The first fragment was Hannah in the body of a girl with red hair and olive skin. I stopped walking in the revolving door of Starbucks, and it hit my back as she walked out. A smile lingered even after I realized I’d been duped. It was funny at first—the girl, upon reconsideration, didn’t remind me of my sister at all. Guilt followed. I felt as though I’d somehow betrayed her. Hannah’s hair isn’t red like bright cherry suckers are, nor is it the ginger that compliments freckles. I made meatloaf last week and realized the top of it was the color I’d been searching for, right down to the grease from the bacon; the tomato and beef settled into the deep Kool-Aid shade that had stained our bathtub. I don’t have to remember the last time we at...
The sky is surely collapsing. The rolling maelstrom of man-made thunder is constant, never stopping. There is no more blue up in the sky when I look. There are only swirls of gray and orange and red. Arcs of fire and death fly far above our heads, the ear-splitting cannonade of metal pounding the ground far away with such force that surely all those in hell can feel each strike. The French will most definitely feel it, as our shells are directed towards them. The enemy lines are completely hidden behind waves of ash and fire as our shells rain down upon them. We wait in our trench for our artillery barrage to cease, our rifles gripped in our hands that are trying not to tremble. My teeth rattle inside my head with each shell blast. I know that when the shells stop, we...
Whiskey Island is thrilled to announce the winners of its first annual creative writing contest! The following three pieces showed promise, skill, and creativity:
"Family Ghosts" by Emma Hawkins (creative essay)
"Glass by the River" by Zoey Pincelli (poetry)
"Gasmaske" by Ian Malinoski (fiction)
Emma Hawkins is a junior creative writing major from Central Ohio. She takes interest in feminist literature and short stories about the elderly and spends most of her time with her cat Yogi. After graduation, she hopes to work in publishing and publish her own collection of short stories. Her publication through the Whiskey Island website will be her first.
Zoey Pincelli is a sophomore computer science major with English and mathematics minors. As a writer, she often fo...
Gail DiMaggio’s poem “Welcome to Deep Space” was published in Issue 71 of Whiskey Island. The poem deals with themes of desire, independence, and both external and internal pressure to find a partner. I had the opportunity to speak with Gail about the technique, form, and content of the poem. Her perspective, insight, and honesty were a pleasure to encounter. Check out the interview below!
Camille Ferguson: I’m interested in the practice of writing a poem “after” someone else—what influence did “Welcome to the Jungle” have on you?
Gail DiMaggio: The hardest days in my writing life are the ones when I’ve got the time to start something new and not an idea in my head. My best strategy on those days is to blatantly steal. Sometimes, I start with a work of art—something grab...
As a writer, one goes through many different stages. I am a creative writing student going through my first round of undergraduate workshops at Cleveland State University. The action of moving from being a personal writer to an academic writer included declaring my major, which was in itself a decision to move forward as a writer, to dedicate my life to this. Now, whenever I am asked what I’m studying, I have the honor of saying creative writing. Every time the words come out of my mouth, I feel more and more like a writer.
The first time you share your work in public is a monumental moment. I, and many of my peers, have been writing for years and years, mostly in private. We’ve been quietly and diligently following that insistent urge that burns deep inside, calling us...
Whiskey Island is thrilled to announce its first annual undergraduate writing contest! CSU undergrads are encouraged to submit their fiction, creative essays, and poems for consideration. The editors of Whiskey Island will choose one winning piece from each genre. Winners will see their work published on the Whiskey Island blog and will be invited to read at our launch party in April. The contest is open to all undergraduate students, regardless of major, year, or academic standing.
Maximum word count is 2,000 words. The contest will be judged anonymously, so participants should leave their names off their submissions entirely and include only their CSU student ID number. Submissions that do not comply to these guidelines will not be considered.
1. One aspect of "The Wounds" that I love, so much, is the structure. Did you go into the piece with the structure planned or was it something that came out during the writing process?
I started writing the essay shortly after Kate (who is a large part of the essay) died. I think I was writing because I didn’t know how else to deal with it. It was too much. I didn’t even see it as an actual essay. I remember that as I typed, there was this chaotic but steady drumbeat pounding in my head. It seemed to make sense to write in short vignettes because that was what my mind was doing. So many scenes filled with images were passing through my head as I wrote. The structure was just there. Also, my memories and thoughts are never linear but are more associative. I rarely writ...
On a walk about a month ago, lines from an older poem of mine, “The Waters of Separation,” ran through my mind repeatedly:
we wait riven
to the rocks peeling back,
black in the water.
I find you, my darling,
knelt down and stung
Why was I singing my own line? The stanzas sounded like another voice, not my own, but one just out of grasp. “My darling” seemed so cloying, yet I never could revise it out of the poem. Something about that “back, / black in the water” built to a grandiose and over-dramatic edge as well. Where had I found those cadences? Then I heard Anne Sexton’s distinct voice:
It all started with a poster plastered in a subway stairwell in Chelsea. It was dingy, off-white and torn-- but in the middle was a pencil-drawn, yeti-like creature pulling open a slit in its stomach. Multicolored hearts and stars and smileys exploded out of the incision, and the caption read: There’s Magic Inside All Of Us. I began noticing the magic. In people. In places. I suppose if I was to have one writing superpower it would be in the noticing.
Noticing the one tree on a residential street in Hell’s Kitchen, wrapped in yarn--an arboreous sweater-and dripping with Christmas ornaments; fat, silver bulbs that reflected and warped the light of the carmine-purple sunset and shed glitter on my hands when I reached up and rubbed them. Noticing the sinews of neon deli si...