Home > Journaling the Apocalypse > Journaling the Apocalypse: Notes on Contributors

Journaling the Apocalypse: Notes on Contributors

January 5, 2009

How is it that death can be all around us and still seem distant and slightly unreal, like a punchline in a foreign language? Caught in the headlight’s beam, a flash of heart-shaped face, bone-white, grinning like a sugar skull: an opossum playing dead among the roadside wreckage of Happy Meals and Slurpee cups, white-tailed deer intestines, splattered housecats — all the collateral damage of our distracted lives. (“What was that?” “Nothing. An animal.”) And just at the edge of the cone of light, tree trunks looming up like zombies in Night of the Living Dead, which was filmed less than fifty miles from where Dave writes.

Such an entertaining enemy, the mindless all-consuming flesh of our flesh! The radio brings news of the war in Gaza and says nothing about the war in the Congo, where every night soldiers enter the tents of refugees and rape women and children as young as a year old. I rise before light — there’s so little of it this time of year — and regard the silent forest as if it were a city full of inscrutable heartbeats, an enclave under a 200-year-long siege. My ignorance is willful and complicit. On New Year’s Day, my niece saw wolves in every stiltgrass-covered log and multiflora rose bush stippled with red teeth. Out in the field, she ran excitedly along the trails made by little green men on their secret nocturnal visits to our enticing planet. Who has the heart to tell a three-year-old about wars and alien invaders and the slow death of soil?

And so we watch as the great unravel, from Oedipus and Lear to the kings and queens of our own making, our personal losses, failings and griefs somehow cushioned by the very height of these loftier pedestals and precipitous falls. From the dust of Troy, to Chernobyl and New Orleans, we fashion our story-telling from the collective disasters of the past, and confront each new abyss opening before us without truly believing we, the still-living, will finally tumble. Scouring history, psychology, religion, and even our own genetic codes for clues to our fate and the loopholes that might allow us to escape, we even put our faith in modern augurs, just as dubious on Wall Street as bird entrails were in ancient Thebes. The horror and obsessiveness both seem intensely human.

In writing and illustrating their visions of apocalypse, the contributors to this issue have called upon the wisdom and acceptance of advancing years, as well as the particularly human qualities of imagination and humor, black though it often is when colored by our greatest fears and foes. Surviving long enough to tell the tale, we conjure a post-apocalyptic world where even angels die, human organs grow on macabre farms, and women write the last desert-island joke.

—Beth Adams and Dave Bonta

Click on the contributors’ names to see all their publications in qarrtsiluni to date.

C. Albert is a collage artist who often includes poems in or along with her collages in exhibitions. This interdisciplinary work has recently been featured in Mannequin Envy and the Houston Literary Review. She has two online portfolios: Runaway Moon and Aerial Dreams.

Arlene Ang serves as a poetry editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. A poetry collection, Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon, co-written with Valerie Fox, was recently published by Texture Press. She lives in Spinea, Italy. More of her writing may be viewed at her website.

Janet A. Baker lives in Encinitas, California. Her poems are inspired by nature, myth, dreams. She has recently published in Cider Press Review and poemmemoirstory, and has poems online at Raven Chronicles and Room of One’s Own [PDF]. Janet is a professor at National University, San Diego.

Norman Ball is a Virginia-based writer, musician and videographer whose work appears with regularity both on- and off-line. For more samples of his work, check out his website and YouTube page.

Kimberly L. Becker writes from outside the Beltway, but prefers the Blue Ridge. Her work appears in print and online in journals such as 2River, Borderlands, Eclectica and Yellow Medicine Review.

Kate Bernadette Benedict (website) is the the author of the full-length poetry collection Here from Away and the editor of Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose.

Danielle Blasko is a Detroit native currently living by the beach in South Carolina. She is a low-residency MFA student at the University of New Orleans. She spent her summer studying poetry in southern France.

Richard Brown is the author of thirteen chapbooks. He lives with a feline friend named Echo in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

C.E. Chaffin published and edited The Melic Review for eight years prior to its hiatus. Widely published though tired of listing credits, it’s best to Google “C E Chaffin” for more — or refer to his website or blog. Shoe size: same as mouth.

Alex Cigale was born in Chernovtsy, Ukraine and has lived in New York City since 1975, apart from a six-year stint at the University of Michigan. His poems have recently appeared in Colorado Review, Green Mountains Review, Hanging Loose, Many Mountains Moving, and McSweeneys, and are forthcoming in Global City Review, North American Review, and Zoland Poetry. A Stranger at Home: Anthology of American Poetry with an Accent is in galleys with five of his poems, and a new chapbook, Chronicle of Calamities, is just out from Pudding House. His translations of contemporary Russian poetry have appeared in the anthology Crossing Centuries: The New Generation in Russian Poetry, and in Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry New York, and The Manhattan Review.

John Colburn is originally from Mantorville, Minnesota and is a member of the improvised music group Astronaut Cooper’s Parade. Their debut cd Orbit One is due out in January 2009. He is also an editor for Spout Press, a non-profit literary small press.

Wray Cummings is a lifelong Nebraskan lucky to be living in a time when that’s not such a bad thing.

Natalie d’Arbeloff (Blaugustine) is a multinational artist and writer living in London. Her latest book is The God Interviews, which first appeared as a comic strip on her blog. Previous books and limited editions are shown on her website.

Heather Dearmon’s poetry has been published in various anthologies, including Earth’s Daughters, and recently won an honorable mention in the 2008 Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets. In 2006 she was the first place recipient in the South Carolina Poetry Initiative and The State Newspaper’s Single Poem Contest. She resides in the wooded countryside with her husband and son, both of whom fill their home with the vibrant sounds of electric guitar.

Morgan Downie is one of the many and varied islands of the mythic archipelago of Scotia. Its people believe in the guiding power of cats, love unconditional, the blue smartie, the clean beauty of a breaking wave and the notion that at least one in six statements should be untrue.

E.A.P. prefers to remain anonymous.

Karl Elder’s latest of nine collections of poetry is Gilgamesh at the Bellagio from The National Poetry Review Award Book Series.

Kelly Madigan Erlandson (website) is the author of Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making it Through the First 30 Days (McGraw-Hill). She is a 2008 recipient of an NEA Fellowship.

Jeannine Hall Gailey’s first book of poetry, Becoming the Villainess, was published by Steel Toe Books. Poems from the book were featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She was awarded a 2007 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Columbia Poetry Review, and Smartish Pace. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches at the MFA program at National University. Visit her website to learn more.

Nancy Gandhi is an American who lives in Chennai, on the southeast coast of India. Her long-running blog, under the fire star, features figurative and literal sketches of life in India. You can follow her microblogging on Twitter.

Arturo Lomas Garza is an Austin, Texas musician, PCB layout designer, video and audio producer and photographer. He blogs with Katherine Durham Oldmixon at Katudi Artists Collaboration.

Alice George lives in Evanston, Illinois, and teaches as a visiting poet in area schools and libraries. She served as an Editor of RHINO for 10 years and is now on the Advisory Board of that award-wining magazine. Her first collection of poetry, entitled This Must Be The Place, has just been published by Mayapple Press. Check out her website for information about upcoming readings and other events.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of six poetry chapbooks, including the e-books Police and Questions (Right Hand Pointing, 2008), and Last Words [PDF] (Gold Wake Press, 2008), and the just-published Tomorrowland from Achilles Chapbooks.

Tammy Ho Lai-ming (website) is a Hong Kong-born and -based writer. She edited Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology (2006) and co-edited Love & Lust (Inkstone Books, 2008). She is also a co-founder and co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, the first and currently the only Hong Kong online literary journal. She has been collaborating with Reid Mitchell (q.v.) for two years now.

Joe Hyam lives in Tunbridge Wells, UK. He was a journalist, but now spends more time writing poetry and growing vegetables. Every day at Now’s the Time he posts “three fine or strange things, which, day by day, give me pleasure, and which I hope will amuse and give pleasure to others.”

Lisa Jones writes poetry in Stockton, California. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and is serving as a co-editor of the Squaw Valley Review (2008). In the last year she published poems in Poetry Now, was a first place recipient for the Constance Topping Memorial Prize for poetry (82nd Annual Bay Area contest) and received an honorable mention from the Sacramento Poetry Center’s Annual Contest. She is also a staff writer for Sacramento’s Poetry Now (links to latest issue PDF in sidebar here). You can also find her interviews and poems at the  Sacramento Poetry Center blog.

Lynnel L. Jones (website) is retired and living in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania where she gardens, writes and raises and shows dogs. Her articles about dog breeding have appeared in the American Kennel Club Gazette and have been featured annually by Hoflin Publishing since 1997. Her poetry has been published by The Lehigh Valley Literary Review, Watershed, Goose River Press, Points East Annual Poetry Review and Flutter Poetry Journal. Her chapbook, Rocks and Crazy People, is slated for publication by FootHills Publishing this spring.

Lucy Kempton is British, living in Brittany with husband and dog, and sometimes teaching English. She blogs at box elder — subtitled “meanderings of a displaced dilettante” — and the microblog Out with Mol. She also supplied the photographs for an online project called Compasses, in a call-and-response pattern with the travel sonnets of British blogger Joe Hyam. She co-edited qarrtsiluni’s Water issue with Katherine Durham Oldmixon.

Terence Kuch is a bearded reprobate living in Falls Church, Virginia, with wife and three cats. He’s been published in Commonweal, Dissent, New York magazine, North American Review, Thema, Timber Creek Review, Washington Post Book World, etc. He studied at the Writers Center, Bethesda, Maryland, and participated in the Mid-American Review Summer Fiction Workshop. He airs his fanatical misunderstandings on his blog.

Dorothee Lang edits the BluePrintReview, an experimental online journal, and is the author of Masala Moments, a travel novel about India. Her work has appeared in Pindeldyboz, Hobart, Eclectica, The Mississippi Review, Juked, No Tell Motel, Subtletea and numerous other places. For more about her, visit her at blueprint21.de.

Anne-Marie Levine is a former concert pianist, poet (three books), nonfiction writer, and visual artist (last show: Sarah Lawrence College last February). She lives in New York. Please see more of her work at her website.

Thomas P. Levy is a native of Northern New Jersey who has recently relocated to Southern California. He wrote his first poems secretly, in the bathroom of the therapeutic community he lived in for several years. He runs a literature, film, and music blog, enumerations, and is currently unemployed — contact him at tpl41803 [at] aol [dot] com if you would like him to be your personal assistant.

Jason Erik Lundberg (website) has placed his writing in more than 40 venues in five countries, including Hot Metal Bridge, the Raleigh News & Observer, the Singapore Straits Times, Subterranean Magazine, Strange Horizons, Polyphony 7, Farrago’s Wainscot, The Third Alternative, and Electric Velocipede — see here for links to online works. Fiction honors include honorable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, a nomination for the SLF Fountain Award, and a finalist for the Brenda L. Smart Award for Short Fiction. With his wife, artist-writer Janet Chui, he runs Two Cranes Press, an independent publisher whose fourth book, A Field Guide to Surreal Botany, was just released. He currently teaces English and creative writing at Hwa Chong Institution, one of the most prestigious secondary schools in Singapore.

Rob Mackenzie (Surroundings) is a Scottish poet. His poetry chapbook, The Clown of Natural Sorrow, was published by HappenStance Press in 2005. He served as a guest editor for qarrtsiluni’s Making Sense issue.

Dana Guthrie Martin (Mutating the Signature) lives and writes in the Seattle area. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Fence, Canopic Jar, Juked, Boxcar Poetry Review, Blood Orange Review, Weave Magazine, Failbetter, and Coconut Poetry. She edited the Hidden Messages issue of qarrtsiluni with Carey Wallace and is currently editing the Mutating the Signature issue with Nathan Moore.

Julia Martin is a lapsed lawyer who now battles the apocalypse by bringing new books and pleasure reading to low-income children in the Chicago area. She serves as the Executive Director of Bread for the Head.

Edith McKlveen is a long-time resident of upstate New York.  She writes, “I was born in Texas and raised in Virginia. I blame my mostly Scotch-Irish heritage for my impatient egalitarianism and for my crankiness when people get lazy and forget that life is for doing, not for bullshitting.” She blogs at Only Want Two Things.

Paul Millington lives in Australia.

Ann E. Michael (website) is a poet, essayist, librettist and educator who lives in Eastern Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College and is a rostered Artist-in-Education with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and in newspapers, family magazines, poetry anthologies, educational and academic publications as well as on radio. Her chapbooks of poems include More than Shelter (Spire Press), The Minor Fauna (Finishing Line Press), and Small Things Rise and Go (FootHills Publishing).

Reid Mitchell is a New Orleanian who refuged one crucial year in Hong Kong (2005-2006) and has previously taught in New Orleans, Princeton, Berkeley and Budapest. Mitchell has had poems accepted for publication in The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Macao, Mascara Poetry, Asia Literary Review and elsewhere. He has also published a novel, A Man Under Authority (Turtle Point Press, 1997), a number of literary dialogues, and academic works of history. He has been collaborating with Tammy Ho Lai-ming (q.v.) for two years now.

Ron Mohring lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he edits Seven Kitchens Press.

Nathan Moore is a father of three, poet and painter. He spent seven years working full time in a photograph factory while getting an undergraduate degree in English literature at Clarion University in Clarion, Penn. He spent the next six years working on a master’s degree and Ph.D. in English at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. In 2000 he found The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and left the academy. He is the latest addition to The Poetry Collaborative and blogs at Mutating the Signature.

Erika Moya is a working writer and is currently surviving Los Angeles.

Michael Nickels-Wisdom lives in Spring Grove, Illinois, a Chicago metropolitan area border town, with his wife and little dog.

Katherine Durham Oldmixon co-edited qarrtsiluni’s Water issue with Lucy Kempton, and has just seen the publication of a chapbook of sonnets, Water Signs, from Finishing Line Press. A poet active in the community, she also serves on the board of Texas Folklife, is the current president of Austin Poetry Society and is a Research Associate of the Humanities Institute of the University of Texas at Austin. She and Arturo Lomas Garza blog about their artistic projects, many of which are collaborations, at Katudi Artists Collaboration.

Oriana lives by the sea, the cold Pacific Ocean near San Diego.

Christina Pacosz (webpage) has been writing and publishing prose and poetry for almost half a century and has several books of poetry, the most recent, Greatest Hits, 1975-2001 (Pudding House, 2002). Her work has appeared recently in Jane’s Stories III: Women Writing Across Boundaries, Pemmican, and Umbrella. She has been a special educator, a Poet-in-the-Schools for several state and city programs, and a North Carolina Visiting Artist. She has been teaching urban youth for the past decade on both sides of the Missouri/Kansas state line where she lives with her husband.

K. Alma Peterson is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The New Orphic Review, Perihelion, Skidrow Penthouse and others. In 1999, her poem “Between Us” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Rosemount, Minnesota.

Pica lives in California’s Central Valley, where she blogs at Feathers of Hope with her partner Numenius, and at Bird by Bird. She is preparing for the apocalypse by gathering walnuts to make her next big batch of walnut ink.

Marja-Leena Rathje (website) is a Finnish-Canadian artist who lives and works in the Vancouver area. Her passions are printmaking and photography.

Monica Raymond, who was selected as a 2008 finalist in poetry by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, recently moved from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Minneapolis to take up a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights Center there. She now has an unprecedented six-issue acceptance streak at qarrtsiluni.

Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld has been published both nationally and internationally in journals, books, and anthologies and on the Internet. A former SMU Press editor, SMU English instructor, and Navy missile analyst, she has also done poetry therapy with forensic patients at St. Elizabeths Hospital and has made and maintains three websites for JewishGen on perished Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.

Jonathan Sa’adah’s photographs often deal with people and political/social topics. His favorite places to photograph are streets and within shared lives.

Deb Scott (Stoney Moss) is a middle-aged tomboy living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and pets. Her poetry is published in MReview 2006 and 2007, Tonopah la, Asphalt Sky, A Handful of  Stones, VoiceCatcher 3, and Ouroboros. She manages Read Write Poem, an online poetry community, and is a member of The Poetry Collaborative.

Rachel D. Shaw is an off-again, on-again professor of environmental studies and the history of the American West, and a two-time Wildbranch Workshop participant. Born and raised in the West, she is currently trying to adapt to the humid flatlands of the Midwest, and hopes someday to write a book about the experience. Her work can be found at her blog, Frogs and Ravens (where she writes as “Rana”), and at her photography website, Sungazer Photography and Images.

Tom Sheehan’s Epic Cures won a 2006 IPPY Award, and A Collection of Friends was nominated for Albrend Memoir Award. He has nine Pushcart and three MillionWriter nominations, a Silver Rose Award ART and the Georges Simenon Award for Excellence in Fiction. He served in 31st Infantry Regiment, Korea, 1951. He meets again soon for a lunch/gab session with pals, the ROMEOs, Retired Old Men Eating Out, aged 92, 80, 79, and 78. They’ve co-edited two books on their hometown of Saugus, Massachusetts, sold 3500 to date of 4500 printed.

Carolee D. Sherwood frequently writes poems about body parts, but this was her first poem referencing military police. Formerly author of The Polka Dot Witch poetry blog, she now blogs at i am maureen.

Jeffrey Skemp, at age 18, left the family farm in La Crosse, Wisconsin and soon after found himself in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which he has rarely left in the 20 years since. He has been dedicated to writing (and reading) since his father trashed the family TV, Hunter S. Thompson-style, when he was five. Since the handgun his father used was the size of a small lap dog, pieces of TV were reported for miles. From that point on, defiant, Jeffrey wrote his own damn TV shows. Mr Rogers suddenly had an identical twin “doing time”; Big Bird, jaundice. For nearly fifteen years, Jeffrey has also been performing his short tales and poems accompanied by various talented musicians. He highly recommends it. Lastly, after nearly two decades of not taking a single photograph (for reasons unknown to all including himself), he rediscovered the camera in January 2006, can’t get enough of it and now also fancies himself a photographer.

Sarah J. Sloat (the rain in my purse) grew up in New Jersey and now lives in Germany.

Paul Stevens was born in England but lives in Australia with his wife and numerous children. He has an Honours degree in English and teaches Literature to Year 12 students at an academically selective high school; he is about to commence a research Honours M.A. with his thesis focusing on the poetry of Robert Graves and Laura Riding. He edits The Chimaera and The Shit Creek Review and he is widely published online, most recently in Snakeskin, Lucid Rhythms, Lighten Up and Mannequin Envy.

Odarka Polanskyj Stockert (website) is a poet, photographer, and the current leader of South Mountain Poets. Odarka is also a long time collaborator of the Yara Arts Group based at the La Mama, etc. in New York City. Odarka is a harpist and lives in Millburn, NJ. She has been previously published in Gathered on the Mountain, Lunatic Chameleon, Literary Mama, Mamazine.com and the anthology, A Walk Through My Garden (Outrider Press), Exit 13 Magazine (issue #15) and The Poet’s Touchstone (Poetry Society of New Hampshire), Wild Things: Domestic and Otherwise (Outrider Press), Sea Stories, and pending publication in the Mothers and Sons anthology, The Leaf Gatherers (Lilly Press), and A long story short.

Karen Stromberg has recently turned to writing Flash Fiction and the 10-Minute Play. When not writing, she resuscitates books in the back room of a San Diego County Library.

Christine Swint writes poetry, fiction, and personal essays in metro Atlanta, Georgia, where she lives with her husband, two teenage sons, and two dogs, Raf and Duffy. Her poems and stories have appeared in Mirrors, Long Story Short, Mamaphonic, Postal Poetry, and Mannequin Envy, and are forthcoming in Asphalt Sky and Decanto. She studied English and Spanish at the University of Georgia and Spanish literature at Middlebury College in Spain, where she completed her M.A. She is the co-editor of a new literary magazine, Ouroboros, and blogs at balanced on the edge.

Ray Templeton is a Scottish writer and musician. His poems, short fiction and reviews have been published widely around the web and in print.

Wendy Vardaman has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, and has poems, reviews, and interviews published or forthcoming in a variety of anthologies and journals, including Poet Lore, Main Street Rag, Nerve Cowboy, damselfly, Free Verse, Pivot, Wisconsin People & Ideas, Women’s Review of Books and Portland Review Literary Journal. When not writing, she home-schools two of her three children and volunteers for small but enormously valuable arts organizations, such as the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and Young Shakespeare Players.

Holly Wehmeyer (Printers Row Poet) grew up on a farm in northern Illinois and now writes poetry in Chicago. In an attempt to pay for her partial lake view, she works as a tax marketing writer for an accounting firm. Previously she worked for lawyers. She is still recovering from this. Someday she hopes to be the poet laureate for a small, tropical island where she will be paid in mangoes.

Steve Wing (PBase gallery) is a visual artist and writer whose work reflects his appreciation for the extraordinary in ordinary days and places. He lives in Florida, where he takes dawn photos on his way to work in an academic institution. His work recently has also appeared in Flutter, Perigee, Pequin, BluePrintReview and Eclectica.

A seventh book from Marly Youmans (website, blog), Val/Orson, is forthcoming from P. S. Publishing. Set among the tree sitters of California’s redwoods, the story takes its inspiration from the legendary tale of Valentine and Orson and the forest romances of Shakespeare. Her prior books are: Ingledove; Claire; The Curse of the Raven Mocker; The Wolf Pit; Catherwood; and Little Jordan. A sequence of poems called “The Throne of Psyche” is forthcoming in the winter issue of Mezzo Cammin.

  1. Allan
    January 7, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Very Good issue Beth, Dave, Everyone.

  2. January 9, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Thank you both, and all, so much.

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