Wednesday, November 4, 2015

In the Spotlight: C.R. Resetarits

C.R. Resetarits's poems "Rapunzel" and Valence" appear in Volume 36. The Worcester Review is excited to welcome here as our first contributor spotlight from this year's publication!

"Rapunzel" is a short yet dense poem, conveying a lot of emotion through descriptive imagery, especially color. When you were writing this how did you decide the exact image that you wanted to show? Did you start off with a vision in your head and have to figure out the words you would use or vice versa?

This poem developed on a wintery drive along the Taconic Parkway. The day was overcast and threatening in a lovely way. The evergreens were heavy with snow, the hardwoods iced, and then around a corner this enormous, strange willow. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with it until I had the idea of the pale, blondish willow as Rapunzel and it developed back from there to the evergreens cradling snow and the hardwoods glistening in ice.

The first line of your poem "Valence" is very powerful: "Back when you were taking drugs you were like a drug for me." Do you think that love can make independent people dependent on one another or does it just feel that way?

From Volume 36: A poem by C.R. Resetarits


by C.R. Resetarits

North country sky evolving, mottled gray,
tea-stained blue, and deep smears of buttermilk.
Slopes of evergreen hold armfuls of newborn snow
while their hardwood sisters lining lower meadow
glitter in diamond and pearl from the preceding rain.
This is a beguiling roadway of mercury glass and hoary
limbs, the bejeweled call of promiscuous sways,
pale powdered skin.
And then suddenly in curve of Taconic
one startle-stark, enormous willow.
Against the ink and snow shadowed evergreen
and the porcelain and ice of hardwood wiles,
this foreign, coppery head of tendrils
—too limp, elastic, wavering to hold ice, ink, or snow—
stands vast and strange and singularly alone.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Volume 36 Launch Event!

Join us at Clark University! 

November 9, 2015

Volume 36 of 
The Worcester Review

For information about parking and location of Goddard Library, 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

From Volume 35: A story from Jeffrey Ihlenfeldt

Jeffrey Ihlenfeldt


Dust and the Moon


He shook a mound of nuts and raisins into his palm, then closed the bag and crammed it back into his pocket alongside his pen and a small Bible. A “half-Bible,” his brother called it, a book so slim that only one testament could fit. But one testament was enough. A single revelation. A single conversion. He washed the dried fruit and nuts down with a swallow of water, as warm as his blood.

“Less of a shock to the system,” he whispered, something he remembered from an article in a health magazine. He took a long drink.

The cellophane in his pocket crackled with each stride. And each stride became a reminder of the civilization he had left behind in search of God’s country, which had begun with the short walk from the Organ Pipe Cactus Monument visitors’ center and would end, according to his plan, at the vistas of Mount Elijah. Then he heard the crunch of tires atop gravel, which drowned out the scraping of his boots along the trail.

In the Spotlight: Jeffrey Ihlenfeldt

Writer Jeffrey Ihlenfeldt here discusses his short story "Dust and the Moon," which appears in volume XXXV of The Worcester Review and shares his writing process, daily routine, and upcoming work. 

In addition to being an accomplished writer, you are also a professor at Harrisburg Area Community College. Could you describe what a typical day teaching and writing looks like during the semester?

Of course, since most of my teaching responsibilities relate to writing and literature, there's a great deal of reading involved—not only before class but also after. I read student assignments—especially as it relates to creative writing—fairly constantly.

I do make a point of keeping a strict schedule for my own writing—generally early mornings. The other thing I do is treat my creative writing classes as an opportunity to explore my own ideas as well as my students’. For example, I actively participate in writing prompts, impromptus, and assignments that we complete in class. This helps me to exercise my writing skills along with my students. It also reinforces the notion that all writers—no matter how seasoned or how experienced—start at the same place, the blank page.

Ultimately, I find that setting a writing schedule and sticking to that schedule as closely as possible gives me the time I need for my own work.

On your website, you mention that you teach additional writing workshops aside from those at the college. What are these workshops like? What expectations should writers who attend them have?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From Volume 35: A story by Sean Rabin

Sean Rabin
Day 1
First there is a punch. Then a knee to Lloyd’s ribs. His legs give out. Sharp fingernails hook his armpits. Drag him down a hall. He closes his eyes against the lights. Only glimpses the steel door as he is thrown past it. Within the cell is perfect darkness. Lloyd lies still. Catching his breath. Searching for serious injuries. His ribs ache but his breathing is smooth. The cold concrete floor soothes a swollen cheekbone. Miraculously, all his teeth are still in place. Toilet stench tells Lloyd to roll left. Onto a thin mattress with a pillow and blanket. Neither feels clean but Lloyd immediately falls asleep.
Day 2
The caged bulb in the ceiling blazes. Forces Lloyd to wake. Confirm all assumptions about the cell. Steel door. Threadbare blanket. A second door was not, however, expected. In the wall opposite his bed. Wooden, with a doorknob. And the word NO burnt into it. With discomfort Lloyd stands. The cell is eight feet square. From its center he inspects the wooden door. For spy holes. Booby-traps. Acknowledges its perfect fit. No gaps for light or sound. Eyes the handle. Round. Do they think he is stupid? Go ahead. Open the door. Be free. How ridiculous. But Lloyd is curious. And already in prison. What more can they do? No hinges are visible. The door must open out. But into what? Another cell? Is someone next door? Lloyd knocks. No reply. He grabs the handle. A shutter in the steel door opens. Two eyes on the other side. Can you read? they ask. Lloyd steps back. Yes. What does it say? NO. What does it say? NO. The shutter in the steel door slams shut.

In the Spotlight: Sean Rabin

The introspective writer of the story “No” in volume XXXV of The Worcester Review, Sean Rabin reminds his readers of the value of perseverance and never becoming slave to custom.

When did you first begin to play with language? Did writing find you or you it? That is to say, what inspired you to write?

I remember writing my first poem at ten, and realizing how much fun it was. Here was something I could actually do without needing money or formal lessons or anyone’s permission. I didn’t grow up in a particularly bookish family, so I suppose writing found me. I wrote my first novel at fifteen just to see if I could finish it. Ideas have always come easily to me, but learning to write well took a long, long time. As life grew more complex, I found writing became increasingly necessary for me to navigate the world. Although I’m not particularly interested in realism, the act of writing somehow helps me to process what’s going on in my life. When I write I feel as though I’m functioning at my best. Doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. When I’m not writing I pretty much feel like I’m wasting time. It’s not a particularly social way of living, but the people who know me know I don’t have a lot of choice in the matter.

What was the inspiration behind "No"?