Barnstorm and a Bullet: An Interview with Rachel Mindell

By Jon RiccioRachel Mindell Author Photo

Rachel Mindell is a writer and teacher from Tucson, Arizona. She works for the Montana Book Festival, the Missoula Writing Collaborative and Submittable. Individual poems have appeared in Diagram, Pool, BOAAT, Horse Less Review, DESTROYER, and elsewhere.

JR: Like a Teardrop and a Bullet opens with a ten-line poem, “Chile Ancho,” that commences at “4:30 p.m. Friday.” Do time and dimensionality set the tone for what’s to follow?  

Rachel Mindell: Interesting question. I think I began with “Chile Ancho” hoping it would embrace what follows: small instants, loss, heat. So in a way, yes, perhaps a tone is set for one moment being all moments, one door being all doors. These poems are a couple years old now – what I sense in the writing retrospectively is a willful push towards the precipice, something my friend Crystal Hartman intuited through her cover art. 4:30 p.m. Friday is what we jump off of.

JR: “Diamond City Ghost” explores the brittle courtship between outlook and environment –

Need brought us
this collapsing mine, rising dust and an aerial photograph
of what never was thrive, who’s to say
faith we haven’t and we won’t.

followed by “What luxury to simply up and leave our specter/ there’s so much cheap land still permissible.” How did moving from Tucson to Missoula change your definition of the word thrive?

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An Interview with Anselm Berrigan


Anselm Berrigan will be judging Sonora Review‘s 2017 Poetry Contest. Deadline 4/1.

His recent books of poetry include Come In Alone (Wave, 2016) and Primitive State (Edge, 2015). He is the editor of What Is Poetry? (Just kidding, I know you know): Interviews from the Poetry Project Newsletter 1983-2009, due this spring from Wave Books. He is the poetry editor for The Brooklyn Rail, a former Artistic Director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, and Co-Chair, Writing at The Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. Degrets, a chapbook from an ongoing series of combine-like poems, is due out from Couch Press in Portland, OR.

Gabe Dozal: In doing research for this interview I re-read the interview you had in Poetry with Bethlehem Shoals.  This was an awesome conversation.  I wish we could just reprint that conversation for Sonora.

Anselm Berrigan: Well, I’ll tell you that it was little J.A. who compared me to Sarah Palin. Does that qualify as a scoop?

GD: Are you writing separate poems or one long poem? Like, do you see your work as separate entities or one long epic poem?

AB: I like the feeling that it’s all one long poem — not an epic, but some kind of ludicrously scaled quilt. But in the writing the separate poems take their specific shapes, usually with very particular attitudes, and that feeling isn’t really there. So the long quilt feeling is probably more like self-hypnosis, though I have a tendency to write a lot of poems that go together as individual poems while being parts of long works.

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2017 Contests Open for Submissions!

Today we announce the opening of our 2017 contests in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction!

Each year, three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Sonora Review are awarded to a poem or group of poems, a short story, and an essay. This year, our judges are:

Poetry: Anselm Berrigan
Fiction: Brian Evenson
Nonfiction: Irina Dumitrescu

We accept submissions of four to eight pages in poetry, up to 6,000 words in fiction, and up to 5,000 words in nonfiction. The contest will be open from February 1st through April 1st, and all entries are considered for publication.  Entries are accepted through Submittable for a $15 fee.

Hive Mint: An Interview with Lo Kwa Mei-en

By Jon Riccio


Lo Kwa Mei-en is a poet from Singapore and Ohio. She is the author of two full-length books of poetry, THE BEES MAKE MONEY IN THE LION (Cleveland State University Poetry Center) and YEARLING (Alice James Books), and two chapbooks. She has received a fellowship from Kundiman, and her MFA from The Ohio State University. You can find her at

Jon Riccio: Like an alphabet gemologist, you imbue the abecedarian’s every facet with a leonine gleam – backwards, forwards, end-lettered, and inside out. Why does this poetic form appeal so strongly to you?

Lo Kwa Mei-en: I love that the abecedarian is both formulaic—in the most boring sense of the word—and alchemical, in the most unpredictable sense of the word. The abecedarian takes me to the dictionary—which is on a basic level a mammoth book, a place for a bookworm to lose herself—and the form gets me lost, runs me into dead ends, necessitates that I look beyond the first answer that came to mind. The abecedarian is deceptively permissive and deceptively limiting. I decided to double-end most of the forms that I borrowed for this book so that I would more continually confront the specific way in which that form demanded I reach.

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