Issue 92: Suphil Lee Park

Suphil Lee Park (수필 리 박 秀筆 李 朴), photo credit-Sam Ahn Headshot

About Suphil Lee Park

Suphil Lee Park (수필 리 박 / 秀筆 李 朴) is the author of Present Tense Complex, winner of Marystina Santiestevan Prize (Conduit Books & Ephemera 2021), and a poetry chapbook, Still Life (Factory Hollow Press 2023), winner of the Tomaž Šalamun Prize. She's also the translator of If You're Going to Live to One Hundred, You Might As Well Be Happy by Rhee Kun Hoo, forthcoming from Union Square Books and Ebury, U.K.

Find more about her on her website.

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A Profile of the Author

Notes on "Love Song", "Already Noon", and "Wino's Song"

This small suite of poems–two by Kim and one by Hoe–sings, among other things, of love. Yes, Heo’s poem blatantly brings up the word 郞心 (lover’s heart), centering the whole verse on the speaker’s internal, romantic struggle. Kim’s explore this sentiment in more implicit, albeit sexually more explicit, ways.

What captivates me about so-called love poems from these two vastly different Korean poets is their different approaches to moments of hardship where their love is challenged. Each of the poems presents a different conflict. “Already Noon,” the poet’s financial ruin and subsequent life on the farm; “Wino’s Song,” a playful verbal jousting with a seemingly reserved addressee; “Love Song,” the lover’s fickle heart.

While Heo expertly molds her conflict into a verse rich with metaphors, classical imagery, and puns—for which she is famous—Kim takes a more lighthearted approach. I'm as much in awe of Heo's ability to pack so much into such a concise form as I am delighted by the irresistible sense of life that Kim's poems exude. Where Heo offers a timeless, elliptical landscape, Kim plainly depicts and embraces her pains or mocks and seduces her husband, defying social norms. But who's to say which one does it better, or is superior?

Whether about love for family–sharing in moments of literal sweat–or romantic temptation and frustrations, their poems equally provide indispensable insights into the lives of Korean women poets. Their fate was, more often than not, dictated by the reciprocity of their various kinds of love, and that always leaves me with much to ponder.

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I have a single tattoo–an infinity sign crossed with a zero–on my left ring finger. Among other meanings, this tattoo primarily alludes to the famed line from William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence.” And yes, it’s that line: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand.” It has come to carry an important reminder that a poet’s mind never fails to find a microcosm of reality and truth in just about anything she stumbles upon. Instead of the palm of my hand, I chose the more forefront–admittedly less painful–place for my tattoo. The placing itself serves to signify how I uphold what this tattoo embodies above all other promises I have made or might make in the future.On a largely irrelevant side note, I have a beautiful gray cat that I like to address in many ridiculous ways other than his actual name, such as “crown jewel of my heart,” “my guardian angel,” or “gyeongookjisaek (경국지색, meaning a beauty so fatal that it might destroy a nation).” I’d say, speaking from experience, affection justifiably defies all conventions of designation and role definition, and invalidates shame (as my translations of the poems, specifically "Wino's Song," might also hint at).Nowadays, I’m also into pottery–or carving shapes into wet clay–probably for no deeper reason than the one that drove me to pick at my scars as a little kid. Just a slight alphabetical variation from poetry, it's a wholly different craft that helps me take my mind off the kind of things I delve into when engaging with poetry.

Two Poems Translated by Suphil Lee Park

By Donhiser, Fiona | October 14, 2023

Found in Willow Springs 92 Back to Author Profile 日已午 BY KIM SAMUIDANG (金三宜堂) 日煮我背汗滴土細討茛莠竟長畝少姑大姑饗麥黍甘羹滑流匙矮粒任撑肚鼓腹行且歌飮食在勤苦 勸酒歌 BY KIM SAMUIDANG (金三宜堂) 勸君酒勸君君莫辭劉伶李白皆墳土一盃一盃勸者誰勸君酒勸君君且飮人生行樂能幾時我欲爲君舞長劒勸君酒勸君君盡醉不願空守床頭錢 但願長對眼前觶   ALREADY NOON TRANSLATED BY SUPHIL LEE PARK The day scalds my back Drops of sweat to the ground The furrow of buttercups And foxtails, plowed My in-laws bring out Some barley to feast … Read more

“Love Song” Translated by Suphil Lee Park

By Donhiser, Fiona | October 14, 2023

Found in Willow Springs 92 Back to Author Profile 사랑 노래 BY HEO NANSEOLHEON (허난설헌)   공령탄 입구에 비가 처음 개니무협은 창창하고 안개 구름처럼 평평해한이 많아라, 임의 마음 조수와도 같으니이른 시간 잠시 물러갔다 저물 때 다시 오네 LOVE SONG TRANSLATED BY SUPHIL LEE PARK   Rapids takes a pleasure boat Blue or bluer fog clouds all … Read more

Issue 92: Sara Burge


About Sara Burge

Sara Burge is the author of Apocalypse Ranch (C&R Press), and her poetry has been published in or is forthcoming from CALYX Journal, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Baltimore Review, The Louisville Review, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, and elsewhere. She’s a three time Best of the Net nominee and teaches creative writing at Missouri State University, where she serves as the Poetry Editor of Moon City Review.

Sara can be found on Instagram as @das_burge and on Facebook as Sara Burge.

Read more of her works online at The Good Life Review, Pacifica, Atticus Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as at her website.

A Profile of the Author

Notes on "Sexy Fish" and "Harry Styles is the Way"

While these poems aren’t Pandemic Poems, they were written during quarantine, so that time’s vibe seeped into them. “Sexy Fish” grew out of a tipsy conversation with my husband about how much we missed the comradery of the restaurant industry. We met working in restaurants, and while we’d long been out of the biz, the community that came from being in the trenches with other humans—all working toward the singular goal of getting through a shift—was something we sorely missed. This was during lockdown when everyone was isolated and questioning life decisions and turning into little rabid caged animals. So, “Sexy Fish” started as an inebriated quarantine fantasy about trying to make life worthwhile and beautiful again. To have control. We came up with a business plan and everything. Then we went to bed and Sexy Fish the restaurant turned into “Sexy Fish” the poem.

At its core, “Harry Styles Is the Way” is about missing the comfort provided by seemingly trivial things once they’ve disappeared. Nothing new, right? Very pandemic-y. It started out as a more straightforward ode to a Harry Styles cardboard cutout (“standee,” I’ve since learned they’re called). Every time I drove by him, I smiled and said, Hey, Harry Styles! It was like the thrill you get when you hear the owl in your neighborhood and think, There’s our owl! But Harry vanished, and then the pandemic hit. Not seeing Harry on my once-a-week trip to get groceries amplified a sense of hollowness a lot of people were experiencing. I so badly wanted to see him again. Harry Styles as missing savior.

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

My husband was a chef for years, so I am blessed to get fantastic food on a regular basis. That man doesn’t just follow recipes. He chefs. Hard. My favorite thing he’s made for me recently is his chile relleno.

I’m mostly a vodka gal, but when fall hits, it’s either Piney River Brewing Company’s Black Walnut Wheat Ale or Mother’s Brewing Company’s Winter Grind. Both breweries are based here in the Ozarks and make all kinds of tastiness. Shout out.

I’m going to get a tattoo of a praying mantis soon—my husband got me a gift card to a local tattoo shop because I’ve been talking about getting a praying mantis tattoo for years. I already have a cat tattoo on my shoulder. It’s a black cat, like my beloved black kitty Maeve (Sweet Kitty) who passed away last October. We now have a gray tuxedo kitty named Lucifurr who lives up to her name, though she is finally allowing me to give her affection without immediately clawing me to bloody shreds.

Two Poems by Sara Burge

By Donhiser, Fiona | October 25, 2023

Found in Willow Springs 92 Back to Author Profile Sexy Fish One way to begin a new life is to be miserable in the current, so miserable you fantasize about opening a bar or food truck, anything to fool yourself more easily into believing a morsel of what yo do matters. You do a few shots … Read more

Issue 92: Teresa Milbrodt

milbrodt author head shot

About Teresa Milbrodt

Teresa Milbrodt has published three short story collections: Instances of Head-SwitchingBearded Women: Stories, and Work Opportunities. She has also published a novel, The Patron Saint of Unattractive People, a flash fiction collection, Larissa Takes Flight: Stories, and a monograph, Sexy Like Us: Disability, Humor, and Sexuality. Milbrodt earned her MFA in Creative Writing and MA in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University, and her PhD in English from the University of Missouri. She is addicted to coffee, long walks with her MP3 player, and writes the occasional haiku. Read more of her on her website.

A Profile of the Author

Notes on "Coffee with Werewolves"

I started work on a novel-in-stories about Lee and Mattie at the beginning of the pandemic. I'd been researching the disability rights movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, and when I chatted about my project with a friend they wondered aloud what the experience of queer disabled people might have been at the time. That question launched me into a series of stories about Lee and Mattie, all of which are tinged with a sense of loss and displacement. Since beginning this project I've done research at queer archives, a fabulous experience which made it easier and more difficult to evoke the mood of the time. While some communities were fairly progressive regarding queerness and queer politics, those often existed in small pockets. It's been challenging to strike a tone that feels authentic without duplicating harmful stereotypes or my 2023 sensibilities. Overall, though, this is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I've had as a writer.

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

Nine Things that Bring Me Joy and/or Peace (in no particular order):
1. Growing cherry tomatoes, giant zinnias, and kale.
2. Taking long walks with my partner during which they explain the intricacies of their latest tabletop roleplaying game.
3. Inventing cookie and brownie recipes during episodes of stress baking.
4. Washing dishes to ‘80s music.
5. Repairing my partner's jewelry.
6. Drying zinnia heads to save seeds for planting next spring.
7. Daydreaming about picking up various skills like how to do plumbing.
8. Appeasing my cat by letting her drink from the bathroom sink (my partner taught her that).
9. Texting hugs.

“Coffee With Werewolves” by Teresa Milbrodt

By Donhiser, Fiona | October 25, 2023

Found in Willow Springs 92 Back to Author Profile LEAVING TOWN IS AN ESCAPE in slow motion. As I load boxes into the back of Lee’s Ford Maverick, it feels like we’re in one of those horror movies she loves, fleeing danger when we can’t see who’s chasing us. With Vietnam, Watergate, and all the Soviet … Read more

Issue 92: Julie Marie Wade


About Julie Marie Wade

 Julie Marie Wade is a member of the creative writing faculty at Florida International University in Miami. A winner of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir, her collections of poetry and prose include Wishbone: A Memoir in FracturesSmall Fires: Essays, Postage Due: Poems & Prose Poems, When I Was Straight, Catechism: A Love Story, SIX: Poems, Same-Sexy Marriage: A Novella in Poems, Just an Ordinary Woman Breathing, and Skirted. Her collaborative titles include The Unrhymables: Collaborations in Prose, written with Denise Duhamel, and Telephone: Essays in Two Voices, written with Brenda Miller. Wade makes her home in Dania Beach with her spouse Angie Griffin and their two cats. Her newest projects are Fugue: An Aural History, out now from New Michigan Press, and Otherwise: Essays, selected by Lia Purpura for the 2022 Autumn House Press Nonfiction Book Prize, out now from Autumn House.
Check out her website and Facebook.
More on Julie can be found here, here, and here.

Denise Duhamel, Julie Marie Wade, and Maureen Seaton (left to right) at their joint book launch in 2021.

A Profile of the Author

Notes on "What is Far From Heaven" and "What is Rear Window"

These two poems, "What is Far From Heaven?" and "What is Rear Window?," belong to the “Spoiler Alerts” category of my new manuscript, This Is Jeopardy! I grew up watching Alex Trebek host Jeopardy! every night on our tiny television set in the kitchen. If we finished dinner early enough, we got to watch on the bigger screen downstairs. In a home where much was fraught much of the time, Jeopardy! offered us a televisual neutral ground. Everyone could agree that Alex Trebek was a good host and that responding to questions with fixed answers was a safe activity.
Some of my best memories are of watching Jeopardy! with my parents during dinner, or afterwards with popcorn and Shasta, learning things I didn't know already and feeling pleased when I got the answer, in the form of a question, right. Years after I left home, I dreamed that my parents and I were the three contestants on an episode of Jeopardy! I didn't like the idea that only one of us could win—that two of us would have to lose in order for a single winner to emergebut in some ways, that condition also mirrored the dynamic in my first home.
Of the dream, I only remember that the Final Jeopardy! category was "The Future." None of us knew the right answer, which is to say none of us had the right question in mind. This dream inspired me to begin writing my own poems-qua-clues.


Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I've been listening to Dolly Parton's cover of "Let It Be" a lot recently. I love Dolly Parton in general, and I love the song "Let It Be," so the combination of artist and song is a double love. My friend Maureen Seaton--who, long before I ever even knew her, was a poet whose work inspired me to stretch, to innovate beyond what I thought possible in a poem--passed away on August 26th. No doubt many readers recognize her name and work, are missing her presence in this world just as I am.
For several years, I was lucky to live in South Florida within walking-running distance from Maureen's home near Hollywood Beach. Now that she is gone, I still run past her small apartment on Hayes Street, just a few hundred yards from the Hollywood Broadwalk, almost every day. I listen to Dolly Parton, who reminds me of Maureen: the talent, the vitality, the boundlessness of spirit.
I think how Maureen helped teach me how to write a terza rima, which I never imagined I could writeand likely couldn't on my own. With Maureen's long-time friend and collaborator Denise Duhamel, now my long-time friend and collaborator too, we wrote a terza rima for Dolly Parton: 75 lines for Dolly's 75th birthday. I wrote the middle lines, the center of each tercet, turning the language between my two great poetry heroes. It reminded me of how generous they are, how they had made a space in their friendship to include me.

Two Poems by Julie Marie Wade

By Donhiser, Fiona | October 25, 2023

Found in Willow Springs 92 Back to Author Profile What is Far From Heaven? $800 There’s a blue car as long as a boat-Melancholy motorized & sailing. There’s a woman in a red coat with a lavender scarf who always looks ravishing, especially when she stands on the platform watching a salient train depart. Ravishing is the word she’ll convince … Read more

Issue 92: Bill Gaythwaite

Bill Gaythwaite headshot

About Bill Gaythwaite

Bill Gaythwaite grew up in Boston and is the author of Underburn, (Delphinium Books/HarperCollins 2023). His short fiction has appeared in Subtropics, Chicago Quarterly Review, Puerto Del Sol, South Carolina Review, North Dakota Quarterlyand many other journals and anthologies. Bill has worked at Columbia University since 2006, where he was on the staff of the Committee on Asia and the Middle East and is now the Assistant Director for Special Populations at Columbia Law School.

You can buy Bill's debut novel Underburn here
His website (with selected short stories) is
His recent essay on the writing process can be found here

A Profile of the Author

Notes on "If You Only Knew"

I have a special feeling for this story because I wrote most of its first draft while my son was an infantLarge chunks of it were written in the middle of the night with him in my lap when he couldn’t sleep. I cradled him while typing with one handThese memories are forever linked. Considering that my son is now 26, I suppose this piece also represents persistence.  "If You Only Knew" was a finalist in various contests and came “close” at other magazines, but it was never offered publication.  I didn’t give up on it thoughI just kept revising it through the years The story itself was always a pleasure to come back toKevin’s sardonic voice remained in my headIn the revision process, I did cut a long scene at the end between Kevin and his estranged father, a Kill Your Darlings strategyIt was a really tough decision for me, but I think it helped the story overall.  I still do much of my writing in the middle of the night, given other schedules and responsibilities, but sadly my infant cradling days are in the pastI’m so pleased that when "If You Only Knew" found a home it was at Willow Springs!  

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I’m a movie guyI’ve never been a music guy, so when it comes to music I depend on my partner Tom and his all-encompassing Spotify playlistWithout him, I would only be listening to Kelly Clarkson covers, which are fantastic, but there’s something nice about getting some music education on a drive to the grocery store.  Unlike Tom, I really only listen to music in the car.  I’m always pointing to the dashboard and saying, “Who is that again?” and Tom will grimace and say, “It’s Pat Benatar, how do you not know that?”  We listen to everybody from Frank Sinatra to Troye Sivan, from The Rolling Stones to Years & YearsOn our drives, I get acquainted with groups like Public Enemy or The Go-Gos, who I should have been listening to in my youth but I was too busy watching old moviesTom will sometimes stop the music and tell me facts about a particular singer or about the first time he went to an Elton concert or when he saw Diana Ross at Radio City or the time he met Kenny Loggins after a showI like these little biographical interludesIt’s like when he lets me pause old movies to explain why Barbara Stanwyck was considered Hollywood’s most cooperative actress or why Humphrey Bogart’s Oscar win was so popularI guess we each get points for patience.     

“If You Only Knew” by Bill Gaythwaite

By Donhiser, Fiona | October 25, 2023

Found in Willow Springs 92 Back to Author Profile BEFORE MY FATHER RUNS OFF, he suddenly showers us all with attention. It’s jarring at first, like having someone crowd next to you on a bus when there are plenty of seats in back. There’s something desperate about it, but I’m not thinking this at the time. … Read more