Author Archives: Draft Journal

Get ready for draft at the Witching Hour Fest

Witching Hour Festival

We’re pleased to announce that draft will be hosting a panel  on November 6 from 5:00-6:15 exploring the creative process at a new event in Iowa City. The Witching Hour Fest, curated by Iowa City’s arts leaders, seeks to explore and engage the unknown through performances and discussion.

Rachel Yoder, a founding editor of draft, will be hosting a panel that explores first and final drafts of creative work from a writer Kerry Howley, director Rachel Chavkin, and innovative cross-disciplinary artist Mei-Ling Shaw Williams. Here’s the full description:

What inspires creative work? How does it first materialize and then grow and change? What does a first draft look like compared to the final one? And how does the artist get from point A to point B?

Rachel Yoder, founding editor of draft: the journal of process, leads a discussion with The TEAM’s artistic director Rachel Chavkin and other fantastic creators about the murky process of conceptualizing, crafting, revising, and editing new work. Our panelists will provide passages from first and final drafts of their work to discuss and share with audience members.

If you’re in Iowa City this November, we hope to see you there!

[marginalia] on rejection : : barret baumgart

Typewriter close up shot, concept of Bad News

Before I’d ever been published, I submitted to a lot of places large and small and got pretty used to rejection (as I still am). Obviously, there are form rejections and there are personal rejections. The good thing about all the rejection back then was that there were some personal rejections that came from some great places. I found this encouraging. Continue reading

[writing prompt] the misconceived history story :: Marisela Navarro


In the Misconceived History story in “A Public Denial” by Allan Gurganus (published in the anthology Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories) the narrator attempts to restore his deceased grandfather’s dignity by challenging rumors that his grandfather’s death was the result of his own foolhardiness.

The story opens with this line:

Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, my grandfather did not die driving a Toyota across his pond.

The story resembles a persuasive essay; the narrator uses transition words such as “despite,” “while,” “admittedly,” and “evidently” to compose his argument. What I love about the story is how Gurganus uses no emotion to tell it, just the facts, yet it still carries an emotional impact. For a story that spans only two pages, I find this remarkable. Continue reading

[marginalia] Saying Goodbye To My Novel :: Marisela Navarro


I worked on my novel for six years, on and off.  I completed and revised several drafts.  Something was wrong with it, but I didn’t know what.  My whole body went into it.  My fingers, shoulders, knees, eyes.  It grew, seed to forest.  I gave it a name.  I forgot about it.  I cared, I didn’t.  Nothing was so serious.  I avoided it.  These are all the places I traveled to throughout the years I said I was writing a novel:  Puerto Rico, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Jamaica, Maryland, California, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, Virginia, France, New York, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Zealand, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine.  I wrote the most in Massachusetts.  Other things I did that come to mind first, without thinking:  painted walls, moved apartments, tried on wedding dresses, ate sushi, jumped rope, had dreams of lovers dying. Continue reading

[marginalia] The Literary Slacker :: Jen Pieroni

Reality Bites

This post is part of our ongoing web series MARGINALIA about all things writing, reading, & learning. To submit your own experience, please read our guidelines.

I knew I was actually going to finish Danceland when I kept drafting it even though I’d already realized that the structure was all wrong. Being of the “slacker generation” (see film: Reality Bites), I don’t believe I had ever before exemplified the stick-to-itiveness to see a failing project through. (See unfinished novel: Fishtival). Why did I bother this time? Because I really, really wanted it. Continue reading

draft @ Mission Creek Book Fair, April 6, Iowa City


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.

[marginalia] The Art of Knowing When Two Things Might Actually Be One :: Aaron Burch


Simplyvinyl Photography

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!

Continue reading