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Blog; Craft of Writing



It always begins with listening.

There are some days I wake, listen, and hear only suffering. The world seems wounded, colossal, and entirely out of reach. Time has shown me that in order to heal a wound, you must first look at it-then plant the seed that begins the work towards recovery. A recognition....

Overlooking mountains



Text and Photographs by Mathew Tekulsky


            On June 13, 2009, I drove down from my house in Vermont to attend a quiet, introspective celebration of John Burroughs Community Day in Roxbury, New York. By about 1:00 P.M., I arrived at Woodchuck Lodge, which had served as John Burroughs's summer home for the last decade of his life. Like a visitor whisked back a century in a time machine, I wandered about...

Illustration by Matt Manley of man looking through a square frame, hidden by shadows.

          I was fortunate to be born into a family that emphasized the importance of story.
          The first story they told me was my name. Next came my great-grandfather cutting watermelon into quarters as he and my father walked a field in Kentucky. Then came my mother running and jumping on the basketball court, powerful and balanced.
          Growing up, my little brother, Nathan, and I shared a room. Both Dad and Mom would come and read to us. They sat on the floor...

Illustration by Matt Manley of man looking through a square frame.

          What else do we have except story? To say how we love one another. To offer comfort. To prepare for grief, for suffering. To try to remember joy.
          In the beginning was the word and the word was made flesh. And what were those words? Mostly the language of the body. Breast and thigh, curve of back, ankle’s stem and neck’s graceful turn like the limb of a willow nudged by the wind.
          We were young, only twenty-three when we...

painting of a small child sitting in grass

Laurie Lamon​

The making of this poem took a very long time. I did not write about my father's death for almost twenty years.

I was always interested in my father's tools, especially his level, which now is mine. It is big and heavy, and over seventy years old. To barely move it is to disrupt equilibrium. 

So much of working with poetry makes me think of his work: cuts of wood measured in the millimeters, 
as with lines breaking, and...

Justin Perkins

Poems by M. Scott Douglass


The AWP Conference was in Minneapolis in April of 2015. Per usual, I drove to the event carrying books and displays for the Main Street Rag booth. I stopped at the ...

Illustration by Kali Gregan

Not writing is a lot like breathing; it can continue without notice. And as I moved through my days into weeks and months of not writing, it started to feel completely normal. Like I never wrote at all: I was never that MFA student devouring every book of poems I could get my hands on, fervent, with my own poems coming like extended fever dreams, these bottle-rocket incantations that my mentor could barely keep up with. Everything I saw and touched was imbued with…what? Incredible potential...

Art by Christian Blaza

Humans in general could benefit from perspective taking, but Americans in particular could use a hefty dose. Our breadth and diversity slims the likelihood of any singular, epitomal American experience, and as such, the ability to compromise with one another, using a basis of mutual understanding to inform our actions, underpins American peace and progress. This mutual understanding requires a consistent personal labor of listening and imagining, imagining what it must be like to experience...

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