The following is a correspondence that took place between the editor of this magazine and an ex-proof reader of this magazine. To read the piece in question, click here to purchase Annalemma Issue Six: Sacrifice.
On Apr 5, 2010, at 7:09 PM, Afton Carraway wrote:
Dear Chris – I thought you hated poetry? If that is the case, what is Illusions [N2] doing in the new edition of Annalemma? That alleged “story” wreaks of poetry. Literary devices, rythms, cadence – all it is missing is lines and stanzas and, in fact, all you have to do is reformat the page slightly and you’ve got lines and stanzas…LINES AND STANZAS, I tell you! This is a poem, no prose…where is the plot? This is not how people speak, no matter how eccentric one chooses to be – POEM. This is a poem – ADMIT IT!
Sorry. I don’t mean to get worked over this. And I do hope that I am not offending any one with my accusations, but I’m calling poem on that entry. POEM!
I’m REALLY enjyoing reading this issue. Poems included.
Thanks for another great one
I hope you’re well and happy and doing lots of good stuff. Your party is the weekend of my birthday and I’m LETTING you have Jenifer for it. You owe me one.
*wink* – Afton
On Apr 6, 2010, at 2:08 PM, Chris Heavener wrote:
Glad you’ve been enjoying the magazine and it has had a visceral effect on you. Here’s my counter-argument:
It’s a gross misconception that I hate poetry. On the contrary. I’ve read poems that have really pumped my nads in the past, and, in some cases, pumped them up more than most stories. What I have a problem with is bad poetry. My level of tolerance for bad fiction is pretty low. My tolerance for bad poetry is even lower. Close to nil. I can’t even be in the same room with it without wanting end my life if it means I no longer have to listen to or read it. And, like bad fiction, there’s a whole lot more bad poetry out there than there is good poetry. And I’ve pretty much dedicated my life to stories, finding them, publishing them and writing them. So it’s hard for me to pull focus from that and put it into sifting through the dearth of truly awful writing. It makes me feel like I’m wasting my time.
The more I get involved with writing and the writing community, with other writers and other publications, both print and online, the more I become exposed to writers who are doing some exciting experimentation with language and form, straddling that line between poetry and fiction. J.A. Tyler is one of those writers. I feel “Illusions [n2]” is an dark piece that flat out rejects the traditional format of narrative voice and conventional storytelling. And that’s one of the styles that I’m into as a writer and an editor these days.
So I hope that’s a satisfactory answer to your argument. And I hope you enjoyed the STORY.
On Apr 7, 2010, at 1:54 PM, Afton Carraway wrote:
Dearest Mr. Heavener –
My yoga guru has a saying: “If you have a foot in two different boats, you’ll end up splitting your ass.”
With that in mind, indeed, I enjoyed Illusions [n2] in your most recent edition of Annalemma, however confused and/or worked it up it did make me. Perhaps that is precisely why I enjoyed it. Perhaps that is the only reason I enjoyed it. Nonetheless, the “story” certainly stuck out to me.
Now, call me traditional or mundane or whatever you will, but – despite your eloquent explanation as to why you decided to include such a piece of work in your literary publication – I cannot wrap my head around Illusions [n2] as anything other than a poem. Poetry, being mostly void of complete sentences, is chock-full of individual words put together in a collage to create the sense of a larger image. In poetry, one uses as little words as possible in order to get across a greater picture. Whether a poem tells a story or not, they need no plot, they need no format – its just image after image after image with no explanation, no justification – only ideas and pictures. It’s like a piece of artwork hung on a wall (and, yes, most of it sucks). You can interpret and reinterpret that artwork however you want with whatever background information, time line, relationship there may be. The final and big picture, however, is always there.
To me, that is precisely what Illusions [n2] did.
Perhaps I will go back in read it again to see if I can find some sort of “story” in there. But don’t worry – I won’t bother you with anymore of my banal literary criticism I know that I am nobody to accuse a writer of faulty or mislabeled genres. Of course you know that if you ever would like a pedestrian’s point of view on this stuff I’m happy to oblige my humble opinions. I really do love reading your magazine, it inspires me to get my hands on more things to read.
To read the piece that’s sparking such hot debate, click here to purchase Annalemma Issue Six: Sacrifice.