Welcome back, Simone Muench & Dean Rader!

During the month of June, we are celebrating the authors that came to us during our last open reading period. Today we bring you Simone Muench and Dean Rader, who have been hard at work editing They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing, due out in June of 2018.
Simone Muench is the author of the chapbook Trace and, in collaboration with Dean Rader, the full-length collaborative poetry collection Suture. They have worked with assistant editors Sally Ashton and Jackie White to select nearly 200 pieces of recent collaborative writing. They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing includes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as hybridized forms that push the boundaries of concepts like “genre” and “author.”


The Collaborators

The editors are putting the finishing touches on the table of contents, so we might have a few names to add to this star-studded list:
Kelli Russell Agodon, Anne-Marie Akin, Maureen Alsop, Kimberly Quiogue Andrews, Nin Andrews, James Ardis, Cynthia Arrieu-King, Amy Ash, Jennifer Atkinson, Devon Balwit, Amy Sayre Baptista, Tom Barlow, Tina Jenkins Bell, Andrea Blancas Beltran, Molly Bendall, Mary Biddinger, Kimberly Blaeser, Sarah Blake, CL Bledsoe, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Andrea Blythe, Mel Bosworth, Traci Brimhall, Elizabeth K. Brown, Callista Buchen, John F. Buckley, Michael Burkard, Elizabeth Jane Burnett, Kai Carlson-Wee, Anders Carlson-Wee, Tina Carlson, Brittany Cavallaro, Travis Cebula, Christopher Citro, Ben Clark, Brian Clements, Cathryn Cofell, Mackenzie Cole, Elizabeth J. Colen, Michael Collins, Juliet Cook, James Cummins, Kristina Marie Darling, Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Jon Davis, Kendra DeColo, Page Delano, Matthew DeMarco, Natalie Diaz, Dana Diehl, Cat Dixon, Tyler Flynn Dorholt, Jacqueline Doyle, Denise Duhamel, Alicia Elkort, Chiyuma Elliott, Craig Foltz, Kate Hanson Foster, Bryan Furuness, Elisa Gabbert, John Gallaher, Ross Gay, Ellen Geist, Jennifer Givhan, Benjamin Goluboff, Melissa Goodrich, Anne Gorrick, Joshua Gottlieb-Miller, Daniel Grandbois, Peter Grandbois, Hillary Gravendyk, Susan Gregory, Tracy Jane Gregory, Carol Guess, Michael Gushue, Stephen Gutierrez, Brenda Hammack, Matthew Shrode Hargis, Carla Harryman, j/j hastain, Rebecca Hazelton, Kathleen Heil, Lyn Hejinian, Derek Henderson, Tom Henthorne, Jeannie Hoag, Leslie E. Hoffman, Grant Holly,  Ron Horning, Amorak Huey, Luther Hughes, Karla Huston, Laura Jones, Todd Kaneko, Megan Kaminski, Persis Karim, Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis, Mary Kasimor, Diane Kendig, Caroline Kessler, Lissa Kiernan, Annie Kim, Dean LaTray, Sarah Layden, David Lehman, Dana Levin, Susan Lewis, Rae Liberto, Sarah Lilius, Ada Limon, Katt Lissard, Janice Tuck Lively, Tony Lopez, Mark Luebbers, Jennifer MacBain-Stephens, Pushpa MacFarlane, Sarah Maclay, Felicia Madlock, Kelly Magee, Paul Marion, Holaday Mason, Ryan Masters, Carlo Matos, Melissa Matthewson, Megan McClure, Kyle McCord, Kevin McLellan, Joe Milazzo, Brenda Miller, Tyler Mills, Justin Rovillos Monson, Gabrielle Montesanti, Alicia Mountain, Erin Mullikin, Rachel Neff, GennaRose Nethercott, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Dustin Nightingale, Meg Noodin, Isobel O’Hare, Rebecca Olander, Daniela Olszewska, Martin Ott, Christine Pacyk, Gillian Parrish, Elizabeth Paul, Michael Peterson, Derek Pollard, Ethel Rackin, Stella Reed, Virginia Smith Rice, Ryan Ridge, Jay Robinson, Andrea Rogers, Sarah Lyn Rogers, Stephanie Rogers, Kathleen Rooney, Bonnie Roy, Tony Ruzicka, Brynn Saito, Shannon Salter, Elizabeth Savage, Philip Schaefer, Michael Schmeltzer, Andrew Scott, Maureen Seaton, Katherine Seluja, Mary Beth Shaffer, Martha Silano, Jonathan Silverman, Matthew Simmons, Leigh Sugar, Sylvia Sukop, Paige Sullivan, Sarah Suzor, Faizan Syed, Jill Talbot, Molly Tenenbaum, Molly Thornton, Julie Marie Wade, William Wadsworth, G C Waldrep, Trent Walters, Jeff Whitney, Wikipoesis, Quintan Ana Wikswo, Laura Madeline Wiseman, David Wojciechowski, Maggie Woodward, Gail Wronsky, Anne Yoder


Exquisite Politics
By Denise Duhamel & Maureen Seaton
The perfect voter has a smile but no eyes,
maybe not even a nose or hair on his or her toes,
maybe not even a single sperm cell, ovum, little paramecium.
Politics is a slug copulating in a Poughkeepsie garden.
Politics is a grain of rice stuck in the mouth
of a king. I voted for a clump of cells,
anything to believe in, true as rain, sure as red wheat.
I carried my ballots around like smokes, pondered big questions,
resources and need, stars and planets, prehistoric
languages. I sat on Alice’s mushroom in Central Park,
smoked longingly in the direction of the mayor’s mansion.
Someday I won’t politic anymore, my big heart will stop
loving America and I’ll leave her as easy as a marriage,
splitting our assets, hoping to get the advantage
before the other side yells: Wow! America,
Vespucci’s first name and home of free and brave, Te amo.
The Sea Witch Needs a Mortgage for the Land, If Not for the House of Bones
By Sarah Blake & Kimberly Quiogue  Andrews
The man at the bank says, I don’t want to be depressing
In her kelp dress          In her seashell dress
In her dress of ink, here is the problem,
a persistent sartorial illegibility,
what do you do when your face has borne no true witness—
I mean, we offer a variation on life insurance,
such that, if you were to,          he clears his throat
She looks at him in the manner of putting
makeup on a fingertip
such that the mortgage would be paid off in full and not
be a burden          on your kin
She devours her children like she devoured all the songs
invented to wish her a mortal, a fish, an innocent
If she could die maybe men would be necessary
As it stands                  there will be no relief
By Mary Biddinger and Jay Robinson
is a little worried about how much he loves the novel Wuthering Heights. In private, he whispers, “I am ___________” then sends himself to un-heaven. Who is the naughtier child, Catherine or Heathcliff? And why doesn’t the weather in Czarland Heights vacillate like a northern place with moors and hillocks? He can’t say that heaven wouldn’t want him, as he invented the concept. Why did it have to involve heaps of coconut? Why was his movie in black and white, and replete with ringlets, the dogs dead for decades? In a less probable world, the Czar would have also been a Czar. Yes. In a less probable world, though, Edgar wouldn’t have died. And the peasants would have feasted nightly on more than limburger cheese and half-stale crackers. Before the Brontë sisters, he considered books an accelerant. Like his mistress’s faux bridal lace teddy. Or the Lady Czar’s culinary renderings of aimless heft. At night he stares out the castle windows. A low, accusatory moon in the Czar-like sky. Stray cats in an alley and a pail of warm milk. Low water level in the moat. He sips Glenfiddich by the gallon, tells his mistress he will stay up all night until he finds the right word. But he never does.
By Kimberly Blaeser & Meg Noodin
Ink a left-handed bridge, manjininj azhegan, reaching—
I am the spilled water of old hearts,
I am the tiny hook in search of an eye.
Story a right-handed river, michiziibi, tracing belonging—
With gete-nibi I baptize tomorrow’s shore,
With the curve of my silver I pierce expectations.
Night travelers, Niibaashkaa, now gather in dark becoming
We are land’s own descendants—we cross in safety,
Our bundles are not burdens.
With dawn we rise out of our dreams, mooka’am
To inscribe wiigwaasabakoon, tell anew this citizen science—
Tempestuous climate, its turns: Nishwanaajakiing.
… and turning for home, it was Secretariat!
By James Cummins and David Lehman
I was supposed to meet Monica, my secretary, at
three o’clock: where was she?  I felt like a ruffian,
standing in the infield, watching the wind whirl away
lost tickets.  A policeman approached.  A citation
of some sort?  No, he tipped his cap.  “Sir Barton?”
he inquired, most respectfully.  Yes, I affirmed—
What is it?  “Just routine,” the cop affirmed.
I felt like a low-ranking diplomat at the UN Secretariat
accused of spying for Belgium.  Would the real Sir Barton
avoid his inquisitor’s eyes as I did?  No ruffian,
he, but a master of codes, ciphers, and encrypted citations
in fortune cookies.  (“Autumn comes, goes, and whirls away.”)
I cleared my head … That world was world’s away
from this one.  The policeman’s handshake was a firm,
live thing.  He pulled an envelope from his book of citations,
then blushed.  “Sir, I—I spoke with your secretary at—”
scrawled across pink flowers, in Monica’s ruffian
hand, was what the young man pointed to: ‘Sir Barton.’
“Huh,” I said thoughtfully.  What was Monica doing at Sir Barton,
my estate, where I go to get away from the social whirl?  Away—
I need to whirl away.  Having no choice but to play the ruffian,
I slugged the cop and ran.  My masculinity thus affirmed,
I felt good.  But there was still the question of my secretary.  At
a loss, I looked up her name in the index.  Two citations
for cigar smuggling …  Wait, what’s this?  A third citation—
a monograph!  Horrified, I read: “The Life and Times of Sir Barton”!
The scamp!  The exploiter!  Hastily, I cell-phoned the Secretariat.
“Adlai!” I shouted, “Adlai!”—but I watched my words whirl away
as I realized, with a shock, Adlai was dead.  I was alone, a firm-
ament of pain my sole sky.  I was, at last, one of the roughs.  “Ian!”
I said, catching sight of James Bond’s creator.  In the rough and
tumble of life, the man stood erect, in an obvious state of excitation.
What the cop had intimated about Monica was true, he affirmed.
Indeed he had just spent a delightful day with her at Sir Barton.
All of them were in on the plot.  It was, well, an LA way
of doing business.  Everything for sale, even the name “Secretariat.”
After his recitation of the specials—including orange roughy and
Pepsi—the waiter whirled away.  Sir Barton sighed.  The rather, ah, firm
haunches of the lad reminded him of that great warrior, Secretariat.

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