May/Summer 2011

Lowell's Legacy

Joy Ladin
In poetry, the linguistic medium is to a great extent the message, and in shifting his rhetorical range, Lowell simultaneously shifted his range of meaning and matter, exchanging one set of freedoms and anxieties for another.

A Conversation with Martha Collins

Elizabyth Hiscox, Cynthia Hogue, & Lois Roma-Deeley
A dazzling poet whose work is poised at the juncture between the lyric and ethics, Martha Collins has addressed some of the most traumatic social issues of the 20th century-including Hiroshima, Nazi death camps, and female circumcision-in supple and complex poems. Those who have followed Collins's books have long since realized that no subject is off-limits for her piercing intellect. Her 2006 book-length examination of the history of lynching in the United States, Blue Front, is the first serious attempt by a white poet to examine this horrific aspect of the history of American racism. Blue Front begins with Collins's discovery that as a five-year-old boy, her father witnessed a lynching. What follows is part personal lyric, part travel journal and part documentary, a profound and courageous investigation of lynching and of whiteness. That investigation continues in Collins's recently completed collection, entitled White Papers, forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2012. Another collection, Day Unto Day, will be published by Milkweed in 2014.

An Interview with Sherman Alexie

K.E. Semmel
Sherman Alexie is a novelist, poet, filmmaker, and stand-up comedian. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington, a location he returns to-as a chronicler of both the comedy and the tragedy of life on the reservation-in much of his work. Soon after graduating from Washington State University, he published his first poetry collection, The Business of Fancydancing. Following that book, which garnered immediate attention, Alexie released a string of critically acclaimed novels and collections and was named by Granta as a Best Young American Novelist.

"We are all Greek": The Case of Three Contemporary Greek Poets

Maria Koundoura
The multilingual, mixed media, high and low cultural poetics of Kalokyris cannot be contained within a national literary tradition, not even a cosmopolitan one. Though cosmopolitan, he is not the cosmopolitan man of letters...

Self-Awareness & Self-Deception: Beyond the Unreliable Narrator

Sarah Stone
We refer to reality as if it were tangible-a geographical location or an absolute and identifiable state-but writers often arrive at the reality of the world of their story, if ever, as a kind of byproduct of the characters' everyday self-delusions.


A Conversation with Leslea Newman

Renée Olander
Leslea Newman is the author of sixty books, including Heather Has Two Mommies, A Letter To Harvey Milk, Nobody's Mother, The Reluctant Daughter, The Femme Mystique, and Out Of The Closet And Nothing To Wear. An award-winning poet and novelist, Newman's honors include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Foundation, the James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement, and the Highlights for Children Fiction Writing Award. Nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award finalists. Former Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, Newman has taught fiction writing at Clark University, and is a faculty member of Spalding University's brief-residency MFA in Writing program.

A Poet's Anti-Rule Book

Steve Kowit
Moreover, the distinction between showing and telling is often murky or nonexistent. Any quick look at good writing will demonstrate that effective writers spend a great deal of their time telling the reader what is happening