A PRICKLY LEAGUE BY FARZAM MIR 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 60
TELL HIM TO BE KIND TO WOMEN BY NANCY DAFOE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 60
YES THE RUMOURS ARE TRUE BY JULIA VASSALLO 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 60
I’m addicted to contemporary poetry. The way words can fall into each other in ways they never have before, captivates me. I am always looking for the perfect combination of words to tap into emotions that are never that easy to talk about.Ideas for poetry usually come to me when I drive around and have the space I need to think about what’s going through my head. One thing I tend to reflect on most often is the death of my grandmother when I was six. At that time I had trouble processing what had happened. Writing today gave me an outlet to discuss my emotions that were so delayed. Writing is funny like that. It is such an intimate media yet so conversational. I am a senior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
This essay prefigures #MeToo. I wrote it four years ago when my grandson Enzo Cusano was a toddler. It suggests #MeToo with a caveat: the boys we love must learn to navigate this shift in power that comes with greater responsibility for their actions. It is well past time for those changes, however. As a woman and mother of two daughters, I have long fought for more equal rights for the sexes. As a mother of a son and grandmother to four grandsons, however, I also have concerns for boys. They have been privileged and must give back and relearn or learn differently. At five years old, Enzo is even more beautiful than he was as a toddler, and the cautionary in the essay more apt and important today and will be even more important ten years from now. Love is not always about protecting. Sometimes, giving love means taking a step back, reassessing, and reminding our boys that they must give of themselves and be gentle when possible.
A retired English educator, I am now a full-time writer. I have written eight published books and dozens of articles and poems. My published work includes a hybrid memoir and poetry book An Iceberg in Paradise: A Passage through Alzheimer’s (SUNY Press, 2015); three books on education and writing, Writing Creatively, Breaking Open the Box, and The Misdirection of Education Policy (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013, 2014, and 2017, respectively). In addition, I have two published books of poetry, Poets Diving in the Night and The Innermost Sea (Finishing Line Press, 2017, 2018). My published novels include two literary murder mysteries, You Enter a Room and Both End in Speculation (Rogue Phoenix Press, 2017, 2018). I also have excerpts of my work in anthologies, including Lost Orchard (SUNY Press, 2014).
In my free time I like to speculate the backstories of people drifting through coffee shops and meandering the streets of lower Manhattan. I am a student at New York University working at a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with sub-concentrations in Poetry and Film. I have just taken part in a poetry workshop with Matthew Rohrer and Catherine Barnett.
I call the cover image Raw & Human to portray two natures of life: the raw beauty of nature with the towering trees on untouched earth, and the human nature, that is so complex and beautiful.
I was 10 years old when the Soviet Union dissolved and that was when I became exposed to worlds outside of my small country of Armenia. I was interested in foreign films, videos, magazines, posters, and photography. I chose to see images in these media while other teenagers merely threw a glance. I would stop and observe an image and wonder how it was captured. I was 14 years of age when I first looked through the viewfinder of my uncle’s Zenit 12 camera. That was when I discovered my innate passion for photography.
Photography is an ongoing journey of learning and developing. I have been a professional photographer and videographer for more than 15 years and have never stopped improving my skills. I acquired a photographic education at the Glendale Community College and the Art Institute of Santa Monica. My advice for other photographers comes in two words—don’t rush. Photography is all about lighting and perfect timing so take the time to work. Learn to go around your target and see it in all its possible angles before capturing that picture-perfect image.
My top two inspirations in photography are Yousuf Karsh, the Armenian-Canadian survivor of the Armenian genocide, and Gregory Crewdson. They exemplify different genres of photography, but both are patient in getting that perfect shot.
I used to believe in my own family’s treasure trove of disjointed, dysfunctional messages about the world. Thankfully, I got over it. I’ve always found it stunning how people see the same thing through their particular lenses. Where is truth in all that?
I was born in Houston, Texas, on Christmas Eve. While the family had all the advantages that my physician father’s income provided, my home life had me running away by the time I was 14. When I was 17, I left for good and began a wild ride of a life that should have killed me. I lived with a motorcycle gang, hung out with drug dealers and prostitutes.
Having a child at 30 forced me to focus on and alter my lifestyle. At 35 I enrolled at the University of Houston where I discovered how much I loved to write. I graduated with a degree in English with the highest distinction (summa cum laude). Then I graduated with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing and Literature at Bennington College, Vermont.
Perhaps my greatest honor and gift was working with Max Steele who had an illustrious literary career in the creative writing department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was also an editor with The Paris Review, Harper’s, and Story Magazine. Max critiqued everything I wrote before his death in August 2005. He told me that I could write my way through anything and I did, writing through my father’s death, and the loss of several friends. But Max warned me that writers have been known to give up when their editors pass away or move on. Maybe it was too suggestive but after his death I stopped writing because it felt like I was writing into a meaningless vortex. I missed the writing though and after years of self-doubt I’m writing again.
I teach English at a community college in the Texas hill country. I’ve published stories in the Bennington Review, City Lights San Diego, the Georgetown Review, and the Bellingham Review.
CATHERINE A COUNDJERIS
In the poem the children tie-dyeing T-shirts have come together from all over the State in a gifted and talented education program. They are extraordinary children but they live ordinary lives, following their dreams moment by moment. It took my breath away to see them unique and different yet united in the common bond of making art. It is where I find poetry. I am a former elementary school teacher, and in Boston I taught writing at Emerson College and ESL writing at Urban College.
Birmingham’s Glass Eye was inspired by my mother’s husband, who my mother met when they were patients at the Bryce mental facility in Tuscaloosa, which became notorious for decades’-long litigation about what were called concentration camp conditions. The poem was also inspired of course by Lawrence Welk.
I am a constitutional and civil rights lawyer in Alabama. My work has been published by UCity Review, Better Than Starbucks, The Tahoma Literary Review, California Quarterly, Streetlight, Woven Tale Press, Mudlark, Snakeskin, Loch Raven Review, Blue Unicorn, and Gival Press.
Writing has been a stimulant for expanding thoughts in my brain, and so I try to get all my ideas onto paper as quickly as I can. Moreover, I find writing as practice for being a student as well. It all comes into a loop. I am a freshman at the George Washington University majoring in political science. As well as writing, I take part in long-distance running, politics, filming, and fashion.