Five of Kevin McLellan’s poems appear in Fringe issue 25. Assistant poetry editor Nellie Bellows interviewed Kevin by email in January.
You’ve called these five poems published in Fringe your “little fragments.” Can you tell us about more about this project and how they came about?
Most of these little fragments were written between November 2008 and February 2009. This was a heightened time in my life, which is not to say that something dramatic was happening. It was more like mundanity, and that which was surprising that arose out of mundanity.
The fragments are not dissimilar to diary entries, because of the frequency with which they were written, and because of the frequency of the everyday, so when it came time to arrange them into a manuscript, seven fragments per section seemed appropriate. Since this number has the obvious scriptural associations, I thought the manuscript would benefit from being divided into seven sections. So the manuscript, titled Shoes on a wire, is a measured narrative sequence of these untitled little fragments.
Some of these narratives have a fixed number of characters for each line, thus physically resembling prose poems with a fixed-right justification. Some of the narratives incorporate white space within the confines of... more »more »
There’s a lot of good things down here in North Carolina, and one of them is happening right now: SPARKcon, “a showcase of creativity, talent and ideas of ‘the creative hub of the South,’ the Triangle NC.”
The event is a “creative potluck” made by teams of volunteers. The poetrySPARK team has put together a great bunch of readings. There will be a big NC Writers’ Network reading Friday night, and on Saturday, a series of four themed readings. These each have two headliners, including Carolyn Beard Whitlow, Joanna Catherine Scott, and Alex Grant, and then some rabble-rousers to round things out. Count me as one of the latter—I’ll be reading during the experimental reading at 10 p.m. Fringe Poetry editorial assistant Nellie Bellows will read during the narrative/lyrical reading at 7:30.more »
I’m a fan of Slate V’s Open Book: Writer’s on Writing—a collaboration between Slate and the NYU Creative Writing Program. Check out their most recent video interview of Jorie Graham in “Balancing Parenthood and Poetry.” I love the image of Graham rubbing her pregnant belly on Emily Dickinson’s grave!more »
Famed Blue Velvet actress, Isabella Rossellini stars, directs, and produces the online short film series, Green Porno—a show devoted the sex lives of insects and marine life. How did I miss this?!? Apparently, Rossellini always wanted to direct films but could only think up short stories that weren’t long enough for the big screen. Her chance came when The Sundance Channel wanted to produce a series for the 3rd screen (i.e. ipod, internet). Rossellini’s childhood dream was to write about animals, and The Sundance Channel said sound good, but make it flashy! And what better to catch people’s attention than sex? Thus, Green Porno was born. Not only is the show hilarious and scientifically accurate, but it’s incredibly artistic—almost all of the costumes are made out of paper and manipulated manually. Go to the website and watch them all! Here’s her piece on the mating habits of bees. Enjoy!more »
The film remake of the beloved children’s book Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, released a trailer last week. It’s directed by Spike Jonze and includes an outstanding indie cast: Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini. The movie looks awesome, and the costumes true to the original book’s illustrations. I’m so happy that the “monsters” are not digitally created—their costume-like quality mimics the book’s fierce drawings and our own tangibly-raw imaginations. I can’t wait!more »
Need some inspiration to get through your Wednesday? I thought so. Now get back to work!more »
What to do with all those rejection slips? I know—bathroom wallpaper, bird nest offering, papier-mâché craftastic something-or-other, ugh. Or, you could send ANY 10 of those hoarded rejections (I know you’re saving them for some sadistic reason because I am too) to Marginalia with $1 and receive an (almost free!) issue of Marginalia Magazine for your perusal. It’s like positive publishing karma. Thanks to Brevity for the tip.
For your Sad Bastard discount send (10) rejections and $1 to:
P.O. Box 258
Pitkin, CO 81241
It’s never too late for birthday wishes, and 50’s a milestone year. In case you missed Kristen Wiig’s Barbie impersonation on SNL this past Saturday:more »
Over at Slog they’re keeping the spirit of poetry alive by publishing bus-related poems written by their faithful readers in a new column called, Midnight Bus Poetry. Check out posts by Paul Constant for poems—which may not be highbrow but certainly are highly amusing!—about the bus riding experience. And if you’re inspired, why not submit your own? Poems need to be 50 words or less and should be emailed to email@example.com. Winners appear here and on the Slog Blog. Enjoy!more »
I’d like to introduce you all to an amazing and little known poet, Talvikki Ansel. And yes, I did just interview her for my thesis, so perhaps I’m biased. Nevertheless, she is a poet whose work is worth knowing. Her first book, My Shining Archipelago, was published as winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets in 1996. And her second book, Jetty, came out in 2003. Jetty is out of print but can—and should be—found used.
Almost all of Talvikki Ansel’s poems are in some way connected to the natural world—she has spent a significant amount of time working in gardens and cataloging birds for conservation efforts. This influence comes across in her work, which is laced with botanical terms and filled with experiences from the field.
Although her poetry stands strongly on it’s own, Ansel has often been compared to Elizabeth Bishop. They inhabit similar natural landscapes; have an affinity for odd and quirky images, and employ precision description. In one of Ansel’s more recent poems, “Valentine’s,” published in Poetry Magazine 2003, she writes, “I identified that weird / seed pod”… “Magenta capsule and four orange seeds”… “ ‘heart’s a-bustin’ with love’ it’s called” (12-13, 15, 16). This image seems an apt... more »more »
This week we’ve been saved from the droning primary campaign by the Governor Spitzer scandal. Yes, we’ve lapped up the unfolding smutty details like a bunch of hungry, um, wolves. From water cooler chitchats to interviews on NPR, Americans love it when celebrity falls from grace, especially when it involves adultery.
However, while the scandal may revolve around Elliot Spitzer, it seems that we can’t help but turn our morbid curiosity towards his wife, Silda Spitzer. She’s already run the gamut of public scrutiny, receiving our pity—not another politician’s wife!—our unsolicited advice—She should really get herself tested for STDs—and worst of all, our sexual criticism—What wasn’t she providing in the bedroom? I hear they’re sleeping in separate rooms.
Silda Spitzer stands like a ghostly shadow behind her husband during his press appearances. Some say her silent presence is a way to deflect future scrutiny by getting the worst gossipy nags out of the way early. I’m not sure how effective this technique is. It seems like just about the worst thing to be required to do. But I do hope, for the sake of Mrs. Spitzer’s privacy, her silence works.
Or do I? Should she be stepping up and speaking out against... more »more »
Everything is Jane Austen these days. Or that’s what the BBC would like us to believe. Yes, I have been eagerly sucked into this romantic pleasure, turning on my TV every Sunday to watch Masterpiece Theater televise Austen’s novels. I am swept away by costumes, love triangles, and the saga of 19th century female survival. I can’t help it. I love this stuff regardless of my feminist sensibilities. The prospect of historical romance is alluring, and Austen’s a master at presenting a formula for True Love.
Some say, little has changed since Jane Austen’s day. In a behind the scenes interview, Masterpiece Theater compared Austen’s novels to Sex in the City. At first I was offended by the connection. I saw it as a degradation of Austen’s intelligence. But now, I can’t stop thinking of the Bravo reality show, Millionaire Matchmaker, where Patti Stanger, founder of the Millionaire’s Club, matches wealthy men with their dream girls.
The sentiments expressed on Millionaire Matchmaker resonate freakishly with the courtship scene in Edwardian England. I urge you to go to the Bravo TV website and check out Patty’s commandments for dating. In them, women are told that on a first date they should be engaging,... more »more »