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Project Bookshelf: Snigdha Koirala

 

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My current bookshelf marks a transitional phase in my life. Having moved away from home (and thus having to limit the books I could bring with me), I had the problem of any other bibliophile in this situation: an understocked bookshelf. Around the same time, I was listening to various podcast interviews of one of my favourite writers, Jhumpa Lahiri. She explained that she too faced the dreaded understocked bookshelf after her move to Rome from New York. As an antidote, she displayed covers of books, which took up more space on the shelf, and simultaneously created an art installation of sorts. And in true fashion of a devoted fan, I did the same.

My books are organized in no particular order. Most recent reads tend to have their covers displayed, and eventually move to the side or are stacked under other books as I add more to the shelf. There are, of course, a few that I never move, particularly Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street. These books, apart from having colourful covers and being stunning visual pleasures, have played a significant role in my young life, shaping me as a reader, a writer, and a person. Their placement on my shelf (and forgive my sentimentalism) is an ode to their influence.

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I also have a small stand-alone shelf on my wall. Here, I place books I am most excited to read. Most of them are attached to a vivid memory of their purchase: Bharati Mukherjee’s Leave It To Me and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth bring to mind a trip to San Francisco with my two best friends; Anita Desai’s The Collected Stories a day in London with my mom; and Jean Rhys’ The Collected Short Stories a perfectly uneventful summer afternoon in Toronto. In many ways, this shelf (again, my sentimental self makes an appearance here) is a diary, which logs happy days waiting to be revisited.

 


Snigdha Koirala is a third year student of English Literature. Born in Nepal and raised in Canada, she is currently living in Scotland, where she is pursuing her degree at The University of Edinburgh. Her love affair with prose and (more recently) poetry has led her work to appear in The Ogilvie, The Inkwell, and other publications. In her spare time, she can be found wandering the streets of Edinburgh, watching cheesy Rom-Coms, and reading bell hooks.

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Meet Our New Intern, Snigdha Koirala

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I hate to start my introduction with a cliché, but I’m afraid I must: I have loved stories for as long as I can remember.

This love first began with my grandfather. He was an avid storyteller of Hindu folktales, stories about the Nepalese royal family, various historical events, his childhood memories, and anything else he thought worth sharing. When I was eight, however, my family moved to Toronto. And as such, I had to find some other way to satiate my hunger for stories. This is when I turned to books. I was reluctant at first – books were incontrovertibly associated with schools, and to my eight-year-old self, nothing could be worse. But, and I’m sure you can guess, it didn’t take long for that reluctance to chip away.

Since then, I have been reading and writing, writing and reading. Along the way, I’ve developed particular tastes and expectations for the books that I come across (and the books I hope to one day write!). Whether in prose or poetry, I cherish works that elucidate voices that have historically been neglected, that push the boundaries of the quotidian, that prompt readers to think beyond their comfort zones. It is with this spirit that I come to Sundress. Working with individuals who share the same ethos for literature has been a dream of mine for a long time.

Needless to say, I’m excited to be the new social media intern, to talk about books and words with Sundress followers!

 

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Snigdha Koirala is a third year student of English Literature. Born in Nepal and raised in Canada, she is currently living in Scotland, where she is pursuing her degree at The University of Edinburgh. Her love affair with prose and (more recently) poetry has led her work to appear in The Ogilvie, The Inkwell, and other publications. In her spare time, she can be found wandering the streets of Edinburgh, watching cheesy Rom-Coms, and reading bell hooks.

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern, Samantha Isler

sam-w-maitaiI was born in 1992, exactly twenty years after Bewitched aired its final season. Coincidence? Yes. But my parents named me after Samantha Stephens, the nose-twitching witch at the center of the show, so it is a weird coincidence. I cannot wiggle my nose, which is probably the one thing holding me back from my magical destiny.

I once saw a ghost in my undergraduate college’s theater. He followed me for a month and would appear directly in my line of vision, not at all like the stories of shadow men in the corner of your eye. A year later, visiting alumni were discussing their own sightings. One woman described exactly who I had seen. “That’s Harvey,” she said. He had been appearing for at least thirty years.

I started college as a biology major before switching to English/Theater. I’m now a second-year graduate student in Emerson College’s Writing, Literature, and Publishing program, but I still love science. My best friend mapped the genome of a species of lactating beetle. Did you know some beetles lactate? You do now.

A well-made video game can be one of the best storytelling tools in the modern world. However, I am an absolutely dreadful gamer. Years of practice have done nothing. I have owned every generation of Playstation and still forget where the buttons are. If you ever see me on Destiny, run away. It’s for your own good.

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Samantha Isler loves thunderstorms, campfires, and most cheeses. She lives for science fiction, horror, and fantasy in any medium, including comics and theater. Sam is a student in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing graduate program at Emerson College.  Before coming to Emerson, she worked in a bookstore for four years. Her bookshelves have not recovered since.

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Meet Our Newest Intern, Danielle Hayden

 

SundressHeadshot_DanielleHayden I learned to read at a very early age, and I’ve been a word lover ever since. In my burgeoning logophilia I would, with great fervor, read Dr. Seuss books–Green Eggs ‘n Ham was my favorite–aloud to my father. And we’d have spelling bees in the car sometimes: ‘Anthology’ was my favorite word to spell; ‘Massachusetts’ the word I kept getting wrong. I amassed a large collection of books, devouring everything I could get my hands on so long as it wasn’t boring. Some kids dragged blankies from place to place, but I carried a book pretty much everywhere I went, a trend I still continue today on occasion (one reason I carry large handbags).

If that wasn’t nerdy enough, I’d often sit at the dining room table and I’d read the encyclopedia as I ate my food. Other times I’d read my brother’s Calvin & Hobbes books while eating, a fact that I hope regains some of the coolness points I lost when I mentioned encyclopedias. The bottom line is that I had my head stuck in a book pretty much every day, which was fun in and of itself but also well-suited to my introversion and shyness. Reading gave me such joy, probably more than anything else did growing up.

My writing came a bit later. I was reading all these stories and I decided that I wanted to start creating my own. They weren’t very good, of course, and endings were always hard for me (they still are, actually), but I had fun making up tales. I decided in high school that I wanted to be a writer, but that I would write only on the side–just for fun. I was going to become an amazing, life-changing English teacher (the kind they made movies and Oprah episodes about) and then I’d publish a bit here and there. Despite the judgment I received for not going into a STEM field, I declared a major in English Language & Literature, with a minor in philosophy (just ’cause it’s so fascinating) and headed out into the field of education to start what I was sure would be a decades-long career exploring the canon of William Shakespeare (fun fact: he and I share a birthday).
Like so many other things in life, stuff didn’t go according to plan.

I did become an English teacher (as well as an Algebra and French teacher; I really, really love math and foreign languages too) but I realized that pedagogy was not for me. I even went to graduate school and then came back to try teaching again in a different environment, but I still couldn’t stick with it. I taught for a little while but I concluded that I had the heart for it, but not the stomach. I still worked and volunteered on occasion as a tutor, and I helped launch a blog, Lolly’s Classroom, where teachers could write about children’s books; education was still important to me. Unfortunately, however, I had to leave the classroom.

So, I was back to square one. I took some odd jobs here and there, trying to figure out my proper place. Eventually I ended up at a 9-5 office job and I was pretty miserable; I liked my colleagues a lot but the work itself was suffocating. I always had a passion for the written word that had never waned. But I would always dismiss it as just a hobby, not something that I would pursue full time. Then a couple years ago, I got tired of going from job to job to job only to leave dissatisfied and unfulfilled. I decided to take the plunge and follow my heart (a very Millennial thing to do, yes, but I refuse to feel bad about it). Working with words was what I really wanted to do. Words, I reasoned, have been consistent in my life. I have many goals and many interests, and I identify strongly with Emilie Wapnick’s idea of a “multipotentialite”, but words are still number one on my list and will likely always be.

…Which leads me to where I am now. A freelancer’s life can be difficult and demoralizing–especially for a sensitive soul like me. But I’m not giving up, at least not yet. I’ve worked with an art museum, I worked with a local press. I sent some of my writing out, reached out to some websites to see if I could help with copy, I applied to this and to that. Some things have worked out, others haven’t. But I’m still here, and I’m determined. My main responsibilities right now are as editor for the online literary magazine Pif, as a grant writer for the non-profit organization Our Golden Hour, and as a research assistant on a linguistics project. I’m very excited to begin working with Sundress Publications so I can fill my life with even more words.
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Danielle Hayden is a freelance writer and editor who grew up in Detroit and now lives in Seattle. Included among all the things she loves are: learning, books, watching films, making lists, and collecting great quotes–sometimes as tattoos. She reads about everything, and writes about almost as much. Danielle is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and of the Oxford comma.
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Project Bookshelf: Emily Corwin

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My boyfriend, Joe and I just got this bookcase from a friend who is moving to Poland. We’ve been looking for an extra bookcase for months since we both have so many books (and, let’s face it, we’re going to keep buying them). For now, I’ve been putting favorite books and recently-read books on this shelf. My goal this summer is to read through all of the poetry collections I gathered during the school year. Some recent favorites on here:Blues Triumphant by Jonterri Gadson, Forest Primeval by Vievee Francis, Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open by Diane Seuss, Gilt by Raena Shirali, Careful Mountainby Sara June Woods, Take This Stallion by Anaïs Duplan, Meet Me Here At Dawn by Sophie Klahr, Wasp Queen by Claudia Cortese, Bestiary by Donika Kelly,Wunderkammer by Cynthia Cruz, Landscape with Headless Mama and Protection Spell by Jennifer Givhan, and Sugarblood by Liz Bowen.

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Emily Corwin is an MFA candidate in poetry at Indiana University-Bloomington and the former Poetry Editor for Indiana Review. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins, Day One, Hobart, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, THRUSH, and elsewhere. She has two chapbooks, My Tall Handsome (Brain Mill Press) and darkling (Platypus Press) which were published in 2016. Her first full-length collection, tenderling is forthcoming in 2018 from Stalking Horse Press. You can follow her online at @exitlessblue.

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Sam Campbell

If you were to ask my mom what I could normally be found doing when I was a child, her response would be automatic: reading or writing. In fact, if you wanted she could even pull out her shoebox of relics from my childhood and offer you up dozens of stories that date back to toddler times. You don’t want to see that—I promise you. But they’re there, resting as proof of my early fascination with words. This fascination came naturally to me.

I’m not sure what it was about writing that made me feel so alive. Everything about it felt right and real. Although I would create worlds and people that didn’t exist, the characters felt like people I knew and the places felt like places I’d been.  As I grew, so did my love for writing. I wrote everything imaginable. I wrote short stories, poetry, song lyrics, scripts, and I even finished my first full-length novel by the time I was in high school.

It didn’t take me long in high school to realize that no one could help me get published except myself. Teachers didn’t know how to help an aspiring novelist and neither did guidance counselors. I quickly began to understand that the odds of becoming successful in the writing world were equal if not worse than the odds of becoming a successful actress. Since then I’ve had two poems and two short stories published. I also wrote hundreds of poems, dozens of short stories, and four novels that all live in notebooks and my MacBook.

The writing industry is not for the faint of heart. I might have given up—after all, I am now 25 and my younger self was convinced I’d be “J.K. Rowling successful” by this point in my life—but after a particularly disappointing onslaught of rejection letters I was browsing my university library and found Stephen King’s On Writing. I went home and read it in a single night and my determination was renewed.

Sometimes the things you want most in life are the things that elude you. When this happens, you have two choices. You can give up, or you can reevaluate your approach and try to find a new way to reach your goal. It was in this frame of mind that I was given an opportunity to become a member of the writing community again for the first time since graduating college in 2014. I am so excited to begin this new chapter of my writing career as an editorial intern with Sundress Academy for the Arts. I hope that being able to work on the other side of the writing community will give me a deeper understanding of the publishing process, and that I will be able to apply the knowledge and experience I gain here to my writing career.

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Sam Campbell lives for four things: writing, learning, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. She graduated in 2014 from East Tennessee State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in both Psychology and History. She went on to earn a Master of Education in Educational Media and Technology from ETSU in 2017. She is currently teaching Honors English II and Advanced Placement Psychology at Seymour High School. While she adores her job, writing is and always will be her passion. Her fiction has appeared in Unto These Hills and The Mockingbird. Her poetry has appeared in Pine Tree Poetry and The Claiborne Progress.

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Project Bookshelf: Katie Culligan

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My bookshelf, more than any other thing I own, is a museum of all blueprints I’ve ever had for my life. Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s Time 100 photo watches over everything, cataloguing the time I thought I was going to be an environmental scientist, a movie musical star, a professional corsetiere. The top shelves are a novel-heavy mix of genres, with essay collection taking second place. They are in no particular order because I have made peace with my own mortality.

 

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The bottom shelves are treasured miscellaneous, but not leftovers: a shoebox full of all the nickels and pennies I’ve carried around since the eleventh grade, always meant for something exciting. Not one, but seven college prep books (only opened once in a panic very specific to the year 2013). Every Chicken Soup for the Soul that I snuck out of my mother’s room when I was in middle school. Those books are brilliant and I stand by my desire to keep them near me at all times, still to this day.

 

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Moving northeast, I have a story I wrote in the first grade that my grandparents had bound into a book, wherein I turn myself into a giraffe by eating magical gummy bears. Everyday I think “How am I going to top this?” and everyday I conclude that I am not. Directly underneath in the glass compartment is every Vogue from 2011-2014 because Lady Gaga’s meat dress made me think for a long time that I was interested in fashion; it turns out I’m just interested in weirdos. I also have a traffic ticket taped up because if I don’t make a move on that thing very soon, I will be in a legal situation. Life is a balancing act, or something like that.

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Katie Culligan is currently young and terrified at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she is a junior studying creative writing. Her favorite responsibilities are NCAA rowing, big sisterhood, and believing unwaveringly in ghosts. Her writing is informed by this age of indestructible men, though she likes to think her life isn’t. She also thinks if you haven’t tried fig newtons with peanut butter yet, you really should.

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Meet our New Editorial Intern: Katie Culligan

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My name is Katie Culligan, and every week, I go to a Space Jam-themed cycling class for seniors that I started going to accidentally, but now go to purposefully.

I learned to read in the city of Buffalo, New York, and learned to drive in the mountains of East Tennessee. I’m a junior creative writing student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I am also an affectionate succulent parent. My writing is currently forthcoming on my mother’s refrigerator.

It was a love story between an intense person and an intense pastime when I became a varsity women’s rower for the University of Tennessee. My teammates reinforce everyday that French braids are where girls keep their secret power reserves and they should make you feel very intimidated.

In my free time, I am a purposeful chaos maker in UT’s youngest improv troupe, Cumberland Striptease (that I did not name). When I grow up, I want to be a stately lady that wears bright orange lipstick very poorly and very confidently. Until then, I’m so excited to be here at the Sundress Academy for the Arts looking for my words.

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Katie Culligan is currently young and terrified at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she is a junior studying creative writing. Her favorite responsibilities are NCAA rowing, big sisterhood, and believing unwaveringly in ghosts. Her writing is informed by this age of indestructible men, though she likes to think her life isn’t. She also thinks if you haven’t tried fig newtons with peanut butter yet, you really should.

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Meet Our New Social Media Intern, Tierney Bailey

The Myers-Briggs test tells me I am an ENFJ, like Abraham Lincoln (mostly interesting because I am distantly related to Mary Todd Lincoln) and Peyton Manning (mostly interesting because I was born and raised in Indianapolis—though I only have any fealty to the Pacers because I loved Reggie Miller’s big ears a kid). ENFJs like to put things into external contexts, according to all the profiles I’ve ever read. That might be true, since I was born October 2, 1993, but I like to contextualize it with “I share a birthday with King Richard III, Sting, and Ghandi.” I, however, am mostly convinced that this is just because I wholly embody the phrase my mother uses most often about me: “They can hear you a county over, Tierney.” As a toddler, I constantly received invitations to birthday parties for little, old ladies I had conversations with inside grocery stores and book stores. I remain unconvinced about by the NFJ bits, but “extravert” fits.

Sundress is not my first dealing in publishing. (Here’s to hoping it won’t be my last!) When I first entered college, I enrolled as an English/education major. Luckily, while I loved my students, I found my way into the publishing program early on. I spent my remaining three years as a professional writing major with terrific professors at the University of Indianapolis honing my skills to various degrees—writing, editing, designing, Tweeting, any gerund I could possibly fit into my schedule would eventually be done. Now, I am enrolled at Emerson College as a Writing, Literature, and Publishing graduate student with more amazing people. Most of the time, I use communication to put my world in order because I see interaction as a piece of the greater conversation.

Maybe this is why I’ve ended up as Sundress’s new intern for social media.

I guess the basic profile of myself is this: my name is Tierney Bailey. I like to talk and listen and learn. I mostly just try my best.

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Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. She currently copyedits for Strange Horizons. Tierney is also a Writing, Literature, and Publishing graduate student at Emerson College. As an East Coast transplant from Indianapolis, Tierney still smiles upon the slightest bit of eye contact. If you can’t find her on a train between Providence and Boston, she can easily be found on Twitter as @ergotierney.

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern, Cheyenne L. Black

This is how far I have come to be a Sundress Intern:

When I was five, my mother took me to see The Lawrence Welk Show, live. He picked me out of the audience, did a little dance with me and complimented me (to my mother—not to me) and then kissed my cheek. The left side of my face is still my best side, photogenically speaking, and the right, not so much. My mother thought the kiss had something to do with it, and I still wonder if he should have kissed the right, too.

Since then, and probably not because of that kiss, I dropped out of high school; had three kids; raised them as a single parent (until I married again in 2013); buried my mother; traveled full-time in an RV for three years with three kids, two cats, and a dog; was diagnosed with a disability; enrolled in community college at 39 (first generation students rock!); bought a house; subsequently went to university where I graduated with a double-major in creative writing and interdisciplinary studies at 42; and am now pursuing my MFA at Arizona State University where I am the editor-in-chief of Hayden’s Ferry Review and a Virginia G. Piper fellow. Although I am enrolled in the poetry program at ASU, I write cross-genre and my current projects are a novel-length experimental long poem about growing up in the Sonoran desert, and (when I have time) a novel.

I’m pretty interested in the ways that our lives interact with space and place, with nature and our seeming need to conquer or tame or label as a means of taming (and by this I mean not just nature but children, women, and everything we put in this “wild” category)—so most of my work is place-based as a foundation to explore these ideas, and I’m also fascinated by the ways we create and destroy utopias and dystopias in reality. The intersections I can see for all of my work are women and primitivism; place and pain; naming and taming; spit and anger.

In what seems like another life, I owned a tea company and was also sea kayak guide in the islands off the coast of Washington state (which I still call home) and where I still love to paddle (and drink tea). So if I’m not writing or building something out of mud (vernacular architecture buff), I’m probably swimming, kayaking, or canoeing, or otherwise trying to catch a ferry to the islands. I’m an advocate for women in every area, a community activist for disability rights, for the importance of the arts, the right to equal food access, and a puzzler of the ways we hold and make space.

Honestly, I could not be more excited to join the Sundress team as an intern. This is a collective organization which I admire deeply. To be a part of things which we love already is a treat and an honor.

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Cheyenne L. Black serves as the editor-in-chief for Hayden’s Ferry Review at Arizona State University where she is a third-year MFA candidate and Virginia G. Piper global fellow. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will be Shelterand In Sight: An Ekphrastic Collaboration, as well as the journals 45th Parallel, American Journal of Poetry, and New Mobilityamong others. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children where she brutally and with much zeal strikes the ‘s’ from directionals like toward, afterward, and backward.

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