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I have divested myself of most of the conventional world. I don’t shop or cook anymore. I never did the domestic things to begin with. I find it oppressive. I want to make bumper stickers that say JUST SAY NO TO SOCCER.
I'm obsessed with blues harmonica and have been a student of it for about five years. Being a student of something helps remind me how my own students must feel, awkwardly struggling to find their voice.
Perhaps everything on this earth leads to or from sex and death. I also see poems as paths to the unseen, unknowable...
Since I left Nigeria, my home country, in October 1994, my life has more or less been improvisatory. Many close friends have enriched and still enrich my peripatetic existence. I have learnt to choose my battles better; my battles against injustice, racism, provincialism, aggressive secularism, pomposity, victim-ology, political myopia, cynicism, anti-intellectualism, artistic timidity, selfishness, fashionable joylessness, militant patriotism.
But in a sense writing is music for me. When I read, I read with my ears -- I can hear that something is wrong with something Iíve written long before I can explain why. Iím sure this is true for a lot of writers. Writing is like composing.
Mary Anne MohanrajMost of my stories come out of problems, trying to figure out how people deal with the messes they get themselves into, often with the best of intentions.
My dad does some graphic design, and as a teenager I'd spend hours immersed in his font books. I love letters. I love writing. They are the keys to the door to a secret world. I don't understand what the big deal is about virtual reality. We have had books for a long time.
About once every hundred pages I will go to the nicest hotel in my hometown of San Jose, the St. Frances, and order a martini at their piano bar. The martinis there come in a convenient 3-gallon size...I love the way the experience totally dampens my inner critic.
I started Poems Niederngasse because I was very unhappy with the submission process of the paper magazines. It took so long to get a response, and of all the submissions I sent I never received a personal message, even the acceptance notes were impersonal. So up jumped Niederngasse. And what a plus!
As of a result of this education, I was put off writing any fiction at all for twenty-five or so years, and I am still somewhat embarrassed that I don't get the whole modernist deal. The novel is dead, as we all know, but I still feel compelled to write enjoyable corpses.
Jennie OrvinoI think that anything is worth writing about if it is filtered through an aware consciousness. I learned this from reading Billy Collins; I learned this from hearing the work of our former local poet laureate who is ageless and energetic in his eighties. He wrote a most amazing poem from observing life around him while waiting in line at a copy shop.
A story about a peach can be fantastic if you know what it smells and tastes like from the narratorís point of view, which can be very different from you the readerís, and know that every time he smells a peach he thinks of a past love that broke his heart, or perhaps, remembers how he met his first true love who is still by his side.
I tend to keep the lyrics in my head for a long time, occasionally pushing them around on paper, until I have a pretty solid idea of what it's supposed to sound like. Then I pick up the guitar and start to make it into music. I actually have a good reason for this: the more I can conceive of the music before I pick up the guitar, the less I am bound to the habits and conventions of the guitar.
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