The Gulf Coast Blog

Craft • Culture • News

Craft • Culture • News

Origin Story: Dolos

Robert James Russell

It’s true: humans have a desire not just to tame nature, but to be its master, to live where and how we want and to not apologize for it. The second half of this equation, then, is villainizing nature when it doesn’t conform. Even just using the word “kill”—“tornado kills”; “hurricane kills”; “forest fire kills”—we are imbuing sentience to a force that, like matter in the universe, merely just exists. There is no malice in a storm. A storm storms, it flares up and resets and we pick up the pieces.


"Sentences Are Painful to Make": An Interview with Kyle Minor

Colby Ornell

Sentences are painful to make, and we now live in a culture in which the words are made into minefields after they’re spoken or typed. I feel a lot more freedom with images, which convey their complications without words.


Origin Story: Pigeon

Robert James Russell

What is it to call an animal or a plant a pest, anyway? To say it does not belong wherever it might find itself? We worry so much about words like endemic and exotic, forgetting that these beings will outlive us all, will find a way to migrate even if we weren’t here. We scour the globe, leave home, find adventures in new places. We spread ourselves along wall-sized, push-pin festooned maps in our bedrooms and wish to be anywhere but here. But an animal? Invasive. A plant? A weed.


Origin Story: Wood

Robert James Russell

When I was young, I carved my name into a two-pronged tree in our backyard that looked like a giant slingshot. It was my tree. I used to rest in its crook and look out over the lawn. I didn’t understand that, more than likely, trees can feel pain. That, in their own way, research has shown they have emotional responses to the world. I claimed it as my own to anyone who came over to play. Trees are plodding beings who grow over human generations. They stand tall while our families diminish. All the while, I’m sure of it, that tree moved and talked to me and had insight and felt pain. I just refused to learn its language, is all.


Origin Story: Purple

Robert James Russell

My first curiosity with the color purple was in church. The formidably wiry Lutheran pastor, Pastor O___, with his black bowlcut and his square jaw and set-upon shoulders, bemoaned John 19:5: “So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the man!’”


"More than One Shadow": An Interview with Eduardo C. Corral

Justin Jannise

"I am pouring my language into new containers again and again, and I make sure each container has a different line length. As I pour my language into these new containers, I’m forcing myself to rethink the syntax and diction of each line."


BLM Resources & Links

The Editors

In response to anti-Black racist violence, help us support Black lives through literature and art, as well as efforts for justice in Houston, by donating to or supporting these organizations.


D.A. Powell on "The Mad Place" of Poetry

Justin Jannise

"You can use language and be absolutely true to what you’re saying, and at the same time people have an opportunity to misread it as something scintillating or shocking or surprising."


Engaging the Mystery: The Anagogic Poetry of Lucie Brock-Broido

Eric Farwell

Last March, Lucie Brock-Broido died at the age of 61. She left behind four collections, and the work within was characterized as “spooky,” “haunted,” or some version thereof when she was eulogized in every publication from The New York Times to The Paris…


Dora Malech makes her entrance into experimental poetry

Despy Boutris

To “stet” is the act of making a textual change and then changing it back and so on and so forth. In the spirit of “stetting,” Stet also acts as a means of reinventing language, just as Malech attempts to reinvent her own voice through this collection.