Bird, River

By Carolyn Adams

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A bird spills its codes into the air,
resting in the long arms of a tree.

You, stranger bird,
who set you singing
in the secret leaves of coming summer?

It’s busy work, stitching the sky to the river.
Some think the job’s done
when cloudy stories turn the great wheel
and currents sweep deep disturbances.
But as the river shoulders its way to the sea,
the pattern’s still weaving.

Foam is written on the water,
calligraphy, a certain alphabet peculiar to
this river of specificities.

Rain is coming.
Mountains shrug against the horizon. 

A branch shudders with its burden.
Eddies swirl in the water.

Carolyn Adams

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Triskaidekaphobia

By Brontë Pearson

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I levitate to the thirteenth floor
each time I proclaim how desperately
I covet connection,
and once the capsule jerks to a halt,
and my stomach drops,
the light blooms,
the imperceptible chime rings,
but the door won’t budge
because sincerity is too much,
and the floor was never there.

– Brontë Pearson

Author’s Note“Triskaidekaphobia” was written for a poetry exercise called The Fish Tank of Rage, where you are given an abstract emotion and a random object and must craft a poem combining the two. “Triskaidekaphobia” was the product of “the elevator of rejection” and plays upon the idea of many buildings lacking a 13th-floor due to superstition.

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Interview w/ Alex Phuong

By Carol Smallwood

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Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University—Los Angeles in 2015 while also serving as an editor for Statement Magazine.

What were your duties as editor for Statement Magazine?

 Statement Magazine is the literary magazine that has been part of California State University—Los Angeles since 1950. As an editor, my job was to read over a hundred creative pieces that consisted of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid forms. We did not exactly categorize the writing, though, because the staff wanted to celebrate the creative writing talents of the entire university. The editors also had the judge each written piece to assess whether or not the writing is of a professional and literary quality.  Other staff members also judged artwork based on photographs that artists submitted, and then the entire staff celebrates the production of the magazine at an elaborate launch party during the spring academic term.

Which writers influenced you the most?

My biggest inspiration was Jane Austen. I discovered Sense and Sensibility on my aunt’s bookshelf in 2006, and then read all six of Austen’s novels over the next two years. I also saw the film Becoming Jane in August 2007, and became fascinated with Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of the famed writer.

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Walker Evans Photographs Leon Edel, New Haven, Connecticut, 1972(?)

By Benjamin Goluboff

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Evans, whose object would have been
to draw the biographer’s attention away
from the business of being photographed,
might have asked Edel to interpret
Eliot’s encomium on James:
that he had “a mind so fine
no idea could penetrate it.”

Edel, distinctly self-conscious,
might have laughed this off
as modernist hagiography,
allowed as how James
had plenty of big ideas:
Innocence, Europe, Art.

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Calypso

By Glen Armstrong

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She finished her spiced-rum gimlet,
             placed her toenail clippings

             in the glass with the ice cubes
             dissolving.

             Such was her resolve
             to drink no more
             that night,

and the hi-fi played
             calypso,
             island songs so old
             that the brown girls

             locked inside them
             were skulls and misplaced photographs.

She dreaded going to bed,

yet she dreaded standing there
             alone,

             near the open window
             where the entire physical world

             might disappear
             in a bullfrog’s throat
             or worse,

             might not.

Glen Armstrong

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