The winter 2011 issue is at the press! In the meantime, enjoy some bonus material. We asked all the writers in our summer issue to tell us about the ideas that lead to their poems, stories, and essays. We’ll be posting their comments all month, until the new issue is out. Here’s what Henry Rappaport, Chuck Rybak, and Saara Myrene Raappana had to say:
Henry Rappaport: Like turning on a radio and hearing a song you love, sometimes you get to sing along. And it’s such fun. Good fortune or grace, it just happens. Maybe it is helpful and instructive to say this, although it’s amorphous and vague. And it’s not dumb luck either. I doubt it would come along if not for those times the interference is so strong all the fiddling in the world won’t get it right. I doubt I’d recognize it if it did. Once in a while you wake in the right place at the right time and all you have to do is sing.
Chuck Rybak: “Cinderella, as Told by Birds” developed from my experience of trying to read the classic Grimms fairy tale to my daughter at a time when she was already completely enamored with the Disney version. It had been a long time since I’d read the Grimms tales, and I was surprised at how raw and violent the story was: self-mutilation, the final image of the birds plucking out the step-sisters’ eyeballs. Needless to say, I did a lot of creative editing on the fly, often midsentence. It was from that editing and improvising that this poem was born, and I thought a lot about how to answer the question, “Who would have an objective, dispassionate, or completely different perspective of the brutality here?” I found my answer in the birds, who could always be heard outside the window when I paused and tried to think of a more gentle way to put things to a three-year-old.
Maura Stanton: “Horse in a Swimming Pool” had two sources. To begin with there was a tiny article in a local newspaper about a horse that had fallen into a swimming pool. After swimming for a while, the horse had finally been rescued by the fire department. I was inspired to write about the horse, but how? Luckily I was reading a translation of Voices from the Plains by Gianni Celati around that time, an amazing and visionary book of stories set in Italy’s Po Valley, and felt encouraged to tell the horse’s story in a simple and direct way.
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