On "Visitation" from issue 299.4

Jimmie Cumbie

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I wrote the poem “Visitation” in the year following my father’s death. I’d written several somewhat wild and whirling elegies about him during this period, but after a sustained stretch of reading, where I’d been trying to come to terms with the magical understatement of both David Ferry and Richard Hugo, I decided to set aside (for a moment!) my abiding love for the inimitable Lucie Brock-Broido and attempt something plainer—in both diction and syntax. Once I made the decision to write in a plain-style mode, the poem, pretty much as you see it, came together in one three-hour session—all while sitting on the back steps of my third floor porch (“porch” might be an overstatement, more of a shared plank perch, I’d say) overlooking an alley, a weedy, abandoned lot, and the constant traffic snarl of Ashland Avenue (I live in Chicago). I’ve thought about this, and I cannot recall ever having written a finished poem that came together for me that quickly.

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Obviously, I went back and made revisions and excisions, but the bulk of the poem was done in one sitting. I know we all have our own processes, and maybe putting together a long-ish poem in a matter of hours isn’t a big deal for some poets, but for me it was nothing short of a ridiculous damned miracle. I’m thrilled to have it appear in the North American Review, and out in the world at last—I hope my dad would be proud.

Jimmie Cumbie

Jimmie Cumbie currently has a batch of poems up online at Boxcar Review and also at Cider Press Review. His poem "Visitation" appears in the latest issue of the North American Review, Fall 299.4. Photo of Jimmie Cumbie by Sandra Ramirez.

Raquel Aparicio

Illustrations by: Raquel Aparicio, I feel grateful this is going to be my 9th year dedicated to what I love, drawing. I live in Valencia, a sunny city in the coast of Spain. I taught a collage illustration workshop at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, I also taught in diverse countries like Serbia or Paraguay. I work in a variety of media exploring different styles, producing illustrations, animations and comics. Mostly I work for the magazines and illustrate children's books, but I'd been also designing graphics for garments, advertising and newspapers.

My illustrations were published in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Boston Globe, New York Observer, The Scientist, Nylon, Dazed and Confused (Corea), Runner's World, Prevention, Rolling Stone (Spain), Mia, Elle, Quo, Angel's on Earth, Ragazza, Stella (UK), Psychologies, LDS Living, Ling, Yo Dona, Calle 20, H, Chow, Lados, Viajar, Looc, Europa, Forma (Paraguay), Simon & Schuster (US). Raquel is represented by Purple Rain Illustrations, Ella Lupo, T: 609-497-7330 C: 732-690-2515