Dense, Disconcerting Bite

Faded portrait of Diane SeussThat I could have written it shorter had I only more time has been attributed to great writers from Montaigne to Mark Twain. Those multiple attributions may be the best testament to the statement’s truth. It is hard to write “good short.” Unless you’re Writer-in-Residence Diane Seuss ’78, winner of Indiana Review’s 2013 1/2K Prize for her prose poem “Wal-Mart Parking Lot,” which was published in IR’s Summer 2014 issue.

More good news: IR editor Peter Kispert interviewed Di about various prize-related matters, including which actual Wal-Mart inspired her, how she approached making her poem, and the challenges and triumphs of the compressed form. You can read that interview online. In the 1/2K, word count cannot exceed 500 and all genres are open–albeit constrained. Di is spending part of the summer at Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. Hedgebrook is a retreat for women writers. “If you receive the residency you get your own little cottage (overlooking Mt. Rainier and the Sound), solitude, and meals out of their organic garden,” wrote Di. “I’m not sure how to receive such a gift, but I’m working on it.”

In other news, The Missouri Review published Di’s poem “Still-Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (after Rembrandt),” one of a series that arose from Di’s interest in still life painting. “What I discovered about still lives is that they are not still,” Di said, “or their stillness draws out our projections like a poultice lures poison.”