We asked our contributors to comment on the poems, fiction, and nonfiction they contributed to our summer issue. Here’s what a few of them had to say. We’ll be posting more of these every week or so. Stay tuned.
Angela Ball: Working on “The River Wants Grip” I found myself interested in naming a series of processes stylized in something of the way that natural processes are—and at the same time interested in the unexposed gaps between advertised and true intentions. My sense is that experience is full of displacements, and I wanted this poem to include some of them.
“A Last Stay”: I have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out hospitals—how they take us out of nature to try to restore us to it. How each is a foreign country built into the air. And how it might feel to know that your feet will never again touch ground.
Emma Bolden: I consider this book of poems a gift, and one from the most unlikely and potentially embarrassing of sources. In 2006, I was recovering from extensive reconstructive surgery on my jaw, and my mother bought me a copy of The DaVinci Code—which I devoured quickly and, I admit, with great interest. I was especially captured by the section on the European witch trials; thus I departed on a three-year journey without even realizing it. I discovered much later that I’d done nothing but read about the trials for months. I realized that I was writing about them, too. I realized that a few sketchy lines had become poems. Then a sequence of poems. Then a book. It was an odd thing, to realize that I’d been moving and thinking and working inside this space for so long, without consciously knowing I was—a definite testament to having faith in one’s instincts!
Jim Daniels: “Frostburn” was trying to be a sonnet for a long time, but I just couldn’t get it down to fourteen lines without leaving some tonal gaps. While it’s twenty lines long now, I think working with the sonnet structure was beneficial in helping me to use the stark winter landscape to convey the emotional desperation of the speaker.