Saturday, April 6 from 11-6 we’ll be at The Mill in downtown Iowa City for the Mission Creek Book Fair. Come and see us along with a horrendously awesome line-up of other presses and magazines including Graywolf Press, Third Man Records, POETRY Magazine, Coffeehouse Press, Sarabande Books, Curbside Splendor, Buzzfeed, Zyzzyva, Black Ocean, The Iowa Review, Birds LLC, Spork Press, Ugly Duckling Presse, Forklift, Ohio, Hobart, [PANK] Magazine, Rescue Press, H_NGM_N, Wag’s Revue, A Strange Object, Graze, Canarium, MAKE Magazine, cookNscribble, Tiny Hardcore Press.
And definitely check out the entire weekend line-up of music and literature on the Mission Creek 2014 website.
This last year, for the first time, my university’s introductory creative writing classes were multi-genre. In fact, I taught Intro CW at two different universities, and both were multi-genre. This meant, for the first time, I taught poetry. I started the semester with poetry, thinking we’d start with the small and grow into reading and writing longer pieces. I also liked the idea of ending with the more familiar instead of starting with it but then having to leave it behind.
In what is something of a lucky chance of timing, this last year I have begun writing and publishing poetry myself. For a long time, I teased my poet friends, made fun of the genre—in part out of a kind of “siding with the home team,” us-against-them sports mentality as a prose writer; and in part for the reasons many often struggle with poetry: it seemed frustratingly coy, or like it was smarter than me, or that I just didn’t get it. In the classroom, I am rarely less than overly candid, and so I led with my own biases but also my recent excitement: I have come to be ever more excited by poetry in only the last six months, so let’s all be excited!
Issue 4 is here! We hustled to get it done in time for AWP 2014 in Seattle, and it came straight from the presses the day before we boarded our cross-country flights to the 11,000-writer extravaganza and sprawling bookfair. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table and picked up a copy or subscription.
We’re really proud of this issue that features fantastic stories by David James Poissant (an old MFA classmate who has his first collection just out!), Helen Phillips (whose flash collection And Yet They Were Happy we loved), and Amy Bloom (Amy Bloom!!!!!!!!!!).
And look at that cover. Look at it! We love the artwork by Mark Vollenweider that features an image from Helen Phillips’ story in this issue.
If you’re teaching a fiction workshop this fall, this issue would be a great resource for your revision unit (if we do say so ourselves).
And what’s that? You say you’d like to buy an issue? It’s so easy. Just visit our website.
On the horizon: perhaps you’ll be seeing us in The Boston Globe soon. That’s right. Keep your eyes peeled.
And looking ahead to our next issue, we have an all-poetry issue planned that will be edited by the wildly talented duo of Lisa Ciccarello and Donald Dunbar.
Thanks, as ever, for your support!
photo by Anna Bodnar
Tweet. Waft. Other than bird-twitter, silence. Other than a hint of warm air drifting from the bougainvillea beyond my window, stillness. Used dishes in the sink, on the counter, and I’m avoiding them. Financial papers sitting in a drawer, overdue, and I’m not tackling them now. A perfect afternoon for writing and dreaming and listening.
I am listening for voices. Today I’m staring at my laptop thinking about my protagonist, who’s escaped a difficult situation to find herself in even greater peril (though she doesn’t yet know this). I’m also imagining her associate (snippy, one-upping) and her antagonist (calm, inscrutable). But I am not sure what to do next. I close my eyes. I cannot hear either one of them. So I begin distracting myself trying to imagine another scene (I want to get from A to B, but how?), or maybe the next scene after that (my protagonist’s new quest partner appears—but in what way?). But I don’t envision those scenes clearly either. For a while I suppose I can’t hear these characters because, well, I don’t actually know some of them very well, so of course they appear hackneyed and melodramatic—I need to believe in them and their desires, which must seem very reasonable and necessary, in order to make them real, and right now my protagonist-antagonist dynamic appears really straightforward and obvious and dull…
image by Catherine Nelson
Some of those terrible writing books that use the word “inspired” a lot probably advised me to wake up early and write poems with the sun rising at the cock’s crow. That type of thing. For a time, I tried this in earnest. It did not work, and, looking back now, it’s certainly possible that going to bed at 3:23am every night wasn’t part of the regime they were prescribing.
We know AWP Seattle is still months away, but we’re gearing up for a swanky off-site event with the wonderful folks at Dock Street Press and Big Fiction Magazine, both based in Seattle, along with the uber-stellar Midwestern Gothic. We’ll be somewhere in the Ballard area and hope you keep us in mind during the busy weekend.
draft will also be at the bookfair at table M23, so please look us up and come say hi.
This sonnet came about in a workshop I attended in September at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. The guest lecturer was the lovely, awe-inspiring Poet Molly Peacock who led about twelve of us on a two-day quest to create, polish, and perfect a sonnet. My sonnet got away from me, taking me down one wrong path, watching as I broke end-rhymes and grappled with syllabics. But I spun and wove the metaphorical fabric until I was basically happy with what I had by the end of the conference. I don’t typically write in form, so completing a sonnet in a couple of days was pretty unexpected.
This post originally appeared on the author’s personal website, www.melaniebishopwriter.wordpress.com. We’re sharing it here because it dovetails so nicely with the work we do at draft. And, of course, before we re-posted it, Melanie insisted on revising it one more time…
I should confess that I have never been a fan of revision. Yes, I preach to my students about its importance, but I am loath to embark on it myself. This resistance in me is pure laziness; I want what I write to be right the first time. I want writing to be easy. A creative writing professor in college once suggested I’d finally written a pretty decent short story, but he thought it needed a few more drafts. I told him I didn’t like to revise. I said, in defense of my stance: “I like first drafts; there’s a virginal quality to them.” I actually used that word virginal. I was that dumb. Continue reading
The posts below are puerile odes to the fragility of language. Steal one letter, just one little letter from a thing, and that thing becomes a different thing. And hopefully it becomes a funnier or weirder or sexier thing. All the titles below were written by two friends on the wrapper of a spinach and cheese croissant from Au Bon Pain. They are the offspring of spinach, cheese, and coffee. The descriptions that accompany the titles were written by one friend, and are the offspring of bourbon and Doritos.
The Sound and The Fur
Faulkner’s field guide for identifying southern mammals using a variety of senses. Continue reading