collection Baker of Tarifa (2012, Poetic Matrix).