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Interview with 2018 Poetry Prize Judge: Gabrielle Calvocoressi

The 2018 Poetry Prize is open until March 31st. In this interview, final prize judge Gabrielle Calvocoressi discusses vulnerability and changing as a reader, Amazon algorithms, experimental poetry, and much more.

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Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s first book, The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and won the 2006 Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. Her second collection, Apocalyptic Swing, was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her awards and honors include a Stegner Fellowship, a Jones Lectureship at Stanford University, and a Rona Jaffe Women Writers’ Award. Her poem “Circus Fire, 1944” received The Paris Review’s Bernard F. Connors Prize. She teaches at the MFA programs at California College of Arts in San Francisco and at Warren Wilson College. She also runs the sports desk for the Best American Poetry Blog.

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Online Feature: “Metamorphosis: Six Studies” by Eleanor Stanford

 

after Maria Sibylla Merian

 

What’s your urgent charge, if not transformation?

1. Ornate lory on branch of peach tree

 

After my second son was born, I slipped into a severe postpartum depression. I remember nursing the baby, staring blankly out the window at a cold gray April that refused to warm.

My best friend, who was living on another continent and whose first baby had been due the same day as my son, had lost her child suddenly—a full-term stillbirth—without explanation. I felt both lucky and ungrateful, unable to appreciate what I had and unable to console my friend.

There was a peach tree outside our bedroom window that, despite the cold, spread its fragile petals over the narrow city street.

One day, I watched a small green parrot land on a branch. It must have been an escaped pet; as far as I know, there are no wild parrots in Philadelphia. But in my melancholy state, I just stared, barely registering the strangeness. I saw it as a sign. A sign of what? I can’t remember now. Surely something dark. Dislocation? Alienation? The embattled natural world and its inevitable destruction? Something like that.

Later, I saw a reproduction of a painting by the seventeenth-century naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian: Ornate lory on branch of peach tree. I felt an uncanny flash of recognition when I looked at it, this precise rendering of the beauty I had been unable to see when it sat in front of me.

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Online Feature: “Cyclops” by Teresa Milbrodt

 

Usually cyclops babies don’t live very long.  This is why you never hear about them, why the cyclops woman is the only one to have reached thirty.  Two people besides her parents know she has just one eye—the family ophthalmologist and the midwife who delivered her in her parents’ bedroom.  Her mother wanted to keep the process as natural as possible, worried about strange things drugs were supposed to do to newborn babies.

The cyclops woman’s father makes her wear a shade, a crescent-shaped sunglasses lens that fits around her head, so the world looks a little dark to her.  Her father’s world is also getting darker.  His glaucoma is worsening and the ophthalmologist says he’ll be blind in a matter of months.  He won’t stop working, though.  At the counter of Drogo’s, the family coffee shop, he explains to customers that his daughter wears the shade because she has a condition that makes her extremely sensitive to light.

I think it’s very becoming, says Cynthia Liss, one of the regulars.  She says the eyes are the most intimate part of the body and the shade lends an air of mystery like Japanese women with their fans.

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2018 BLB Prize #IRBlueLight Twitter Contest Winner!

Indiana Review is proud to announce the winner of our 2018 Blue Light Books Prize #IRBlueLight Twitter Contest! We received lots of well-crafted tweets about our prize’s namesake and after studious deliberation, we chose one winner who will receive an IR prize pack and free entry into our 2018 BLB Prize.

Congratulations to our winner, @matadorthefirst!

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Blue Room: “What are you Afraid of?” by Becky Adnot-Haynes

 

In our debut episode of Blue Room, Becky Adnot-Haynes reads the beginning of “What are you Afraid of,” from Indiana Review issue 39.2. Later, we interview Editor-in-Chief, Tessa Yang, on why she selected this piece. Listen here for an glimpse of our latest issue and insight into our selection process.

Thanks to Youtube Audio Library and John Deley for letting us use “Beer Belly Blues.”