Faith Barger Untitled Map Suite (32-35) Aaron Tennessee Benson Temporary Structure II (24) Rachel Clark Femme Mask (21) Tom Mask (21) Suzanne Devan Cropped Porn (22) Red Skirt (23) Michelle Ettlinger Booklyn Seascape (48) Doug Fraser Beautiful Distraction (6) Breaking the Silence (8) Sheldon Graham Dancing (50) Interspection (51) Jessica Kreutter Crave and Cradle (46) Mollycoddle Troughs (46) The pollinator and the baby Harvest (47) Nick McGuire Council (10) Rex Inquisitive (11) Rex Transition (11) Jordan Meyers Balloon Heads (45) Hannah Patterson portrait of my mother as she might be (4) portrait of that lying cheating son of a bitch that broke my heart and friend (5) Kati Stroud Red Rhythm (9) Angela Denise Wilson Monkey See Monkey Do (12)
The Poetry Spectrum at un An interview with Arthur Smith & Marilyn Kallet (25-31)
Table of Con ents Poetry
AndrelN Booth Current Blessedness (2) Emily (2) By Myself (Good Company) (3) Vinny Cannon Fromberg, MT (36) Jackson Culpepper Communion (Mississippi VII) (13) Philip Hopkins When She Hands Me the Envelope (49) Kaitlyn Sage Patterson Afternoon Nap (53) Imposed Upon (53) Jonathan Phillips quick, like the death of a stranger (52) portrait of a room with patterns (52) Deborah Scaperoth Scared and Profane at the Park Cove (7) Meg Wade Dream of Lost Language (41)
Richard ArklNright From the Introduction in Mating Possibilities: Copulation in 21 st Century America (42) Eric Blair On the Climate-Driven Garment: A Quantifiable Approach (43) David Craft The Burial of Arthur Ryan (37-40) Jackson Culpepper 0' Malley (14-20) Michel Luc-Tenebre On Clothing and Power [Les Pensees au vetement et Ie pouvoir] (44)
Phoenix ••• 1
Current Blessedness It would be nice to write tales of St. Francis, but I don't think I can. Instead when the petals speak, they tell of my friends' new hats, haircuts, stacks of Coors Light boxes and scattered bits of happiness somewhere between them. When we were kids, Nick and I mashed every Friday night into the crawl space beneath his back porch to hear his father talk to their dog, because if it ever talked back she was sure to bring news of the future. Today, I think he only wanted to hear her voice, like molasses, slow and of the body: You're already crazy, Marty. They will have to leave you soon, but summer is coming. Love the small hands of your children while you can, those who curl on my pregnant belly. Nick is growing strong; he has taught your daughters to pray to trees and they spring from them like fresh green shoots. Maybe to exist is to be a kind of possible wonder. Yes. That is the holiness which spreads through our thirteen raised glasses in the small kitchen. To friends, one says, to vodka, another. Laughter becomes a small diffraction which spreads across the white tiles. It is something that later when Corrinne is crying on my couch will let me see her, wipe the cheeks and lift her into Logan's arms as a vapor, those steam vents you walk over on gray mornings which fold beneath your wind breaker, reminding you of how it feels to be warm.
By Myself (Good Company) I don't know why, but I thought the moon would eventually come down from the sky and settle next to me beneath the blankets, the windowsill where I had waited on and off three days for the rain to stop. We could sit there, me and the moon, with a lamp on to glow and blossom like a pale peach - the kind sold off state highways in broad woven fruit baskets that don't have a name, are stapled and diamond checked, stacked and smell of earth. I think loneliness is a type of crazy. It's the story of the old man who broke his leg falling through the floor of his outhouse and was found five days later talking to moons carved out of shit. Baudelaire said, or one of those French guys said, art extends from solitude. Maybe my hands too, sensing distance, feel a need to create - days I find them bleeding pretty without remembering. It's true, if I weren't alone, I probably wouldn't be balancing on the arms of my desk chair to watch a spider form a web of my ceiling. But I am. What's wrong little eight armed wolf? Do you want to catch warmth in my high corner, or is it the moon again, being woven soft of your shell body? We look funny, balancing this way. I should get down.
Phoenix ••• 3
Deborah Scaperoth Sacred and Profane at the Park Cove Hopkins knew about the cliff where mourners hang. Disconsolate in the spring dawn, I wander alone in the quiet park. It's been over two years since your death, and I have been more than half crazed with grief. In the morning haze, tree limbs and stirred-up dirt from the park mowers filter light into pattern like strips of rain seen from a great distance. The glowing outline of a fisherman bends over a hook by the water's edge; his fingers bloody from cutting bait. You would like this, I think. You would laugh about the mother duck and her thirteen bewildered babies with buzz-cut feathers, grubbing for food. She stands guard, hissing, a pent-up steam valve. You would want me to see God here. Eternity. I can only see tender urgency.
Lambeth Bridge The City Westminster Bridge
8 ••• P'1oenix
Breaking the Silence photography
Rex Transition wood / gold leaf
Rex Inquisitive 10k
Jackson Culpepper Communion (Mississippi VII) They weren't mission folks, they were builders. Professional, rough. Their truck was full of odd and shining tools. They took smoke breaks every half an hour. It was a welcome change. Chris and I and Bill, the leader, did as they said. For two days we sanded the walls mixed the mud papered the seams mudded the corners textured the ceilings, in rituals of muscle with liturgies of dust. The mud, primitive, spread on our arms and heads and was cool. Then one day the big husband told us his wife-"She's real Cajun"was making dinner. We stayed around until the reddening dusk, when the army planes flew overhead and the hammering, sawing stopped. Reverently we climbed the cinderblock steps to the FEMA trailer. In close file we heaped on rice and held our plates to receive it: gumbo in a five gallon pot on a two-foot stove, crab legs sticking out drumsticks sticking out crawfish, kielbasa, and only God knew what else, bubbling in the ruddy stew. We sat on tailgates, van seats, mud buckets in a rough circle, nodding, slurping, and groaning until the plates were clean and the dogs chewed on the bones. We sat back, sated, and listened to the owls. Phoenix ••• 13
Fine, you? Hey, I'm doing good man, doing good, gonna go by the climbing wall some today. You been by there yet? You should come one day, just show them your ID and they'll let you in. Wear some good tennis shoes though, you can't do that shit in flip-flops, you'll bust your ass. I mean, they got padding and all that under you and you never get too high unless you do the really crucial stuff but it still busts your ass. He sees my story. Hey man, you a writer too? 0' Malley writes, did he tell you? His stuff is crazy, I read one of his about this guy that goes to the library, only it's this crazy library where he takes this book and when he keeps it overdue these guys in suits come and beat the shit out of him. I don't remember the whole thing but it was cool stuff. Hey Chris, you sent the check yet? asked Brian. No, when they need it, Friday? Wednesday, you better go ahead and get it. Alright, they might have to wait a few days before they cash it. If Cindy's down there she'll be cool with it. Chris the second, kilt swaying, exits. He's the kind of man you would expect to have dreadlocks. Brian watches the ever-flipping TV as it cycles through local news, Regis and Kelly, a preacher in a particle-board pulpit, an ad for an ab-sculpting machine. News, Regis, preacher, ad. Two dead in a local wreck, What is going on with Obama, Sometimes the Lord gets angry, Six weeks to your best shape in years. Heartland's coming on in a little bit, says Brian. The egg-timer chimes, its ratcheting ceased. I turn to watch the back bedroom door open, expecting frayed tweed, a chain jumping with his steps; his flashing eyes, his floating hair. Weave a circle round him thrice, says Brian, and close your eyes with holy dread. I look at the label of his coffee, Honey-Dew brand, and the milk in the fridge, unopened, is Paradise Co. Thus enters 0' Malley. He goes first to pour his coffee. He smiles his crooked smile and says good morning, Andrew. (Except that knowing my
name, the name of the first-person speaker, psychically distances me from you, the reader, which I have done enough already with these asides, drawing your attention always away from the story and into my own premature critiques of it, it (the story) not even halfway written. So forget my name, forget the face you may have thought of for me. I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger. I am no one at all but your perception of this story.) I tell him good morning. Is this your story? He asks, seeing it on the table. Yes, would you look at it for me? Sure, sure. 0' Malley sits and reads, flipping the pages over their staple gently. I look over at the TV where Brian is watching Heartland between the channel flips. Once every six seconds or so he hears a measure of mountain dulcimer music, a respite from the grating Regis and Kelly voices, the fuzzy audio of the preacher, the bright synthesized music of the ad. On Heartland, the mountain dulcimer plays, strummed under the brown, crooked fingers of a woman who must have grown up from the Appalachian soil below her cabin. Between flips, I think about her long pattern dress hiding not legs (they might once have been) but gray taproots, digging down, millimeter by millimeter each day through the boards of her porch into the black, wet soil until they strike the bones of the mountains, the black and huge tectonics covered over by a million years of loamy dust and photosynthetic activity. She draws the soul of those bones, their age and veneration, up through her deep deep roots and with each gathered nutrient, with each hydrogen-bonded drop of clear mountain water she presses her fingers down on the strings, on the boards, and strums a chord not heard since God or fate or Grandfather Buzzard of the Cherokees pulled the mountains up from the ground. I like it, said 0' Malley. I ask him if he liked the part where the woman with the gold tooth told her daughter-in-law that her abusive, alcoholic husband had died. I liked it. That was an interesting idea, he says. He sits cross-legged, his decorum never interrupted, his posture matching his vest, chain, pipe, literariness. What about the part where she drives off furious and almost goes over the bridge, did that all make sense? Yes, I knew what was going on. I liked the description, your descriptions were very good. Piloellix ••• 15
Where are we going? To the river. Why? Do you have any questions about what I have told you? Is it hard to keep that thing lit? Are you listening to me? I was listening. I would listen more. I observe as we walk. I percolate my observations. I type a hundred pages in my mind, lengthy descriptions, struckout paragraphs about noses, the facial expressions of a hundred college students whom I am not an iota closer to understanding nor dwelling in the cardiac arteries of. You must listen, he continued, because there are certain truths about writing, certain glimpses at the soul of the world which you will need to understand in order to truly write. You will have to look at all of the ugliness of modern society, dissect it, show its abuses and violences, and write them in large, bold figures to show the terrible cruelty of it all, in hopes that people will read your work and change that cruelty. In hopes that people will read my work and change. Walking past a freshman all dressed in black, I wonder what 0' Malley was like when he first came here. I wonder what Chris Musselwite had been like. Did he trip on the sidewalk? Did he watch people reading under that fir tree months before he finally took the spot for himself? Was he afraid like me that someone might look at him and think he was a complete buffoon for the things he did? When he first sat down under that tree, clad in his vest and smoking his pipe, did people in the amphitheater chuckle? Then again, there are people like Chris the second who can wear a kilt around all day, who could probably comb his hair into dreadlocks and no one would notice. Or no one would realize that they noticed. Someone plays a banjo claw hammer style outside the communications building. Far off I hear the river. We cross a parking lot and go under the road through a walkway bearing a mural of the rowing team. We see water lap below us, brown. Styrofoam cups, bits of paper and a dead carp float there. Broad arches of bridges and trestles span the river. Floating, some ducks call to one another. I do not look at 0' Malley. He might be talking but I don't think so. I try to listen to what he says but my mind is excited just by thinking about fiction, by talking about fiction,
by this interaction which is based around fiction. Seeds of story after story bob in my mind, first one duck and then another. They call to one another,striking strange chords where they correspond. 0' Malley says too much for me to take in, too much to process at this point. I try to listen, I really try, but one wisp of story beckons to me from an out-of-sight corner, calls me away to see how far the story can go. I may have to sprint back to a pen and paper and write down a page-no, just an outline--and then keep writing all day and all night. I will pledge my body to that paper until the story is out and I, the husk it had outgrown, blew away on the wind. Or, those fleeting ideas could be misfires, half-cocks, single images not containing a thing in the world but a character trait, a blemish that I would probably delete in a fourth draft. The question is, would I know the difference? Surely if I didn't I would fade, unknowing, and fall away as a husk that had given away its metamorphosis. By the river, we pass the old train. Blazoned on the sides of the cars are names: "Intrepid," "Clinch," "Tuckaleechee." The fountain ahead is dry. 0' Malley sits at one of the benches, crossing his legs. I sit beside him. You used flashbacks a lot in your story, he says. Did you like them? You don't need them. More characterization of the woman-precise characterization-would go farther. Some writers use flashbacks for characterization but more use them for a plot twist. Some writers use them as a quick, cheap way to deepen a character. Oh look, they say, her father beat her when she was a little girl and that explains why she set fire to the nursing home on Christmas Eve. It's a cheap trick, sometimes. There was a girl in room 616 of the dorm whom they said could tell fortunes. And none of that weak tarot shit, they said, but she can honest-to-God tell your fortune. She knew about that carjacking twelve hours before the police reported it, knew the guy and the girl were dead six hours before the cops found them. She's the real deal. It was one of those Friday nights in the dorm when I had nothing to do and no one around to do it with. I suppose I could have drank if I had any liquor, beer. I sat at the desk with the computer where I switched from games to porn to news to porn. I moved to the TV and flipped through channels. I watched CSI for a while but the commercials distracted me. Next I was in my bed picking out the shape of a skull in the ceiling texture. I needed to get out. I walked along the sidewalk smoking a Black & Mild I had saved back.
Phoenix ••• 17
0' Malley continu8cJ were funny. It is thinking such things that causes me to miss his silence. I miss the few steps he takes towards me, looking off downriver past the rower's shed. I miss his nervous chewing on the pipe stem. I am still making up a joke about ascots when he pushes me into the river. The water is cold. That is my first sensory detail and only once my body begins to accustom itself to the cold do I begin to think about the garbage and dead things floating with me. The water feels thick, saturated with filth, and I am uncomfortable in it. After those two realizations, the idea of survival kicks in. My flip-flops are long gone and I am fairly sure my keys dropped out of my pocket and sank to the silt. I remember once on a rafting trip they told us to put our feet downstream and I try to but sink anyway. With great panicked flaps of my arms I keep myself above the surface. Waves that looked gentle on the shore come over my head, into my eyes. A piece of thin, mossy driftwood floats by and I'm not sure why I grab it. Something bumps into my leg below the water and swims away. My body panics but my mind thinks about rafting. In fact it is still looking for that ascot joke. I am tired, weary. Bit by bit I relax into the current. Soon I float under the surface, feeling the gray sunlight fade above my eyelids. I hear a loud noise, see a flash of army green, and the darkness between worlds comes upon me. *
Some say you go to heaven when you die, although there is debate over exactly where or what heaven is and what the criteria are for immigration. Others believe that karma directs your being into a better or worse reincarnation,
into a godly paradise or a gray world of hungry ghosts. In my space between worlds, there were distant bells. Far off at the edge of the universe was gravity, only instead of pulling me it pushed me, held me centered. It was familiar, but I only realized it was there when all else fell away. *
My throat burns with river dirt. I feel myself vomiting. Someone hits my back, says Come on man, get that shit out. I am like a baby, pissed off by bodily existence so much I don't realize what is going on. When I finally look around, there is Chris the second, his kilt dripping wet, pounding my back. He asks me what happened and I tell him I tripped, fell in. Man, he says, it's a bitch swimming this thing. I came two hundred yards downriver getting you and bringing you back. I didn't know if you were gonna make it, you were back-up in the water and that's a bad damn sign. We sit by the river. He talks and I listen. I look out at the river, its deceptive lethargy. I don't think about him, about Chris the first. I hear his leather soles walk up behind us, but he doesn't say anything. Thinking about him feels cruel, like swatting a ladybug or kicking a cat. I am cold in the fall air, soaked, but I don't really shiver. Among other things, I think about the reading assignments I have due this afternoon and the next day. I think about what I am going to have for supper. Far back in my mind stories float on the ether. They sound like wind chimes in a garden. Chris the second and I sit on the bank, watching the river roll by, its top waves masking the inertial power of the lower ones, and I notice I still have the stick of smooth driftwood, laid like a long-stemmed rose by my side.
Femme Mask oil on canvas
Tom Mask 011
Phoen x ••• ? 1
Cropped Porn oil on canvas
22 ••• Phoenix
t is important for young writers to be taught from various writing perspectives. For poets at the University of Tennessee there are two full-time poetry professors, Dr. Arthur Smith and Dr. Marilyn Kallet. Dr. Smith has published three books of poetry, The Late World (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2002), Orders of Affection (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1996), and Elegy on Independence Day (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985). He has also published poetry in the finest literary magazines in the nation and has been the recipient of numerous awards. Dr. Kallet is the author of fourteen books, including poetry, translations, anthologies, criticism, and children's books. Circe, After Hours (BkMk Press, 2005) is her most recently published book of poetry, and a new collection, Packing Light: New and Selected Poems, will appear in 2009 from Black Widow Press. Though both professors are accomplished in the realm of poetry, they bring different aspects to teaching poetry, which serves to influence their students. These differences are what I concentrated on when I sat down with them both in the Hodge's Library Starbucks to discuss the differences in their lives, poetry, and teaching.
The Poetry Spectrum at the University
An interview with
Arthur Smith Marilyn Kallet By: Sean McDougle
Phoenix ••• 25
The Poetry Spectr m continued Briefly, where and how were you raised?
Arthur Smith: My family is from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I was the only one in the family born out in California, in Fresno. It turns out Philip Levine lived there and taught at Fresno State. I remember thinking, My God, this guy's a living poet; you know you never see living poets. That was really instrumental for me. The thing that turned me on to poetry was not that necessarily, but a high school teacher. I hated poetry, hated English. He read us "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night." This is the truth. It was like a mystical experience. Lights, music. From that point on, there was no turning back, like I was smacked in the head or something. I didn't know anything about poetry, didn't know what I was getting into. I just knew that's what I wanted to do. Marilyn Kallet: I had a teacher like that too. I went to Tufts as an undergraduate and my freshman teacher of French Literature was a tragedian, an actress. She was stunningly beautiful. She would read the French poems. She read Baudelaire to us. I physically got dizzy. I had to go outside with the poem and ask, What is in this poem that is making my head spin? That was really a decisive experience. It took me a long time to utter anything myself on the page, but I fell in love. I was confused about what I was loving: Was it Baudelaire? Was it the language? But I grew up in a working class family on Long Island. My mother was from Montgomery; my father was from Brooklyn. They fought and that created the feeling of being in exile. I was born in Montgomery, and my mother never forgave my father for taking her to New York where it was cold. She was always cold. That conflict between the two of them was productive for me, I think, as a writer.
between the mother and the father in this fight they were having, and how does it happen that language becomes a place where you can live, at least temporarily? Various poets have defined poetry over the ages. How would you define poetry?
AS: I always ask my students this question during the first class we have. I say don't worry about it if you can't answer it, people have been trying to answer it for 2600 years. And I would be in the same place the students are in. You almost have to quote somebody else; probably the Wordsworth definition is close to what I believe. The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings after the writer has thought long and hard about the subject matter. You sort of reenter the subject matter as you sit there and then you kind of get into that emotion. To me that's one of the definitions that works. MK: I think that it is language made musical and language that shows musical invention and coherency in some ways. Sometimes that coherency can be difficult to perceive, but I think it's the language of every day speech made musical and compressed, emotion within that is compressed. Is that why you were so interested in William Carlos Williams?
AS: Can you say more about that? That was kind of interesting.
MK: You know I happened onto William Carlos Williams when I was a graduate student at Rutgers. I became interested in his late love poems. I was just interested in how beautiful and simple they were. I went in to explore what it was that seemed simple yet had complexity at the same time, and I ended up writing my dissertation on Williams and Paul Eluard, probably the most important poet for me.
MK: Well, there was always the question of where did we really belong, always feeling like somewhat of an outsider. My mother had such a rich Southern accent, and the longer we stayed in New York the deeper the accent became. It was her own. She could find her place in this drawl. I would hear her on the phone with our relatives, and every time she would talk to them, the accent would just get deeper and thicker. And this had an impact on me. Where did I belong
AS: Let me add something. I told you I grew up in the valley of California and Phil Levine was a teacher out there at the time. And once I got turned onto poetry and shifted my focus to him, I said this guy is a shmuck just like me. He uses English language and writes these incredibly powerful pieces. How do you do that? So you try to imitate that. I know these words too. How do I put them in a certain order that makes me go wow? Williams is a great model I think to see how to do that.
WholWhat are your major influences in writing? AS: Dylan Thomas, but that didn't last as long as it does for some people, and then Phil Levine because he was right there. I mean he was a human being right there. You could see he was alive. And then you branch out from there. William Carlos Williams was one of the very next people I discovered. I was like wow this is better, I like this. There's a real sense of discovery in Williams' work. From there it just branches out to everybody. I went through some very definite models where I was trying to learn how they worked. MK: Well you don't have to write like someone to be influenced by them. I got from Williams that language didn't have to be uppity. You didn't have to be British. You could use the language we hear. I think our models change. We get influenced by different people as we go along. I would definitely put Williams on the list. In the last ten years, I would say Yusef Komunyakaa for the tightness of the forms and the range of subject matter, for tackling difficult subject matter, Galway Kinnell because his language is so gorgeous, Sharon OIds for her bravery of subject matter, and Brenda Hillman for her willingness to break traditional forms. And then Art Smith for his ... Honestly I teach his work so often, I find myself getting closer to it and thinking this is damn good stuff. It has the beautiful compression of language that we want in poetry. No matter what kind of poetry it is we can't have anything extra.
What do you focus on while writing? AS: One always hopes the muse is in the building. I always try to sit down at a certain time everyday, just to be there. I start writing freeform and sometimes get really lucky and some stuff kind of ties up, like a discovery of material. I pursue that and find out if it's something that's been eating at me for a while. MK: I think what Art said is very important about being there and having a certain ritual and trying to be as open as possible to whatever it is that is going to happen. And having done it for a long time there is a sense that something is going to happen, an expectation. We're in the habit of writing; this ritual is an invitation to the muse. Sometimes I will give myself a task. My husband and I were
in London this summer. We went into the natural science museum at the Darwin exhibit and there was a poster that said Darwin had inadvertently eaten a new species. I was like well wait a second now: what did he eat, what happened, what does that mean, inadvertently? So I went, and I started researching Darwin and came across all these wonderful things to write about. I came across this journal entry where he had actually eaten a small ostrich thinking it was a baby ostrich, realizing, after it was all roasted and eaten except for the skin and bones, that it was some sort of miniature ostrich that he hadn't chronicled yet. That opened the door for other poems, give it a title and see what happens with it and thus, "Eating the New Species." AS: It's so hard for me still to figure out ways to surprise myself on the page, so that I don't keep saying what I've been saying for a while. That's one of the real difficult things.
Do you have a writing routine that you follow? AS: Only in the sense that I want certain things out of my psyche, like walking the dog, dOing the dishes. I throw all that out of my psyche so I don't have to sit down and jump for anything. A lot of times I read some poets, new poets or somebody's work I know that inspires me and then you just see what happens. And a lot of times you write and write and three weeks go by and you don't find anything interesting but you do the next time. So it goes back and forth that way. It really is just fishing for stuff. MK: I've gotten into the habit of going to artist colonies. I do it because when I was a young mother, it was impossible to get anything done. I simply abandoned the child, got in the habit of going, and I found I get my best work done there. There really are no other distractions. You just go and that's what you're there for. You're nobody's mother; you're nobody's teacher; you're just a writer. AS: It's scary when you do that at first. MK: Very scary. In fact, last time I went to the Virginia Center, which is probably more than twenty times going, I tried to write about making the transition from
P,loenlx â€˘â€˘â€˘ 27
the secular to the sacred because it's busy, busy, busy, busy and then there's this whole other thing that's going to happen and it's frightening. You don't know if it's going to be any good or not, but that's not the issue; you just want to be doing it. AS: That's what I found. I started writing when I was about seventeen years old, haphazardly. It's still a mystery trying to uncover what it is or listen to the voices in your head. They happen all day long and some of them are very important. If you don't get them out, they're just gone. For me it's never gotten any easier; you're just more used to looking at it, like oh it's you again and you just start writing. You just listen to the material, like oh this might be in quatrains. I sit down and write. I never know what's going to happen; it's a type of anxiety. It's not for the faint of heart.
What's one thing you struggle with in your own writing? Maybe something you do that you're aware of but you wish you didn't do. AS: I don't really know the answer to that, but I'll give you an example. You know you write and write and you get something with some sort of substance. Then you look at it the next day and you're like oh my god that's terrible. I've become more self-conscious of the voice in the poem, like well that's just somebody talking to me. It's not really that interesting or whatever. When you get in the zone, everything you do is just fine, but it's really hard to get there. It's usually when the poem is close to being done, you read it and you're like that's terrible, no one would want to read that. MK: I think I need to try to be patient. Sometimes I'll need to write six or seven poems about something that I'm trying to write about to get one that's viable as a poem. So patience, and also, I've written some clunkers that I would put next to Art's any day and win. I do this exercise in my classes where we bring in bad poetry then we cut them up and make collages. I have a wealth of material for this. There's this one poem I wrote about Heather having a zit in the middle of her nose, and we went to the dermatologist. Why did I think that this could be a poem? There it was, and I remember it because the refrain is "Heather has a zit in the middle of her nose." It belongs in the Stuffed Owl, which is the anthology of bad poetry.
How have you both been influenced by one another? AS: I admire tremendously her fearlessness of material, what she takes on in poems. You really have to test yourself in some ways through writing to find out if you're getting close to the quick. Plus, I've never mentioned this, but Marilyn, over the years since I've been here, has been incredibly productive, not only in her own poetry and other books, but in editing. I've lost count of her work to be honest with you. I've always admired that; details are very difficult for me, and to be able to do all of that in the midst of teaching and everything. MK: Thank you very much. With Art's work, everything he does has integrity, very high standards. His poems have been paired down, transformed to music. His writing teaches me to not go long, and Art himself teaches me to not go long. One time we did a poetry reading together; it was in the stairwell of the university center, another really bad idea. I don't remember where it came from. I was up there declaiming, and it was this long poem, some epic thing I'd written, and he looked at me. I don't remember if he was just saying it with his eyes or whether he actually said to me I will not speak to you again for a very long time. He taught me in those situations that you don't read your long poem and you need to learn to be compressed, be concise. AS: That's hard. God knows we don't have any audience then when you do have an audience, you think this is my most ambitious poem, I want to read it. MK: Yeah, No NO, Can you say no? We discuss this in our classes before we do readings: don't read your epic now. I just picture myself at the top of that stairwell, and I picture the look on your face.
How has your writing style evolved over the years? AS: After each book, I have found that there is a long fallow time in which I'm still writing but it sounds like stuff that would have been left over from that book, like it's not good enough to go in that book. I'm always trying to change that voice some how, like where it is coming from or the contributing factors, i.e. opening the poem up more, bringing the world and history into it.
MK: I've gone to Squaw Valley a few times. I went the first time when I was fifty years old. Brenda Hillman had an impact on me there and has ever since. The experimental quality of her work really irritated the hell out of me to begin with. I was like what is this? why is this happening? I hate this. She was pushing about form. She didn't care what the content was. In the workshops, Sharon Olds was all-confessional. It was wonderful; she gave us permission to say what we needed to say. Brenda Hillman didn't care about any of that. The only thing she cared about was the form. She was looking for some kind of innovation. You know, what would that be and what would that be that felt necessary not just splashy. I write narrative lyrics and always have, but the narrative lyric now is bitten into at the edges by this other thing that is the question of how experimental, how edgy, how many poems can you have going on at once, that sort of thing. AS: We were just talking about that in class earlier today about how form, traditional and experimental, is one way a poet can surprise themselves. It makes you change the way you think, changes your brain waves. If you know you have to rhyme in two lines you start thinking ahead. You might have to say something in that language that you never thought of before. The whole point is to say something new about yourself that you haven't realized.
When do you feel you do your best writing? AS: Marilyn knows this. I can only work very late at night. I've got a menagerie of a house, which I love, don't get me wrong. I've got three dogs, a parrot. My wife goes to bed early, sooner or later the dogs settle down. I'm alone in my house, like that William Carlos Williams poem when he's doing the dance; that's the only time where I feel like I'm free to say stuff. MK: I do my best writing in the morning. I'm a morning person. I go for a short run and then write. When I was working on these Darwin poems at the Virginia Center this summer, after I'd run and clean up, there was this path between the house and the studio. Walking down that path, poems would start to come to me. I read that Darwin had a thinking path. He would walk on the path and the ideas about the evolution of the species came to him on the thinking path. I'm not comparing myself to Darwin, but I was writing about Darwin and I was walking this
beautiful path and ideas would come to me. It was quite lovely. There's a certain state of mind which everything seems to be poetry. It can be a mistake, that state of mind, because you think it's all poetry then you look at it later and its not. When I said to people at the Virginia Center that everything's poetry in this state of mind, one of the professors said, "What about this pimento sandwich?" Well, he's right, point well taken, never mind. So I started a blog to write about the transition into the Virginia Center, it's like a journal you know. I wrote that not everything can be a poem because of the pimento sandwich then suddenly people were writing in pimento cheese sandwich poems. Some of them were very good. So the only limitation is the poet's brain, probably.
What elements do you try to stress while you're teaching students to write poetry? AS: Well, when I teach the lower division class, the three-hundred level, I try to teach about form and those things. Not that I want them to write those poems, but because I don't know if they've heard it anywhere else. I talk about it to give background and history otherwise to them poetry was discovered fifty years ago instead of 2600 years ago. You just want to give them a sense of the enormous background. Then, of course, what you look for is that authentic moment in somebody's poems. What I've been doing, I'm getting sophisticated now, every day on blackboard I make everybody write six lines. Just the student and I can see that material. They can be braver, riskier. They do the six lines for a week or two then boom this thing happens, and that's how you find that material. That's what I concentrate on: how do you find that authentic material that you didn't know what was in there? When lines come to you while you're doing dishes or driving, you have to capture those lines. If you don't they're gone because they're coming from a part of your brain that doesn't know language. You see an image or a phrase comes to you, you want to get that because it passes right on through. MK: I start out the three-hundred level class with books by Lucille Clifton and Arthur Smith. I'm trying to get rid of students' preconceptions about poetry that aren't any use to them in the writing and show them how to be spare and let the emotions and intellect lead, a lot of it has to do with the pairing down. They'll Illoe 1x
The Poetry Spectrum continued have an assignment, write poems and I make notes on the poems. They learn by doing, essentially. It's like learning to swim. You can't do it unless you're in the water. They have to put up with those little annoying notes on the poems for awhile. Often it's a question of cutting down and giving more because people will be too private, they won't tell enough. They'll hint at something but you don't have the feeling that something is being revealed or even glimpsed. Students get annoyed at me for wanting more and less at the same time.
sort of the TNT of poetry. Then Andrew Najberg, he would already have a metaphor or an image, and he would follow that out in a poem. So two very different poets, but they're both very good. Those are two different ways I see oh wow that person's onto something, both with the juxtaposition, metaphor, the surprise, the exciting stuff. Then, somebody else might not have that ability so they're going to get a metaphor and work it on down the page. So both of those poles, if you will.
Does teaching and being in the classroom environment help you with your writing?
MK: In the last two or three years, twelve of our former students have had books published. Sometimes students come to us, now that we have the doctoral program, with books in hand and they're already fine writers. Hopefully we can help them develop and do unexpected things in their work. Sometimes you think students are hopeless, and they turn out to be real writers. So I've learned not to discount anyone because it has to do with whether the person is disCiplined and motivated and stays working at poetry. I had one class that I felt was the worst class I had ever taught. I read the single worst poem I had ever read, but several of those poets went on to publish books. One of them went on to run a publishing company; one owns a bookstore in San Francisco. It taught me a lesson, you just can't tell. You encourage everybody. There are certain gleams like someone has a good ear or well turned phrases, but you see some of those people don't pursue it and others will. And I think I was like that as a poetry student. I wasn't the one in the class that the teacher thought would be the star. I had a few lucky poems, but I stayed with it.
AS: I think so. At the same time you can overdo it. If you taught two full classes that day you might be talked out, have nothing left to say. At the same time, I get inspired talking about the poems. You're always looking for that way in and providing a way in, the opening. MK: Teaching takes a tremendous amount of energy. When we're in the classroom, we're here for the students, so in that regard, it doesn't let you write a whole lot. But sometimes I'll give the assignment of a poem a day, and I'll do it myself and out of that something may be born. I did a series about Circe, and Circe became the Circe of Circe, After Hours, and it became a book. One little poem from that series got into that book, which wouldn't have happened if I hadn't have done that right along with the students. But by and large I'd say that the teaching and writing for me are separate activities. AS: Yeah, I totally agree with you on that.
What are some signs of potential you find in your students? AS: You know, it's really tricky. At the poetry reading a few weeks ago, two very different poets, who were students here, read, Matt Urmy and Andrew Najberg. Matt Urmy, what I found in his work was that he was very into the essence of poetry, metaphor. And that was where he said "Don't be afraid about what you're going to say, leap if you have to," that sort of thing. That's
30 ••• Phoenix
AS: Yeah, let me pick up on what you're saying. I'll use the example of Theodore Roethke. If he could become a great poet as he did, anybody can. His first book was so pedestrian. I love the man's work and I'm telling you this. It was so pedestrian, so expected. Then, he wound up at the end of his life writing some of the best free verse that has ever been written. So I think Marilyn's point is really good. You don't count anyone out. You just see maybe there's a real rhythmic quality to that person, and you recommend them these three poets and say maybe these could teach you something. You don't know who's going to develop in time and who will be bitten by it.
MK: When I read that worst poem, I said in class that this poem is terrible. The class rallied on behalf of the poem. People started saying "look this has this good line and this good line", and suddenly it was me against them and suddenly this poem was the best thing that had ever happened to anyone. So I've never done that again. You make think it's terrible but you keep that to yourself.
the PhD. The PhD is similar to other degrees we offer, so it wasn't hard to get that here. The MFA is a free standing degree; it has to be approved by the state, so it's a bigger deal. It's really not any different than what we're doing now, but technically it's different, so it's a project.
What do you perceive as the future for the creative writing department at UT?
AS: I was adding this up the other day. Sometimes you write and write and write and a year goes by, two years go by, then you look back and you've got twenty-seven poems you want to use as pieces of a book. I'm about at that age where I've got two-thirds of a book, but I don't see the organizing principal yet. Many of the poems are opening out more, but because it is a territory I don't know yet, I'm sort of in a state of uncertainty over the manuscript. I'm working towards it, but I don't know what it will be or what it will have to say.
AS: We're getting all sorts of things organized around the MFA right now. In the years I've been here we've had a great resurgence in the number of people writing. Marilyn and I are the only full-time professors teaching poetry writing. In ten years we'll be retired, so what happens next is up to the other people who take over the programs. We have worked to put down the PhD with creative dissertation and the MFA. Marilyn has done most of this work, by the way. We have graduated poets and fiction writers who are appearing in the finest journals in America, and we're very, very proud of that. MK: The MFA doesn't seem to be going away. When we first started thinking about putting an MFA in place years ago, our colleagues thought it might be a fad, but the demand for the MFA seems to still be very strong. The PhD has been a great magnet for us to attract really fine writers here. Now we're going to try to bring the MFA into shape. The MFA is a different kind of degree than
What are you currently working on?
MK: I have a new book coming out in January; it's a collection of new and selected poems. I'm trying to avoid the temptation to keep looking over the manuscript and changing it and fixing it. There are things in there that are screaming out to me this is awful, but I'm trying to leave it alone, let it go. I'm working on the Darwin series. I'm doing the blog, which I enjoy. I'm doing translations of the French surrealist poet Benjamin Peret, who was an uncompromising surrealist. He was never political he was just wild. He hasn't been translated into English very much, so I'm doing a book of his. (Dr. Kallet's blog: http://www.redroom.com/blog/marilyn-kallet).
Fa t'l Barger Untitled Map Suite rice paper, printing ink
Printmaking suite of five prints representing a five-year relationship (one print per year) I created and manipulated maps to represent both physical and emotional distance, space, and time in this relationship Dry pOint, monoprint, pronto print, and paper-to-paper applications and techniques used.
32 â€˘â€˘â€˘ Phoenix
The maps are to be opened and handled, and a personal interaction with the viewer will take place. Each print has a meaning individually, or the suite can be viewed as one complete narrative.
The Burial of Arthur Ryan We buried you in the sand. The tide was out and we thought we might have buried you too close to the water. We dug you up and buried you again, well past the high tide mark. Kevin took D'Arcy's portable CD player and we listened to the radio with the seagulls singing along in the background. It didn't take us long and we sat on the beach drinking Stella when it was finished. There was no one around. It was February. Frankie wanted to be there, but it was just Kevin and me. "Michael? Mike, honey?" "Huh?" "Are you okay?" "Huh?" "Mike, you okay?" "I'm awake! What's wrong? Did you hear something downstairs again." "You've been talking in your sleep. You okay?" "Yeah. I'm fine." "I thought you were talking to me but I couldn 't understand you." " I was talking?" "Yeah, you were talking but I couldn't understand a word you were saying." " I'm sorry. Go back to sleep, Grace. I'm fine." The night you left Nashville you told everyone that you were going home. We were in your room, standing around while you were getting ready to go. Frankie was telling jokes. He told your joke about the Irishman, the Englishman, the Scotsman, and the Genie. The Scotsman was from Aberdeen and wished for his nets to always be filled with fish. After he made his wish he disappeared. The Englishman wished for a giant wall 500 yards high to be built around England to show how powerful the nation was, and then he disappeared. The Irishman asked how high the wall around England was, and, when the Genie told him, he asked for it to be filled with water. You laughed and then you said, "I'm going home, boys. Don't worry about anything." It wasn't until later that I knew what you meant. There were a lot of people there that day. Mom cooked a roast and we ate like kings. You were the elephant in the corner. You'd left
already, but we acted like you were still there. Ireland played France in a friendly at Croke Park while we were in Skibbereen. Kevin and I decided we'd watch the match at Uncle D'Arcy's pub. It was the first full match I'd watched since we stayed up late to watch Robbie Keane score against Spain in the World Cup. You danced around the living room and woke Mom. You told her not to get mad at you. You told her if she was going to get mad and blame anyone for waking her up she should blame God and Robbie Keane. You told her to blame God because he was the one who decided America should be a million hours behind the rest of the world, and Robbie Keane because he scored a cracking goal. Back then I thought you were an idiot. D'arcy gave us a free round and poured an extra pint to be left untouched. He said it was for you. You would have been proud, Dad. Ireland won. "Michael? What's wrong? "Huh? What?" "You're talking again." "Are you sure?" "Of course I'm sure." "I've been asleep." "You've been keeping me awake." "I'm sorry, Grace." "It's fine. Are you sure you're okay, though?" "Positive." "No bad dreams?" "Nope. Go back to sleep. I'm fine." The night that you left was the first night we'd been together under the same roof for years. Steve and Kate brought little Megan down from Raleigh, and Molly brought her new boyfriend. Kevin and Sarah came with the kids. I'd only been dating Grace for a few months. I didn't think she'd want to get thrown into the fam ily so soon. She asks about you sometimes. She helps mom keep things together. I think they talk about us. The twins were crying their heads off as usual that night. We know how you wanted to see the kids before you left, but you just missed them. Kevin said he was pushing 90 all the way from Atlanta. Sarah said he was nearly
stopped by the police twice. The kids miss you. They asked about you for a while and we told them the truth. You'd gone away. Kevin says it's a shame they didn't get to know you better. Frankie says it doesn't matter. When they're older they'll have the most important thing you gave them and that's their name. After you left, Mom didn't want us to touch anything. "I know he'll be back," she said. "I just know he'll come back." It took her a while to accept the facts. She denied them for so long before she got angry, before she got depressed, before she accepted them. The night after you had gone Frankie, Kevin and me were sitting with her at the kitchen table. Frankie had his cigarettes and Kevin had his beer. Mom had her tea. We were starting to tell stories about when we were kids. Kevin told the story about how you were arrested for cutting down a Christmas tree when we lived in Germany. He said that you went out on a Tuesday morning and didn't come back until Wednesday night. He said you didn't know it was illegal to cut down trees, and that when they took you away you forgot the telephone number to call mom. He said mom gave you a good smack but then kissed you on the mouth right in front of us. I don't remember it. I was a baby. Mom laughed at the story but never said if it was true. You know how Kevin likes to exaggerate. "Michael, seriously. What's going on?" "Nothing is going on except you must be hearing things." "It's the third time tonight." "Do you want me to go sleep on the sofa?" "No." "What do you want me to do then?" "Nothing." "Look, I'm fine. Grace, I swear it, I'm fine. I'm not feeling dizzy; I'm not having a dream; and I'm not talking." "But you are talking." "What am I saying?" "I don't know." "I'll let you go to sleep first then, okay? You can get to sleep so if I am talking, I won't wake you. Okay?" "Okay."
Pl'oenix ••• 37
The Burial of Arthur Ryan continued "Michael?" "Yeah." "It hasn't been that long since ... " "I'm fine." "Okay." Frankie started to talk about how you taught him to play football, but the phone rang. No one picked it up and it went to the answer-phone. Your voice came on. You told the caller they had reached the home of Arthur and Katherine Ryan. You asked for the caller's name and number after the beep. You thanked them for calling and told them you'd get back as soon as possible. It was a lie though. You'd left. When you stopped talking Kevin ripped the machine from the wall and threw it out the window. The next day mom called for a man to come and take some things away to the charity shops. Before he came, she told us that we could take whatever we wanted; anything that was in your closet was fair game. She only wanted us to leave her a few photographs: the wedding pictures, the picture of you playing football when you were young, the picture from when Frankie was christened. Kevin took your tools from the garage. Molly took the tweed hat that you used to wear to church when it was cold. Frankie didn't take anything. He said he already had everything he needed.
"No. It's just a shock." "Yeah, I know." "I thought you were on the pill?" "I was." "How'd this happen then?" "What do you mean, 'how did this happen?' You sound angry." "I'm not. It's just. .. " "It's just what?" "Soon." I'm not sure why we went to Skibbereen. We hadn't been in years, but Kevin had the money and I had the time so we decided to go. We weren't looking for you. We didn't expect to find you. It's obvious that it was going to happen though. It's obvious you'd be there. "That was your mother on the phone." "Who?" "Your mom, Mike." "What did she want?" "You can't go like that?" "What did she want, Grace?" "You can't wear jeans and a t-shirt, especially those jeans and that t-shirt."
"How was the doctor, Grace?" "It was fine." "Just fine? What'd he say was wrong with you?" "Are you cooking?" "I'm making Spaghetti. What'd he say was wrong with you?" "When do we eat. I'm starving." "Grace." "What?" "What'd the doctor say." "Michael, I'm pregnant." "Pregnant?" "Is that a bad thing?"
:;8 ••• . ~ _
"It's not like it's a funeral or anything." "But still, show more respect. It's the first time you've been." "What does that have to do with it?" "Just wear something nice for your mother, Mike." "I'll let you pick out my clothes then." "What did Mom want, anyway?" "Oh, she said she decided she would meet you and Kevin there. This blue shirt or this striped one?" "I hate them both. Does she need flowers?" "Fine, the blue shirt it is. She didn't say anything about flowers but it'd be pathetic if you turned up without any." "Why? He hated flowers. He could have cared less."
"Maybe." "Grace, you don't want to name our child Arthur Leonard Francis
"It's what people do, Mike. Can't you just do what people do?" "No." Ryan." "How old would he be today?" "72." "I wish I could have met him." "Me too." I found you at Uncle D'Arcy's house. I saw you smiling at me in the corridor, hanging on the wall looking young and athletic with Uncle D'Arcy. I told Kevin. It was his idea to go back for you. He said it was what you would want. He said you would want us to leave you in Ireland. You never wanted to be gone forever. Kevin hid you in his laptop case. We didn't ask D'Arcy if we could take you. We thought that he might not understand. We buried you in the sand while the sun was shining. You smiled up at us as we placed you in the earth and poured Ireland back over you. "I was thinking of baby names today." "Grace, come on. I thought we talked about this." "I know, I know. I'm sorry." "I thought we said we'd just wait until we found out the sex." "We did. I know you want to wait, but I was just thinking about it. That's all." "Okay." "Well?" "Well what?" "Don't you want to hear what I've come up with?" "No." "I was thinking we'd call him Arthur." "What?" "What's wrong with that name." "Why do you want to name the baby Arthur?" "Why not. Arthur Leonard Francis Ryan." "That's an old fashioned name."
"We could name him Arthur Michael Francis Ryan." "We don't know the sex yet." "No." "The baby may be a girl, Grace." "But what if it is a boy." "Let's cross that bridge when we come to it." It's been a month since we went to Skibbereen. It's been six since you left. I talked to you all the time after you went, but you rarely had anything to say to me. It's been one sided and I couldn't handle that until we went to Ireland. You left so soon. You never met Grace and you'll never meet my kids. Some people might get angry with God, but I'm not. God let you leave for a reason. I don't understand why, but what's the use in being angry with God? I'd rather not waste my time. I ran into someone from your old office last week. I didn't catch his name, but he told me he used to work with you. He said that he knew I was your son because I look just like a younger version of the Arthur Ryan he used to know. I hadn't heard that for a long time. Do you remember how people used to say that? They used to say, 'Oh you must be Arthur's son. You're like a clone or something.' I remember when we went to visit D'Arcy and the rest of the family when I was a kid. Cousin Rory and his girlfriend were making out in the back yard and I caught them. Rory got me in a headlock and said if I told anyone he'd kill me. I elbowed him in the gut and then hit him across the face. You gave me a smack me for it, but then told me I threw a mean hook. "Michael, what do you want our son to be like?" "You act like we can choose." "I know we can't, but if you could choose, what would you want?" "I don't know. I guess I'd want the same as every other father. I'd just want him to be happy and successful at whatever he does in life."
Ptloerdx ••• 39
The Burial of Arthur Ryan continued "Yeah, but some dads want their kids to do things, you know? Like some dads want their sons to play baseball, so as soon as they're big enough to hold the ball they're teaching them how to throw." "I don't know if I care much about that stuff." "Did your dad do anything like that?" "Like what?" "Did he want you to be good at a sport?" "He wanted us to play footbalL" "You mean soccer?" "Yeah." "Did he play with you in the park or take you to games? All of that dad stuff." "Sometimes. He always used to say that one of us would grow up to play for Ireland in a World Cup. He used to say Frankie was going to be the next best thing." "So Frankie was really good?" "That's what Dad says, but then he got his job in Nashville and the family's been tainted ever since." A few weeks ago Kevin helped Mom clean out your desk in the spare room. He said he found some pictures of you from Christmas a few years ago when you dressed up as Santa Claus and passed out the presents. You looked so young in the pictures, Dad. You looked like you could conquer the world. You were happy. You didn't look like you were going to leave anytime soon. I guess the thing I never really understood was why you never told us. Why'd you wait until the end? You knew you
10 ••• Phoen x
were leaving for years but you hid it from us. I just wish I'd known sooner. "MichaeL" "Hold on, Grace. I'm on the phone." "Michael!" "What is it? This call is pretty big." "Bigger than your wife having a baby? I think I'm going into labour. I've brought my suitcase down from upstairs and ... " "Come on, Grace! You shouldn't be carrying anything. Just get in the car. I'll call the hospital. Are you sure this isn't another false alarm?" "Michael ... " "Okay, okay. Let's go!" I don't think I can talk to you anymore. I don't need to. It's been over a year now. Grace had the baby. We named him Arthur, but we're calling him by his middle name, Eoin. He's beautiful. He's got these tiny hands with tiny fingers. He came from me. He's amazing. I know he'll never know you, but he'll know me. Mom was there when he was born. She drove down from Nashville at two in the morning when Grace went into labour. She was there before he arrived. She was in the room right beside the bed. Grace made me leave; said I wasn't helping. Mom cried when she saw his dark hair and giant green eyes. She said she knew he was a Ryan when she saw those eyes. Grace told her his name and she cried even more.
Jo dan Meyers
Balloon Heads oil, acrylic, marker. paper
Phoenix ••• 45
Crave and Cradle ceramic
Mollycoddle Troughs ceramic
The pollinator and the baby Harvest ceramic
Phoenix ••• 47
When She Hands Me the Envelope I do not recognize the address. My mother Tells me what the letters MCCC stand for. Morgan County Correctional Complex. Put the birthday card in the mail two days Before, she instructs, as careful as always. She even writes his name on the envelope For me, as though I would forget. Unnecessary, Like most things involving my brother. It was summer when last she saw him. The morning Sky was clear, and the inmates and their visitors Were let out into a clearing of round picnic tables Made of battered wood and surrounded by a series Of chain-link fences topped with barbed wire. She could not believe how good he looked. He was so thin, his skin unblemished. He showed Her the belt he made, his name stamped Into the leather in large, gothic letters. He once told me, You can learn a lot in prison. Like how to ferment alcohol using old fruit and a sock. Like how to roll your own cigarettes and light them With the sparks from a faulty outlet. Like how to be alone.
Phoen x ••• 49
Dancing watercolor, coffee painting
r;o ••• Phoenix
Interspection watercolor, coffee painting
Phoenix ••• 51
Jona:'lar Phillips quick, like the death of a stranger the first grays of a long storm blew in whips across the brown grass braved by meek fists of green, the distant thunder stopped the hammers pounding shingles to black tracking on the roof above me. the men with their gloomy muscles under drunk beards ducked into truck-cabs to smoke weed while a storm they've seen before soaked the site and they wondered if they were half-dead. I stood on the porch in my socks listening to her coughing inside, drops came at first like days: mutable, forgettablethen the downpour years.
Portrait of a room with patterns All of my allotted flesh, small situated on the brown couch. The kitchen floor linoleum warps as a gesturing hand within the kitchen, a smeared impressions of me on one face-hinge of the stove's side: the pattern-problemed life with me inside. innumerable gray-crossed patterns on the plastic tile populated by the legs of roaches, apart with backhoe spines on the graded brown, worthless parts with no sum; nothing to move - yet somehow they are as intriguing and delicate as a violin in an empty swimming pool.
J? ••• P'loe'llx
I am writing around my cervix. (what an awful word) I avoid pen and paper moving the word cancer around my mouth like hard candy. Trying to dissolve it. Trying to bring back the knowing (possibility) of white picket fence two point five kids dog and gold ring. Which Trace promises I will still have. (maybe not from him) (maybe not my children) (perhaps no fence) (maybe cats) I asked him in my sleep if he could magic these cells away. Phoenix ••• b3
Colophon Design has a powerful way of influencing how we see and interpret. As a literary art magazine, it is important that the creative wor1< take precedence. Flashy backgrounds, borders, and fonts can distract and take away from the original intentions of the artist. Placing creative wor1< next to each other by different artists can imply meanings that do not exist. While we were unable to give every artist and writer their own page, we were determined to give them a distinct space. Using two simple colors - black and white - we defined this space. Separate and disassociated, the wor1<s can remain in their own context, allowing them to be viewed as originally intended. This edition ofThe Phoenix was designed on a Macintosh platform, using Adobe CS3 InDesign and Photoshop. The Helvetica Neue font family is used throughout. It is printed at UT Graphic Arts on Centura Dull 80 lb. text paper and Centura Dull 80 lb. cover stock.
ÂŠ Copyright 2008 by the University of Tennessee. All rights reserved by the individual contributors. Phoenix is prepared entirely by student staff members and is published twice a year, excluding special issues. Works of art, poetry, fiction and non-fiction are accepted throughout the academic year.
Phoenix Room 5 Communications Building 1345 Circle Par1< Drive Knoxville, TN 37996-0314 Email: email@example.com
Literary Arts Magazi ne Fall 2008, Vol. 50, Issue 1 The University of Tennessee