Posts Tagged: Interviews

Announcing the 2014 Poetry Prize Winner


Judge Eileen Myles has selected “2006,” by Cecilia Woloch, as the winner of Indiana Review‘s 2014 Poetry Prize! Her poem will appear in the Winter 2014 issue of Indiana Review. We received more than 1000 poems of impressive quality and range, all of which were read anonymously by our editors. We’re happy to also announce the runners-up and finalists.


2014 Indiana Review Poetry Prize Winner


Cecilia Woloch

On why she chose Woloch’s poem, Myles writes:  It’s “2006” no question.  I like the incantatory structure and it’s full of timely modal shifts to season (Spring) and nature becomes a train.  It rhymes with itself to create a somber effect and glints with dark humor just when you want it. And then it slides away with anonymity and beauty.  It’s sad like history and nature is sad. It’s a profound and simple poem and very rich and kinetic. I admire it a lot. This is a very smart and talented poet.



Emily Wilson

“To the Falcon Next to Me on Qatar Airways Flight 835”

Emily Mohn-Slate


Congratulations to our winner and runners-up and thank you to everyone who submitted. We truly appreciate your thoughtful and excellent work.


Caitlin Scarano, “The City that Taught You”

francine j. harris, “canvas”

Joshua Bennett, “Still Life with Best Friend”

Talin Tahajian, “Aviary”

Samiya Bashir, “Universe as an Infant: Fatter than Expected, and Kind of Lumpy”

Danez Smith, “Pitch for a Movie: Dinosaurs in the Hood”

Brandon Rushton, “Portrait of the Body with Bear Trap”

An Interview with Alissa Nutting

Alissa Nutting, another of our featured readers for this year’s Blue Light Reading (3/29), shared some really interesting opinions and insight on media, women, and fiction research. Check it out:

IR: Was your first story collection, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, inspired by an “unclean” job that you had at one point?

AN: More generally it was inspired by being a girl in our society, and then a woman–two very unclean jobs, in my opinion.


IR: What initially got you hooked on writing about a teacher-student relationship (for lack of a better word) in your novel Tampa?

AN: It’s an act that seems to be happening so often currently, really proliferating–once I started paying attention to cases of female teacher/male student relations, I literally had a hard time keeping up with them all. What interested me were the ways the scenario is glamorized and in many ways accepted and championed in the media and society. Given the cultural factors, it doesn’t seem odd to me that it keeps happening.


IR: How did you prepare/research for Tampa? Did you talk with a female predator(s)? Read more…

An Interview with Kathleen Rooney

This Saturday, March 29th, we’re hosting the fourth Blue Light Reading Series! Kathleen Rooney, one of our featured readers answered a few questions for us about her work.

IR: How much of yourself, if any, is reflected in the protagonist of your latest work, a novel, O, Democracy?

KR: The protagonist, Colleen, is pretty close to my sensibility, but in the book she makes some terrible decisions, because bad decisions make good fiction. One of the reasons I chose to tell the story from the omniscient perspective of the dead Founding Fathers and not a close first-person through Colleen is that I wanted to maintain enough distance from the character to see her clearly and not uncritically. So the character of Colleen reflects me, of course, but so too do the characters of the Chief of Staff, the Senator, and the all rest.


IR: In your book of poetry titled Robinson Alone you explore the mysterious life and disappearance of poet Weldon Kees. What sparked your interest in Kees?

KR: Kees is a quintessentially American and a specifically Midwestern poet, but strangely enough, I didn’t learn about him or his writing until I was studying in the UK, where the work of the poet Simon Armitage brought Kees’ existence to my attention. The fact that back then, around 2000-2001, Kees’ work was still relatively tricky to come by just made me want to read it more, and when I finally did get my hands on a copy of his Collected Poems, I was blown away by the humor, darkness, anger, and humanity of his work. The fact that his life was so fascinating, too, and that it was punctuated by a mysterious disappearance–a question mark following his supposed death date–just made me even more intrigued.


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The Next Big Thing: Corey Van Landingham


From all of us at IR, congratulations to past contributor Corey Van Landingham for winning The Ohio State University Press / The Journal award for her book, Antidote! Van Landingham won our 1/2 K Prize for her piece “When You Look Away, the World,” which appears in issue 34.1. (Speaking of contests, our annual poetry contest, judged by Nikky Finney, is open until April 1st!) Following is her installment of The Next Big Thing interview series.


First of all, thanks so much to Michael and all the other wonderful folks at Indiana Review who have been so kind to me over the past couple years, and for adopting us internet orphans sans website for this interview!

What is the working title of the book?



Where did the idea come from for the book?

I suppose there are a couple tiers for this answer. There are Events and there are Ideas, and while I will attempt to recall them, I fear it may be like retracing an episode of Lost, where some kind of logic is being imposed on utter chaos just to make you keep watching.

I. Events

The death of my father. Breaking up with my fiancé.

II. Ideas

That there is no antidote one can take for grief or heartbreak. That there are various forms of valediction and one may never get better at saying goodbye. That guilt can feel like a disease. That love can, at times, feel like violence. That love can be cruel. That I can be cruel. That there are multitudinous selves. That sometimes these selves may confront each other. That this may be in a dark forest. That one self may be burying or choking another self. That the moon sees this, and is a jerk. That no matter how many different combinations of words one puts together, it will never make anything whole.


What genre does your book fall under?



What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

All I can think of is that it would be one of those movies I’d feel like I’d have to watch for reasons artsy or hip but would have to pause every ten minutes to get another beer if I was going to finish the damn thing.

No, but really, I say this because of the lack of characters. Yes, there are various people being addressed, and yes, there are various speakers, but they all feel like they stem from a similar emotional space.

But I’ll be good and try to answer. It would be delivered in a series of monologues given in some eerie outdoor space with unidentifiable men constantly lurking in the shadows. The actresses delivering the monologues would be Jean Seberg, Michelle Williams, Felicia Day, Janeane Garofalo, and Natalie Portman’s character in Closer.


What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

In Antidote, love equates disease, demons are inverted gods, every animal wants something sinister, valediction is a contact sport, and someone is always watching.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Most of these poems were completed in fits of writing furiously during my thesis year in the fall of 2011.


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

X-rays, rafting trips with my father, holding séances in the ravine by my house in Oregon as a young girl, microscopes, animal documentaries, dreams of homesteading, Paul Celan, feeding my father’s ashes to small fish in the Rogue River, diving into that water, PBS’s Art 21, claustrophobia, Sappho, playing with Petri dishes in my mother’s lab, missing the mountains, word hoards, listening to Bill Callahan, being the daughter of a microbiologist, being the daughter of a photographer, being a girl who was never as happy as the other girls, big and lusty Midwestern storms, bourbon, Amy Hempel, cadavers, hunting for owl pellets in the forest with my mother, Isadora Duncan, epoché, always having cold feet, listening to Julianna Barwick, the moment at the Portland Zoo when my father was so thin he resembled the giraffes or the long-legged birds and I thought he might fly off, and then later that summer when he did.


What else about your book might pique the reader’s interests?

I quoted Yeats three times by accident. Also, some of these poems are actually supposed to be funny in a vitriolic sort of way, so it’s not all doom and gloom!


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

 To my utter delight and astonishment and for which I am forever grateful, Antidote was chosen by Kathy Fagan as the winner of The Ohio State University Press/The Journal award in poetry, and will be published by OSU Press in October.

The Next Big Thing: Sally Wen Mao

photo by Van Nguyen

photo by Van Nguyen


All of us at Indiana Review would like to congratulate contributor Sally Wen Mao on winning the 2012 Kinereth Gensler Award from Alice James Books! Her poem, “The White-Haired Girl,” appears in issue 34.2. Here’s her installment in The Next Big Thing interview series which is currently sweeping the internet.


Thank you to Michael Mlekoday, author of the forthcoming book of poems The Dead Eat Everything, out from the Kent State University Press, for tagging me in this series called The Next Big Thing! Also a big thanks for publishing this on the Indiana Review blog, because I am an internet dummy.

What is the working title of the book?

Mad Honey Symposium.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Poetry books usually come from entire constellations of ideas. Here are some of the most pervasive ones, for me:

1. When researching names for an angry third world feminist girl band in 2007, I stumbled upon the fact that honey badgers aim for the scrotums when attacking larger animals.

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