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The Stump is a new feature of the Cherry Tree website, where you can listen to audio recordings of contributors reading their work aloud.
Earlier this spring, we decided to ask our inaugural issue contributors to record themselves reading their pieces from the issue for us to post on the Cherry Tree website. Since we are a print-only publication, our editor thought that this would be a wonderful way to share free samples of the issue and for readers to experience that work in a different light. You get to hear the writer’s voice. You get to hear how the writer intended the work to be read. You get feel closer to the writer whose work you admire.
The Stump is a platform where our fantastic contributors can stand to read their work to a wider web audience. Right now, our Stump line-up is Juliana Gray, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Matthew Lippman, and Pamela Hart. We will add even more recordings in the months to come. Maybe, if you are intrigued enough by the pieces you hear, you will even decide to subscribe to Cherry Tree.
So grab a seat by the stump. Dig your toes into the warm grass. Close your eyes. Listen up.
Editor Jehanne Dubrow interviews Jeannine Hall Gailey, a contributor to the inaugural issue of Cherry Tree. In her latest poetry collection, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter (Mayapple Press, 2015), Jeannine Hall Gailey examines the impact of nuclear research on the American landscape, family history, and the self. The book makes science intimate and personal, close as a father, the history of the atom a frightening fairy tale told to a little girl at bedtime.
1. Your poetry collection begins with a beautiful essay about overlapping themes in The Robot Scientist’s Daughter: the Tennessee countryside, your father’s work as a scientist and professor, and the potential risks of nuclear research. Was this essay part of the original draft of your manuscript? Or, did you decide—in collaborating with your editor at Mayapple Press—that the book needed this piece of prose?
JHG: The essay was written after the manuscript was ready for publication, actually. I had read a few author’s notes to books that I’d been reading, and although I’d included footnotes in previous books, I’d never included an author’s note. I thought the subject matter was important enough that I should probably explain some things in prose at the beginning of the book – things like, a little history about Oak Ridge, a little about nuclear pollution, and some of the details of my childhood, that kind of thing.
2. With poems like “Cesium Burns Blue,” “Iodine-131,” and “‘Now I Am Become Death’” you merge science and lyricism. What strategies do you use for incorporating scientific language (not to mention actual scientific facts) in your poems, while preserving their musicality and narrative compression?
JHG: I’ve been balancing scientific language with imagery and more consciously lyrical/musical language since my very first poetry workshop in my MA workshop in my early twenties, when I brought in a poem to workshop that included words like “sentry enzymes.” The large Latinate words that accompany any science vocabulary are not, themselves, easy to read or easy to fit effortlessly into poetry, so it takes some conscious kajiggering to balance the scientific terminology – which I didn’t want to sacrifice – with poetic devices like alliteration, syllabics, and internal rhyme.
3. The Robot Scientist’s Daughter also explores the intersection of the natural world and the high-gloss, metallic realm of the laboratory. You give us foxfire and Geiger counters, mountainsides and test tubes. How do you see these two landscapes enacted in your poems? Why show us both?
JHG: Well, the fun/ominous part of Oak Ridge National Laboratories is that it’s an incredibly sophisticated nuclear research center – which you might not even notice if you drove past it, because of the dense woods, agricultural landscape surrounding it, etc. My childhood was literally one of gathering flowers in the yard and then coming in and “helping” my Dad with the robot arm in the basement, or trying out a few lines of code. In college for my B.S. I studied Biology, and I was fascinated then too with the juxtaposition of the beautiful and the horrifying, like a jar of tiny fetal pigs sitting out, or the strange, almost-but-not-quite-baking-like smells of cinnamaldehyde we made in the lab.
4. Woven throughout your collection is a series of poems titled “The Robot Scientist’s Daughter,” each one containing different bracketed information, such “[medical wonder],” “[experiments in sleep deprivation],” and “[ghost in the machine].” This series is clearly the anchor of the collection. Did you write these poems first and then build the rest of book around them? And how did you find the third-person voice of these poems, which seems a mixture of autobiography and mythology?
JHG: Some of the poems in this book were written years before the “Robot Scientist’s Daughter” poems, and the “Robot Scientist’s Daughter” poems really were just a trio of poems for a long time, that I didn’t think about making into a larger series. So the poems sort of grew together organically. When I first put the collection together, too, I saw that I would need some poems that filled in the gaps of the history of Oak Ridge, the descriptions of Knoxville and its environs, a little about my own autobiography – those poems probably came in the latest.
As far as the voice – well, if you’ve read my other three books, you know the mode I’m most comfortable writing in and have the most fun with is persona poetry, so I kind of tried to create a persona that was sort of me but not quite me, which allowed me to mix personal details with science fiction, fantasy, mythology, history, etc. I also think those poems were probably still, like my second book, She Returns to the Floating World, highly influenced by Japanese anime, particularly the movies of Hayao Miyazaki. That guy really is one of my continuing muses!
5. Ekphrasis plays an important role in this collection. There are poems inspired by movies and photography (there’s also a great poem that engages with W.H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts”). How does ekphrasis serve you when you’re writing a book-length series of poems? Why turn to other art forms or other artists?
JHG: Yes, I’d say almost all my books have some elements of ekphrastic poetry in them – simply because many times I’m inspired by “things” – comics, anime, scientific news articles, visual art, a song, a short story – and the poems definitely reflect that. External stimuli often “knock” poems out of me. I do think it’s important that poetry is in conversation with other art forms and with “real world” objects that people can relate easily to – say, television shows or comic books. Sometimes people think of poetry as so rarified, difficult to access – but those same people can walk up to a visual art piece or listen to music and immediately access it. They don’t think of those art forms as “rarified.” I want my poems to have that sense of immediacy, and also have some sense of involvement in the world. As a poet, I want people to know I’m not sitting in a garden with a quill pen listening for a muse or something; I’m doing the same things they are – dealing with traffic, listening to the news, trying to re-write last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries so it makes more sense…
Buy Jeannine’s book here.
Visit Jeannine website here.
Cherry Tree and the Literary House Press are counting down to the 2015 AWP Conference & Bookfair, which this year will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from April 8-11. We will be at the Rose O’Neill Literary House table in the Bookfair: table 1724.
Last year at this time, we were still in the planning stages for our brand-new national literary journal Cherry Tree. We brought flyers with us to the 2014 Conference in Seattle that we handed out at the Rose O’Neill Literary House table in the Bookfair, detailing our mission statement and when we would open for our first round of general submissions. Cherry Tree was just an idea then, with no tangible presence.
But this year will be a big one for us at the AWP Conference. This year Cherry Tree is a real thing. This year we have shelves full of gorgeous copies of our Inaugural Issue. This year we have a pretty and practical Cherry Tree tote bag for accessorizing swag. And this is a hefty tote bag. Planning to buy 100 pounds of books during the Bookfair? You can fit 38 copies of Cherry Tree’s inaugural issue in this beautiful canvas tote (seriously, I just checked).
At table 1724 in the AWP Bookfair in the Minneapolis Convention Center, we will have the following special Conference-only offers:
- Special AWP Offer: $10 ea. for copies of the inaugural issue (normally $14 one-year subscription price)
- Buy a two-year subscription, get a free tote bag! Two-year subscriptions are only $25, and include the inaugural issue & our upcoming 2016 issue. Tote bags will also be sold individually at $12 ea.
But the cherry on top of this year’s Conference will be the official Cherry Tree Launch Party we are hosting on Thursday, April 9 at 7:00PM at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, 1300 Nicollet Mall. We will be celebrating the release of the inaugural issue of our brand-new literary journal in style with readings by contributors Juliana Gray, Dore Kiesselbach, Bruce Snider, and Laura Madeline Wiseman! There will also be a generous spread of tasty refreshments (including an open bar), a sale & signing of the issue, and good literary conversation. We would like to invite all of you to join us for this very special event, if you can make it! If you can, please RSVP to me at email@example.com.
We are gearing up for an incredible AWP Conference in Minneapolis. Please come out to see us and say hello!
Literary House Press Intern, Nicolas Anstett, takes an analytical look at the inaugural issue of Cherry Tree: A National Literary Journal @ Washington College. The issue will be released on February 15, 2015.
George Washington stares blankly back at you through the cover of the inaugural issue of Cherry Tree. Trapped within the confines of a crinkled one-dollar bill, Washington sits captured in American iconography. It is hard to think of a more fitting cover for Cherry Tree’s first foray into the national literary landscape. It simultaneously captures the many elements that make this magazine and inaugural issue so unique: a commitment to history, creation and evolution of the American myth, the mundane and personal, but also the lyrically beautiful. Through the works of an eclectic grouping of writers Cherry Tree has created something personal, but also carries with it the weight of truth and myth.
Cherry Tree’s inaugural issue almost reads like a three act play, separating itself into interconnected but thematically different acts. It begins with a celebration of past and text. Leslie Harrison, Christine Stewart-Nuñez, and Moira Egan structure lyric ekphrastic poems engaged with the writings of Emily Dickinson and a watercolor painting by Madeline Ritz, illuminated manuscripts, and the paintings of Suzanne Valadon. Similarly, Anna Journey constructs her lyric nonfiction essay “On the Back of a Flying Fish, Dear Sister” as an examination of found text, in this case a postcard shared between two women. Like the dollar it adorns on its cover, Cherry Tree begins with an exchange of artifacts that allow for a human examination of the past and the emotions hidden in words and image.
From here, Cherry Tree transitions into its second act: a formation of the American myth through pop culture and contemporary pathos. It slices its way into the proceedings with Gabrielle Hovendon’s unnerving piece of magical realist fiction, “When We Were Dissected.” Here Phoebe Reeves, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Matthew Lippman, and Bruce Snider intersect ruminations on gender, cultural protest, workplace boredom, and parenthood with images of fast food chains, digitally-rendered monsters, Nicholas Sparks, and sperm banks. John Vanderslice’s work of fiction “Something for Dinner” surrounds race, religion, class, and post-colonialism in a disarming local tourist trap that helps further Cherry Tree’s regional identity. It’s a creation of the contemporary American myth that adds the smudged fingerprints and torn edges to the green paper cover.
Through Betty Jo Buro’s nonfiction essay concerning pregnancy and the tribulations of motherhood “The Road from Emmaus,” the texts transition into the issue’s final act. Here the lyricism of the early works combines with the grit and immediacy of its second act to create a blend of personal but stylistically musical works of nonfiction and poetry. Julie Marie Wade examines the relationship between her mother and her visual impairment in “Lazy Eye.” Jericho Brown’s “Atlantis” views his experience with gender politics through the lens of New Orleans. In the end, Charlie Clark’s “Dead American Christmas Ghazal” closes us out, proclaiming, “It is difficult to picture the dead as nothing / Even this long after they are gone.”
Cherry Tree is a socially and lyrically aware furthering of the American myth and follows suit on its mission statement of finding truth. Like currency, it passes its baton through dozens of writers of varying sex, gender, race, class, and literary schooling. The result is something that impresses through craft, emotion, and humanity.
Want to read the issue for yourself? Subscribe here!
Nicolas Anstett is the 2015 Literary House Press Intern at the Rose O’Neill Literary House. He will be joining the Cherry Tree staff as a student screener for its second issue, beginning in August 2015.
After a lot of hard work, our very first issue is headed to print. Get a sneak peek at the cover and specially selected excerpts from the issue!
We have finally completed all layout, design, and editing work for the inaugural issue of Cherry Tree: A National Literary Journal @ Washington College. After weeks of painstaking proofreading, we think the text is practically perfect (in every way, as Mary Poppins would say). And like Mary Poppins, the simple but stunning cover we’re unveiling today says a lot with such a very little. It is an image we all know well, but we hope that altering it slightly and making it larger than life on the front of this issue makes it new again and worth paying attention to. George will be making appearances throughout the issues to come as well, but with a difference. We do love him so.
And you can now read a small sampling of select poems by Leslie Harrison, Bruce Snider, and Jericho Brown; a fiction excerpt from Stephanie Dickinson’s short story; and a brief creative nonfiction essay by Anna Journey over at our “Work We Love” page under the Submissions tab! Get a taste for the upcoming issue and then order a subscription to read the entire fantastic journal. Subscription prices are still $14 for a year (one issue) and $25 for two years (two issues). The final printed beauty will be available beginning February 15!
The editorial staff of Cherry Tree share the top book titles on their Christmas/Chanukah/non-denominational-winter-solstice-celebration wishlists for 2014. This is what we’re hoping to snuggle up with during the inevitable snow days to come.
1. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition (fiction), edited by Jack Zipes
2. The Best American Poetry 2014 (poetry), edited by Terrance Hayes
3. Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (nonfiction), by Mary Ruefle
1. The Sasquatch Hunters Almanac (fiction), by Sharma Shields
2. I Hope I Join the Band: Narrative, Affiliation, and Antiracist Rhetoric (nonfiction), by Frankie Condon
3. A Wedding in Haiti (fiction), by Julia Alvarez
James Allen Hall
1. Citizen: An American Lyric (poetry), by Claudia Rankine
2. White Teeth (fiction), Zadie Smith
3. Prelude to Bruise (poetry), by Saeed Jones
1. The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew (nonfiction), by Alan Lightman
2. Shirley (fiction), by Susan Scarf Merrell
3. Hansel & Gretel (fiction), by Neil Gaiman & Lorenzo Mattotti
1. There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children Until They Moved Back In (fiction), by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
2. The Bone Clocks (fiction), by David Mitchell
3. The Biographer’s Tale (fiction), by A.S. Byatt
1. The Next American Essay (nonfiction), edited by John D’Agata
2. Blood Dazzler (poetry), by Patricia Smith
3. Sleeping with the Dictionary (poetry), Harryette Mullen
1. I built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown) (poetry), by Leia Penina Wilson
2. This Boring Apocalypse (fiction), by Brandi Wells
3. Citizen: An American Lyric (poetry), by Claudia Rankine
(Jehanne Dubrow is currently buried under final-paper-grading and will send her list soon!)
The votes are in! As of this morning, we have now responded to all submissions. Our final list of contributors for the inaugural issue of Cherry Tree is a whopping 33 names long.
Contributors of Fiction:
Contributors of Nonfiction:
Betty Jo Buro
Julie Marie Wade
Contributors of Poetry:
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Thomas Alan Holmes
Laura Madeline Wiseman
We are extremely excited to be bringing you new work from all of the above writers. We are so confident in these pieces and the ways in which they work together.
The inaugural issue of Cherry Tree will be released on February 15, 2015. Subscribe today by e-mailing Owen Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscriptions are $14 for one year and $25 for two years (these prices include shipping).
Cherry Tree closed for general submissions for Issue 1 at midnight on October 15. Here is what you sent us!
Total number of submissions: 544
Poetry submissions: 325
Fiction submissions: 162
Nonfiction submissions: 57
Wow! Thank you all so much for trusting us with your very best work in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. We have found so many wonderful poems, stories, and essays for inclusion in Issue 1.
And we still have a few more submissions to sift through before closing the books on this reading period. We plan to respond to all in-progress submissions in the next couple of weeks. There are still a few slots left to be filled. So if you’re waiting on a response from us, keep your fingers crossed!
Stay tuned for the official list of contributors for Issue 1 (coming soon). And if you’re interested in buying a subscription, check out your options here.
Special Announcement from the Editors
Cherry Tree has now CLOSED for FICTION SUBMISSIONS for the current reading period! We have received so many amazing pieces and have accepted (nearly) all the fiction we can fit for this issue. We WILL continue to read & consider all pieces already submitted to us for this category.
We hope the rest of you will send us your best fiction pieces during our next reading period, which opens August 15, 2015. Thank you so much!
Because we still make time for our fun reading, even when there is no time. We’re serious multitaskers here at Cherry Tree.
1. Copia (poetry), by Erika Meitner
2. Ultimatum from Paradise (poetry), by Jacqueline Osherow
3. The current issues of Rattle, West Branch, and New England Review
1. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (nonfiction), by Mary Roach
2. If the Tabloids Are True, What Are You? (poetry), by Matthea Harvey
3. How a Mother Weaned her Girl from Fairy Tales (fiction), Kate Bernheimer
1. An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England (fiction), by Brock Clarke
2. The New Yorker Stories (fiction), Ann Beattie
3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane (fiction), by Neil Gaiman
James Allen Hall
1. White Girls (nonfiction), by Hilton Als
2. Citizen (poetry), by Claudia Rankine
3. Still Life with Oysters and Lemon (nonfiction), by Mark Doty
1. A Clash of Kings (fiction), by George R. R. Martin
2. Monsters: A Collection of Literary Sightings (fiction), edited by Brian Baldi
3. This is Your Country on Drugs (nonfiction), by Ryan Grim
1. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (fiction), by Jeanette Winterson
2. The Bloody Chamber (fiction), by Angela Carter
3. Duplex (fiction), by Kathryn Davis
1. The Book of Goodbyes (poetry), by Jillian Weise
2. Striking Surface (poetry), by Jason Schneiderman
3. The Local World (poetry), by Mira Rosenthal
1. Saturn (fiction), by Simon Jacobs
2. Raising Steam (fiction), by Terry Pratchett
3. Red Doc> (poetry), by Anne Carson
Meet our student screeners for the inaugural issue!
Although all has seemed quiet here at Cherry Tree, we’ve been hard at work building all the invisible architecture that gets a literary journal standing upright and ready to publish the best new creative writing out there. Let me get you up to date.
- The Library of Congress has granted us our official ISSN! We are 2372-9791.
- We are now a proud member of the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses.
- A NewPages Classified Ad will be announcing our inaugural call for submissions. After we print our first issue in February, we can be considered for a NewPages Literary Magazine listing.
- We have a market listing on that fabulous database, Duotrope.
- We have a Facebook page! And a Twitter profile!
- We’ve beefed up our roster of contributing editors with wonderful Washington College writing alumni: Roy Kesey, Erin Murphy, Peter Turchi, Laura Maylene Walter.
- We’ve got a cover design for issue one already in production, and are tinkering with the journal layout and interior design (so exciting!!).
And we’ve hired our line-up of Literary Editing & Publishing students as our first-tier screeners! These are the ladies and gents who will have the first look at your amazing submissions. Here’s a little more about them:
Grace Arenas, poetry screener
Class of 2014
Grace graduated from Washington College this past May and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014. She attended the 2014 AWP Conference in Seattle as part of the Rose O’Neill Literary House team and was a finalist for this year’s Sophie Kerr Prize.
Reilly D. Cox, poetry screener
Class of 2016
Reilly is a junior at Washington College and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014. He won the 2013 Jude & Miriam Pfister Poetry Prize through the Academy of American Poets. He was also awarded an Honorable Mention for the 2014 William W. Warner Prize for Creative Writing on Nature & the Environment.
Samantha Gross, poetry screener
Class of 2014
Samantha graduated from Washington College this past May and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014. She also served as Literary House Press Intern this past spring, during which she assisted greatly in the editing & publishing of The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume.
Jessica Fitzpatrick, fiction screener
Class of 2014
Jessica graduated from Washington College this past May and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014.
Aileen Gray, fiction screener
Class of 2014
Aileen graduated from Washington College this past May and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014. She has served in two internships at the Rose O’Neill Literary House: the Pegasus Media Internship in electronic publishing & the Literary House Summer Internship in arts administration. For the latter, she organized & executed her own event at the Lit House: “Literary Publishing from the Inside Out: How to Publish Your Work & the Work of Others,” with poet, editor, and professor Mary Biddinger. She also attended the 2013 AWP Conference in Boston & the 2013 West Chester University Poetry Conference as part of the Rose O’Neill Literary House team.
Claire Hansen, fiction screener
Class of 2014
Claire graduated from Washington College this past May and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014.
Ariel Jicha, poetry screener
Class of 2015
Ariel is a senior at Washington College and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014. She has served in two internships at the Rose O’Neill Literary House: the Literary House Press Internship in print publishing & the Pegasus Media Internship in electronic publishing. For the former, she designed The Sophie Kerr Prize Anthology: 2011 & 2012. She also attended the 2014 West Chester University Poetry Conference as part of the Rose O’Neill Literary House team.
Emily Lasdin, fiction screener
Class of 2015
Emily is a senior at Washington College and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014.
Carissa Marcelle, poetry screener
Class of 2014
Carissa graduated from Washington College this past May and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014.
Kimberly Uslin, poetry screener
Class of 2014
Kim graduated from Washington College this past May and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014. She was a finalist for this year’s Sophie Kerr Prize and attended the 2014 West Chester University Poetry Conference as part of the Rose O’Neill Literary House team.
Alexander Vidiani, poetry screener
Class of 2015
Alex is a senior at Washington College and completed the Literary Editing & Publishing course in spring 2014. He attended the 2014 West Chester University Poetry Conference as part of the Rose O’Neill Literary House team.
Cherry Tree opens for general submissions on August 15, 2014!
A few words from managing editor, Lindsay Lusby.
On August 15, 2014, our brand-new literary journal Cherry Tree will open for general submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction! In the meantime, we’ve been working our butts off to get all of the infrastructure in place, so that we are able to produce one of the most beautiful inaugural issues you have ever seen. Speaking of which, here’s the gorgeous logo that Washington College’s Director of Visual Arts in the Office of College Relations, James Arnold, created for us:
Our first annual issue will be released on February 15, 2015 and we will be debuting it in all its printed glory at the 2015 AWP Conference in Minneapolis.