Rooms Never Without Views [Essay]

In America, one might have an attic, a cubbyhole, but in France an entire, once livable room is preserved for the past's relics because days gone by deserve their own private enclave. A chest of priest's vestments in perfect condition from, no one knows for sure, 1920s? Newspapers in yellow bundles that crumble apart rotten communion hosts. They detail events of world wars and the deaths of presidents. Boxes of dolls from many childhoods of at least three generations of women. Life size babies with disconcertingly human eyes and coifs of horsehair. A tin container containing medallions of religious belief: blue jewel Marys, crosses with green serpents entwined, other crosses with ornately tortured Jesuses in tears of blood, and simple Celtic-like crosses aged in bumpy accretions of tarnish and mold obscuring silver plating. A find to excite even the staunchest of atheists. Boxes of postcards from such places as Lourdes, the Pyrénées, Corsica, Paris, Nice, Menton, Tunisia, Algiers– Europa Exotica. The photos they contain...

A Newer Realm of Poetry – Ai Quing

Ai Qing (1910—1996), originally named Jiang Haicheng, belonged to Jinhua County, Zhejiang Province of China. He was the son of well to do land owner. He spent his first five years living with his nursemaid, a poor peasant woman, on whom he later wrote a poem that went on to become his most famous piece. In 1928, he was enrolled in the state-run West Lake Art School.

The Invitation [Short Story]

One winter night, well after most God-fearing, good people had gone to sleep, flashing red lights stabbed at the darkness, reflecting off the wet white surface of snowbanks as an ambulance sped down French Road, past the garage, past the playground, hanging a left on Main Street toward the school district’s administrative offices. The boys inside turned on the siren—unnecessary in the absence of traffic, but they could hardly help themselves in the thrill of the moment, called to the scene in a matter of life and death, and not on account of one of the senior citizens they were always too late to help. Holly Meacher had called them and explained in teary, breathless sentences that her husband—a man who, by all accounts, was in the prime of his life—wasn’t breathing, dear God, he wasn’t breathing.

Using Real Lebanese Society to Fuel Fiction [Q&A]

One of the key elements in Lebanese society is its openness and acceptance of Western cultures and values. It is really at the crossroads between the East and the West – trying to evolve in thought like the West while still holding on to its most deeply-rooted Eastern values. To that end, you can feel the ever-present struggle in every Lebanese’s mind, especially the younger generations being exposed more and more to foreign culture like music and movies and literature while growing up. The characters I use in my works embody this struggle and touch upon the most sensitive issues that are slowly being filtered and applied in Lebanese society while still considered forbidden on the surface.

Relationships in the Arts between Mediums and Creators [Q&A]

Always a bridesmaid and never a bride. You see, I was a finalist in WAY too many competitions Violet Reed Haas, Pine Press, Ronald Wardell Prize, RopeWalk Press, Paumanok, May Swenson, Philip Levine, Snake Nation Press, Paris Review, Zoo Press, Akron Press, University of Illinois Press Poetry Award, Hayden Carruth, New Issues (twice), Ann Stafford Prize, and Anhinga Prize (twice). It was sad and frustrating and expensive. The entry fees nearly killed me. To come so close and still end up with nada? My vision as to how things would go is that I would, ideally, win the Yale Younger Poets Prize and sail off into eternity. The reality was more sundry. The reality was exhausting. There were student loans and rent and bills to pay. I was struggling and failing on so many levels. Yet? After nothing and then nothing. AND THEN MORE OF NOTHING. Poof!

8 Tips for Unpublished Authors

I’d always dreamt of writing a novel, and an idea had been floating in my head. The story consumed me with an inexplicable force, and the class’s themes compelled me to write the words down. That night after class, I sat down and I started writing, never thinking anyone would ever read the words. Each night when I came back to my story, I chided myself for wasting my precious time. At the end of summer, I shoved the faded green notebook underneath my bed to collect dust. I abandoned the dream, but the story never quite abandoned me. I came back to it the next summer and the next until finally I had a complete manuscript.