By Deb A.
For many of us, a change is in the air: the unassuming drop of a yellowed leaf, the slight chill greeting bare toes fresh out of bed. Fortunately, Olafur Eliasson has already reminded us — indeed, nearly a decade ago — that even on the most clichéd of cold, wet, dreary London days, hazy sunshine can still be found in unexpected places.
By Deb A.
Meredith McDonough can whisk a reader into her world in just a few lines. Her poem, "The Oarfish", was published in the inaugural edition of Agave Magazine.
AGAVE: Where and how do you find the curious in the everyday?
MEREDITH MCDONOUGH: The curious is always in the details –odd collections, a moment of social awkwardness at a very poised bridal shower, obscure hobbies, and daily rituals. When we are being the most 'normal' version of ourselves, we do a lot of curious things.
What is your starting point?
I usually start with a few snippets of a story and a stray memory. Like, I may start with the story of how a nurse once taught me to open jars by smacking the lid on the floor and how startlingly white and perfect my grandpa's dentures made his smile. I'll take a few thoughts like these and stitch them together into interconnected stanzas. I'm most interested in examining how people's interactions with objects reveal truths about them, detailing the jargon associated with a job or hobby, and the balance between pain and sweetness in family memories.
Does your writing stem mainly from a personal desire to understand and empathize, or is it also important to share this experience?
I would say that though my poetry does come from a desire to understand and empathize, there is definitely an element of schadenfreude at work as well. I want to entertain, challenge and amuse with my work.
What was your first favourite poem?
I loved Lucile Clifton's "Homage to My Hips" so much I named my first car after her. This poem made me realize poetry didn't have to be so serious –it could be simple and fun while still being powerful.
What are you reading now?
I am nearing the end of Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Murakami seems to share my attention for the quotidian detail. In this suspense-driven fantasy narrative he takes a few pages for his main character to talk about what a great shopper his is and to admire the bags containing his newly acquired objects.
No better place for a summer read.
By Deb A.
Earlier in the season, we asked the Agave Magazine staff to tell us what was on their summer reading list. As August slowly slips into September, we hope you are all happily absorbed in a good book or two.
Ariana Lyriotakis, Editor-in-Chief
I've got one of America's most respected writers (and Pulitzer Prize winner!) Philip Caputo's book The Longest Road on my list. He took an epic journey across the continental United States in his airstream trailer, seeking answers to what unites and divides us as Americans. Having moved around North America so much as we have (and still do), I am always fascinated with these collected bits of information and fact-finding voyages.
Lollion Chong, Associate Editor
The books I just got from the library were:
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell: I read Black Swan Green and can't get enough of Mitchell.
Brother, I'm Dying, Edwidge Danticat: I haven't ever read her work and am anxious to get started!
The Pale King, David Foster Wallace: The controversy, the almost-Pulitzer, the unanswered questions – how could I resist?
The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes: This one had been on my list for awhile.
Anna Mattiuzzo, Editor-at-Large
I'm reading Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan (translated by Irene Ash). I'd heard so much about it, and I'm reading out of sheer curiosity, although I'm aware I probably should have already had it under my belt. I'll most probably reread The Garden of Eden, by Ernest Hemingway, as I am a bit obsessive about it (having already read it three times). It always makes me cry, but I keep coming back for more.
Deb Ain, Blog Editor
This summer I'm trying to balance catching up with a new release or two. I'm about five years late with Mohammed Hanif's A Case of Exploding Mangoes and a year behind on Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, but my copy of Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is fresh off the press. I'm also thrilled to have bullied my way into a sneak peek at The Devil You Know by S. R. Kriger.
Grant Macdonald, Business Manager
I'm going to be dusting off my copy of Chef by Jaspreet Singh. I bought it with some birthday money a few years ago and still haven't gotten around to reading it. Also on my list: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. I'm also looking forward to the newest Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath, but that's coming out in October. Bible theme? I'm a non-fiction junkie.
Since the moment we announced Agave Magazine as a forthcoming publication, we have been anxiously awaiting the day when we could finally share its pages with you.
Therefore, it is with great pride and gratitude that we present the inaugural issue of Agave Magazine: Vol.1, Issue 1 (Summer/Fall 2013). You can access the publication by clicking on the cover image above or by visiting http://www.agavemag.com/issues.html
We wish to thank all of our contributors - the many writers and artists whose collective voices and visions illuminate our pages with vibrant narratives and provide the framework for the future direction of our publication.
To our readers: we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us on this journey. The past few months have been a profoundly rich and rewarding experience of discovery and immense joy.
Here's to Agave Magazine! Long may it run...
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