Archive for the ‘Fragments’ Category

Fragments: issue summary

October 25, 2012 1 comment

by Olivia Dresher and Catherine Ednie

When we wrote the Call for Submissions for the Fragments issue, requesting “in the wild” creations more than overly crafted pieces, we had no idea what we’d receive. Would our request scare writers and artists away, or would it resonate? Would the concept of fragments feel familiar to them, or would there be uncertainty when trying to decide if their specific works fit the theme? Hence we were delighted when the submissions poured in from the moment the theme was announced: text, photos, artwork. And by the end of the submission period, this issue had inspired the highest number of submissions yet.

Some of the text submissions weren’t necessarily fragmentary in form and/or didn’t quite read like true fragments, but we considered them if there was some aspect of the fragmentary within or if the subject of a piece touched upon the theme (we both were a bit surprised that even the polished poetic forms with a dash of the fragmentary as content seemed to work). There were also a number of “maybe” submissions that made the process challenging – writings that we wanted to say “yes” to but couldn’t quite because some important characteristic of a fragment’s nature was missing.

We selected a wide variety of pieces, but within this variety there are some common threads. The pieces have an affinity for time – moments, memories. And an affinity for space – mountains, fantasies. They reveal that fragments are a way to approach relationships, much more intimate than a torrent of words. They reveal that there can be a wide variety of fragmentary principles: building, breaking, capturing, leaping free. They explore minute realities. And, especially, they reveal that fragments flirt with form.

We began working together on this issue without a literal definition of the fragment (we had many in-depth conversations about fragments behind-the-scenes), and we come away from working on this issue with a deeper respect for the openness and mystery of fragments. We realize that they refuse to be trapped within a pat definition, and that is an important aspect of their power and charm.

For bios of Catherine and Olivia, see the call for submissions.

Fragments: Table of Contents

October 24, 2012 Comments off

Three Fragments by Eric Burke

The Book of Forgetting by Robin Chapman

Quartet by Howie Good

The Saint of Lost Causes by Alice Driver

The Travelling Bride by Zeny May Dy Recidoro

The sky today by Sarah J. Sloat

war nights by Farideh Hassanzadeh-Mostafavi

List, Pre-Word, Pre-Poem by Claire Crowther

Midmoon by Peter Wortsman

a selection from diluvium by JeFF Stumpo

Ten Ways Of Going About Morning and Thoughts on Fragments by Jill Jones

Books by Richard Krause

Fons Amoris by Grace Andreacchi

xv. remote control by Theresa Williams

accidentals by Gabrielle D

Fragments of Skye by Katherine Durham Oldmixon

With or Without by Erika Dreifus

Silhouettes by Darcy Bruce

Fortune Beams by Jeffery Beam

lines of the days by Dorothee Lang

Robert at 80 by Robert Roth

Wishful by Linda Umans

From a Notebook Weighing 194 Grams by Rodney Wood

In the Morning (Tweets, May 2012) by Magda Kapa

Writing in Fragments: a habit of being by Ursula Vaira

My life’s fragments waiting for reassembly by Natalie d’Arbeloff

Notes Made on an iPhone while Rocking My Son to Sleep, July 2011 by James Brush

The Only Order the Day Had Was Chronological Order by Sarah J. Sloat

Road Notes by Wendy Vardaman

Homing by Anna Dickie

7 Fragments by Peter Newton

Two fragmented poems by Kristin LaTour

Bokeh by Saudamini Deo

White Pelicans by Jed Myers

here there where by Alegria Imperial

Untitled Fragments by Mark W. Kidd

I started near the far north. Ran. by Nancy Flynn

Six Months by Mark Roberts

Fragments of a life by Risa Denenberg

Snapshots of the Revolution by Brad Fairchild

A Contemplation of Surgery by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

Matters by Hannah Stephenson

And this is how… by Holly Anderson

Break Down the House by Tom Sheehan

Message in Morse Code by Beth Enson

sk/edge by Dorothee Lang

Fragments from a Year by Barbara LaMorticella

If I Jump You Jump Remember by Rina Caparras

Hospital Wanderings and Wonders by Kathy Uyen Nguyen

Weaving the waves by Saudamini Deo

Sitting Outside to Write Poems on the Day the Cottonwoods Let Go, Grand Marais, Minnesota by LouAnn Shepard Muhm

Phantom Limbs at the Antique Mall by Timothy Walsh

Twenty-six Minutes by Jessa Pearl Tamayo

Glass Stairwells by Sarah J. Sloat

From FRAGMENTS, a print series by Marja-Leena Rathje

In the Rabbit Hour by Linda Umans

Top Five Men of the Cities by Brad Fairchild

Five Months by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

How to Undress a Mountain by Aditi Rao

The Falling by David-Glen Smith

So Now I Return to Myself by Karize Michella Uy

Ahura Mazda; Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Alex Cigale

Travel Notes by Guy Gauthier

Black and White, 1943 by Patricia L. Scruggs

Intricate Sky by Kris Lindbeck

Falling from the cycle by Saudamini Deo

Life Stuff by gaye gambell-peterson

Not For Nothing by Matt Hetherington

Diskobolos by Pia Taavila

Fragments of Stars by Emma Sovich

Great Escape by Tamuira Reid

Materials and Not Enough Time: An Alphabet by Pamela Johnson Parker

A Wasteland Sunday by Joshua Cochran

Speak War: Speak Peace—Two Poems by Lee Peterson

Dream Catcher by N. A’Yara Stein

The Recto Fragments by Adrienne J. Odasso

Categories: Fragments

The Recto Fragments

October 23, 2012 2 comments

by A.J. Odasso

FOR SALE: Two pages from a French prayer-book, ca. 1420

folio 31

folio 31 thumbnail

Draw me in, blue-veiled beauty. Your tears
singe my skin: this heart can feel again

in spite of the dust that confounds me.
I’ve been sick to death’s brink, senses dulled

by the promise of wellness. It takes years,
so turn the page / set the clock / halt the spell

of ink-blot poison in my veins. His skin
a tracery of rust-tracks and thorn, his ears

deaf shells a-ring with mourning. His eyes.



folio 180

folio 180 thumbnail

Did you not die already?

I saw—
the shroud, the tomb. The wounds
unburdened of blood. Wings

in the webbing
of your hair. Your mother
made round, low sounds

like a [quill-scraped] bird


a [salt-stained] fish. Shrubs
in the distance. Barrow-mounds
of sand, the Dead Sea.

Your drying wish.


Thanks to Boyd Mackus for the images.

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A.J. Odasso (blog, publications) wrote these pieces to accompany a pair of pages from a 14th-century French prayer book; the folios survive from different points in the book, and the Latin narratives are therefore badly disjointed. As a scholar of medieval history and bookmaking, she felt that these folios and their enigmatic inscriptions deserved a voice.

Dream Catcher

October 22, 2012 2 comments

by N. A’Yara Stein

It is not the wind that wakes you,
but the silky murmur of years
seductively trying to tell you
what has happened, or will.
Do not listen. The wind tells lies.
Touch my hair, my eyes,
the stones and bark of trees.
Do not leave this earth quietly
without movement.
Far off, above the muffled air of the ward,
I hear trains sound.
If there were no word for sorrow, I would call it love.

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N. A’Yara Stein was a multiple nominee for the past few years for the Pushcart Prize as well as a finalist in the 2011 National Poetry Series for her manuscript, Saudade. She holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and is a grant recipient of the Michigan Art Council and the Arkansas Arts Council, among other honors. The former editor of the arts quarterly Gypsy Blood Review, she’s recently published in Verse Wisconsin, The Mayo Review, Ping Pong: The Journal of the Henry Miller Library and The Delinquent (UK), among others. She lives near Chicago with her sons and teaches at Purdue University North Central. Her newest chapbook, The Clarity of Troubled Love, will be available fall of 2012 from Finishing Line Press.

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Speak War: Speak Peace—Two Poems

October 19, 2012 2 comments

by Lee Peterson

For War: Where I Wait For You

Jets crowd the sky.
The colors change. Machines.
This burden…
And faces.

Nhan (All missing.)

Hold my heart. Even without hands I can write this, paint this.
Or be turned back from the gate
and into a brown-winged bird


For Peace: The Gate

What color is your hair?
Whose hand do you hold?
These hands we have.

Birds in the yellow sky.
White—under us—sailing.

And our faces change with a wish.
These wings—ours to use.

So much blue—above our heads.
We fly kites.   Form circles.   Sing.

Ask about the sun and where
it comes from:

From light—and the sound
of a bell     ringing so long
no one remembers its name.


Author’s note: These poems were written on commission for the Speak Peace traveling exhibit of Vietnamese children’s paintings on peace and war.

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Lee Peterson’s first book of poems, Rooms and Fields: Dramatic Monologues from the War in Bosnia was selected by Jean Valentine for the 2003 Tom and Stan Wick poetry prize. She lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband Steve and their daughter Esmée. She is a full time instructor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State Altoona.

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A Wasteland Sunday

October 18, 2012 1 comment

by Joshua Cochran

A wasteland Sunday morning and the air shudders from a chugging machine, a machine meant to blow leaves and detritus but is somehow better at producing noise. It’s pushed by an old man slightly hunched and limping. He moves without pattern, blowing leaves and trash in one direction and then another, seemingly random. The wind is blowing anyway.

And there is a smell on the wind, an odor. Something like rotting flesh but sweeter and more smoky. I imagine syrup-covered corpses burning but no, it must be somebody’s idea of food. Five men silently huddle around a barbeque that seeps yellowish smoke out its vents; one stubs a toe in the earth and spits. Why don’t they say something?

And then there’s a screaming, a high-pitched yelling that can only come from children in play. Turning, sure enough, five kids scamper from a single child. He’s got a stick in his hand and on the end of the stick is an used condom. Yelling at them would do no good, not with the leaf blower. I can only hope.

With bitter coffee going cold and a stolen newspaper, I find a bench without as many stains and spots of unknown wetness. A man sleeps on the one beside mine and rouses himself at the fluttering of my paper. He looks at me seriously but I cannot give him my eyes. It doesn’t matter anyway, he’s up. Coming to me now and munching his jaw as if he had a cud. Got some change for me? No, I say. Can I kiss that off for you?

I looked at the diminishing cigarette in my hand and yes, I was about to ground it out on the sidewalk, but something seems wrong about it all. His lips are chapped and caked with days of drool but he’s just another lost one. He takes the butt and nods at me politely, walking away. The seat of his pants are brown and sagging. It’s too cold now to wash off at the river’s edge.

Cold coffee now and the paper wrinkled beyond folds from the damned wind. From a long way off I can tell it’s a woman, a young woman. Her head is bowed and two men follow her, circle her, saying low things. When the trio passes her eyes show something between fear and anger to the ground before her.

And that’s when I get up. Enough of the park, I think to myself. The pastoral has its limits. Time to get back to the city.


Joshua Cochran’s first novel, Echo Detained, was published by Fractious Press, New York, in 2007. He teaches English to bored college students in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona. He writes, “Fragments are vital to the writer because they take form beyond our control and allow us to release something into the universe without the burden of intent.”

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Materials and Not Enough Time: An Alphabet

October 17, 2012 2 comments

by Pamela Johnson Parker

Alençon lace (I see you through a veil)

Broadcloth (the prairie sprawls and undulates),

Burlap (kittens in a sack you rescue them)

Calico (aprons and flour sack frocks cut up for your quilt)

Cambric (handkerchief of the Lord, I embroider an H)

Canvas (an artist’s model shivers in the corner, the artist is you the model is me)

Chino (you called them your lawyer pants, wore them when you were permanently pressed for funds)

Corduroy (kings’ cloth, Thomas Hart Benton’s furrowed fields, fretted like your old Gibson)

Cotton (your skin my skin same boll)

Crepe (my 1920s de chine dress cut on the bias, flowers over my hip bones, petals and branches over my ribs),

Denim (your thigh sliding through the wicket of mine in the doorway where we first kissed),

Felt (wetting wool, rubbing wool, a congress of wet sheep in an Irish pub we visit),

Flannel (your shirt still warm from your skin, I steal it for a quick trip to the kitchen)

Fleece (I have been shorn of you)

Gabardine (your three-piece suit with its vest, its watch chain and fob, the suit I couldn’t bury you in)

Gauze (breathing through it, seeing through it after you’re gone)

Gingham (cheery kitchen curtains with cross-stitched roosters, I am scrambling the first eggs I’ll make for you)

Kapok (we are cocooned together, a private tent in the cherry trees)

Lamé (drag queen who made you laugh your lustiest at “You’re Not Woman Enough to Take My Man” and the swaggering hips of the singer, the waterfall of gold over them),

Linen (the tan and black suit I wore on our first Easter, the one that fits again because I can’t eat/don’t cook without you)

Madras (a plaid we didn’t like, a city we wanted to visit)

Muslin (that impossibly thin antique blouse, leg o’mutton sleeves and lace collar on which you pinned for me a cameo)

Nylon (your thumbnail sends a millipede skittering down my stocking)

Organza (the sheer fabric, the topnotes of gardenia in a perfume you picked out),

Piqué (the screen door, slamming behind us as we head to the lake, fishnets)

Rayon (the 1940s dress I wore when we’d swing dance, you’d lift me and I’d fly)

Satin (slick sheets you’d throw off the bed)

Serge (the ocean’s undertow, all these layers stitched together)

Silk (one of the few fabrics that will shatter, as mirrors do, as I have)

Twill (classic fabric, archaic contraction, twill never be better)
Velvet (the feel of your skin, there)

Voile (close to veil, my hair over my face, my dress over a chair)

Wool (it made you itch, o I would scratch your back)

Worsted (these days the way they’re woven, warp and weft and what’s looming)

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Pamela Johnson Parker is a medical editor and adjunct professor of creative writing and literature at Murray State University. A Walk Through the Memory Palace was the first selection in the qarrtsiluni chapbook series. Another chapbook, Other Four Letter Words, is available from Finishing Line Press. Pamela’s work is also featured in Best New Poets 2011, edited by D. A. Powell.

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Great Escape

October 16, 2012 Comments off

by Tamuira Reid

I stopped caring about you sometime between January and May, when the weather changed and the leaves came back. You went on that big white pill and couldn’t have aged cheese or avocado and I sat at the table in the kitchen, watching you watch me.

We tried to drive the crazy away but it had us by the throat, slept where we slept. The yelling wouldn’t stop until you’d had enough, when your eyes no longer felt right in your head and you’d rather lie down than stand there, fist in your mouth, the cat rubbing against your leg.

You once told me that depression comes in waves but that makes it sound too beautiful. There was nothing good about the bad.

Impossible, I always tell them, to pinpoint when it started, when words went from breathy whispers to knives hurled at one another across a dark space.

Sometimes we’d try to fight it before it hit. You’d take a shower. Shave your face. Vacuum the hallway rug. It never worked and the top would blow off and it would be me and you again, just like that.

Teacups shook in their skin, books fell over on themselves and I wanted to see how it would all play out. Would he get the girl in the end? Or does she leave during a quiet moment, smiling as she turns away. His hand pressing against her back like an ear.


Tamuira Reid is a writer and educator currently living in Florence, Italy. Since receiving her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003, she has been teaching in both traditional and non-traditional classrooms, from India to a state penitentiary and now full time at NYU. Her first feature-length screenplay, Luna’s Highway, is currently in pre-production and earned her a finalist position in the 2009 American Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest and a 2010 semifinals finish in The Nicholls Fellowship Competition, sponsored by The Academy of Moving Pictures.

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Fragments of Stars

October 15, 2012 Comments off

by Emma Sovich


we made the stars, just let them go one day
a few caught fire
we expected them to return, all of them
they laugh at us each night
our modern constellations
fixtures, navigational jokers
we should have chanted, come back

where it’s so remote the milky way leaps within reach
night isn’t black
it’s luminous
wraps itself around my head



Emma Sovich is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama, where she edits Black Warrior Review. You can find her work in PANK, Broadsided, and other places.

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October 12, 2012 1 comment

by Pia Taavila

My students now study the sculptor and statue
marking externals: proportion and scale.
We talk of the casting, of bronze, wax or stone,
of chisel and bit, of angle and stance,
the trick of believing it moved or it spoke.
We ponder intention, the artist’s technique,
all the while confronting the shock of our
selves looking in mirrors, the false masks, the pose.

Oh, to be naked, truly stripped down, exposed,
where one’s inner essence resides on the skin
in veins of fine marble, in muscle and pore.
I step off the platform, regard my life’s work
and take up the hammer to smash things
to bits, brutal and glad. The students gasp.


Pia Taavila is a professor of English at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Her book Moon on the Meadow compiled poems written over three decades, and last year a new chapbook, Two Winters, was published by Finishing Line Press.

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