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Thank you, Suzanna, for this wonderful opportunity. Each issue of The Magnolia Review is a beautiful selection of prose, poetry and art, and so I knew from the beginning that choosing one piece for the Ink Award would be difficult. Generally, my favorite works of literature and art make me think about them at odd times in a day, send their words or visuals to my mind when I’m driving or walking my dog or trying to fall asleep. I would return to reread those pieces in Volume 4, Issue 1 that did just that, then I let them travel with me again throughout my day. Repeat. Repeat. Maybe it’s because my life as a military spouse is often about change (moving, trainings, deployments, friends leaving) and maybe because my daughter will start kindergarten in the fall, the pieces that stood out most to me were those about transitions and change. In the end, there were certain phrasings and images I couldn’t shake from my head: “[t]he long roads of us,” “[m]ade feast from the leftovers of fields,” “backtracked on roads now strangered.” I also love how this poem ends with the word “end” although it continues to raise questions and encourages the reader to continue asking questions. And so, I have selected “Journey” by Doug Bolling as the winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award.
Lisa Stice is a poet/mother/military spouse, the author of a poetry collection Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016), and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She volunteers as a mentor with the Veterans Writing Project, as an associate poetry editor with 1932 Quarterly, and as a contributor for The Military Spouse Book Review. She received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. While it is difficult to say where home is, she currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. You can learn more about her publications at https://lisastice.wordpress.com/.
- I work at home, usually in the same spot, favorite chair.
Though with sometimes a bit of roaming around room
To room in and out of shadows and sunlight, the coffee
And CDs helping. I like to think of Montaigne’s comments
About hiding away from the world’s distractions in his
Tower to trigger the writing. Once I lived in France for
A year and a half or so, thought it would be cool to
Scribble poems on scratch paper in the bistros along
The Left Bank—it didn’t work. Too many marvels
Going on table by table!
2. A pen begins it, carries on awhile then to the keyboard
Or typewriter. 0f course, it’s the mysterious little inner
Pen that drives the wagon.)
. 3. No routine. It’s always something sudden, unexpected.
Once the spark comes it might go on for hours then dies
by its own rhythm.
- A long time. Still remember with a shudder more or less
trying at age 11 or 12 to write a novel. Got maybe three
or four pages and gave up. But when I began again some years
ago I started with short stories then to poetry.
- (oops my cranky laptop won’t let me keep the left margin)
Just anyone who’s interested in joining the journey,
Preferably those who are already reading poetry, whether
Critically or for more or less innocent enjoyment.
- I believe it’s the absolute love of writing, wanting/needing to
Immerse in imagery, rhythm, how lines break, etc.
Blocking out happens often. Once, I tried to defeat it by
An act of will so to speak. Have since learned to let go,
Disappear. It comes when it comes, goes where it goes.
- Roaming, reading, getting out to rediscover the great green
Earth before it turns to cinders, connect with fellow sojourners.
- Hard to exclude anything much. Two moments do stand out.
- First, when an idea or image or line from another writer
(thinking here often of Pessoa, Lorca, Neruda) strikes
home and I have to do something with it. Then, later on,
the moments when the poem seems finally rounding out
and I get the confidence that I can bring it in.
- In another life I taught writing workshops and giving advice
went with the ice cream—but I back away from that now,
would rather leave it to others who know much more than I.
Something like figure out if writing is your love, your passion
And if it is go for it full speed, meaning both through the
Garden times and the blocks! There may be wonders down
That rabbit hole.