After reading the poetic correspondence between Natalie Diaz and Ada Limón entitled “Envelopes of Air,” we decided to write poetic letters to one another, which naturally interrogated our feelings and thoughts during a pandemic.
Robin Messing’s short story, “Drive-by” was a nominee for a Pushcart Prize. Her essay, “Writing a Redeemable Man,” was a finalist for the 2021 Gulf Coast Nonfiction Prize. Guest Editor Sarah Cypher chose an excerpt from Messing’s new novel, When They Were Fire, for Leon Literary’s novel excerpt contest, publication forthcoming. Messing is author of a previous novel, Serpent in the Garden of Dreams, and two poetry chapbooks, From Temporary Worker and Holding Not Having. She is a vocalist on Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic’s recording, The Sterling Brown Project. Her stories, poems, and essays have been published in Catamaran Literary Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Defunct, Distillery, Drunken Boat. Lithub, New Ohio Review, New York Newsday, Rhino, The Sycamore Review, Vinyl Poetry, Washington Square, and others.
I am interested in the inner life and the way it becomes manifest in the outer world. My artistic focus is on the way the mind and body support and deceive, as well as on the complications of longing, loneliness, joy, and distress. I attempt to make visible what is normally inexplicable or hidden. I adhere to William Carlos Williams’ credos: No ideas but in things and The natural object is the adequate symbol. But of late, my work has shifted from the grounding of realism to more surreal and surprising images, juxtapositions, and imaginary leaps.