Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Behind the Masthead: Dorothy Chan

Only a few weeks until Issue 55 is released! Meanwhile, we are gearing up for our special themed issue: CHAOS. Lauren Mickey interviews our poetry editor, Dorothy Chan, about boy bands, Nylon, and our upcoming issue.

Lauren Mickey: What are you currently reading (besides submissions)? 

Dorothy Chan: I'm currently reading a bunch of fashion blogs: We Wore What, Sea of Shoes, Luxirare, etc. I like to keep up with current trends in fashion and lifestyle -- I truly believe this enhances my writing and gives me a different perspective besides the literary. On the literary side, however, I'm reading The Crucifix Blocks by Todd Fredson as well as the current issue of APR

LM: How has being a poetry editor at HFR changed the way you write / read?

DC: Being poetry editor for 2 years has enhanced the way I read. Besides the benefit of reading submissions with greater speed, I'm also reading much more meticulously. I'm trying to get to know the person behind the writer behind each poem. 

LM: What is your go-to play-on-repeat song?

DC: Oh wow, I have so many. And I promise you, I'm not one of those writers who names obscure bands just to sound cool. Let's see, right now I'm hooked on 5 Seconds of Summer, this adorable band that's labeled as a "boyband," though they strive to be more pop-punk. I like their song "She Looks So Perfect" because it keeps referencing "American Apparel Underwear." Interestingly, I'm also a big Sinatra fan--I fell in love with his voice in a taxicab in Hong Kong when I was four. I love his duet with Bing Crosby from the film, High Society. With that, I love songs from old MGM musicals. As far as a playlist: "Evil" by Interpol, "Live While We're Young" by One Direction, "Biggest Part of Me" by Ambrosia, "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart, "Eyes As Candles," by Passion Pit, and [fill in the blank with almost anything catchy]. 


LM: Issue 55 — the “Chaos” issue — is coming out soon… Were you surprised and/or impressed by how poets incorporated themes of chaos into their submissions? 

DC: I am very pleased with the Chaos collection Jackie and I are curating. At first, I was worried we'd get hundreds of Dada poems, but there's lots of standouts in this collection. I'm glad that many writers incorporated narrative with chaos.

LM: I read your previous “Behind the Masthead” interview and saw that you read Nylon. Do you have a favorite Nylon covergal? (Mine is Tavi Gevinson, I think, probably.) 

DC: I love Tavi! I saw this fabulous pink fur outfit she wore on a fashion blog the other day. My other favorite would have to be Sienna Miller for the anniversary issue. I also like Taylor Momsen's cover on a summer issue of Nylon Singapore.

LM: What is your ideal writing environment (coffee shop, a dark room, lost in the woods, etc.)? 

DC: My ideal environment is anywhere noisy...hopefully with enough attractive things or people to look at.

________________________________________________________________

Dorothy Chan is a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PlumeChaKeyhole, and Vine Leaves. She is a poetry editor at Hayden's Ferry Review

Thursday, November 13, 2014

This Week in Writing

The English translation of The Three-Body Problem, the first of a science fiction trilogy by Liu Cixin, was released on Tuesday by Tor Books.

Warsaw Ghetto, scrapbooks created by Polish author Jewish Mary Berg in 1945, disappeared in 1950, and have surfaced recently to shed light onto the Nazi genocide. The family of Ms. Berg has requested to cancel the auction of her diary.

Former President George W. Bush publishes 41: A Portrait of My Father, a biography about his father and being the second president in history to follow in the steps of his father.

David Ritz, author of celebrity biographies, will publish Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin this year. This is his second time working with Ms. Franklin since 1999.

Upcoming writer Atticus Lish publishes Preparation for The Next Life, about a love story lived in the shadows, based in part on his own experiences.


-Zalma Aguirre

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Beat Movement and its Influence on Music

I’ve been obsessed with the Beat movement for a couple of years now, and I’ve always had a love for music. As I began to read Kerouac and Ginsberg, I started to notice similarities both in the style and the subject matter of the writing of some of my favorite artists from the 1960s and 70s. I got so wrapped up in this that I started to do a little bit of research to see if these ideas could be credited in any way.

In the 1950s and 60s, the writers of the Beat Generation sought to spiritually and sexually liberate humanity, decriminalize drugs, and promote a counterculture lifestyle. The works of Beat authors Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs proved to be very influential on rising musicians of the day. Songwriters and bands latched on the Beat movement’s ideals, which a majority of the public considered unmoral, in the 1960s as rock and roll music grew across the globe.

I quickly found out that some of my favorite musicians had direct connections with the Beat Movement. Ginsberg was friends with Bob Dylan and had even met the Beatles, on multiple occasions. He even accompanied Dylan on his 1975 tour for “Blood on the Tracks,” which many fans consider to be his best album. There are short, but interesting videos of Ginsberg and Dylan visiting Kerouac’s grave and discussing other famous burial sites that they have both seen.

The influence of the Beats can be heard throughout Dylan’s music, both in his earlier, so-called “protest” songs, like “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” and his later works, which often sounded more spontaneous and experimental; “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Ballad of a Thin Man” come to mind.

The members of the Grateful Dead were familiar with Neal Cassady, a hero of the Beat Generation, who also spent time with author Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, Driving around the Country in a psychedelic bus called “Furthur.” The Dead also hung out with that crowd, and so were graced with the stories of Cassady, which they later turned into songs of their own. In a 1968 song, “That’s it for the Other One,” Bob weir sings “Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never ever land.” Many of the Grateful Dead’s live shows were based in a spontaneity that members of the Beat generation would’ve approved of; they often became long jam sessions.

Other bands influenced by the Beats were The Doors and the Velvet Underground, were not as close to the main writers of the beat generation, but their music was still greatly influenced by their works. Ray Manzarek, the organ player of The Doors once said that, “if Jack Kerouac had never written On the Road, The Doors would never have existed.” Jim Morrison agreed with this statement, citing Kerouac as a major influence. His lyrics and poetry were often aimed at opening the minds of listeners to new experiences and ways of thinking.

I hadn’t listened to the Velvet Underground until about a year ago, but as soon as I listened to the band’s debut, “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” I could hear the influence of the Beats. The album was originally criticized for its harsh lyrical themes — use of illegal drugs, prostitution, and S & M. In 1967, it was unusual for songwriters to address these topics so blatantly. The Velvet Underground changed that with songs such as “I’m Waiting for the Man” and “Heroin.” The band was interested in displaying the realities of life in the late 60s, something that would’ve appealed to the Beats.

These are just a few of the bands that took cues from the Beat Movement. The writers of that period greatly contributed to what would become the counterculture movement of the 60s, which would prove to be one of the most important musical periods in history.

-William Ruof

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our Editors: They're Readers Like You

So surely anyone on this blog has a love for lit magazines, especially Hayden’s Ferry Review. Our editors at HFR do too, and they were happy to share their personal favorites. Each one is its own unique publication, and great examples of the wider range of journals we all have from all over the country accessible to us thanks to the internet.

Allegra Hyde

A favorite journal of mine? One Story is certainly up there. I admire its simplicity, for starters. There’s no fanfare, just a single piece of fiction every month. I also appreciate the journal’s selection of both established and emerging authors, as well as the editorial audacity it takes to publish only one piece at a time. While One Story is relatively unique in its format, I think its clarity of focus can be translated to larger journals.

Dorothy Chan

I like Epoch because it's a classic -- beautiful collections curated by my former professor, Michael Koch. (It is based out of Cornell and it also includes screenplays, cartoons, and graphic fiction.)

And I like Five Quarterly because it's probably the hippest online journal I can think of at the moment -- they even have a Tumblr! (Their Tumblr page serves as a way to get final reads that didn’t make it into the issue published on their page!)




Dana Diehl

I'm crushing on the newest issue of Booth. I love Booth's layout. When you flip through an issue, it just invites you inside. Very open, very aesthetically pleasing. They're one of the few journals that consistently publish comics, and I like that they celebrate visual forms of storytelling, not just the written.

I'm also a big fan of Gulf Coast. They create consistently beautiful print issues, and they have a great online presence. I admire the literary community building they do in Houston, with events such as the Gulf Coast Gala.


Alex McElroy

My favorite journal is called Music & Literature. It's a quarterly out of Manhattan that, rather than looking for young artists, devotes each issue to three under-represented, established artists. So, an issue will feature 80 or so pages of short work and essays about a fiction writers, 80 or so pages featuring prints by and essays about a visual artist; and round out with essays on a composer. This format gives readers a chance to explore deeply the range of an artist's work and to learn more about how that artist fits in with his or her medium. I think it's an excellent journal that is truly doing something different than most other journals, in its commitment to quality writers, rather than a variety of writers. Additionally, it often serves as an excellent introduction to artists' work; far superior to skimming Wikipedia.


Whether you just want a single piece or a variety of creative work, young or established writers, there is no shortage to choose from, and hopefully this gets you started. So now follow any link and find if these journals have something to offer you.

-Leslie Verdugo

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

If You Need Me, I Will Be Over Here Listening to “Slide It In” on Repeat: Flash-Prose Contest Honorable Mention

Here at HFR, we were so pleased when judge Catherine Dent selected Amy Rossi as an honorable mention for our "500 for 500" Flash-Prose Contest. Amy's story is heartbreaking and surprising in its honesty. Enjoy!

Also, we are only a month away from our launch of Hayden's Ferry Review: Issue 55. It's looking awesome, and we're excited for you to see it.

_________________________________________________________________



If You Need Me, I Will Be Over Here Listening to “Slide It In” on Repeat

Amy Rossi

The overhead lights are on – it’s that kind of party. The liquor gets better but the wattage gets higher, and already I’m thinking about what we can get away with in the corners of the kitchen, hallway, foyer. I blame the five semesters I spent as a drama major for my exhibitionist streak, though anyone who knew me before would confirm it began much earlier.

The problem with me is that I spent my malleable teenage years listening to cock rock and so I never learned the fine art of subtlety, because who needs a double entendre when a single entendre will do.  I understand the uncertainty of the chase is supposed to be thrilling but there’s also something to be said for knowing where the next lay is coming from.

And so when we’re the only ones in the kitchen, I ask if you’re coming home with me. You say, well, actually, and your voice trails off, but it’s not the kind of sentence that needs to be finished. I ask if she’s here. The brightness in my voice isn’t fooling anyone. You say you’re meeting up with her later. Your eyes say I’m sorry, and I take a breath and make mine say, For what?

When I say, I hope it goes well for you two, I mean, I have underwear you haven’t even seen yet, and possibly, it’s so new it’s still that gray area, right, so we could probably fuck tonight and you could explain later that you were just so in love with her it scared you; we are used to that shit.

When you say thanks, you mean thanks. I hear, you will never see me naked again.

I excuse myself to the bathroom but when you turn to the freezer to forage for ice, I duck outside, pulling the door tight behind me. It’s not even worth it to ask why not me. I know why not. This is the result of living one night at a time. The cock rock is good for such living, for the wanting and excitement, and good for when it goes bad, but no one ever laid down a sweaty guitar riff for a song about figuring out how to be honest about what you want and getting it and being really happy. David Coverdale gave no fucks there.

But I wasn’t born at the right time or with the right parts or hair or talent to be David Coverdale, and I want to swear that next time, I’m going to be the one pursued, the one who gets to say well, actually, the one who knows the other person is waiting, but I know I won’t be able to hold out because what if I am holding out forever.

When I say I want to be liked, what I mean is loved and by that I mean consumed and possibly swallowed.



_______________________________________________________________

Amy Rossi is an MFA candidate in fiction at Louisiana State University, and her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart Web, Ninth Letter Online, and Barrelhouse