What We’re Reading

By: Blue Mesa Review on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Here are some great things I’ve read this week.

Nonfiction

In the Summer/Fall 2013 issue of Gulf Coast, Patti White’s The Sound caught my attention and held it to the end. The essay is lyrical, beautifully vivid in its descriptions, and powerful in its emotion. In quiet moments in the day, I will find myself day dreaming about some of the descriptions I read in this piece.

Fiction

From Phoebe 42.2, I read Emily Rinkema’s Great Blue. My instinct, if I had written this story, would be to change the point of view slightly to take on a retrospective narrator – but part of the beauty of this story is that it’s not told from a future perspective, looking back and making sense of this past experience. It doesn’t need that to work. In the last few sentences, the images and emotional resonance the story ends with accomplishes everything having a retrospective narrator throughout would have but more subtly and in fewer lines. I deeply understand the world this narrator is living in, understand how she feels at the moment of experience, and understand something of how all of that will live with the character for the rest of her life.

Poem

I’ve read more poetry than anything else this week. In the same issue of Rattle that I mention below, there were some phenomenal poems (so phenomenal, that my plan for the weekend is to re-read the issue, sticky-note pages to share with my students, and then to give the issue to a friend to borrow, because great writing deserves to be read and loved and shared and read and loved again and again and again).

Maybe I can’t choose my favorite out of all of these, but one poem I read this week and keep coming back to is Annie Kantar’s Summer Project from the Summer 2002 Issue of Barrow Street Journal. In this poem, the imagery is strikingly vivid, and there is clear attention paid to the way the choice of sounds emphasized can create tone. Such strong emotion is evoked from the imagery and the sound-sense in the poem that, on the day I found it, I kept re-reading it out loud in spare moments between chores and work.

Inspirational Quote about Writing

April Salzano has a great essay in Rattle’s single-parent-themed issue (Issue 41, Fall 2013) called Metaphorical Children. In the essay, she discusses the hardships and triumphs of raising children (and more specifically a child with autism). The essay also discusses the time she’s taken away from writing to raise her children and how she managed to get back into the habit of writing. Her essay ends with words that make me want to jump out of my seat, turn off the TV, push my “To-Do” list off the table, and get to work:

“My biggest epiphany was that if I continued waiting for peace, quiet, and inspiration, the Pegasus of creativity, to appear and carry me into the perfect world of perfect poetry, I would never write a word. Now I make notes in my phone, often writing entire poems while my boys play in the yard or while I wait for the potatoes to boil. I am even guilty of writing poetry while my students take a quiz. Moments to write will never be given. They must be stolen. Guilt is no longer an option. The ‘room of my own’ is a tiny corner in my head reserved for art. It is not a place where my children are not allowed, but a place from which their commotion and chaos is observed and recorded, stored for later if necessary, to be transformed into poetry, more valuable than any snapshot. My children are my metaphors, fixed to paper, broken into lines, made into art.”

Christina Glessner is a third-year MFA candidate in Fiction at the University of New Mexico. She is Managing Editor for Blue Mesa Review.