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...
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.
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:
Nostalgia can convince us that our bits of molded plastic were better than any created since, or that a twenty-minute toy commercial had qualities beyond its ability to sell the aforementioned petroleum by-product. The literature of our youth, likewise, is warped by the innocent and imaginative lens through which we first experienced it, making the task of casting an adult and critical eye on those works difficult at best and heresy at worst. Nobody wants to hear that the passages that shaped our budding love for the written word – poetry cooed in the hushed story-whisper of a doting parent – are lacking in some technical merit that grown-ups conceived to determine which story is “better” than another. The reviewer is as affected by this phenomen...