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...