Welcome to 2018!

The rocks are where they are—and this is their will. The rivers flow—and this is their will. The birds fly—this is their will. Human beings talk—this is their will. The seasons change, heaven sends down rain or snow, the earth occasionally shakes, the waves roll, the stars shine—each of them follows its own will. To be is to will and so is to become.
—D.T. Suzuki 

Change is inevitable. It’s scary. It’s an opportunity. Change is a new lover. An old secret. An unexpected twist. The first cold gust of autumn; the first warm breeze of March. Change drives us even as we resist it. Yet when we embrace it, only then do we thrive. Only then do we fully become.

Change arrives at The 3288 Review. But it is, we think, overwhelmingly positive and exciting. Last spring, we announced our transition from a quarterly to a semiannual. This migration has done much to decompress our editorial workload. Simultaneously, we announced that our contributors—beginning with Vol. 3—should be located in, or strongly tied to, West Michigan. These tweaks to our formula cement us most strongly with the creative voices in our own backyard. Voices that, we hasten to add, are well worth celebrating.

As we dive into 2018, we do so with several new opportunities on the horizon. Foremost, we’re eager to partner more closely with the local literary community. In November, for example, we held a very well-attended reading at the Books & Mortar store on Cherry Street in Grand Rapids. The relationships we’ve built with the local arts community has brought new talent and new energy to our roster of contributors. We’re particularly keen to be working much more closely with Write616—the organization formerly known as the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters—on programming.

Within Caffeinated Press, the official publisher of this journal, the content refinement of The 3288 Review is being mirrored by similar targeting for Brewed Awakenings, our annual house anthology. While the journal has emphasized local talent in literary fiction and poetry, the anthology is unapologetically open to both literary fiction and genre fiction. We aim to promote this journal and the anthology as complimentary opportunities for emerging local literary talent to find its voice, regardless of medium or genre.

With the new year comes some masthead transitions:

  1. We’re supremely grateful for the excellent service of Leigh Jajuga, our poetry editor for volumes 2 and 3. Her keen eye and discerning sense of verse made our poetry inclusions a delight to our readers. We will miss her. Local poet KT Herr, host of the Electric Poetry show on WYCE, will step up as poetry editor for Vol. 4.
  2. Elyse Wild, the nonfiction editor for volumes 1 and 2, departs to focus on her education. We wish her the best as her own career blossoms. Local book editor Lisa McNeilley, PhD, will support our prose editing in her stead.

Although he’s not technically leaving, our founding editor, John Winkelman, is taking a sabbatical for 2018. He’s invested hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into launching this franchise. While he earns some well-deserved R&R, the publisher, Jason Gillikin, will serve as interim editor in chief.

To streamline the submissions process, beginning now we’re folding the submission form into the broader Caffeinated Press submission tool. The old submission tool relied on a webpage form that kicked off a packaged email, that then had to be loaded into a project-management tool. When email was down, or something went awry, or people got busy, it made things … difficult. This new tool is essentially a ticketing system: Submitters will receive immediate confirmation of their submission and receive a dedicated link for communicating with us through the review process. In all, this tweak should save us (editors and submitters alike) a ton of confusion, email and inefficiency.

One other change.

In case you missed it, The 3288 Review actually started reviewing. In issue 3.1, we offered four reviews of recently released poetry collections. If you’d like to have your recently released work considered for review, please send one printed copy to us. For more info, just reach out to a member of our masthead.

Thanks for all your support of The 3288 Review these last few years. We’re eager to continue our mission of advancing the best literary and artistic talent West Michigan has to offer, for many years to come.

Interview with Andrea England

Enjoy another installment in an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Andrea England is the author of Inventory of a Field (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Other Geographies (Creative Justice Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Fourteen Hills Review, Harper Palate, Hayden’s Ferry Review and many others. She teaches at Western Michigan University and online for Southern New Hampshire University COCE.

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3288 Review: What words of wisdom would you offer to writers still struggling to find their voice or platform?

Andrea England: I think that we as writers often struggle to find our voices, and that is a bit about us a collective whole, so I’m going to answer the last question first. For me, voice is different than platform. Voice is what naturally takes over when the poem (not the poet) begins to speak. Platform feels more like a niche. There are many niches we can seek out or push ourselves into, but when we do this (in my opinion) our voices become less authentic.

As to words of wisdom, beginning writers often tell me they are only reading the genre in which they write. This to me is one of the most prevalent and disastrous things I encounter as a teacher of writing. Each genre is a hybrid of the previous and the next. Each benefits all. Historically there have been times when a particular genre or style of writing was more popular—I’m with T.S. Eliot’s, “Four Quartets” here, “time present and time past” (Burnt Norton, 1). If you haven’t read Eliot, well…

3288 Review: Interesting point, regarding the difference between voice and platform. In your work, how do you back yourself out of the poem so the poem itself speaks? How is it possible for the creator to remove her fingerprint from her creation?

Andrea England: As with any work of art, poets leave traces of their DNA behind. In Lawrence Raab’s new book, Why Don’t We Say What We Mean: Essays Mostly About Poetry, Raab poses that in poetry, “the fictive immediately calls attention to form, the autobiographical is essentially shapeless.” Voice is a trait that comes with practicing but occurs when the poem chooses its perimeters. The perimeters include line length, point of view, shape (whether real or imagined), revision, and the unconscious decision to make a pair of shoes purple because there is some intrinsic repetition going on in the poem that needs exploitation (here, conveyed by alliteration). I think the most difficult impetus to control as a poet is surprise. I can tell in my own work if I’m “trying” to surprise the reader, and this is no good. Denise Levertov calls this “easy spontaneity.” A poem should be like the body, a continuously morphing animus.

3288 Review: What are you currently working on?

Andrea England: Like many other writers at this time in history, I’m an adjunct. Fortunately, I also have the wonderful privilege of being a Writing Specialist for WMU’s Athletic and ED departments (these of course in addition to mothering daughters, hens, dogs and other such animals). This probably wasn’t the answer you’re looking for, but it’s an honest one. Poetry-wise, I’m putting together a chapbook that examines the beginnings, middles and ends between two similar identities: those of daughters and lovers. I’ve always enjoyed exploring these two items in my work, but studying D.H. Lawrence during my PhD sparked the idea to explore them exclusively. I published my first chapbook Inventory of a Field in 2014 and am soon to have my second, Other Geographies, in hand in the next month or so.

3288 Review: Who are your three greatest influences as a writer?

Andrea England: My greatest influences as a writer change on the turn of a dime. My writing at the moment is heavily influenced by Haruki Murakami, Elizabeth Bishop, George Eliot, and Ada Limon. I know you asked for three, but I couldn’t help myself. I’ve also got to mention my students here. Reading and giving feedback on their work informs my craft, my images—All of it, on a daily basis.

3288 Review: You mention Murakami, who also joins my influencers list. Which of his works spoke most strongly to you, and why?

Andrea England: It’s almost impossible to narrow down a single Murakami influence, but let’s see… After I finished A Wild Sheep Chase, I felt taken. Well, hadn’t I been on a literal wild sheep chase? Indeed, I had. This isn’t my “favorite” book of Murakami’s, but what it does is epic in poetic proportion. The speaker is forced to go on a journey. He believes that he is being forced, anyway. Yet, the journey itself is one of self-exploration, exploration of external geographies and imagined constraints. Murakami’s characters take on a momentum that like the best poems, traverse across subtle detail, music, and momentary truths, never quite achieving exactly what they thought or returning to exactly where they began.

3288 Review: Describe the best and the worst experiences you’ve had as an author. How have these situations shaped your growth as an author?

Andrea England: My worst experiences as a writer. Here it goes. AWP is a soap opera. It’s the best bookshop in the world, but with it comes every memory, possibility of exile, friendship, and heartbreak to be had as a creative writer and human being. Other than that, I’d say being told that I was a finalist for a prize but disqualified because I submitted too many poems—The evidence that I should’ve read the submission guidelines a little closer.

3288 Review: Tell us more about AWP. More serious literary types migrate to AWP (or BEA, or, or, or) at least once in a career. Should they? Is AWP overrated, or a necessary rite of passage, or both? Or neither?

Andrea England: Regarding AWP, yes, I think it is a right of passage. As I’ve said before, it is truly the best and biggest bookstore in the world, and on the last day, books go cheap. However, AWP is a privilege. This is one of the angles I dislike about it. After you’ve booked a place to stay, paid for “city” eating and transportation, the cost equals most people’s family vacation cost. Those who can afford or receive grants present, sell books, mingle with the “rich getting richer” and those who can’t, don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I like getting my back patted and patting back, so I’m complicit in this. It’s also true that many of us writers have a little anxiety—so imagine thousands of us together. Anxious yet? All that said, if you haven’t gone once, go!

3288 Review: Tell us a bit more about who you are—what have you studied? What have you written? Any fun anecdotes that will help our readers better understand your perspective or motivation as a writer?

Andrea England: Who am I and what have I studied? I think I’ve answered those a bit in the other questions with some room to wiggle. I like wiggle room.