All posts tagged: composition

Learning to Read (Again)

As a child, I felt like I belonged in The Boxcar Children, The Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown more than I belonged in my own life. Reading became less about fantasy and more about escape as a teenager. My portals were contemporary fiction which allowed me to imagine a world outside my troubled narrow slice of New Jersey. Books remained my companions as a young adult while I bounced between unsatisfying jobs and relationships. My knowledge of the classics was pitiful, but Nick Hornby, Adam Davies and Augusten Burroughs wrote words that kept a spark of hope flickering intermittently in my brain even in the darkest of times. Once I got through those turbulent years, I became serious about school. Reading, writing, and poetry in particular, became joys in my life. On some days, moments spent reading Kay Ryan or Terrance Hayes or Li Bai and responding with my own bad poems were my only joys. I expelled words out of head and onto the paper with extreme force. As I finished my associate degree after four arduous years …

Writing from the Outskirts

Image: matryosha I grew up in the town of Tujunga, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, nestled right up against the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s about 30 minutes by car from Downtown Los Angeles and about hour from the airport. Between Tujunga and the San Fernando Valley lies a series of hills called the Verdugo Mountains. It’s about as secluded as you can get and still be in Los Angeles, though it doesn’t feel like the city of surfers and starlets. No, if someone drugged and abandoned you there, you’d awaken thinking you’d landed in east Texas. There isn’t much going on. Along Foothill Blvd, the main drag, you’ll find some fast food chains and grocery stores, a dozen auto body shops, a run of boarded up storefronts, and a trio of biker bars, one of which opens at 6am.  There used to be an enormous K-Mart, but that’s gone. We got a Starbucks about ten years ago. That was big. There’s a small library but no bookstores. The closest one is in Glendale, about …

An Inside Look With Kat Saunders, Ohio University ’15

Image Credit: OzinOhio What was it like living in Athens? How far does your stipend go there living wise? Athens is very much a college town (for better and for worse). I actually received my BA from Ohio University so I had already lived in Athens for 4 years. It’s a beautiful campus and town–rowdy undergrads aside. I loved Athens, but I think it could be a difficult place to move to as a graduate student because the majority of the town’s population is 18-22. That can make meeting people outside of the department hard. OU is known for its party school reputation, and at first, it might seem like there’s nothing else to do besides going to bars. That’s certainly not the case. All of the students in the program are fully funded. PhD candidates make more than MA students, but I found that our stipend went a long way in Athens. Rent can be notoriously high, but everything else in town is relatively inexpensive to accommodate the student population. Actually, housing was really the only issue I had …