Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Wendy Creekmore

Today’s Q&A is with Wendy Creekmore, a contributor of poetry to issues #001 & #002 of Sugared Water.

Wendy Creekmore holds a M.A. in Integrative Studies from Northern Kentucky University. She has a library of paper slips with writing straight from her thoughts. Her work has appeared in Sugared Water #001 and #002, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, and collaborative work published in Stone Telling, as well as a collaborative chapbook forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in late 2014.

a little taste of “This Place Turned Headstonefrom SW#002:

Like dust hung heavy
in lungs
and veins of wiped out Blue Gem coal.

Fiddle songs sing
let it die, let it die

I ache to slice the plum liver of this town
ballad for those one breath short
of outrunning a-foot-a-night vine.

SW: What are you currently reading?
WC: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont, and sweet water by Christina Baker Kline.

SW: What are you working on now?
WC: No big projects at the moment. I am constantly writing, but it usually comes in spurts. This often leaves me with pieces (of writing), this and that; most of it I hope to put together in some way, someday.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
WC: Oh, an array of folks and their work—Dorothy Allison, Sherman Alexie, Barbara Kingsolver, Jack Kerouac, Alice Walker, bell hooks, Ken Kesey, Audre Lorde, Howard Zinn, Natasha Trethewey, Allen Ginsburg, Zora Neale Hurston, Kurt Vonnegut, William Burroughs, Toni Morrison, Pablo Naruda and I could go on …

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
WC: Funny thing about inspiration for me, it often comes out of nowhere. I’ll be driving and there it is—by the roadside, an idea, a memory—a string of words that come out in a conversation. I’ve looked for inspiration before, but never found it to be a magical as the kind that comes freely and serendipitously.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
WC: Everything I write starts as bits of paper everywhere, partial files on my Mac, or notes on my iPhone, iPad—where ever I can get it written down or typed into permanently before it’s gone forever. That’s the easy part. Part One of the real work is in organizing the thoughts, and scribbling, into something that needs to be bigger and go further. I have to let things simmer before getting to the other hard part, which for me is editing. The final product never feels final, but eventually I have to take a deep breath and push ‘send.’

SW: With what are you obsessed?
WC: Travel. And holding onto my free spirit. Luckily, the two go together pretty well. I don’t write a lot when I travel; however, when I’ve been able to visit some wonderful new places, far, far away and I can always see in hindsight that the clutter has been cleared and the writing flows effortlessly—often into some pretty damn good stuff.

Wendy Creekmore  | SW#001 | SW#002

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Heck yeah, we’re reading again!

Sugared Water seeks submissions for issue #004. (And possibly one or two to finish out the pages of #003.)

SW is an independent lit mag published & handbound in Cincinnati, OH. Our cover art is original and produced in limited edition (240 or fewer, usually around 150). We read poetry & prose, with a particular interest in flash and micro forms, lyric and personal essays, prose poetry, free verse poetry, and individual, strong senses of voice and place. We will consider 3-5 poems or up to 4,500 words in fiction of creative nonfiction.

You can see more on our current issues here: https://sugaredwatermagazine.wordpress.com/issues/
And our complete guidelines here: https://sugaredwatermagazine.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/

We read via Submittable and are listed at Duotrope.

Poetry: 3-5 poems, free verse or modern forms preferred (broken sonnets, modern American haiku, for example).
Fiction: up to 4,500 words with a preference for flash & micro forms.
Creative Nonfiction: up to 4,500 words. We like personal essay, lyric essay, character sketches, lists, pieces written in the form of something else, letters. Show us something true and wonderfully messy, or lyric and pristine. Just show us who you are.

We’re also interested in comics, sequential art, mixed media art, art in general, and graphic narratives including illustrated lists, sketchbook pages, photos with handwritten words overtop, and any manner of eye candy.

Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Christen Leppla

Today’s Q&A is with Christen Leppla, a contributor of poetry to issues #001 and #002 of Sugared Water.

Christen Leppla currently lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Originally from Cincinnati, OH, she traveled to Lake Superior to write, teach, and study as a Poetry/Fiction MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University.  Christen lives with her dog, Dr. Watson, who spends most of his time sleeping while she works on her first novel-length project.  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly, Sugared Water, and East Coast Literary Review.

a little taste of “Some Kind of Reflectionfrom SW#001:

There are trees that grow up from my toes
with millions of rings in their trunks, I am sure.
If I could pull them through my heels like splinters,
I would pull apart my muscle and reach between the folds,
snap my bones like an apple tree limb
and touch the pith, the part that is soft,
if only to know it for myself.

SW: What are you currently reading?
CL: Right now I’m reading Tampa by Alissa Nutting. I just moved to a new apartment, and this novel is the reason my boxes are still unpacked.

SW: What are you working on now?
CL: I’m working on a novel set in Southwest Ohio, a region that crosses over into what is technically Appalachia. I’m playing with what it means to be part of an Appalachian community, but also resistant to and separate from Appalachian culture. It’ll be the first novel I’ll have seen to completion and I’m excited, scared, irritated, and hopeful about the book—all of the normal emotions that hit a writer in the middle of a novel project, I think. I’m also working on getting a chapbook together, pulling poetry I’ve written over the last couple years and writing new poems that I hope will find their way in.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
CL: Too many to name them all. I’m always inspired by what I read in some way, whether it’s the way a poet breaks a line, the way a writer pulls me in to sit in the space of a sentence, or a character that makes me feel something unexpected. I recently read Bulawayo’s We Need New Names, and it did all of those things for me. Ever since I read Beloved as an undergrad, Toni Morrison has been at the top of the list.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
CL: Everyday things. The other day I was at the airport and an older man sitting alone took out a package of peanut M&Ms and dumped the whole thing into his shirt pocket. He then proceeded to pick them out one by one and ate them while he waited for his plane. Right away, I knew I would write about that man and his M&Ms.

I read a lot.

I also try to be a sponge around writers who know more than I do. Being in a MFA program has put me in a place where I’m surrounded by talented people who have incredible ideas and are accomplishing ambitious goals. They’ve been a huge source of inspiration for me over the past year. They push me to take risks and imagine more for my writing.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
CL: It’s funny, I have always tried to force a process on myself. I used to think, “Writers always wake up and write in the early hours of the morning,” or, “if I’m going to be a writer, I need to write every singe day without exception.” Once I stopped forcing myself to adhere to someone else’s process, I wrote more. I don’t write everyday, though I try to do revision or research on days I don’t write. Reading is also part of my process, whether that be nonfiction as research or something that achieves a technique I’m striving for in my own writing. I spend more time revising a piece than I do writing the first draft. When I think I’m finished with something, I put it away for a while so I can get some distance and be more objective during my final read-through. That said, I try to be open to my process changing. What works for this project may not work for the next.  I’m okay with that. Maintaining schedules has never been something I’m good at.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
CL: My dog, Dr. Watson, and coffee bags. They’re like tea bags, but with coffee! One of the greatest inventions of our time.

Christen Leppla | SW#001 | SW#002