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I work primarily from my home in Lakehills, Texas. I have a small “study” converted from a bedroom. On the road, it’s a hotel room. And in my Galveston “studio/loft,” a closet with enough space for a mini-desk. I like working in tight spaces. It makes me feel like things are being squeezed out of me.
I generally type first drafts but always begin fleshing things out in longhand with an old-fashioned fountain pen. I have a thing for blue fountain pen ink. I think it’s the fluidity that turns me on. When you work with a fountain pen, there’s no time for regret. Most of my pieces begin life in a small pocket sized Moleskine notebook.
I work every day, but don’t really have a set time for writing. It’s generally in the morning and/or early afternoon. I live alone so I don’t obsess too much about routine. I just trust the work will get done—and usually, it does.
I’m a late bloomer. I did not begin writing poetry until I was in my early 60s. However, I have been writing most of my life. My poetry really began as an extension of my passion for philosophy. I have kept notebooks since my early teens and wrestled conceptually with the same ideas and questions that play out in my poetry.
I don’t really write for anyone in particular. My audience is me. If I’m not surprised (or even shocked) by what I’ve written, then the reader won’t be. Because I am a lover (and huge consumer) of popular culture—i.e. tabloids, billboards, television, etc.—these invariably work their way into my writing. I think this helps make me accessible and hopefully fresh. I have two graduate degrees in philosophy, but have always considered myself a “ground thumper.” If you really pay attention to what’s around you, even tabloids at the checkout stand can sing.
What inspires me to write is the realization that the world we live in is such a magical and terrifying place. If I’m blocked, I typically wait it out, work on submissions, or try to resurrect a failed poem. Alternatively, I turn on the TV or read.
When I’m not writing poetry, I’m probably hiking or zipping around trails on a four-wheeler. I live in an isolated rural area in the Hill Country of Central Texas. I’m a former rancher and love being outdoors and am blessed to have the space to stretch out in.
My favorite part of the creative process is discovery. I love to be surprised. I also love the fact that imagination makes me “smaller.” And I love to laugh. Humor is an integral party of my creative (and personal) life.
My advice to aspiring writers is to keep notebooks and begin developing an open or more fluid mindset. Try to look at things as many different ways as you can. And develop friendships and relationships with people whose points of view, politically and aesthetically, are different from your own. It’s the only way to develop empathy.
Check out D.G.’s work in Volume 4, Issue 1.
D.G. Geis has an undergraduate degree in English literature from the University of Houston and a graduate degree in philosophy from California State University. He is the author of Fire Sale (Tupelo Press/Leapfolio) and Mockumentary (Main Street Rag). Most recently, his poetry has appeared in The Irish Times, Fjords, Skylight 47 (Ireland), A New Ulster Review (N. Ireland), Crannog Magazine (Ireland), The Moth, (Ireland), Into the Void (Ireland), Poetry Scotland (Open Mouse), Ink and Letters, Crab Creek Review, Cleaver, and Under the Radar (Nine Arches Press UK). He was the winner of the 2017 Firman Houghton Prize and was shortlisted for both the 2017 Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize (Ireland) and the 2017 Percy French Prize (Strokestown International Poetry Prize, Ireland). He divides his time (unequally) between Houston, Galveston, Dublin, and the Hill Country of Central Texas.