Under the Covers: A Summary of our September Online Issue

In the September online issue of Bluestem, Damyanti Biswas’s “Bear With Me”, is a haunting, provocative tale about a woman’s struggle with her past miscarriage.  It’s a modern day Yellow Wallpaper, where we see the main character left alone with her thoughts and her television set. But she is not always alone.  Occasionally she is visited by a large, friendly bear. And sometimes, they cuddle.  Biswas writes, “I wake up again, and this time, the bear cuddles me, the fur soft against my skin, paws toasty like heat pack on my tummy”.  Read it for yourself in our September 2015 online issue along with work by Debra Brenegan, Absolom J. Hagg, and creative nonfiction by
K. L. Cook, 
Elisabeth Hanscombe, and 
Umeeta Sadarangani.

Poet John A. Nieves offers a new perspective on nature and fate in “Irregular Cells”:
“I believe that the veins / in leaves know the future, / that they always point / to arrivals and departures.” While Katharyn Howd Machan writes, “Music had begun to slide away / from pulse and fingers, hands on keys / a helpless shake and slip and skip / as his hair grayed within the mirror / only his wife kept clean.” Read the poems along with others by Katharyn Howd Machan, Robert Miltner, John A. Nieves, Jessica Purdy, Kristina Pfleegor, and Jordan Zandi—who has two poems from his forthcoming collection that you don’t want to miss.

Plus, enjoy the visual creations by Brian Edmonds.



Jessica Purdy

The days seem to be ending
even as they begin—

do you know what I mean,
when you’re driving and the sun hacks

through leafless trunks
their shadows seem like an attack

or does the light
just hit the eye at the most defenseless angle

aggressive yellow not just a color but an ending
indicator, a preliminary warning

not of caution so much
as an obligatory direness, tired as a fist held too long

not warm as in goldleaf,
honey or even the cold daffodils of last spring

and after defending against such glare
the loneliest feeling comes?

September 2015 Contributors

Damyanti Biswas‘s short fiction appears in Griffith Review, Australia, Lunch Ticket magazine, The First Line, Ducts.org by New York Writer’s Workshop, and other journals in USA, Singapore and India. She’s featured in print anthologies by Twelve Winters Press, USA, and by major publishers in Malaysia and Singapore. When not lost in a book or scribbling away, she can be found tending to her plants or fish, or baking up a storm.

Debra Brenegan teaches at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her work has been published in Calyx, Tampa Review, Natural Bridge, The Laurel Review, Cimarron Review, Phoebe, RE:AL, The Southern Women’s Review, Knee-Jerk, Literary Orphans, and elsewhere. Her novel, Shame the Devil, was named a finalist for Foreword Reviews 2011 Book of the Year Award for Historical Fiction.

Danny Caporaletti is a writer/filmmaker based in Richmond, Virginia and New Orleans, Louisiana. His short stories have been published in Poictesme and Sink/Swim, and his creative nonfiction has been published in New Orleans & Me. He is currently an MFA candidate in fiction writing at the University of New Orleans, as well as the assistant editor for UNO’s national literary journal, Bayou Magazine. In addition, he teaches cinema/photography and performs stand-up comedy (poorly). Follow him on Twitter @dannycaps

K. L. Cook is the author of three books of fiction: Last Call, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize; The Girl from Charnelle, a novel that won the Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction, among other honors; and Love Songs for the Quarantined, winner of the Spokane Book Prize. His stories, essays, and poetry have appeared widely in magazines, journals, and anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories 2012, Best of the West 2011, One Story, Glimmer Train, Threepenny Review, Harvard Review, Writer’s Chronicle, and Poets & Writers. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University and the low-residency MFA Program in Writing at Spalding University.

Brian Edmonds (b.1974) is an artist, writer and curator living in Alabama. His recent shows include The Lost Sea (Huntsville), DUSK: Embossed (Manhattan/Saint Chamas, FR), DO IT YOURSELF (Brooklyn), White Hours (Cyprus) and OFF THE WALL (London). In 2012 Brian launched the online exhibition space Curating Contemporary. Since its inception the site has hosted over 30 exhibitions. Brian’s work can be found throughout North America and Europe.

Absolom L. Hagg received his MFA from Boise State University, where he won the Glenn Balch Award in Fiction. He was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open and has been a two-time attendee of the Tin House Writer’s Workshop. He works as a science editor and recently read about the fluid mechanics of bird flocks. He lives in Portland, OR, a city that turned him into a soccer fan. Please feel free to contact him on Twitter (@ajnumber17).

Elisabeth Hanscombe is a psychologist and writer who completed her doctorate in 2011 on the topic ‘Life writing and the desire for revenge’.  She has published a number of short stories and essays in the areas of autobiography, psychoanalysis, testimony, trauma and creative non-fiction in Meanjin, Island, Tirra Lirra, Quadrant and Griffith Review as well as in the journals, Life Writing and Life Writing Annual: Biographical and autobiographical studies and in psychotherapy journals and magazines throughout Australia and in the United States. She is winner of the 2014 Lane Cove Literary awards for her short memoir, ‘A trip to the beach’ and was short listed for the Australian Book Review’s 2009 Calibre essay prize, long listed in 2011 and 2014, with book chapters in Stories of Complicated grief: a critical anthology, edited by Eric Miller PhD and published by NASW press in 2014, and in Eavesdropping: the psychotherapist in film and television, edited by Lucy Husskinson and Terrie Waddell and published by Routledge in 2015. She has pieces accepted for publication in the forthcoming Anthology of Loss, edited by Gina Mercer and Terry Whitebeach, a letter in 100 Love Letters from Women to Women, edited by Francesca Rendle-Short and Laurel Fantauzzo, and an essay in Sharon Farber’s edited book, Celebrate the Wounded Healer to be published by Routledge.  Elisabeth Hanscombe is an adjunct research associate at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research and blogs at http://sixthinline.blogspot.com.au

Anne Kniggendorf is a regular contributor to Kansas City Star and has also been published in The Saturday Evening Post.  She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a Navy veteran.

Katharyn Howd Machan, Professor of Writing at Ithaca College, holds degrees from the College of Saint Rose, the University of Iowa, and Northwestern University. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines; in anthologies/textbooks such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013, Early Ripening: American Women’s Poetry Now, Literature, Sound and Sense, Writing Poems; and in 32 collections, most recently H (Gribble Press, 2014) and Wild Grapes: Poems of Fox (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Former director of the Feminist Women’s Writing Workshops, Inc., in 2012 she edited Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology (Split Oak Press).

Robert Miltner is the author of Hotel Utopia (New Rivers Press Many Voices Poetry Prize), ten poetry chapbooks including Against the Simple (Wick award) and Eurydice Rising (Red Berry Editions award), and And Your Bird Can Sing: Short Fiction (Bottom Dog Press). He teaches at Kent State University and is on the poetry and fiction faculties of the NEOMFA.

Letitia L. Moffitt is the author of two novels, Sidewalk Dancing (Atticus Books) and Trace (Cantraip Press; Book 1 of the TraceWorld Series). She lives in Champaign-Urbana.

John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Southern Review, Pleaiades, Crazyhorse, Poetry Northwest, and minnesota review. He won the 2011 Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio (2014), won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the
University of Missouri.

Kristina Pfleegor is a writing tutor and freelance editor in eastern Washington. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she has spent parts of her life in Kenya, Minnesota, and Hawai`i. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, and her poetry appears in Rock & Sling, Gambling the Aisle, and ASCENT.

Jessica Purdy holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She teaches Poetry Workshops at Southern New Hampshire University. She was nominated for Best New Poets and Best of the Net in 2014. She has poems in The Telephone Game, Bluestem Magazine, The Tower Journal, The Cafe Review, Off the Coast, The Foundling Review, and Flycatcher 3. Previously, her poems have appeared in Literary Mama, Halfway Down the Stairs, ‘What is Home’, (the 2007 Portsmouth Poet Laureate program’s publication), Analecta, and The Beacon Street Review.  Her chapbook, “Learning the Names”, came out in March 2015 from Finishing Line Press.

Umeeta Sadarangani, who received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University, is a Professor of English at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, where she teaches courses on writing, literature, and South Asian cultures.  Her childhood in India and Kuwait, her lesbian identity, and her experiences as an immigrant in the United States all influence her writing and her visual art. Umeeta’s blog, Transplanted on the Prairie (transplantedontheprairie.blogspot.com), reflects these influences.  Her previous publications have been in academic journals such as American Studies International and Modern Language Studies (MLS).

Sarah Ann Winn‘s poems have appeared in Cider Press Review, Codex, Hobart (online), Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, and in her chapbook, Portage (Sundress, 2015). Her second chapbook, Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, is upcoming from Porkbelly. Visit her at http://bluebirdwords.com or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.

Jordan Zandi‘s poetry has appeared in The New RepublicLittle Star and elsewhere.  His first book of poetry, Solarium, won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and will be published by Sarabande Books in February of 2016.

Spring 2015


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Contributor Notes