Issue 110

Late Saturday night, 1986, and again I had no one
to hang out with, just a few poems
and a notion of what to do

- From "Outside Winn Dixie in Suburban Plaza" by William Walsh

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Contributors: Kait Austin, H.V. Cramond, Annabelle Edwards, Sam Grieve, Todd Mills, Genevieve Pfeiffer, Megan Vered, William Walsh, Howard Winn

Issue 110 Contributors

William Walsh’s books include "Speak So I Shall Know Thee: Interviews with Southern Writers," "The Ordinary Life of a Sculptor," "The Conscience of My Other Being," "Under the Rock Umbrella: Contemporary American Poets from 1951-1977," and "David Bottoms: Critical Essays and Interviews." His work has appeared in AWP Chronicle, Cimarron Review, Five Points, Flannery O’Connor Review, The Georgia Review, James Dickey Review, The Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, Rattle, Shenandoah, Slant, and Valparaiso Review. 

H.V. Cramond is the Poetry Editor for and a Co-founder of Requited Journal for Innovative Art and a Writing Instructor at Loyola University Chicago. She holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the City of Chicago’s Community Arts Assistance Program. Her poem “War of Attrition” was a finalist in the 2013 Split This Rock Poetry Festival Contest judged by Mark Doty. Some recent work can be found in Soundless Poetry, Keep Going, Wunderkammer, Ignavia, death hums, Matter Monthly, and Pandora’s Box (Southport Press, 2011). She's currently in residence at the Vermont Studio Center.

Following her mother's death in 2011, Megan Vered penned a family story that she sent to her siblings every Friday. Her essay in Crack the Spine  is part of that collection. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the “First Person” column of the San Francisco Chronicle, Amarillo Bay, The Diverse Arts Project, Existere Journal of Arts and Literature, The Oklahoma Review, and she will be the featured essayist in the Spring 2014 publication of Mezzo Cammin. She is among the authors featured in the “Story Chairs” short story installation at Jack Straw Productions in Seattle.

Howard Winn’s writing, both fiction and poetry, has been published by such journals as Galway Review (Ireland),Dalhousie Review, Descant (Canada), Chaffin Journal, Borderlands, Hiram Poetry Journal, New Verse News. His B. A. is from Vassar College. His M. A. is from the writing program at Stanford University. He has done additional graduate work at the University of California San Francisco. His doctoral work was done at N. Y. U. He has been a social worker in California where he also taught for three years and currently is a faculty member of SUNY as Professor of English. 

Todd Mills received his bachelorʼs degree from Antioch University. As a young man he defined himself as a traveler, working his way around the world and supporting himself as a laborer, cook, and teacher in faraway places like the Highlands of New Guinea. Now, with his drifter days behind him, he lives comfortably with his Zimbabwean wife in Ojai, California. He cowrote and produced the documentary film "Timothy Learyʼs Dead." His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rougarou, The Alembic, Griffin, The Legendary, ONTHEBUS, Voices, The Coe Review, Yellow Silk, AUSB Odyssey, Sage Trail, RiverSedge, Paranoia VHS, Collage, Antiochracy, Forge, Jet Fuel Review, New Plains Review, and in the anthology Poets on 9-11. 

Genevieve Pfeiffer lives outside NYC, concocting plans to someday build and live in a treehouse. She’s a poet, and has taught workshops in summer camps and a correctional facility. She’s worked as Editor, Editorial Assistant, and Community Outreach Coordinator. Her work can be found in BlazeVox and Crack The Spine, and she is currently scrapping together a wordpress blog, BlackWidowProse, to analyze the craft of women poets and muse on what it is for her to identify as ‘woman’ within the human ilk.

Sam Grieve was born in Cape Town and lived in Paris and London prior to settling down in Connecticut. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in A cappella Zoo, Cactus Heart, Forge Journal, Grey Sparrow Journal, Wild Violet Literary Magazine, Sanskrit and PANK

Kait Austin is a New Orleans native who loves a full-bodied red, Creole cuisine, and roaring family gatherings. She graduated with a BA in creative writing from Louisiana State University, and is currently studying editing at the University of Washington. Kait doesn't have pets, a significant other, or any eccentric hybrid of the two. She does, however, have a cute studio apartment in Seattle, which is pretty cool.

Annabelle Edwards is a young writer and photographer living in New York. Her work has appeared in Gone Lawn, Belleville Park Pages, and the Red Booth Review. She is the co-editor of Control Literary Magazine.

Letter From the Editor - We'll Be Right Back

Dear Friends of Crack the Spine,

It's that time again. CTS will be taking a little break for the next two weeks while we catch a collective breath and recharge a bit. Stay tuned, as we'll be back and at it again on April 21st. I want to thank all of our readers and contributors for making the first part of 2014 our most successful season ever. As many of you may know, there are several amazing friends and colleagues who assist me in the management and operation of CTS and I owe them all a very great debt of gratitude. And don't worry, I may be stepping away from my never-ending duties at CTS for a brief spell, but I'll still be thinking about ways to make our publications better and better. Granted, I'll be doing that thinking on a beach far, far away, but still... 

Thanks again!

- Kerri Farrell Foley
Managing Editor, Crack the Spine

Wordsmith Interview - Judith Cody

Judith Cody, poet and composer
Los Altos, California
Education: Foothill College and
University of California at Berkeley writing program

The Writer

How long have you been writing?
I started writing poetry early, around 10 years old but the usual life interruptions happened (marriage, needing a paying job, heartbreak, etc.) subtracting many years when I didn’t write but secretly dreamed of when I could. Now I am happy to say that I’ve been devoted to writing steadily for about fifteen years. But this means time for writing my music is sacrificed. (Something is always sacrificed.)

Do you have a specific writing style? 
I believe that my writing should bring a sense of openness and authenticity to my readers; as if I were simply talking to them without artifice or pretensions about something meaningful to me and hopefully, interesting to them as well. It is, of course, the writer’s sworn duty to make the poem or prose interesting. 

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? 
One non-fiction work that I am deeply proud of is my book on the great American woman composer, Vivian Fine (1913 to 2000). It was an exhilarating honor to work closely with her and be the first author to research her humongous personal archives, then to be able to intimately discuss her music and life with her. This book took over ten years of dedicated labor to complete, but it has achieved international status as the critical reference on Vivian Fine and this early new music period in American history. It is a thrill to see that my book is in most of the world’s great university and music libraries including in China and in Japan. It makes me feel that the hard work was all worthwhile when I find my book cited in a doctoral thesis.  The title is “Vivian Fine: a Bio-Bibliography,” Greenwood Press, 2002. You can get free downloads and read excerpts from “Vivian Fine…” on my website.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
It’s more of a fantasy! It would be wonderful to read my poetry and other works and to bring along my music, while traveling through the states, meeting the people and seeing America at the same time. But perhaps it could actually happen…

The Work

“Life is Good Except for the Eternal Flames” is a prose poem about actual events; therefore I wanted it to be story line driven with a beginning, middle and a conclusive ending―not just visual or emotive poetics.

Is there a main theme or message in "Life is Good Except for the Eternal Flames?" 
During the usual, yearly fire seasons, here in the West, I am overcome with awe that we humans can build quite good lives smack in the center of nature’s most terrifying chaos. Strangely and paradoxically from the great jumble of consumer products we collect to fill our lives, there is very, very little that we need or love were everything to be lost. Perhaps, besides our loved ones, just items in the “little box by the door” are all we would truly miss, as the survivor says in the poem. What would you put in your “box by the door”?

How long did it take you to complete this piece? 
I worked on it on and off for about two years.

Tell us about another project you have published or are currently working on.
I’m beginning a series of shorter poems about the heroes who were crews and pilots on the famous B-17 Flying Fortress planes that helped end World War Two. These poems will accompany my “B-17 Photo Essays.”  The photos are now finished. Over a four year period I photographed an intact B-17 in exhaustive detail as I attempted to get views that helped the viewer have a sense of actually touching surfaces of the cramped, innermost areas of the kind of plane where 12 men fought heroically and thousands died. Writing these poems is some of the most difficult writing I’ve ever done, but we are losing this history at a fast clip which made me want to record some of it, and pay my poetry tribute to it, while it is still with us.
What inspired this work?
I have an avid interest in American history; learning of the amazing flights of the B-17 made me want to photograph one of them. After one trip to the airport show, I was hooked! My “B-17 photo essays” went up on my website and I was incredibly astounded when my photo essays reached number one on a Google search out of almost sixty million other sites. Then the photos reached number one on Yahoo out of one hundred-thirteen million sites. At this point I thought that it should become a new photo book along with my poetry.
Where can we find this work?
The book is not yet published. It still awaits the poems. The title is B-17 PHOTO ESSAYS. You can view the “B-17 photo essays” hereYou can read a few of the poems that will go in the book here.

The Methods

How often do you write? 
I make a big effort to write for a few hours every single day no matter what else is going on. (Uh huh. That means 24/7.)

How many drafts do you generally go through before you consider a piece to be complete? 
On the average five to ten drafts seem to work, though on certain poems with intense themes there have been dozens and dozens of drafts! Oddly, my prose works don’t seem to need nearly as many drafts as my poetry needs. (Or do I only think so?)

What are your thoughts on writing at a computer vs. writing longhand? 
Love the computer, but I’m trying to get back to a little longhand so that I have the freedom to write anywhere at all, even in the bathtub or with dying batteries in a tent somewhere extreme.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? 
I always, always celebrate with someone I love!

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
Always be cautious about which advice you take on your writing.

The Madness

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? 
When the going gets tough with your writing, because you are the boss you can be tempted to grant yourself a hiatus, but then it may be almost impossible to get started writing again. 

What is your favorite word? 

What makes you laugh? 
I love how a great comedian surprises with witty, clever words; a little like some poetry does.

What makes you cry? 
The frightening fact that we will all live to see many animal species go extinct.

What’s in that cup on your desk? 
Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee...

Cats or Dogs? 
Both love writers!

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
The Rolling Stones

Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams? 
Tennessee Williams, ultimate Americana

Additional Reading on Judith

Issue 109

this is the dress
you filled

this is the tune’s
generic response

this is the gift
offered as illusion

- From "To Turn From Beauty" by Dan Sicoli

We would love to hear your opinions about our digital magazine issues! Please use the comment form found a the bottom of this page.

Contributors: A.J. Huffman, Zoltán Komor, Dean Kritikos, Lucille Lang Day, Brent Lucia, Stanley Noah, Rosalia Scalia, Dan Sicoli, Marguerite Weisman

Spring 2014 Anthology

We are pleased to present our latest anthology featuring the stand-out poetry and prose from our weekly digital publications!

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