Issue 35, Final Fringe

Tagged: Longer Poetry

Gown Bat Knot Four Cotton

by Anna Lena Phillips 06.28.2013

Fringe published its last issue on Monday, June 24. Today, poetry editor Anna Lena Phillips reflects on the collaborative work of editing the magazine.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about editing Fringe is dreaming up questions to ask the poets we publish. The timing of this final issue means I haven’t been able to do the usual interviews with the poets who appear in it. But I’ve asked myself a few questions during the course of my work on the magazine, and here I thought I’d answer a couple of them.

The one I’ve asked most frequently is this: Why did I have to run off to an expensive grad school in the chilly north instead of going to one of the fine programs down here in the warm places? I wanted certain things—a program that offered coursework in prosody, most particularly—and I could not find them in the southeast. I found the courses, but it turns out the north is not the place for me. I was lucky there in a few other aspects, though, and one of them was that I met my fellow Fringe editors.

Considered together, the poetry we’ve published can seem either eclectic or disparate, depending on the... more »

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Metta Sáma on animals, wildness, and the unugly

by Metta Sáma, Anna Lena Phillips 06.12.2013

Metta Sáma’s prose-poem sequence, “No End to the Horror,” appeared recently in Fringe. Poetry editor Anna Lena Phillips interviewed her by email in May.

A certain literary journal used to have a line in its submission guidelines that read “No cat poems.” What are your feelings about cat-containing poems? How did le animal enter this poem?

Oh, I once heard that a certain popular writing professor forbade squirrel poems in his class, because he hated the sound of the word squirrel. I like squirrels. Animals are us & we are animal, yes? So, if we write about ourselves or our fellow humans, then we’re writing about animals. It’s quite silly for me to hear someone say that we can only focus on the human animal.

The poem began with le animal. I was so incredibly drawn to how humans and cats become interdependent and the rituals between cats and humans, the forming of bonds: who gets to be the Alpha and such. We humans laud the cat for its independence, yet so many of us (unwittingly) desire anticipating the needs of a cat (bringing them inside (domestication) from the outside (feralness), inserting ideas and desires into an animal’s body (the animal wants to... more »

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Lesley Wheeler on her forthcoming collection--and what to wear to a zombie lurch

by Anna Lena Phillips 02.20.2012

“Zombie Thanksgiving,” a poem by Lesley Wheeler, is up this week in Fringe. It, along with poems from Wheeler’s previous Fringe appearance, is part of her new collection, The Receptionist and Other Tales, forthcoming from Aqueduct Press. Poetry editor Anna Lena Phillips asked her about the book, the poem, and strategies for packing to go to conferences. Find her responses below, and please share your own thoughts in the comments section.

You’ve got a series of zombie poems going, including some charming short poems. How did the zombies invade your work?

As usual, it’s a combination of things: pleasure in supernatural or fantastic stories; The Walking Dead TV and graphic novel series; teaching T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and starting to think of it as a zombie tale; and writing some other poems with elements from genre fiction. I also gave two readings including “Zombie” from my book Heathen and received intense responses from the audiences. After the first event, a student shot her hand in the air and demanded urgently, “What’s scarier, fast zombies or slow zombies?” That isn’t one of the usual post-poetry-reading questions. The second took place in Pittsburgh, George Romero-land, where zombies are always serious business.

“Zombie Thanksgiving” seems partly to do with how... more »

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