About sonorareview

Founded in 1980, Sonora Review is the oldest student-run literary journal in the country. From start to finish, each issue is put together solely by graduate students in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Arizona. All staff members volunteer their time. Former staff members include Antonya Nelson, Robert Boswell, Richard Russo, Tony Hoagland, and David Foster Wallace. Work originally printed in the Sonora Review has appeared in Best of the West and Best American Poetry, and has won O.Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes. Sonora Review maintains a congenial relationship with the Department of English while safeguarding the editors' complete aesthetic and managerial control. You can contact Sonora Review via email at: sonora@email.arizona.edu Or by mail at: Sonora Review Department of English University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721

SR71 Contributor Interviews: Joseph Zaccardi

JoeZaccardi1What is it about the genre or cross-genre you write in that interests you/draws you in?

My journey to the prose poem took many years to develop. When I was in the seventh grade I wrote a 200-word essay on poetry using alliteration throughout the piece. My teacher, Sister Mary Francesca, impressed with my effort, said to me that I should try to write poetry, she said, “And Joseph, in a poem you don’t have to punctuate”; she knew I had a fear of punctuation. So I began there, and for a few years wrote a few poems, and because of the freedom of not having to use commas, periods, and that monstrous semi-colon, I sort of self-taught myself how to line break. Later in my twenties I embraced punctuation, found that it really was a valuable tool. It was in 2012, when I started work on a poem about the lynchings of African-Americans that I found that an unpunctuated approach gave me more freedom. Here are the first few words from that poem titled “Little,” which is the name of a soldier, Private William Little, who had just returned from serving in WW1 and was beaten up and murdered for wearing his uniform, the only clothes he owned:

“If he had the sense he was born with but he did if he’d taken off his doughboy

uniform that a hostile band of whites demanded but he didn’t …”

I quickly saw that with that freedom came a need to find the right transitions so that the reader wouldn’t get frustrated and give up. As you can feel in my poem in the Sonora Review, “What’s Wrong with That Boy,” there’s a tension that, I think, wouldn’t work as well in a more structured form. So I now think of my style as a prose poem in a poem-box, something both contained and free to bounce off the walls

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SR71 Contributor Interviews: Jordan Scott

unnamedWhat is it about the genre or cross-genre you write in that interests you/draws you in?

I came into fiction from a place of being a poet first and foremost, which has really informed the way I construct my short stories. There’s something pleasurable about accessing modes that feel more rooted in poetry—such as a sort of incantatory lyric—and braiding them through a story on a sentence level. The short story as a form also gives me ample space to layer different ideas into my writing.

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The Art Form of Choice for the Underdog: SR71 Contributor Greg Marshall Explains Why Writing Personal Essays is a Must for Middle Children, Convicts and Everyone Else in the Trump Era

Greg Marshall author photo.jpgWhat is it about the personal essay that interests you?

Creative nonfiction is the art form of choice for the underdog. Only convicts and middle children have any business doing it, those of us with holes in our hearts and chips on our shoulders who can’t tell a good bar story to save our lives. See, I’m the Jan Brady of my family. Writing about my brother and sisters, parents and pets is my chance to control them. Call it fan nonfiction: For a few pages at least, I’m the funny one, the special one, the one hogging all the attention, the one deciding what’s “true.”

I love being that “truth-teller.” I get to take things literally, be way too sensitive and hold forth without being interrupted, contradicted or upstaged. I love taking scraps of memory or family legends and putting them into a literary rock tumbler, seeing if I can take the ordinary stuff of growing up and turn it into something approximating literature. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what I’m doing when I’m writing personal essays: polishing rocks. Could there be anything more Jan Brady?

On a more earnest note, I’m thirty-two and, I hope, part of one of the last generations of American kids to have to actually come out of the closet. (May future generations also be spared rainbow suspenders, the faux hawk and gay.com.) I’m happy to be living in this more open, non-binary world where a person is fractionally less likely to be presumed gay or straight, able or disabled, male or female, but I will say one benefit of coming out for me as a writer, having to declare myself in that way, is that it helped me understand that, as the saying goes, the personal is political. There’s tremendous power in sharing your story and trying to connect with readers and listeners on a human level whether we’re talking disability, queerness or anything else. There really isn’t anything more appealing or universal than a true story, well told (to borrow Creative Nonfiction’s slogan.) We can’t forget that in the Trump era.

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Blade Lineage: An Interview with Laura McCullough

unnamedLaura McCullough’s The Wild Night Dress, selected by Billy Collins in the Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series, was published  by University of Arkansas Press, 2017. Her other books  of poems include Jersey Mercy, Black Lawrence Press, Rigger Death & Hoist Another (BLP),  Panic (winner of the Kinereth Genseler Award, Alice James Books), Speech Acts (BLP), What Men Want (XOXOX Press), and The Dancing Bear (Open Book Press). She conceived of and curated two anthologies of essays on poetry,  A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race, University of Georgia Press and The Room and the World: Essays on the Poet Stephen Dunn, University of Syracuse Press. Her prose and poetry have appeared widely in places such as Michigan Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The American Poetry Review, Guernica, Pank, Gulf Coast, The Writer’s Chronicle, Best American Poetry, and others. She has had fellowships or scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Sewanee Writers Conference, the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference, the Virginia Center for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, Marble House, and the New Jersey State Arts Council, among others. She teaches full time at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey and is on the faculty of the Sierra Nevada low-res MFA and has taught for Ramapo College and the Stockton University Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway. She is the founding editor of Mead: the Magazine of Literature and Libations.

 Jon Riccio: Two Bladerunner-infused poems—“Soliloquy with Honey: Time to Die” and “Saved from the Fall by Roy Batty”—usher us in and out of The Wild Night Dress. You juxtapose Batty’s essence: “Intelligent, handsome, struggling with emerging emotion, / he is real, yet temporary, despised,” with the properties that define his existence:

What a strange love story, Batty and Deckard,

and the writer, director, actor, co-creators of Batty,

making me think of sparticles, superpartners

in physics, bosons and fermions, the way

relationship forms a kind of supersymmetry.

 

How is Bladerunner a mirror for your writing process?

 

Laura McCullough: I love that you gave such attention to these two poems and their placement. One of them will appear in an anthology on film and poetry next year, and I’m really excited about that anthology since the new Bladerunner will be out, but also because I love cinematic ekphrasis. Yet your question is leading: does the film mirror my process? A film is a confluence of the creative, interpretive, and a variety of executed craft and skill. The idea must be ignited, the writers—screenplay requires both creativity and a technical skill set—the actors interpret and make manifest, the varieties of crews before, during, and post filming, editors, makeup, lighting, set design, costume, sound, and so on and on: I almost always stay for the credits after a film, which usually amount to hundreds of names, right?

 

In one sense, then, the poet is not like that at all—we work in often very deep solitude (I’ve wondered at times whether the solitude of poetry was an escape, a defense, or a necessary state, maybe all three)—yet the poet might also represent a mind in relation to and refracting many other beings and knowings. When I sit to write, maybe everyone I’ve ever known, everything I’ve read, experienced, and so on, is present and colluding. I love the DH Lawrence quote, “Not I, not I, but the wind that moves through me.”

 

But I am waffling, Jon. Here’s what I really think: increasingly I think less and feel more, and when I “think” of Bladerunner, it is about feelings: Roy and Deckard’s existential aloneness and sorrows, their struggle toward ethics and internal moral agency. They make me weep with tenderness and curiosity and admiration. Those three things are how I come to poetry, as well, as a reader and as a writer.

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Flash Prose Submission Call Announcement!

Sonora Review is proud to announce the opening of a new category of submissions: flash prose! Starting July 15th, 2017, we will be accepting submissions through our Submittable for pieces that are 1000 words or less. Due to their length and higher frequency of publication, these pieces will most often be published online, but may also be considered for publication in our print issues. From July 15th to August 15th, there will be no submission fees for this call.

For flash prose submissions, Sonora is excited about that which is, above all else, brave and inventive, be it fiction, creative non-fiction, poetically-slanted, or something in-between. We seek work that challenges convention – through form, through content, through voice. Show us the world as it is and it could be. Make us uncomfortable, thrilled. Make us understand something new.

Our first flash prose pieces will start showing up on the website in Fall 2017. So get those pieces polished and ready to submit and watch this space for more!