Botticelli Magazine Number 7

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botticelli magazine

Published by Columbus College of Art & Design 1

TABLE OF CONTENt The Visible Universe


Anna Leahy

You’d Better Run


Natalie Shapero

The Problem Is How


Meghan Privitello

Claiming What Is Ours


Meghan Privitello

The Story of a Pretty Girl: Slam Poetry


Abby Vance

The State Is An Old Man’s Withered Arm (Cento)


Katherine Zeilman

Life Drawing


Haley Behnfeldt

The Obligatory Making of Amends


Natalie Shapero



Christine Pear

Interview with Charlene Fix


Haley Behnfeldt

Adroit Charlene Fix 2


Alice in Teachingland


Charlene Fix

White Rabbit


Charlene Fix

Worlds of Rock and Iron


Anna Leahy

You Look Like I Feel


Natalie Shapero

On Being Small


Betsy Toadvine

Letter to My Future Daughter


Abby Vance

Unfinished Murder Ballad


Darren Demaree

Web’s End


Katherine Zeilman

Row Row Row


Meghan Privitello

Worlds of Ice


Anna Leahy

Hoc Est Sine Dubio


Katherine Zeilman 3

The Visible Universe Anna Leahy

We know what we can see: that which reflects light, catches our eyes in the night, hits the mirror of our collective telescope. If space really is the final frontier, we are left with un-shadowed stretches of we know not what, a hush, something that is nothing, nothing that is something expanding, and we—knowing without knowing what— drift in this infinite darkness as if it weren’t incomprehensibility.

Heather Taylor Untitled Photograph



Oriana G.G. Hirschberg Pipes Monotype


You’d better run Natalie Shapero

Prone was never the way I pictured Isaac, proving yet again: of altars, I am all but ignorant. Of course he was tied with the soft side up, simpler to cut with that which makes us human. Take this bird outside of the luncheonette, the one with the kettlefried chip in her beak. She’s unable to break it small enough to eat, and so is blessed in her own way, lacking the nerve or knowhow to hunt what’s hard. Me, I favor gruffness. I like military haircuts. I like the inscrutability of sandbars and of box bombs, of Bob Dylan, quoting God when God says kill me a son. Me, I am always


grappling against the press of my back to the earth, but prone was never the way I pictured Isaac, because prone just isn’t how it’s done: gallows or stake, when we die for faith, we stand. Although, come to think of it, Isaac wasn’t slated for martyrdom; senseless is the word I’m searching for.

Lauren Rassenfoss Untitled Digital


Jeremey Haun Immortal Jellyfish Digital


The problem is how Meghan Privitello

What if the best feeling isn’t your fake child asleep in your lap, but waking up to a sky so black not even a glass eye shines. What if when your friends found god, you found a bicycle in the woods that could have belonged to a god it was so impossibly golden and apart. There is lettuce stuck to my knuckles which means the earth must be real. There are punches waiting to be thrown which means my nametag says Hi My Name is Human. What if a cliff is another way to say it’s finally over, there are no more songs to bring us back to love. When the clock stopped telling time, I stopped telling stories to my hands as if they would live forever. What if your sore throat is your body telling you to say a loud something. What if you cannot love the ground because of the way it always holds you. If you had wings, you could move like a slow child’s description of light. If you collected enough stones you could build a mouth which is the only way to say What if I don’t want any of this, What if the body was born to float away, What if I go and go and go. There is a rope at my feet that asks to be followed which means there could be a beginning of sadness. There is a trap door beneath every god which means it is endless, which means What if it never ends.

Olivia James, Black Light Over Clouds Experiment #2 Photograph



Oriana G.G. Hirschberg Crystal Eaters Silkscreen


claiming what is ours Meghan Privitello

Just because we can make babies. This is no reason to hold each other like two people lost in the woods. There is warmth in orange, in a dark shade being lowered. When a husband and wife died in a house fire — sleeping, dream-drunk — we counted our alarmings. We are riddled with disaster. You suggest a rope tied to the leg of the armoire. An easy escape. What happens when you find me leaving through the window in the cold. Rope-burned hands trying to keep from clapping. Will you believe me when I tell you I saw the flames signing your throat. That the mattress was pregnant with paisley smoke. Because I read that book about tricksters, I laugh like a coyote and put your heart between my teeth. Love is not so different from a tomato. Useless seeds. A bitter red. When the husband and wife died in their bedroom, they had forgotten to turn out the lights. The tricky difference between fire and lamplight, the gracious unknowing. Our house is always dark. The spiders gather in the corners and talk about our cumbersome bodies. If we were like bowls, stackable, we could fit into any space of each other without breaking our bones. When the fire climbs the stairs, we don’t bother introducing ourselves to each other. If we were that husband and wife, we would keep dreaming about an elevator that traps time until it suffocates. We would count each other’s breaths and wake up with favorite numbers. Instead, we creep closer to the door. Give the fire a child’s name.



For as long as I can remember, I have stood in front of the mirror and sucked in my gut just to admire the curve that it would make where the bottom of my ribcage met the empty pit in my stomach. I would stand there and press in the layers of fat, rolling them between unclenched fingers and squishing them in just so I could imagine, if only for a moment, what I would look like as one of the pretty girls. When I was sixteen, my best friend told me that she would spend her nights shoving food past her lips only to spend the next two hours bent down in front of a bathroom toilet as she forced her fingers down her throat and watched as it all came back up into the porcelain pot. She’d tell me that she’s brush herself off, flush it down, and then examine herself with a smile before going back to the living room and act like not a damn thing had happened to her. She would tell me that it was hard to get use to, but once I did, I would be okay. My senior year of high school, I forced a smile as I sat in front of the camera for senior pictures. I was the fat girl… whether or not it was just in my head was a different story. I would hide behind hoodies and jackets, shoving myself in the corner of the classroom to doodle pretty


girls on scrap pieces of paper. I’d joke with my friends that I loved my “fluff”, that it was just more of me to love and more to hold, all the while I spent the nights penning hate mail to myself in straight, sharp lines across skin. When I was eighteen, he wrapped his arms around me and told me he loved me. He kissed the imperfections on my skin and ran his fingers along the stretch marks and sharp white scars on my arms. He looked me in the eyes and promised me the world, that I was the prettiest girl he’d ever laid his eyes on. He’d draw hearts on the back of my hand and call me beautiful, inside and out… and just for a moment, I believed.

Heather Taylor Untitled Still from Video


The State is an Old Man’s Withered Arm (Cento) Katherine Zeilman

Lightning bolts out of his eyes. Maybe the wrong story, but I was never the light of my father’s eyes nor any newly-filled grave. Faces, who needs them? Gathered from your dying off, I will never contain the whole of it, he said. We both wished he wasn’t afraid of the wren in the garden, the moon on the roof. A daughter bearing bird names on her lips, cutting for the grackles to nest in this hollow running for my low life. O Father, but I still have my river mother. [ Larry Levis / Rosemary Griggs / Cornelius Eady / Vievee Francis / Mark Doty / Mary Ruefle / Lucie Brock-Broido / Linda Bierds / Caconrad / Caconrad / Haley Leithauser / Roger Reeves / Frannie Lindsay / Vievee Francis / Frannie Lindsay]


Nick Seitz Untitled Photograph



life drawing Haley Behnfeldt

A woman draws a bath to untie her eyebrow skin and let the steam clump her loose chalk thoughts as the day’s eyelid weights unhook from lashes, dissolving into water whispers in bubble crackles. A day past had watched his mug draw coffee links and chains of gold a trash-day table’s crown. Toast crumb glitter still remembered as lonely day confetti in old age table and rug braid crannies his apartment the solitude hotel. Her humble drawing, a library of dust the cellar spider’s needle fingers crochet lace doilies in expertise and secrecy; she never draws attention, but table undersides,

Catherine Norwood Can I See Photograph


and soft-spoken bookshelf nooks keep her secluded residence. Drowsy morning clouds hover surveying like a man drawing lines in footsteps through September winter wheat, autumn’s offspring. Here he can be alone with his waiting. and covers like a mother’s nursing blanket, under which Earth is satisfied. A tall earthen throne clothed in riches, gold grass garden untouched but by breath songs and drawings by a young woman whose whistles echo the sparrows single song a graceful soliloquy. A writer reclines in his bed drawing words from his mouth to his leaded fingers his voice humming the baseline percussion played by pencil tap dancing, the rhythm, clothes and sheets askew the tempo, the dark and idle night air directing again his piece without melody, “four white walls.”


A wife draws the blinds against the light-sponge darkness she glides her fingers down each slat cold aluminum in dust clothes slowly intently free from time like her eyes on dripping dishes inspecting through soap, through plates through window, through darkness. A bird flies lowly to draw veins like bowstrings by the sound of her feathered wings heard only by quiet willing and at her release, the resonance sings like a stone cathedral where a violinist draws a final note Dressed in fatigued and sterile she, the memory accountant draws dust off the Alzheiemered mind the chandelier dropping crystals, the wax sculpture dripping over becomes its architecture as quiet dust settling says it’s ok To care is a hope sponge, but apathy is thievery.


The obligatory making of amends Natalie Shapero

Museums of war, they bore me. I’m in my thirties and so already know every form of human repugnance—only a child has anything there to learn. And only a child should come to my play about Heaven, how Heaven is given one year to spend as it pleases, and elects to plummet down here and live as a man. This means, of course, a year without open Heaven, during which no one, no matter how desperate, lets himself die. People can do that, you know—resolve to remain until such-and-such date, for a christening or IPO or whatever their thing is. But my primary fear about dying is not missing Heaven. It is burial beside a hateful tree. They are out there, you know—high oaks whose limbs have offered themselves for hangings, and I fear that my body will slough itself down to feed one. This is how I have spent my whole life. I have served yearlings to tyrants. I have kept fat each war in this war museum where only a child could hope to learn.

Elizabeth Toadvine Untitled Steal and Braising Rod




SUMMITLESS Christine Pear

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings. -William Blake Abreast under the light, floating beneath a clear and humble sky where they drift, two fliers, held by wind and girth on top of an aged Summit. Together they soar far beyond the peak with resolute purpose, between unhinged gaps of wavering air toward a crisp blue. Allie Vanaman Lophii Digital


Catherine Norwood Not Your Average People Photograph


Catherine Norwood Casual Conversations Photograph


Nick Seitz Untitled Photograph


Interview with charlene fix Haley Behnfeldt

Charlene Fix is an Emeritus Professor of English at Columbus College of Art and Design. During her twenty-eight years at CCAD she has taught Writing and the Arts, Writing Poetry, Film and Literature, American Literature, The Artist as Protagonist, Word and Image, Road Trip! the Picaresque Novel, and Introduction to Literture. She also chaired the English and Philosophy Department from 1997-2011. A member of The House of Toast Poets, a workshop and performance group, she has also received poetry fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and has published poems in various literary magazines, among them Poetry, Literary Imagination, Hotel Amerika, The Journal, The Manhattan Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Rattle, and The Cincinnati Review. Eleanor Wilner chose ten of Charlene’s poems for the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from The Poetry Society of America in 2007, and David Lehman selected her poem, “On the Outskirts of Veritgo” for the Louis Hammer Memorial Award for a distinguished poem in the surrealist manner from the Poetry Society of America in 2011. Charlene is the author of Flowering Bruno, a collection of poems with illustrations by Susan Josephson (XOXOX Press 2006 and a finalist for the 2007 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry), Mischief (a chapbook of poems from Pudding House Press 2003), Charlene Fix: Greatest Hits (a chapbook of poems from Kattywompus Press 2012), Harpo Marx as Trickster (a critical study of Harpo in the


thirteen Marx Brothers’ films from McFarland 2013 and featured at a Thurber House Literary Picnic in the summer of 2013), and Frankenstein’s Flowers, a collection of poems, from CW Books 2014 with cover painting by Anita Dawson. Charlene was a featured poet at the Ohioana Library Book Festival in 2014 and is co-coordinator of Hospital Poets, part of the Ohio State University’s Medicine in the Arts Initiative. The interviewer, Haley Behnfeldt, is in her last year studying fashion design at CCAD. While she hasn’t been under the instruction of Fix, she has immersed herself in the English department and has been asked to read her own work at on-campus events. She read poems including, “Life Drawing,” “Lessons in Embroidery” and “Handmade” amongst others. Haley Behnfeldt: I’m an artist myself, working for a magazine that represents both art and literary works, so naturally Flowering Bruno sounds really interesting to me, and of course to our readers. Let’s start with that co-creation! Charlene Fix: Yes, the sister arts frolicking together! In this case, there was great pleasure in collaborating on the book. Susan and I had a lot of fun. In fact, the process went so smoothly that I was surprised, once I started sending out the manuscript, to discover a prejudice against illustrated poetry: university presses won’t even look at it, William Blake notwithstanding. But, serendipitously, we found a publisher who loved the poems and the pictures, and wasn’t hung up on that “foolish consistency.” HB: Thankfully! How about your relationship with Susan Josephson? How did the collaboration take place?


CF: Susan taught Philosophy at CCAD for more than thirty-five years. As Liberal Arts colleagues with offices across from each other, we became friends. During those years I also acquired a “CCAD pet:” an Elkhound-Keeshond mix, Bruno, my student Angela found in a box on a church steps. If you’re paying attention to words, you’ll see why my art history colleague Robin called him a “magic dog.” I took Bruno home, and he subsequently walked around in many poems over the years. One day Susan and I were having coffee, I mentioned this, she said, “let me draw,” and so it began. I gave Susan a chaotic pile of maybe sixty poems and she organized them—a great gift—into seasons, perhaps because she is a Buddhist and this order is traditional in Buddhist poetry. We worked on the book for a couple of years, Susan drawing on her computer while I continued to write and revise. We’d get together to go over the workin-progress every month or so. I can’t say we critiqued much; we tended to respect the autonomy of each other’s work. I imagined Bruno making paw prints at book signings, but alas, he became ill and died while I was sending out the first iteration of the book. I continued to write poems through the illness, death, and grieving. One publisher who took a sniff at the manuscript said we should include the death poems. So Susan illustrated the new poems for a fifth season in addition to Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring, then The Final Season. Susan eventually created color versions of the original black and white drawings. Our publisher, Jerry Kelly at XOXOX Press, wanted to use them but couldn’t afford to. I did a few readings projecting the color slides.


Alayna Smith Buckets Photograph



HB: Have you had previous experience collaborating with an artist like this? CF: Nothing like the making of Flowering Bruno. But I have had several artist friends who have profoundly influenced which poets I read. And a gorgeous painting, Tryst, by CCAD Emeritus Professor of Painting, Anita Dawson, graces the cover of my most recent collection, Frankenstein’s Flowers. In addition, I have written poems inspired by visual art and film. At this point I’ll quote myself the preface to Greatest Hits: “Art making always, to some extent, involves collaboration. We are never alone when we are writing poems: poets living and departed are with us, jogging our elbows, dribbling the ink, sprawling across the table, modifying the light source, leaning out the window, smoking in the corner, sneaking to the refrigerator, and sitting, with each of their twenty-one grams, on our heads.” Let’s add more influences: our friends and families, nature, the manifold critters and people of the world, including those delivered by media, and the visual artists whose work colors and shapes our lives. So much swapping of energy fields! HB: It seems like your work with Susan happened sort of suddenly and organically, but do you have any advice for artists and writers interested in this kind of collaboration? CF: Enjoy the opportunity to see what you think you know through other eyes. Susan revealed my house traveling through the seasons to me. She held a mirror up to the beloved Bruno and my cat Kizzy. In her drawings I saw anew the neighborhood and the Glen Echo Ravine where I often walked Bruno. Because the nature of the work of artists and writers is very different, however, collaborators need


to be super-sensitive to issues that will impact each other. And that probably means being good listeners and good communicators—it’s a tricky business trying to read someone else’s mind. On the cover of Flowering Bruno is a beguiling photograph Sonya created of Bruno wearing a flower garland she made for him for his reunion with Kate, his canine girlfriend. Too late, I realized it would have been cool if we had transitioned within to the drawing Susan made based on that photograph: sort of like going from the actual dog, metonymy for life, to the necessary fiction of poetry. I wish I had thought of that or Susan had suggested it. I suspect she wanted the drawing to be in the book. HB: Also, has collaborating closely with an artist affected your classroom in any way? CH: Yes, of course, and vice versa, for I was primed for the collaboration with Susan by teaching English courses at an art college where I was always thinking about students’ priorities, their timeconsuming studio work, and seeking segues between literary and visual art. I often assigned readings relevant to both, and even developed special topics courses like “The Artist as Protagonist” and “Word and Image,” along with what became a LIBA staple, Film and Literature. I still fantasize about a cross-disciplinary course in animating poems. And I have always been curious about my students’ visual talents. Back in the day, student work was displayed anonymously, but sometimes I’d recognize a self-portrait and be astonished. I know I am here to develop students’ reading and writing literacies, so I tend not to have them draw or paint or film or make 3-D constructions. That said, in Writing Poetry, I have students make broadsides: limited edition poster-sized collectible art combining an original poem with an image,


Alayna Smith Untitled Photograph



or design postcards or bookmarks featuring poems, or even animate a poem. Last year, in a sophomore writing course, I gave students an assignment option: depicting a scene from one of the short stories we read in comic book/sequential art form. The results were a revelation: I could “read” their ideas and insights in this primarily visual medium. They were also beautifully made—such talent here! So yes, I now easily see how readily the sister arts can play, and from personal experience know that siblings can make lovely mischief together! HB: Let’s talk about your two most recent publications, Frankenstein’s Flowers and Harpo Marx as Trickster, beginning with the first. Tell us a bit about the work, where these poems came from, and the myths, books, and films you reference. CF: Who knows whence poems arise? The source may even be different for every poem. Thoughts, emotions, memories? The external folded in: splashes of nature, artifacts, and events from the culture, country, world? But let me try to answer anyway. Poems in the first section of Frankenstein’s Flowers address myth, mostly Persephone’s, which I relate to. Jung said each of us is living a myth, and to understand our lives we must figure out which one. Not to worry: this gets easier as one gathers years that reveal the narrative pattern. The myth of Persephone is full of archetypes like passionate unanticipated love, divided life, emotional ambivalence, leaving one’s mother (our first love) for the next, death and resurrection, the afterlife and the soul’s adventures there. A forthcoming anthology of Persephone poems (I was invited to contribute a poem) suggests the myth’s enduring appeal. I also allude to Orpheus in FF, an important myth for artists because he is the first to pit art against death. Odysseus


and the Cyclops appear too, with recent personal relevance, a good example of how art travels through time and evolves in meaning, even for the one who made it. Sometimes myth is a beard: “Little Corn,” for example, alludes to Persephone and her mother Demeter but actually commemorates my own mother. In the second section, poems riff off of books. This was inevitable because books are my drug of choice. They get inside me and inebriate me, changing the chemistry and structure of my brain. So when a poem begins the beguine, allusions to books sometimes dance with metaphors, devices of sound, and the rest. Do you ever wonder if books on our shelves come alive while we sleep to converse with each other? Well, a poem is a kind of dream, and books can come alive there as well. Anyway, the poems in that section aren’t really about books; rather, books help the poems to say what they say, be it philosophical, personal, or political. The film poems in the third section do something similar. I buy into movies wholeheartedly—they seem real to me. And they stay with me. So naturally they end up in poems. I remember writing the title poem, “Frankenstein’s Flowers.” My husband and I were watching the old James Wale/Boris Karloff Frankenstein, one of his favorites. I said, “why don’t you write a poem about this?” and he said, “why don’t you?” I got right up from the couch; went upstairs; wrote the poem. It was sudden and almost complete in the first draft, which is rare for me. Focusing on the monster/little Maria scene, it became a meditation on a sin committed in perfect innocence. I didn’t know that’s where it would go. Poets generally don’t begin with a thesis. If they’re lucky, they are able to get out of the way and let the poem write itself.


Austin Burnside Surface Cement and Twine Cement and twine on wood



HB: So Harpo. You said it took you ten years to write! That’s an indication of diligence; what brought on the interest in Harpo Marx? What kind of things did the research involve? Tell us how all of that formed the book? CF: Harpo Marx as Trickster is actually criticism: a prose study of Harpo in the thirteen Marx Brothers films. It felt like my homework from the universe. In the preface I say, “my interest in Harpo began in childhood, when he was already so iconic that one child or another would be accused of resembling him.” I just love him. He’s hilariously funny to me because he’s impulsive, really wild, but also sort of holy and magical. In real life he was, by all accounts, a kind and loving man. This is going to sound schmaltzy, but I think that the heavens send humanity angels to help us abide, and Harpo was one of them. By the way, I could have called it The Poetics of Harpo Marx because there is much poetry in what he does. The book took me so long to write because I was teaching four classes and chairing for much of that time. I would try to persevere but simply had to put it down during semesters, then re-immerse myself during Christmas and summer breaks, which was frustrating. There was no study of Harpo when I began, but Wayne Koestenbaum’s The Anatomy of Harpo Marx came out a few months before mine. For about five minutes I was bitter. But here’s the thing: some of the best insights in the book came near the end of those years. Also, Wayne’s book, then mine, suggest a zeitgeist! Finally, Harpo deserves many books. “All’s well that ends well,” sayeth the Bard. I was already familiar with the films, having often laughed at them unto tears. And I had read Harpo’s autobiography, Harpo Speaks!


Then one morning I woke up with the conviction that Harpo is a trickster figure. I also wondered what that meant, so spent a year or two reading about tricksters in myth and legend, compiling lists of trickster traits. Then I read every book out there on the Marx Brothers, bought all the films on DVD, and, clutching my trickster template, watched the films again and again, took notes, and wrote about Harpo’s trickster essence in each film. Lucky for me the original idea not only held up but also kept unfolding! Harpo was indeed a trickster, and in more ways than I originally anticipated. So I wrote a chapter each the films, then an introduction contextualizing them historically and defining the trickster archetype. I had a gadfly: my daughter Sonya made me deal with cultural insensitivity in the films, leading to some surprising revelations, and she pushed me to study Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish tricksters as most of my research had focused on American Indian and ancient Greek tricksters. Then, when I thought I was finished, she said I had to weave the material, resulting in a forty-page conclusion, “A Retrospective Montage.” Once I found a publisher, I had a whole new task: supplying pictures. I preferred to use screenshots so I could show Harpo doing particular trickster things, but McFarland wanted higher resolution studio stills. And that meant visiting vendors. I paid the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in L.A. to search their collection. And I went to New York: to the Performing Arts branch of the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, to Photofest, and to Jerry Ohlingers, the latter the coolest place: packed to the rafters with pictures, with nowhere to sit, but with the


Danielle Hall Prufrock’s Predicament Steel, Wood, Coffee Spoons



knowledgeable, helpful, and loquacious Dolly behind the counter. McFarland limited me to three pictures per film, but being unable to obey seemingly pointless restrictions, I sent the final draft with twice as many, plus captions. My editor praised the work, then said I had to remove half of the pictures. I wept as I cut. Their limit, by the way, was about fear of lawsuits, for copyright goes on way too long and we lack clarity concerning fair use of “the commons.” The book would have been richer with all of those pictures. Seriously, would the Marx brothers’ descendants or the film studio bosses really object to someone paying homage to and reviving interest in the films? Harpo’s son Bill, by the way, sent me a lovely email after he read the book. And I put my favorite removed screenshot, of Harpo in bed with a horse, on a t-shirt. HB: What most recent work do you have going on, manuscripts and otherwise? CF: I have two unpublished manuscripts of poems, plus poems from the last two years. The poems in On the Outskirts of Vertigo (thanks to Sophia Kartsonis for the title: my vertigo and her quip when I said I was still “on the edge of it,” which also galvanized the poem I was working on) feature infancy, childhood, adolescence, love, parenting, aging parents, aging self, writing, and teaching, with a series of fruitshaped poems tucked inside for a perhaps superfluous snack. The poems in Taking a Walk in My Animal Hat feature the four-legged and winged nations. Both manuscripts are too long: I need an editor but she isn’t me. These days I tend to work on poems more slowly. Looking at poems from the last two years, I find animals and insects that are


simultaneously about love or politics or mortality, books, dreams (though they’ll deny it if you ask them), blindness, my sister’s breasts (according to a friend, really about modernism), my mom, childhood, adolescence, Jewish stuff, the seasons, cats, dogs, crimes, and my granddaughter. I can see that many could be shoe-horned into the above two manuscripts, swelling them beyond all hope of publication and making them collapse under their own weight. Help! HB: So, after 28 years of teaching here, you’re retiring! Tell us about where you’re at with that right now. CF: I officially retired in June 2014. But I needed to ease into the separation and to empty my office of decades of books and teaching files. Thankfully, the college was accommodating. I’m teaching a bit. Like the Wicked Witch of the West but more slowly, “I’m melting!” HB: What kept you here at CCAD this long? CF: It was teaching what I love, literature and writing, while immersed in an art-making environment. It felt oh so simpatico. In my early years here, I’d pinch myself walking up the back ramp to Kinney Hall—I couldn’t believe my luck. I have had the honor of working with people who made this place great. I tip my hat to them, many no longer here. Besides, I had already moved around some before CCAD, teaching reading to adults, high school equivalency courses to heroin addicts, freshman comp to OSU freshmen, and lots of different English courses during ten years teaching at a Catholic High School. When I needed a change from the latter—I allowed a gorgeous essay expressing gay love (and love of books!) to be accepted for publication in the literary magazine I originated and advised, and for that was almost fired—I



Nikki Moon Untitled Painting on Wood


applied and was accepted to the PhD program in English at OSU. But with three kids and academic jobs scarce, taking the CCAD job offer was not a difficult decision. My years at CCAD have involved lots of professional and artistic growth. I tutored and taught both writing and literature. A painting professor asked me once how one would teach the writing of poetry. I’m embarrassed to remember saying, “I don’t know.” But when the time came, I did know. Teaching at CCAD and of course living life inspired lots of writing: poems that gathered into chapbooks and books of poems (Mischief, Flowering Bruno, Greatest Hits, Frankenstein’s Flowers) as well as criticism (“The Lost Father in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman,” “Yes and Yass: Dean Moriarty’s Ecstatic and Lugubrious Affirmations in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road) as well as Harpo Marx as Trickster. For the latter, I was lucky indeed to be at CCAD where I could nudnik people from Media Studies and at the IT Help Desk to enhance screen shots and pull clips for presentations! My colleagues cheered me on! Nanette Hayakawa hand delivered copies to Cinematheque Francaise Film Center in Paris! What extraordinary support she, Lesley and Josh, Sophia, Palmer, Stewart, Eric, Ron, and others selflessly gave! HB: Think on your experience at CCAD. Can you give some highlights or challenges you’ve had and some things you’re going to miss? CF: Highlights and challenges both involve dueling vocations. William Carlos Williams once said, “I’m a fulltime doctor, a fulltime poet, and a fulltime father.” Well, during my years at CCAD I was a fulltime mother (wife, sister, and daughter too), a fulltime professor,


and a fulltime writer. Some highlights have been a bit of local, regional, and national recognition in the form of invitations to read, including a Thurber House Literary Picnic and an Ohioana Library feature, two Poetry Society of America contest awards, two Greater Columbus Arts Council poetry grants, an Ohio Arts Council poetry grant, plus individual poems, chapbooks, and books published. Positive teaching recommendations, students’ own fine work, and messages from former students encouraged me as well. Yet at some point while I was teaching four classes and Chairing— overseeing curriculum revision, assessment, meetings, minutes, hiring, and supervising in addition to teaching four classes (while raising a family, caring for my mom who lived to be almost one hundred), and trying to maintain a writing life—I turned into a crispy slice of bacon. Because I found it impossible to stint on any of the work I was juggling, I longed for parity in course load for Liberal Arts professors. (I was eventually given a course release for Chairing.) But lucky me: I’ve had two sabbaticals, my second in time to format Frankenstein’s Flowers and proofread and index Harpo Marx as Trickster. And I was given and am deeply grateful for other kinds of support at CCAD over the years, including promotions, faculty development grants, even a visiting artist presentation, as well as financial support to present papers at conferences and attend two PSA award ceremonies. I’m happy now to have Emeritus status. These days I am moving books and files home instead of pitching them. Sometimes we need to wink at ourselves or even lie a little, no? If I’m slowly closing the door on the house of teaching, I’ll be opening



Whitney Ransdell Brazillian Gold Watercolor


the door of the breakfast restaurant to meet with retired colleagues! And maybe I’ll even take a drawing class, something I have always thought I would do. I will certainly miss my students: youth is contagious! Will I fall face down, a crone in the snow, as a result of leaving this Shangri-La? I will miss seeing my wonderful colleagues frequently. I’ll miss exposure to shows and visiting artists, not that I can’t come down for them, and will. I will miss putting on my snorkel to dive deeply into literature and film. And I will miss the rhythms of the academic year, the way teaching structures my life. I don’t want to go back to Red Queen days of running fast just to stay in place—I’m finally making a dent in those towers of books and New Yorkers—but in the right proportion, work defines leisure, like the shaping of negative space. On the other hand, and sometimes I have more than two flapping and waving, I look forward to having more time for family, including my granddaughter Ellie, for reading, writing, and for travel. I will continue working on poems with the House of Toast Poets. I am cocoordinating Hospital Poets, a reading series at Ohio State University that is part of OSU’s Medicine in the Arts Initiative. I am working with a group devoted to Israeli-Palentinian peace. I also hope to do poetry readings from time to time to promote books and find homes for two unpublished manuscripts, On the Outskirts of Vertigo and Taking a Walk in My Animal Hat. Moreover, new poems are fluttering down, a flock gathering in a shape I will have to decipher. HB: Well, Thank you so much, Charlene; you’re a wonderfully enchanting person and a joy. Shall we end the interview with some poems? CF: Thank you Haley! This was both challenging and fun!


Adroit Charlene Fix

Let’s start by liking the word with its full belly and tall alpha heading confidently somewhere but slowing down to hold and rock before relinquishing us with a t. Like a name but adjectival describing the deftness of hands, then rising from the rhymed physique of fingers, knuckles flabby like elephants’ knees, and plump pale palms, to a figurative resourcefulness: senses again seducing us unto the realm of thought, nimble hands pushing on doors of air, opening them, clumsiness hidden, subsumed in the task.


Alice in Teachingland Charlene Fix

Everything here seems strangely low: the table and the lectern where I lay my notes. And not because my neck, grown long from eating esoteric molds, has thrust my head through treetops, far from toes. I just feel high. Or else the table is being swallowed by the floor. This feeling, rising from my swaddled heart to my cabeza floating, makes me ask: what denizens are these who sit before me, essays stapled, holding pens I’m conjuring to hover in the air? I speak, descended from the past on my long tether; they bandy queries from their future world. We pass like pilgrims on a mountain road exchanging academic greetings, protocol I breech sometimes by signing emails with my given name. But even it, today, sounds strange. Parched, I take a break from class to bend before the fountain in the hall. Head uncovered, loose of hair, I pull a gesture from the left hip pocket of my repertoire: I bow.


White rabbit Charlene Fix

That damn pocket watch and its twits. To a puppy, pre-lapsarian of consciousness, ticking is comfort. But to a mid-life rabbit stretching to be dapper, it tenders terminus. “Oh dear, oh dear,” he mutters in his syncopated haste, verbatim once in Carroll’s text but often in Disney and Svankmajer, animators Mengele-untwinned by person, politics, and place, “I shall be late.” Indeed, indeed, did Carroll couch in foliage, flowers, keys, in croquet, cookies, cups, and a winsome dance, so shall we all.


Worlds of Rock and Iron Anna Leahy

The closer to the Sun, the faster the spinning; the faster the spinning, the greater the friction; the greater the friction, the higher the temperature. How hot to melt? For iron, some like it hot: thousands of degrees. The unit used for heat applies to angles as if everything bent belongs to a circle, as if an arm must move in an arc. The measure of angle is the same for ancestry, my sister and I just one degree from our mother. Or in music, one notch from the main note in a scale, but no matter to our tone deaf mother who imagined her singing voice in heaven becoming lovely, lovelier, yearning a matter of degree and matter spinning too fast to grasp, too hot to handle.

Nick Seitz Winter Stream Photograph




You look like i feel Natalie Shapero

Dirt on my chin and I wonder: am I already in the ground? Like a toy turned real, I cannot shed the sense that I have died. The German word for Heaven’s the same as the German word for sky. On hearing a cruel prince was in danger, I prayed for him to thrive, not for his own sake, but for the concubines, sure to end up buried along. To my real face, a man once crowed I RUINED YOU , and though he did, the joke’s on him: he ruined me only for this world, and this world is not long for itself. The Earth, that ever-loving but distrustful kin, keeps leaving us just a little pocket money when it dies, never the land—

Brianna Parrish War on Women Digital


on being small Betsy Toadvine

I thought you were small when I watched your belongings fly out of the windows. Your lit cigarette hit the black pavement. The cows kept chewing grass next to your mangled belongings. Bovine eyes see everything and feel nothing. I couldn’t hear a sound. I just walked closer to your sparkling gums. Red blood poured through your glass-filled smile. I thought I was small when I came home that night. Exhausted- to an empty apartment. Your things were gone, but you left a note. I felt small in our bed for two and I didn’t hear a sound that night.


The next day, I awoke to screaming sirens and flashing lights. Hurried out my back door, onto the balcony. Others were out too. We watched as our neighbor’s house filled with flames. Smoke covered the sky. Windows shattered. Glass and personal belongings hit the black pavement, I watched everyone watch and I knew we were small. Every last one of us and I smiled because I could hear the siren’s scream.

DeMattia Rosalyn Shark Culling Digital


Brianna Parrish Temptation Digital


Letter to my future daughter Abby Vance

Across the room your father sleeps, having had been up all night with me waiting for you to make your grand entrance. Looking at you now, it’s hard to believe that one of these days going to run up to me and curl your little fingers around the hem of my shirt and pull me down to my knees so that you can look me in the eye. Just like daddy does, you’ll say as you cup my cheeks in your tiny hands and squish them together as you try to hold back giggles at the faces that I make. You’ll press your nose to mine and bare that toothy grin with gaps and holes, only to let out a laugh that sounds like angels in the heavens. Then you’ll be in middle school with tears running down your cheeks, leaving your eyes veined with red rivers. You’ll come through the door and brush past me as I ask how your day was, replying only in the word: Fine. I’m not stupid. I had been in your shoes once, and yes I’ll worry, but I’ll let you go to your room and cry for a while, just to let you get it all out. After ten minutes, I’ll head back the hallway to your poster clad door, and I’ll hesitate. I know that before I even manage to turn the knob, you’ll be in my arms, your face on my breast, asking me why life is so hard. With a sad smile, I will wipe away your tears and tell you it’ll be okay, before dragging you to the car to get ice cream from the little stand down the road. It’s the same stand where you’ll get your first kiss four years later, where he’ll get down on one knee with his high school ring as ask you to marry him, and you’ll say yes because he’s the best thing that has ever happened to you. I might


seem old when I tell you that there are plenty other “best things” that will happen, and that turning that boy down won’t be the end of the world. It may hurt at that moment, but when you get to college without a child on your hip… you’ll thank me because I only wanted the very best for you. When the time finally does come and you decide walk down the aisle, I’ll help you heave that heavy dress over your head, and tediously slide the buttons through the eyelets in the back. I’ll pretend I have allergies, constantly wiping my eyes and nose and making excuses to leave the dressing room. I’ll be in the front row, tears streaming down my face as the words “I do” drip from your lips. Once the honeymoon phase is over, you’ll cradle a soft blue blanket… and you’ll know then the love I felt for you.

Anna-Lisa Eriksson Double-Faced Pod Queen Wax Clay


Anna-Lisa Eriksson Double-Faced Pod Queen Wax Clay


Allie Vanaman Whale Songs Digital


Unfinished Murder Ballad: When the Swimmer Drowns Darren Demaree

Healthy until the holes were pushed through him, took circular pieces of his flesh and exploded them into a star shape for the fish to explore, he was a boat they said, he could spend all day in the water. He was a boat they said, he could be found in water. He was a boat they said, with enough separation between his ribs the water could reach in and take him down deep enough to be home forever. The river he swam crossed several county lines quickly, snaked through the triangle that led through into Knox, and all those trees just kept providing cover for a rifle. Anyone could have fired those shots. Everybody said he was boat. Everybody also said he was an asshole and a liar.


Unfinished Murder Ballad: the woman finds her ex-lover in an alley in philadelphia Darren Demaree

He was never alone, even when he was with her he found other ways to be un-alone as well, so when he stumbled past her, drunk on himself and most of the bars in South Philly, she whirled around with every intention of giving him peace, giving him a chance to be alone, and yet un-alone. He would get used to the cold hands. If anybody could revive the touch of death, it would be him, and as long as he didn’t turn around in the next five seconds, she could scream help, she could stuff her purse into the heart of his jacket, and allow it to drown in the echoes of her most primal of wishes. This sober thought was calming to her, and she could feel her own strength grip the freedom that came from her own steel loneliness. This must be what an eagle feels like before a dive into the river she thought‌


Unfinished Murder Ballad: in some towns there is only one public official and one prostitute Darren Demaree

They canceled the crossing countdown for the one blind resident, that bird sound only pisses off the real birds of the town, which really is just a state route that barely winds through, enough through that the cars refuse to acknowledge the dip in speed. No matter, they all see the prostitute sitting on the picnic table outside the cold beer drive through, and since she wears only colors that clash with the blue polar bear on the car side of the building, everyone knows that quickly their world could improve with such a rainbow before them. Not a mayor, not a police officer, the township representative, once Columbia Gas management, knows that only one of them should be perched outside on that table getting drunk, but if all two hundred and twenty seven guns were trained on one target, it would be his spilling they might desire most‌


Web’s End Katherine Zeilman

Huddled yellow spider, was there ever such a screeching from the rusty lip? Lust like stalling, lust like using. Eight legs and a lemon-spotted spine desist from spinning silk and the minds of those who had been near but spun their webs too tight. Employ concluding sentiment. Lucy flicks the flame dissolving every goddamned creaking hallway in your home. Your failing, falling self.

Tyler Davis Crocheron Mixed Media



Lauren Rassenfoss Untitled Digital


row row row Meghan Privitello

Just because you know every fold of a paper boat, you are not a god of the waters; you do not deserve a Latin name. I’m looking for any troll who still works full-time under a bridge to tell me what we become when we die. It is worth the gold coin, the heroic journey. My heart exploded when you told me we would become trees that bloomed violet every summer. I sang hymns to erase what you said. I want to be hidden, a bone, a small puff of what we are too ashamed to say out loud. When the rain puts its hands on my shoulders and rubs me to sleep, I think I would do anything to have its child. In the garden, the spiders are talking about us like we’re the enemy. When’s the last time you talked to the ground like it could help you out of your deep-rooted depression? Doctor Earth, your seas are lousy lovers and every night I end up alone in bed touching myself as if I were a mermaid – confused about where I let a man in, about how to let myself out. When we die, who will look for us out of their bedroom window in the dark, who will know there are two used-to-be’s looking for a familiar place to sleep? I will not forget the comforts of living: the just-cooked lentil, the freshly laundered pillowcase. There must be a kind of holiday that celebrates the departure of your paper boats. What can we call millions of vessels sent to sea without any idea of home, each ship deck its own soggy heaven, clueless about ever knowing what it would mean to turn back.



In the outer solar system, the giants: the planets of ice and great gravity, one with a large red spot, a storm, another with astonishing, thin rings, one a methane green, another with big moons in its grip. Go far enough out, and heft turns fumes into metal. That far from heat, largess turns to floating, as if anything could be lighter than nothing at all, as if nothing at all is possible. Go farther, and weight is a core, as if rock and water were a heart beneath the mantle if the mantle were skin, as if the heart were the center, the seed of all reaction, a ceding control. Go far enough back, and massive comes from lump, the beginning of the end. The slow loop, the fast spin. Form + Motion = Body.


Nikki Moon Untitled Ink


Natalia Monserrate, Nature Embodies Deer Digital


Hoc est Sine Dubio Katherine Zeilman

You can find her near the outskirts of Soundlessness. one quarter mile past the sun tunnels in their gemmiferous iris gold. Turn to embrace your humiliating enthusiasms and those little ruptures will flake apart the moment. Find her wading in the weeds, twisting timothy grass between her teeth – this abscission is for you. She wakes the thing you have not yet done, for which your apologies are premature. She has become the spectacle. You can find her right here where my pulse is weak, let me show you. She is docile until she isnʼt, and polyvalent through rhythm. Chrysanthemum Queen, wonʼt you please undo me. Cradle this clarity till it is brighter than your marbled eyes. Find her in an exchange of attention – the paying and the losing. A vivid uncertainty to tacitly trip you up. Her altar is crawling with the ends of earth and toil


and tomorrowʼs alabaster bloom. Lighter than the bones you broke to make it fit. You can find her in the archives of each meadowlark and thumbprint, where ancestry lies quivering and bound – an empty thing. Split-lipped smiles guard an army of calcified fears. She will keep the fallen through the night and plant again at dawn. Find her turning insides out, slackening the lordless nerves you herd. They are eating from the body of self-contempt. But she can loosen that gut; braid it ten thousand ways and put it back just right, into your newly silken sensibility. You can find her where the worms doze, woozy from the actual weight of this world. You say “meanderer” like itʼs a bad thing. Awake and wading in pools of a celadon blue, nirvana rests in her auric gesture, and it cannot go unseen.


Find her returning to something like woman, something like a stutter turned nonsound, graceless yet collected in this gorgonized instant. Buy a ticket to ride her train of thought straight through syncretic skies, winding words round your unhinged ears. You can find her downstairs with the rats playing pool with your eight-ball eyes, they skitter every which way and she sees. She says, “Iʼll be around,” she says, “tell me a story youʼve never known.” “What is half of one when all of one is lonely?” But when you reach the point of settling in she will be miles away, hyaline, hitching a ride on hummingbird-breath – this is without a doubt.

Oriana G.G. Hirschberg The Suburbs Digital


BIOGRAPHIES Haley Behnfeldt A graduating fashion design student at Columbus College of Art & Design. At various Botticelli and on-campus events she has been selected to read her work, which, like her designs, focuses on quietness, inspired by nature.

Darren C. Demaree The author of “As We Refer to Our Bodies” (8th House, 2013), “Temporary Champions” (Main Street Rag, 2014), “The Pony Governor” (2015, After the Pause Press) and “Not For Art Nor Prayer” (8th House, 2015). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

Anna Leahy Her book Constituents of Matter won the Wick Poetry Prize. Her poems and nonfiction appear recently in Nimrod, The Rumpus, The Southern Review, The Pinch, Tinderbox Poetry Review, and others. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at Chapman University, where she curates the Tabula Poetica reading series and edits the journal TAB. She co-writes Lofty Ambitions blog at


Christine Pear Raised in Michigan, she first began writing in “The Midnight Club,” a celestial decked-out basement closet. However her universe opened up when she moved to England and tasted a lemon drop, reveling in the strange new discovery of writing with the senses. With graduation looming on the horizon, she’s ready to embrace the world with her minimalistic poetry and keen eye for detail.

Meghan Privitello The author of A New Language for Falling Out of Love (YesYes Books, 2015). Poems have appeared in Boston Review, Kenyon Review Online, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, & elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2014 NJ State Council of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. The works featured in this issue have been previously published in Gettysburg Review, and The New Megaphone.

Natalie Shapero The author of the poetry collection No Object; her writing has appeared in the Believer, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Progressive, and elsewhere. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and works as an Associate Editor of the Kenyon Review. The works featured in this issue have been previously published in The New Republic, Pinwheel and Poetry.


BIOGRAPHIES Betsy Toadvine Currently studying fine arts at Columbus College of Art & Design. She enjoys making several types of work but mainly focuses on Jewelry and wearable sculpture. In her free time she enjoys writing poetry.

Katherine Zeilman A Fine Arts Junior with a concentration in glassblowing. Her craft is based in technical vessel making and experiments in the application of surface materials. She will be attending Pittsburgh Glass Center this summer to study goblet making under the craftsman Kenny Pieper. Her biggest fear is sleepwalkers.




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