The Talk Show

Lisa Starr is Poet Laureate Emeritus of Rhode Island and a two-time recipient of the Rhode Island Fellowship in Poetry. She founded the Block Island Poetry Project and served as its director for thirteen years. Starr has published three full-length collections of poetry, most recently Mad With Yellow (2008), and she co-edited Where Beach Meets Ocean, an anthology celebrating ten years of the BIPP, in 2013. Retired, temporarily, after eighteen years running a ten-room guest house on Block Island, Starr is currently working on a memoir, “Writer, Inn-terrupted,” and a collection of poems for and about children, titled “Orrin and Millie and Brother and Me.”

Coleman’s Gift

Naomi Shihab Nye’s most recent books are Famous (Wings Press, 2015), illustrated by Lisa Desimini, and The Turtle of Oman (Greenwillow, 2014). Nye has held Lannan, Guggenheim, and Witter Bynner fellowships, and she has won a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, the Robert Creeley Prize, “The Betty Prize” from Poets House for service to poetry, and two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards.


My cultural legacy has revealed itself to me in unexpected ways. As a child of immigrants who came from a community of once-immigrants, I picked up some family mythologies via after-dinner stories, and some traditions through our special occasion activities. …

Gulnaz Saiyed is a creative nonfiction writer whose work has been published in Brain Mill Press’s Voices. Saiyed is also a doctoral student in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University, where she studies the design of curricula that support youth from non-dominant communities by helping them to freely articulate their perspectives on civic issues. Both her writing and research are concerned with signification and representation—who gets to tell stories and who has stories told about them.

The Unbroken Chain: Some Thoughts on Coleman Barks’s Poetry

Norman Minnick is the author of two collections of poetry: Folly (Wind Publishing, 2013) and To Taste the Water: Poems (2007). He is the editor of Jim Watt’s Work Toward Knowing: Beginning with Blake (Kinchafoonee Creek Press, 2016) and Between Water and Song: New Poets for the Twenty-First Century (White Pine Press, 2010).

Poker Night

John Yow’s most recent publications are two books about birds—The Armchair Birder (2009) and The Armchair Birder Goes Coastal (2012)—both published by the University of North Carolina Press, and the second named a 2012 Notable Book by Audubon magazine. He is now at work on a mystery novel exploring what happens when birders go bad.

Pine Cone and Potato Chip: On Rumi and Coleman Barks

Ravi Shankar, founding editor of Drunken Boat, has published ten collections of original and translated poetry, most recently his own What Else Could It Be (Carolina Wren Press, 2015) and The Autobiography of a Goddess by the ninth-century poet/saint Andal, published this year by Zubaan Books in India and the University of Chicago Press. He has won a Pushcart Prize and a Hackney Literary Award, appeared on NPR and the BBC, and published in the New York Times and the Paris Review. Shankar is currently writing a memoir and editing a book of golden shovels to commemorate Gwendolyn Brooks.

The Opening Heart

Jody Kennedy’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hippocampus, Vilas Avenue, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, and the Madison Review. A native of Wisconsin, Kennedy holds a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and currently lives in France.

Coleman Barks: “auroral aliveness, powers, hilarity”

I first knew Coleman Barks in 1970 when I took his class on writers of American realism at the University of Georgia. We read Flaubert and Turgenev in that class because Coleman believed you couldn’t understand the American realists without …

Hugh Ruppersburg has just retired as Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and University Professor of English at the University of Georgia. He writes about American literature and film, especially of the American South. 

The Answer

Ty Sassaman’s work in this issue is his first publication. Sassaman is a first-year MFA student at Butler University and runs Just One Question, a single-question interview project. His self-published memoir, “Just One Question: My Road Trip Interview with America,” will debut in late 2016.