Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952–2016) spoke at length with Alan Flurry, UGA’s Franklin College of Arts & Sciences Director of Communications, in December 2013. Here, for the first time, is the full transcript of their conversation, published in honor of Judith and her remarkable career.
Alan Flurry (AF): So you’ve retired from teaching. . . . Read more
Thibault Raoult (TR): Such robust and odd images in “Portrait of the Alcoholic with Shattered Pelvis.” Did these all originally belong to this poem? Might you have a daybook of images? Do images happen to you? Or do you seek them out?
Kaveh Akbar (KA): Oh, . . . Read more
Bridget Dooley (BD): First of all, thanks so much for allowing me to ask you questions! I was struck by your story in our Summer 2016 issue, “Ravished,” particularly in how humor creates intimacy and in how complicated the sisters’ experience of loss is. The death of a mother is such a specific and hugely emotional experience, . . . Read more
I first met Rita Dove in person at Emory University in 1992 after she read from her just-published novel Through the Ivory Gate, but in truth I met her long before that when in 1985 I discovered the Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets, . . . Read more
Lindsay Tigue (LT): I really enjoyed “The Stones of Sorrow Lake,” and was impressed by the story’s central idea—how in Jackson’s hometown everyone’s first great sorrow becomes literally visible in the form of stones and then scars. This idea makes wonderfully resonant both the physical weight of grief as well as the lingering effects of sorrow. . . . Read more
Lindsay Tigue (LT): Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions. I am such an admirer of your poems and essays. You’ve appeared in the pages of The Georgia Review several times. Can you talk a little bit about that publication history and your relationship with the magazine over the years? . . . Read more
Laura Solomon (LS): Your poem “Shayma Interviewed by a Medical Red Cross Staff Member in Corigliano Calabro” begins with an epigraph from a story that appeared in the Independent:
“A ‘ghost ship’ carrying hundreds of Syrian refugees including pregnant women and children has been towed safely to Italy after being abandoned by its crew.” . . .
Brian Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon and taught English in South Korea for a year before he joined the United States Army. He served in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division and then, when he was deployed to Iraq, he became an infantry team leader with the 3rd Stryker Brigade, . . . Read more
Lindsay Tigue: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. I really enjoyed “Sk8r,” and I particularly admired the way you portrayed the protagonist Ilsa’s treatment of Angie. Twelve-year-old Ilsa is a very relatable young protagonist and you allow her to act badly—even meanly—to ten-year-old Angie. Can you talk a little bit about that dynamic? . . . Read more
Artist Farrah Karapetian’s oeuvre locates emotional weight in the physical making of her often politically rooted subject material. In the case of Muscle Memory, featured in our Fall 2015 issue, Karapetian’s focus, as indicated, is the muscle memory of U.S. Armed Forces veterans and their relationships to their weapons. . . . Read more