Issue Two

May 15, 2018

CASE_Profile_sm headshotJennifer Case, “Avoiding Voyeurism by Embracing Ethics: An Approach to Writing about Others”

“[B]y directly addressing those ethical questions in my writing rather than evading the topics altogether, my work could grow stronger. Fady Joudah’s book Earth in the Attic proved particularly influential….Though Joudah’s book, based on his experiences with Doctors without Borders, addresses witness on a more globally complex level, I nonetheless learned much from his careful handling of others’ lives. Joudah’s images of poverty and oppression are sharp and startling, yet they also are compassionate….[He] manages to evoke subjugation without seeming voyeuristic—an accomplishment that I hoped to imitate.”

JORDAN-HEAD SHOTA. Van Jordan, “The Physics of Persona Poems”

(August 30, 2010 / May 15, 2018)

“The question I often ask of the persona is, why are we hearing this story now? That is to say, I want to know what is the defining moment in the poem is that will reveal character. And if character is revealed, I want to know something as simple as What am I supposed to learn from this? What’s at stake here?


Keplinger SQUARE_headshotDavid Keplinger, “A Poetry of With-ness: The Cathedral Effect”

“What we call mystery in a poem has a lot to do with the space offered between two contradictory images, or the leaping from thought to thought without editorializing or explaining. The use of punctuation and syntax can affect spaciousness in a poem. So can a consistent line length or rhyme or meter (all of which impose a stone wall to contain all this mystery, uncertainty). In these ways, we might call [“Everything Good Between Men and Women”] by C.D. Wright very spacious.”


Olzmann AJB 1 headshot“Interview with Matthew Olzmann”

“I first read [Wisława Szymborska’s ‘Notes from a Nonexistent Himalayan Expedition’] in my early 20s and was immediately interested in why people would see God or Stalin in the poem as neither appear there. This taught me a lot about how to suggest a figurative moment and how to manage absurdity: Readers inherently search for an analogue; we take the world of the poem—no matter how strange—and connect it to our own, in the parallel between those two worlds, a space for figurative resonances emerge.”