TQ1 Editors’ Features

Editor’s Foreword by Jessamyn Smyth

Jellyfish, it seems, are what our oceans are becoming: capitalizing on the warming temperatures, the acidification, the decreasing oxygen, they are reproducing so fast they clog shipping lanes, rudders, nuclear power plants; they are eating all the plankton and the eggs of their own predators, starving even the whales. What to do about this, an interviewer asks a marine biologist, and gets no simple answer; instead a discussion of legacies, and choices, and responsibilities. Read More »


Launch Notes by Jessamyn Smyth

Starting an electronic arts quarterly from scratch is no small or single task. … This launch issue will be, we hope, a taste of what’s to come. Read More »


Introduction to Taryn Schwilling’s Poetry by Dan Beachy-Quick

I’ve now known Taryn Schwilling’s poems for many years, poems whose music of both ear and eye made me feel I was, in reading them, on the cusp of understanding some necessity in beauty I hadn’t been able to grasp before. Of course, beauty is of tremulous, perhaps evanescent, necessity—to encounter the sense of it in a poem is also to feel its complications, even its loss. Part of Schwilling’s great giftedness is the grace with which she accepts the agonized conditions of lyric investigation: that inability, pure paradox, to know if one has in hand what one most wants to hold, or if the same is lost entire. Read More »


Shoshin by CM Burroughs

I’m sitting in my living room in the day’s last light, listening to a Gillian Welch track, “Look At Miss Ohio,” a song that seems to give permission for a bit of tossing the self about—...look at miss ohio/she’s runnin around with her ragtop down/she says ‘I wanna do right but not right now.’ Only I haven’t been tossing myself about in the least—I’ve just begun a new teaching semester at Columbia College Chicago, my tenure clock has begun its run, and I have a new book on the brain. There’s no room for wayward being. I’ve got poetry readings, faculty meetings, and three classes to teach. And I love it—all. I have to remind myself that during all the moments of hustle, late night work, and what sometimes seemed painfully minute movements forward—I was devoted to my arrival here. I write now as a recording, an entry, my breath of being present for this all. Read More »


The Poetics of Translation: An Introduction by Nancy Naomi Carlson

Others before me have eloquently discussed the theory, history, and practice of the art of literary translation. This brief introduction to the translations in our inaugural issue will not provide such a broad overview, but rather will focus on my own individual sensibilities regarding poetry translation. Read More »


Hank Hine
Pairings: Poets and Painters in Mutual Usefulness by Cassandra Cleghorn

Just over ten years ago I went to an exhibit at the New York Public Library called “In Company,” a documentation of Robert Creeley’s collaborations with visual artists: from his work with René Laubiès in 1953 to his work in 1999 with Archie Rand. The exhibit was a revelation. I had known of Creeley’s partnerships with Alex Katz and R. B. Kitaj and Jim Dine, but here were scores of other pieces with visual artists as well as musicians. Surrounded by the exuberant evidence of Creeley’s collaborations, I began to appreciate the social density of the artistic process to which he and his friends were devoted. Letters and scribbles and final proofs of broadsides and esoteric books reflected an extraordinary, shared devotion to the working out of beautiful ideas in word and image. As John Yau writes, Creeley “redefined the terms of collaboration” between poets and visual artists. For Creeley what mattered most was “the kind of integration that can be made to take place.” That integration was intimate, visceral, intellectual: the work emerging simultaneously from conversation, from the materials at hand, from the physical situation of the making, and from the drive toward that particular brand of strenuous abstraction that Creeley spent his life practicing. Read More »



Book of the World Courant by Eric Darton

In these pages I will address the situation of the artist, and, in particular, the writer. More specifically, the relation of language and power within the practice of writing. My approach will be at times oblique, at others direct. The form I’ve chosen is a collection of texts, some written by me, some by others, intended for interpretation by the reader according to the contents and disposition of her or his own internalized “cabinet” of curiosities and wonders. By presenting these fragments as artifacts possessing both distinct qualities and a resemblance to other objects, I hope to articulate a liminal, even tidal, realm where art and nature meet – and the alchemy of language and meaning occurs. Read More »



Spikes & Rivers: The Work of Joe Wilkins by Elizabeth Eslami

What I’m looking for, always, is writing that works me over like a crowbar. That bruises, yes, but also that breaks the skin, so it can slip under and stay put. Writing that fractures bone, so some part of me has to forever knit around someone else’s story. I don’t want writing I can shake off or walk away from. It’s pretty simple. Great writing does damage. And I don’t want to heal from it, ever. Read More »


An Interview with Gary McDowell by Tanya Jarrett

Because I know you, I know these poems weren’t written sequentially. Are they born of your obsessions, or better asked– are there themes you tend to revisit?
You’re correct, they were not written sequentially, and in fact, they span three distinct “projects.” “The Museum” is from my forthcoming book Weeping at a Stranger’s Funeral (Dream Horse Press) and is part of a series of disjunctive, associative lyrics I wrote in 2011 and 2012, whereas “My Mother the Philosopher Considers Non Sequiturs,” “She Shrugs,” and “Come Morning” are from a finished manuscript, written before Weeping..., of ekphrastic poems, and, finally, “Laughter” is new. Read More »



Thinking in Light: the Art of Julius Lester by Jessamyn Smyth

Julius Lester’s biography should be a familiar one. In the civil rights movement, in literature, in scholarship and teaching, Lester’s presence has been transformative, and the list of his awards and publications is enormous. He is the author of 43 books including nonfiction, novels, children’s literature, poetry, and photographs (with David Gahr), and his work has been translated into 8 languages. He is the recipient of the Newbery Honor, the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, the ALA Notable Book award, the National Book Critics Circle Honor Book award, the New York Times Outstanding Book Award, and has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Jewish Book Award. Read More »


Maggie Smith
Wise & Fierce Beauty: Maggie Smith’s The Well Speaks of its Own Poison by Jessamyn Smyth

When I encountered Maggie Smith’s poetry manuscript The Well Speaks of its Own Poison, winner of Tupelo Press’ 2012 Dorset Prize, I knew, immediately, that I was in the presence of the real thing. There is wise, fierce, and truthful beauty here, the muscular craft to carry it across time and place, and both the risks and stakes required to engage the reader at a level that matters. It’s not pretty, it’s beauty. It’s writing we need. Read More »




Thanks Be to Poetry: Values, Expressions, Gratitudes by Stacey Waite

I am beyond excited to serve as a Senior Poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly. And what better way to celebrate the release of our first issue than to celebrate some of the poetry published in the last year. I think I speak for all of us who read submissions for Tupelo Quarterly when I say that we are grateful for the parts of our days that are filled with the dynamic universe of poetry. As a poet myself, I often think about the values that shape and construct the literary journals I read and submit my work to. So I wanted to share with Tupelo Quarterly readers, as explicitly as I could, what kinds of values keep me reading and writing poems—and therefore what kinds of values inform how I read the work of the poets who submit to TQ. Read More »