NOW/HERE Available at SRR Store


Split Rock Review is now selling copies of Crystal S. Gibbins' full-length poetry collection NOW/HERE (Holy Cow! Press). 

People and events can’t be divided by a line on the ground or drawn on a map. Many of Gibbins’ poems in NOW/HERE blend history, naturalist observations, and experiences about living on both sides of the 49th parallel—the international border that separates Canada and U.S.

Other poems in the collection focus on the diversity, struggle, and power of nature, examining the tensions and oppositions that exist within climate, time, and change. Like the lake waters of the northern wilderness, the power of these poems lies beneath the surface.

An original new voice, Crystal Spring Gibbins' poetry collection surprises with innovation while celebrating the natural landscape.

To order your copy, visit SRR's online store, your independent book seller, or Amazon

Behind the Masthead: Jennifer Dean, Associate Editor

We know you are all curious to learn what happens behind the scenes at SRR and to read more about the people who select the terrific work that goes in our magazine. Jennifer Dean was kind enough to take a break to answer some questions about her writing life and experience at SRR.

Crystal Gibbins: What is one of your favorite pieces from SRR’s inaugural issue? Why?

Jennifer Dean: One of my favorite pieces from the first issue is the pair of flash fiction pieces by Kate LaDew "Thomas Edison's Blue Bird" and "Nikola Telsa's White Pigeon."  Part of the appeal is the creative imagining of these two historic figures who have seen a recent surge of interest in popular consciousness but mostly, I like the idea of Telsa and his pigeon. Telsa's depiction is endearing and haunting, and I appreciate, given what we're learning about the two inventors, the juxtaposition of Edison being unable to hear a song-bird and Telsa as being so deeply connected to a pigeon that he mourns for it. 

CG: What things do you like to see show up in SRR’s submission queue?

JD: Mostly what I notice about my interests is that I'm looking for examples of expansive but deliberate thinking in writing, whether it be poetry or prose. What that looks like in practice is writing that artfully employ conventional and experimental literary techniques in a conscious and purposeful way to share a message or a perspective. I'm also looking for writing that does these things and still manages to surprise me into an emotional response as a human being and not as a writer appreciating a really good technique.  

CG: Who is your favorite writer? Why?

JD: I have a habit of going through binge-phases with certain authors. I'll find a book, read the entire thing in a sitting, and then run to the library or a book store to get the rest of the author's work. Sometimes, it's about finding out about the rest of a story line, but most times its just that reading their writing feels like gulping water after hard labor in the sun. I did that with Billy Collins' work and B.H. Fairchild, but my favorite instance of doing it was after I read Alice Hoffman's The Probable Future a few summers back. I loved it so much I read it twice in a row then spent the rest of the summer hunting down and reading her books. She's a definite favorite. I guess you could describe her style as 'magical realism'; her stories tend to be set in New England and their central characters are almost always women. She has a kind of lyric and symbolic symmetry to her narratives that read as natural and compelling. As a poet I appreciate that especially, and it's probably why almost every summer, whether I mean to or not, I end up eventually re-reading The Probable Future. 

CG: Besides SRR submissions, what or who are you reading lately?

JD: Against my better judgment I spend a lot of time reading social commentary blogs like the feminist-minded and news-y stuff like I recently read Simone DeBeauvoir's The Second Sex. It makes normal conversations a little difficult sometimes. What I read when all of that stuff gets heavy and exhausting is articles about weird science, animals, and how scary Australia is. Then I look at videos of baby animals on Youtube. I packed all my own books but one of the few I kept close at hand (and re-read all the time) is poet Amy Fleury's Beautiful Trouble

CG: What are you working on right now?

JD: I think as a result of the recent glut of news coverage over things like the kidnapping of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michele Knight in Cleveland, the Steubenville Rape Case, Elizabeth Smart, and an absolute avalanche of reports of instances of domestic violence I've begun a cross-genre manuscript on the topic(s) of rape, domestic violence, and sexuality in the United States. 

It started as erasure poetry. There were so, so, so many words being written about these events and their cultural relevance, about the victims, about women and men, and then new stories surface and the process starts all over again. I got so emotionally exhausted reading about these things that the only way I could initially respond was by blacking out the worst of it. The practice revealed a lot that required a more expansive response, so now I'm doing exploratory non-fiction writing. It's tough as a subject, but I think part of the urge to do this kind of work comes from the sense that simply documenting or witnessing isn't enough.

CG: Where can we read your own work?

JD: I have poems published at Red River Review, Torrid Literature Journal, Gutter Eloquence Magazine, and elsewhere. 


Behind the Masthead: Sarah Certa, Contributing Editor


SRR will open its doors to submissions May 15! We're seeking authors with fresh voices to be included in issue 2. Allow me to introduce you to the lovely and talented Sarah Certa. I caught up with Sarah to find out about her current life as a writer and contributing editor.

Crystal Gibbins: What is one of your favorite pieces from SRR’s inaugural issue? 

Sarah Certa: I keep coming back to Ros Zimmerman's graphic narrative. It's unlike anything I've seen lately and is so open, so haunting. I linger on it; it lingers on me, like some ghost from a past I can't quite recall but feel on the tip of my tongue. 

CG:  What things do you like to see show up in the submission queue?

SC:  I like honesty. Poems that were written out of necessity. Poems rooted in everyday life and imagery and relationships yet somehow leave me feeling like I've been rocketed into the cosmos. Dirty human things. Music. 

CG: Who is your favorite writer? And, why?

SC: I have so many favorites! My newest favorite is Ana Božičević—her poems are a winding journey through her psyche, blurring the lines between dreams and reality, bizarre and entirely original. Everyone should read this recent review of her work! 

I really have so many favorites, but at the top of the list are Frank O'Hara, Richard Brautigan, Clarice Lispector (I'm starting with all the dead people), Anne Sexton, Dorothea Lasky, Matthew Zapruder, Matthew Dickman, Gregory Sherl, and Emmalea Russo. 

CG:  What or who are you reading lately?

SC: In addition to Ana Božičević's poems, this week I'm also reading Anne Sexton's Self-Portrait in Letters and a book of short essays by John Berger called The Shape of a Pocket. 

CG: What are you working on right now?

SC:  Now that I've finished my first manuscript I am writing a lot of new poems that are beginning to gather themselves into something. But for now just lots and lots of new poems. 

CG: What do you like doing when you’re not writing or reading submissions for SRR?

SC: When I'm not writing I would usually like to be writing. I like to run. Take photographs. Look at photographs. Get lost in YouTube music videos. Read essays and interviews. 

CG:   Where can we read your own work?

SC: Here's a list with links: 

Behind the Masthead: Ben Westlie, Contributing Editor


Ben Westlie is one of SRR’s contributing editors. I caught up with Ben to get an update about what he's been reading and writing since the release of SRR's inaugural issue.

Crystal Gibbins: What is one of your favorite pieces from SRR? Why?

Ben Westlie: Linda McKay's poems; she just floored me with her keen sense of place and precise imagery. Wow!

CG: What things do you like to see show up in the submission queue?

BW: I like to see a sense of approach and intention. I feel the most successful work is the direction it's heading, or the place it's attempting to get to in result to make the reader feel.

CG: Who are some of your favorite writers?

BW: They're so many! Mark Doty, Sharon Olds, Nance Van Winckle, Alice Munro, Aleda Shirley, Julia Kasdorf, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Anne Sexton, Rane Arroyo, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Karr, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, William Stafford, Robin Behn, Carrie Fountain, Jane Kenyon, Mary Ruefle, Marie Howe, David St. John, Richard McCann, Linda Pastan, and Tracy K. Smith. 

CG: What are you currently reading and writing?

BWStags Leap by Sharon Olds, and a dozen memoirs. I truly believe memoir and fiction influence poetry a great deal. 

Currently, I'm working on a third chapbook of poems on the subjects of travel, death, placement, and fear. 

CG: Where can we find and read your work?


BW: I have two chapbooks published by Finishing Line Press: Sometimes Out of Turn and Extraordinary Construction