On Writing

What a Poetry Editor Wants

May 3, 2016

National Poetry Month is over now, and the poetry readers of America can go back to loving poetry in private, as many of us are inclined to do, rather than performing our love in poetry in public, which seems necessary for reminding those outside of our clan that poetry is a thing. Sometimes I feel alone in the culture as a poetry lover, but I never feel alone …

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Notes from AWP

April 18, 2016

One of the things I like about going to the AWP conference, its massive book fair in particular, is that at the Cossack Review table I’m put in a position, over and over again, of having to articulate where I stand as a fiction editor. So often, as I read and respond to submissions, at my house, and neglect my children, I do my job …

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Leave Your Good Ideas Out

November 1, 2015

The idea of process has always intrigued me. Sitting down to write is, I assume, different for everyone. I can’t explain my own properly, but I’ll take a stab at it. Oftentimes, there is a general idea or feeling I want to chase, so I start hammering away at the keys until it looks like a big, malformed version of whatever is playing out in …

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Writing Conscience

October 16, 2015

One of the first things— if not the first thing— I ever wrote was likely a grocery list. Nowadays, I could probably get a grocery list published if I worked very hard on it and called it creative nonfiction. I could arrange the ingredients in the list creatively, and for each ingredient I could label its intended use, or I could lie and put in …

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When Men Appraise Women’s Appearances in Fiction

August 19, 2015

I haven’t been Fiction Editor at The Cossack Review for long, but I’ve been reading fiction submissions here long enough to have noticed a recurring thing: the first couple of pages of many of the stories I see feature a male character who looks at a female character and appraises her physical appearance. It usually takes a full paragraph for this to happen, and it often happens in …

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“Leave People.”

June 9, 2015
You have given yourself your word and there is no retracting it. Leave people. If to get the solitude that is necessary you must go into a washroom, go there, lean against the wall and write. Write as you write in the morning, anything at all. Write sure or unsure, hurriedly or blank verse; write what you think of your employer or your secretary or your brother; write a short story synopsis or a fragment of dialogue or a description of someone you have recently noticed.

— Louise Bogan

From Louise Bogan’s “Managing The Unconscious,” in A Poet’s Prose

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