Writing Personal Truth Through Nature and Metaphor: An Interview with Margie Patlak

Interview by Brian Wallace Baker

Margie Patlak has been writing professionally for over three decades. Her articles have appeared in many popular newspapers and magazines, such as Discover and The Washington Post, and her creative nonfiction can be found in such venues as Hippocampus, The Hopper, and Cold Mountain Review. I recently had the opportunity to interview Margie about her extensive writing career, as well as her essay “Rock of Ages,” which received an honorable mention in JuxtaProse’s 2018 nonfiction contest and was recently published in Volume 20.  Continue reading “Writing Personal Truth Through Nature and Metaphor: An Interview with Margie Patlak”

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Interview with Xiao Yue Shan

Xiao Yue (Shelly) Shan, winner of the JuxtaProse 2018 poetry contest with her two poems “if beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror” and “search by no light,” is a Tokyo-based poet. We were fortunate to be able to discuss both her poetry and the beauties of poetry generally with her, despite a vast time zone difference. Her creative spirit and pinpoint focus were a joy to engage with, as you can read below.

Continue reading “Interview with Xiao Yue Shan”

Interview with Erin McGraw

Erin McGraw is the author of “Joy,” published in the current issue of JuxtaProse. Her short fiction has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and The Kenyon Review. She’s a Pushcart Prize winner three times over and the author of several novels, including The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard and Better Food for a Better World. Her most recent publication, a collection of short stories titled Joy, was released March 5th.

When I spoke to her in preparation for this interview, we discussed how Joy became the title not only for a short story, but also for a whole collection. McGraw allows that the title can be taken as either ironic or straight; it’s a word that leaves room for more than one interpretation. This touches on the depth of experience waiting for the reader at the outset of “Joy.” Characters are given the space to explore the shifting definitions of emotions like grief, which exist in a suspension of judgment for the span of the story. In the past, McGraw has called herself a writerly “magpie,” and “Joy” is rich with small details placed like treasures for the reader to find. In similar fashion, we hope you’ll find some valuable insights into writing and craft in the following interview. Continue reading “Interview with Erin McGraw”

A Brief Interview with the JP 2016 Poetry Contest Winner

And the winner of the JuxtaProse 2016 Poetry Contest is Matthew Babcock!

Babcock is an English professor at BYU-Idaho and earned his PhD from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has been a contributor to JuxtaProse Magazine, and in addition to his $500 prize, he will be featured in our upcoming 9th volume. We asked Babcock some brief questions about the contest.

Interview conducted by Ashley Bach.
INTERVIEWER
Were there a lot of poems you considered submitting to the contest?
BABCOCK
 Yes, but I suffer from a backlog of unpublished work (see story of every writer to ever live since Homer).
INTERVIEWER
What made you choose to send “What is a Crow?”
BABCOCK
“What Is a Crow?” was one of my most recent poems; in fact, I wrote it, two days went by, and I saw the contest and submitted.  “What is a Crow?” is one in a series of three poems I wrote in response to Susan Elizabeth Howe’s “What Is a Grackle?,” published in Poetry.  I was riding on her coattails, perhaps perched precariously on her coattails, but I ended up with “What Is a Magpie?” and “What Is a Flamingo?” and then I fluttered off to far less aviary poetic territory.
INTERVIEWER
What will you do with the prize (example: I’m going to go to Disney World)?
BABCOCK

If I were a writer worth the salt in anyone’s margarita, I’d probably go on a drinking binge and make the local paper for some reckless rampage; but since I don’t drink, and I’m married with five kids, the cash will get shuttled down the support system pipeline of paternal responsibility (and fund more writing contest efforts).

You can read “What is a Crow?” in the 9th volume of JuxtaProse Magazine this September. 

Babcock’s poetry collection Points of Reference is available now.

This interview has been edited for clarity by Ashley Bach.