Our 10.1 Contributors!

The GS squad is happy to announce the work we’ll be publishing in GS 10.1!


Best of Math Class and Scott Minzy


Thea Anderson, Rachel J. Bennett, Derek Berry, Stephen Brown, Dorothy Chan, Joshua Clayton, Chelsea B. DesAutels, jayy dodd, Kari Ann Ebert, Joseph M. Gerace, Shelby Handler, Len Lawson, and Jacob Nantz


Julia Coursey, Ben Gitkind, Cathy Ulrich, and Zach VandeZande


Rebecca Meacham and Judy T. Oldfield




GS 7th Annual Summer Contest Results!

Thanks to our judges & all who entered. Here are the results!


“Maadulampazham (In Which Her Daughter Hears the Diagnosis).” by Kari Ann Ebert, winner selected by celeste doaks
Annotations for [Redacted] Elegy” by Derek Berry, finalist
“An Oral History of a City Destroyed by Fire” by Kitt Keller, finalist
“Passed Down on Slow Hands” by Claire Fallon, finalist
“Portrait of George Stinney, Jr, as Police Report and Trial” by Len Lawson, finalist


“The Collectors” by Julia Coursey – winner, chosen by Rachel B. Glaser
“Evolution” Katheryn McMahon, finalist
“Father’s” by Zach VandeZande, finalist
“My Fake Brother” by Leonora Desar, finalist
“The Murderous History of Tumbleweeds” by David Drury, finalist
“Timber” by Christopher Linforth, finalist
“Walks Like a Lion” by Nancy Au, finalist

TEEN SEQUINS 2018! Day 3: Sophie Paquette, Age 16

What is an exclamation point? An action. What are many exclamation points? A revolution. Sophie Paquette’s poem is a refusal, a feminist text, where exclamation points fly after every almost thought and phrase. In short, Paquette uses the exclamation point to punch the patriarchy in the throat. She uses it as a middle finger, a protest sign. But the exclamation point is also a cut here, a strain, taking the grammar of online marketing and struggling to bend it.  “o shattering prism of clicks!” writes Paquette, “o country of hands!” If we are to do right by Paquette, we will share, re-post, and re-tweet this poem, a sign to the patriarchy that says “teenage girls! know! what you’re trying to pull!” We will work to help clearing a path for any teenager being patronized, even if we just begin by hitting “like.”  — Sophie Klahr


for the ad on my browser reading tragic girl’s life could have been saved by this new safety device!


tragic girl clickbait!


receives dick pic with a smile!

spits in a bottle for you to wear round your neck! so this thirstiest part of her always hang close to your chest!

tragic girl cartoned milk! best used 7 days after opening! best used to wash down something else sweeter! sits in your mouth to silence the aftertaste of another! suckle tragic girl for strength! while she refills herself! again & again!

tragic girl marketing scheme! paid display advertising! purchase with a single click! tragic girl wants to help get you off! the couch to buy something!

tragic girl shapes her body into any role she is given! tragic pixie wet dream! plays love interest! plays some kind of instrument! only so you can lay naked & beg! tragic girl play me like your—!

tragic girl grew up ugly! tragic girl grew! once! not anymore!

tragic girl exactly how you like her! not child! not woman! not alive! not dead! could have been saved! but the body still warm enough to touch! tragic girl could have been! an artist! a writer! a person! but what makes her tragic then! how could you swallow her! without spitting out! could you! could have! could have tragic girl! preserved forever! while you sit with this new safety! device & its saved lives! the flood of voices still trailing behind! tragic girl & all her undead sisters! so you feel holy for hearing them! gracious for wanting them! hero for imagining their revival! divine for sculpting all of their hypothetical lives from soft clay! or software! somewhere tragic girl sings her praise & I wonder

if she feels it! o shattering prism of clicks! o country of hands! these many glowing screens! a million fingers! pressing down




Sophie Paquette is a poet and essayist from Bloomington, Indiana. She attends Interlochen Arts Academy, where she serves as an editor for The Interlochen Review. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Heavy Feather Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Midwestern Gothic, The Offing, and others.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Olivia Bigboy (St.Huberts HS, Philadelphia, PA); Olivia Campbell (Methuen HS, Methuen, MA); Laila Hamer (Woddbridge Senior HS, Woddbridge, VA); Madison Vogt (Bentonville HS, Rogers, AR); Ian Jacome (Miami Arts Charter, Doral, FL); Ashlyn Langford (Timber Creek HS, Keller, TX); Katerina Drogojevic (Rome Free Academy, Rome, NY); Haley Fisher (Woodlands Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada); Foster Hudson (Little Red Elizabeth Irwin, New York, NY); Eliza Durbin (Newton Country Day School, Boston, MA); Ellis McGinley (Capitol Theater Magnet HS, Millimantic, CT); Lily Krug (NYC iSchool, New York, NY); Sylvan Lebrun (The American School in Japan, Tokyo, Japan); Yoonjin Lim (Northfield Mount Hermon School, Mount Hermon, MA); Matthew Capone (Westwood HS, Westwood, MA); Lacie Minton (Hibriten HS, Lenoir, NC); Alison Child (Mountain Vista HS Highlands Ranch, CO); Claire Shang (Hunter College HS, NYC, NY); Stephanie Chang (Richmond Christian Secondary School, Richmond, BC, Canada); Helen Graham (Harvard-Westlake, Los Angeles, CA); Helen Quian (Richard Montgomery HS, Rockville, MD); Anjini Grover (Adlai E. Stevenson HS, Buffalo Grove, IL); Allison Armijo (El Segundo HS, El Segundo, CA); Adam Zhou (International School Manila, Taguig, the Philippines); Priya Rinkus (Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, Rumson, NJ); Akhila Bandlora (BASIS Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ); Rebecca Oet (Hathaway Brown, Shaker Heights, OH); Jessica XU (Haynes Academy, Metairie, LA); Grace Wang (Columbus North HS, Columbus, IN); Sandra Chen (Amador Valley HS, Pleasanton, CA); Margaret Balich (Winchester Thurston, Pittsburgh, PA); Hannah Crowley (Marblehead HS, Marblehead, MA); Star Bullen Crowe (Brooklyn HS of The Arts, Brooklyn, NY); Samantha Grace Dell’Imperio (Eastchester HS, Scarsdale, NY); Yerin Chang (Lower Moreland HS, Huntingdon Valley, PA)

Still Life with Book

#StillLifeWithBook is a little corner of our blog where GS contributors and staff share a snippet and a snapshot of their current reads.

child of the dark pic.jpg
Sarah Shields | 8.1 Art Contributor 

Reading: Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus (translated from the Portuguese by David St. Clair)—originally titled Quarto de Despejo: Diário de uma Favelada + Sun and Moon written & illustrated by Lindsey Yankey | Currently on page: 45 | Favorite lines so far: “I don’t look for defects in children. Neither in mine nor in others. I know that a child is not born with sense. When I speak with a child I use pleasant words. What infuriates me is that the parents come to my door to disrupt my rare moments of inner tranquility. But when they upset me, I write. I know how to dominate my impulses. I only had two years of schooling, but I got enough to form my character. The only thing that does not exist in the favela is friendship.” / “The sparrows have just begun their morning symphony. The birds must be happier than we are. Perhaps happiness and equality reigns among them. The world of the birds must be better than that of the favelados, who lie down but don’t sleep because they go to bed hungry.” + (pictured) “As the night went on, he saw the flowers of a baobab tree blossom.” When I looked up what a baobab tree is, I was delighted to discover one of its common names is “dead-rat tree” (its fruit looks like rats hanging stiffly by their long tails). | Books’ origins: Child of the Dark: acquired mysteriously. Sun and Moon: borrowed from the Huntington Beach (Central) Public Library.



meg willing | Art & Design Editor  

Reading: There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker | Currently on page: 49 | Favorite lines so far: “Should I answer the phone / Who is it / Who want the world like it is / Spoke Baraka can you hear him now / Do you understand / Are calories and sitcoms / Here to make me sad / Am I a moon no one sees / Does my lipstick look okay / Am I growing tired / Of my alternative lifestyle / Or would I like a fresh glass / Is there something spectacular / In fallen trees ancient hieroglyphs / Hippie towns twentysomethings will they / Save us / Is it possible to disappear / What’s it like to be the first anything” (from “The President’s Wife”) | Book’s origin: Arrived in the mail one afternoon, an unexpected gift from my friend Alana.

**Teen Nostalgia** (a playlist for Teen Sequins 2017)


A few weeks ago, I started spamming the Gigantic Sequins masthead on Facebook with a question: what were your favorite songs when you were a teenager? I had the idea during last year’s Teen Sequins feature, to make a mixtape, maybe a playlist, of songs we love(d), that inspire(d) us. This year I asked, and the masthead delivered (link to Spotify playlist). I might have skipped class this morning to listen, but that can be our secret.


Here’s what the staff wrote about their picks (links to videos!)…

  1. “Nightswimming” by R.E.M. (Sophie Klahr, Teen Sequins co-editor): “I remember listening to this song on a tape, on repeat, probably around 8th grade.”
  2. “Circles” by Soul Coughing (Kimberly Ann Southwick, Editor in Chief): “released in 1998…these guys were KEY in my late teens; like, I LIVED off of Doughty lyrics all through my late high school & early college years. The link is to the official video for that song. I remember my best friend Kirsten and I walking around the halls at my high school after school was over singing this song.”
  3. “Awake” by Letters to Cleo (Kimberly Ann Southwick): “came out in 1995 but I got really into them like sophomore year of high school. (Regrettably I don’t think I ever saw them live? Living in South Jersey, I got to see a LOT of live music, most of my faves, because we’re so close to both Philly & NYC–& bands even played in Jersey on the way between the two cities or in big arena stadiums right outside of them. Anyway, sucks I never saw them.) I would write LTC lyrics all over everything (which I did with a lot of music) and use them as AIM away messages and such.”
  4. “#1 Crush” by Garbage (Meg Willing, Assistant Production Editor): “from the Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack (1996), 13. On tape, from my Walkman, track one, side one, staring up at bootlegged R+J posters (and postcards and cutouts), lovesick and cursing it.”
  5. “Barnacles” by Ugly Cassanova (Meg Willing): “from a mix CD from Travis, 17. Driving dirt roads in my maroon ’93 Subaru Loyale station wagon, aimless.”
  6. “Rocks Tonic Juice Magic” by Saves the Day (Zach Yontz, Fiction Editor): “from Through Being Cool (1999). I was 13 but probably really got into it around 15-16 (to this day!). You and I are like when fire and the ocean floor collide.”
  7. “A Red So Deep” by Cursive (Zach Yontz): “Was 14! Probably really got into it around 15-16 again. A concept album about divorce really fit my high school age mindset. I was also listening to a lot of Thursday at the time.”
  8. “Gold Lion” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (yours truly): “10 when this album came out…I preordered it from FYE next to Panera in the plaza where my mom grocery shopped. Must have talked her into giving me an advance on multiple allowances. It came with a poster.”
  9. “Nude as the News” by Cat Power (“”): “Wrote one long and awful draft of a YA book inspired by this song. Listened over and over while writing thousands of words, just anything. I refuse to open the document, but I still love this song.”
  10. “Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey (“”): “Bought this album at FYE, too. Brought it home and put my ear to a faux-vintage CD player from Target. A neighbor my mom babysat was there, too. We turned the stereo loud then louder. When the drums came in, the speakers nearly blew. I was exhilarated, my neighbor terrified. This song is what most of the poems I wrote my sophomore year of college wanted to be.”
  11. “El Niagara en Bicicleta” by Juan Luis Gerra (Meg Willing): “16. Living in Bogotá, sneaking around the city with my best girls, dancing, dancing, dancing.”


My brilliant Teen Sequins co-editor, Sophie Klahr, ended up making her own playlist. Thank you, Sophie. Nostalgia forever. Teen Sequins forever! “Untouchable Face” is one of my favorite Ani Difranco songs.

Friends, please help us spread the word about Teen Sequins 2017! And maybe turn up the music.

Until next time,
Robby (Teen Sequins co-editor)

Blog post to a young poet, rejected from a program, who,for a day, wants to quit writing

Dear ________,

I was in graduate school the first time that I heard the term PoBiz, a clipped, half-cynical half-shruggingly sarcastic way of referring to the Poetry Business, which I had also never heard of. I gathered that the Poetry Business entailed marketing one’s self. Are you a female poet? A poet of color? A poet with a disability? With a disease? A queer poet? A religious minority poet? An eco-poet? Etcetera.…I had always written about the things that I felt made me different, the things that stung, because I was alone, lonely with those weights. I wrote about abortion not because I thought I was going to tap into some niche market, but because it weighed heavily on my heart. I wrote about alcoholism because it was the center of my life, not because I was a Bukowski devotee (though there’s nothing wrong with that). I wrote about god and faith not because I had an academic interest in religion and spirituality but because it felt at many points that my life depended on whether or not I was able to tap into a power greater than myself. I never really had any idea about marketing myself. It was true that I wrote mostly about what was hard in my life, but I also wrote about traveling and fish and movies.

Carl Phillips wrote a great essay awhile ago in which talked about being asked why he doesn’t say what color the people in his poems are.  And here is what I’m trying to say, in a roundabout way: The System, any program, any school, any magazine, is going to somewhat judge you through what makes the actual you unique and not wholly on the quality of your writing. It’s a double-edged sword, and a fluid one. Sometimes it can feel as if the system rewards the person, not the poem.

Here is what I’m trying to say: of course the rejection feels personal. It is personal. Some folks got into the program, and you didn’t. You said that you thought you shouldn’t take it personally, but you have every right to take it personally. We pour our hearts into something, toss the thing out into the world, and watch as nobody puts out their arms to catch our beloved pieces. We watch the gears of the PoBiz grinding along, rewarding writers who maybe we think our work is equal to or better than. We think both Why me?! and Why not me!?

But — the poem is also an artifact. It’s something that has been done, a past action. It’s a product of a different moment, a past self. I love the Buddhist saying of “Do your work, then step back.” It’s very simple, but I have thought about it for many years. Some days I am better at stepping back than other days.

If you feel like quitting writing sometimes, that’s ok. The place where a poem comes from is the place where the urge to paint comes from, the place where the urge to swim comes from. It’s something that wants to move. So, let yourself move around. Make a collage, sing a song, pick up an instrument you’ve never played before. Learn to bake bread. But don’t stop embracing the muscular impulse of your creativity. If writing feels daunting, that’s ok. But make something else. Even if it’s just a dance in your bedroom. And, go outside for awhile, without your phone. That helps. It usually helps everything.

I think the real thing to quit is the search for validation, which is insidious. I have to remind myself sometimes of the same thing. When sending out a poem, the thought should not be: I hope that XYZ publication takes this poem so that everyone knows my poem is good enough to be in XYZ publication… it should be: I hope that XYZ publication takes this poem because i really think it is beautiful / strange / insightful / cathartic / funny / etc. and I want to share it with people – I think it might be important for someone. Writing poetry is about the urge to share something, even just with yourself. It’s not about gold stars. There’s no endgame to poetry, as the PoBiz might have you believe. A bio full of laurels and fellowships means almost nothing. Right before my book came out, and I had to choose what my bio in the book would say, I decided that it would be very short. It lists where I was born, and where I live now, two journals where my poems have been published, and the fact that I do interdisciplinary work. What’s most important to me in my bio is the latter, the fact of interdisciplinary work, because I hope, someday, that a visual artist or dancer or painter will write to me and say they’d like to collaborate. It’s almost like a little Personals posting, an ISO. I chose to leave out my education and prizes and residencies not because I don’t value them, but because — that’s not really what I want to talk to people about.

So, don’t worry about being rejected from the residency. Let it be a Not this time instead of a No, never. If you keep writing, and I get the sense that you will always write, there will be dozens of opportunities you might reach for and dozens of times you may be rejected. You get to decide how, and how long, to hold each disappointment. You get to decide what to expect of your writing. Don’t worry about being too much of one thing, or not enough of another. Don’t worry if you don’t publish anything for awhile, or for a long while.There is no right path for a poet, and there millions, literally millions, of incredible poets and writers and literary journals you and I have never heard of. And what a joy! What an absolute joy, to know there are so many more writers we will meet, who will mean so much to us, and to know that the writers we are today might be vastly different than the writers we are in 10 years, in 20 years…There’s no finish line. In the end, there is only the work itself. Enjoy the moment of your work, and how it feels to read your poems aloud, and how those poems can nourish you. Let the rest fall away. Onwards.

( Teen Sequins Co-Editor )

Still Life with Book

#StillLifeWithBook is a little corner of our blog where GS contributors and staff share a snippet and a snapshot of their current reads.


Carly Mayer | 6.1 Art Contributor 

Reading: Zappa: A Biography by Barry Miles | Currently on page: 105 | Favorite lines so far: “He sat there, powerless, seething with anger at the American ‘justice’ system and playing an imaginary guitar. He dreamed up power chords so loud and ugly that they’d tear the bars right out of the walls, so they could all escape to freedom” (87). | Book’s origin: A gift from a friend.


meg willing | Art & Design Editor  

Reading: [INSERT] BOY by Danez Smith | Currently on page: 81 | Favorite lines so far: “& on the ninth day, God said Bitch, werk & Adam learned to duck walk, dip, pose, death drop, Eve became the fruit herself, stared lions in the eye & dared to bite // & on the tenth day, God wore a blood red sequin body suit, dropped it low, named it Sunset // & on the eleventh day God said guuuurrrrrl & trees leaned in for gossip, water went wild for the tea, & the airtight with shade // & on the twelfth day, Jesus wept at the mirror, mourning the day his sons would shame his sons for walking a daughter’s stride, for the way his children would learn to hate the kids” (from “GENESISSY”) | Book’s origin: YesYes Books.

Still Life With Book

#StillLifeWithBook is a little corner of our blog where contributors and staff share a snippet and a snapshot of their current reads.

16009888_10158008221175587_361750258_oKamden Hilliard | 7.2 Poetry Contributor and current GS Reader 

Reading: IMAGINATIONS by Williams Carlos Williams | Currently on page: 181 | Favorite lines so far: “The brutal Lord of All will rip us from each other– leave the one to suffer here alone.” (55) | Book’s origin: The now, sadly deceased REVOLUTION BOOKS in Honolulu 😞


meg willing | Assistant Production Editor / Designer  

Reading: Work by Bloodlight by Julia Bouwsma | Currently on page: 45 | Favorite lines so far: “how snow drops its fast blanket on this / woodlot night: black-bellied night: smell it: how want bends the mouth / so low you nearly kiss the ground.” | Book’s origin: A gift from the author.

GS 8.1: Available For Pre-Order!

…Not to mention: COVER REVEAL! Yessss! We love it. We can’t wait. The issue is due out in January 2017, which is closer than you think. Spread the good news, pre-order here! (If you live outside the USA, please pre-order here instead.)

In case you forgot, here are the contributors featured in our forthcoming issue:

ART: Yokim Snow (cover), Sarah Shields, and Miguel Angel Soto

COMICS: Jason Hart and Anna McGlynn

CNF: Benji Alvey, Jacob Little, and Bailey Pittenger

FICTION: María Isabel Alvarez, Andy Myers, Elizabeth Gibson, Kim Hagerich (5th annual Flash Fiction contest winner), and Saul Lemerond

POETRY: Zoë Bodzas, Kristi Carter, Brian Clifton, Emily Corwin, Dan Encarnacion, Dana Fang, p.e. garcia, Marlin M. Jenkins, Paige Lewis, Xandria Phillips (5th annual Poetry contest winner), Katie Prince, and Michael Martin Shea

BOOK REVIEW: Craig Chisholm reviews THE VOYAGER RECORD (Rose Metal Press, 2016) by Anthony Michael Morena

Still Life With Book

#StillLifeWithBook is a little corner of our blog where contributors and staff share a snippet and a snapshot of their current reads. 


Leesa Cross-Smith | 4.2 Fiction Contributor 

Reading: DRUMS OF AUTUMN by DIANA GABALDON | Currently on page: 227 | Favorite lines so far: Gabaldon’s writing is so detailed and feely, it’s hard to say! But I love her descriptions of clothes and smells so much. She writes re: Jamie, “He smelt of wine and candlewax, of herbs and Highland wool.” And earlier, describing Jamie’s clothes she writes “The coat and waistcoat were not spectacular, but quite acceptable, courtesy of Cousin Edwin; a quiet gray broadcloth with a good hand and an excellent fit, buttons not silver, but not of wood or bone either—a sober pewter, like a prosperous Quaker…and the missing button on the waistcoat was hidden by the graceful fall of his lace jabot, the sole extravagance he had permitted himself in the way of wardrobe.” I get happily immersed so quickly in her world and with descriptions like these, she keeps me there and I never want to leave.| Books’ origins: I got into Outlander because I asked my dear friend Sarah what she was reading and she got this dreamy look in her eyes when she told me. Not long after that, I went to the used bookstore and prepared myself to read the entire series because I fell in love. My husband helped me carry all of the books out because that’s how huge and heavy they are. Years later, I’m forever listening to Outlander podcasts, rewatching the show when it’s Droughtlander waiting for the new season, just got an Outlander cookbook in the mail, I’ve knit more than four Outlander cowls for my girlfriends, etc.



meg willing | Assistant Production Editor / Designer  

Reading: Little Boat by Jean Valentine | Currently on page: 14 | Favorite lines so far: The poem “Photographs at her Wake” takes my breath away (pictured above in full). It ends with the lines, “Can you feel / a hair under a page of the telephone book? / under two pages? / under three?” | Book’s origin: On loan from my local college library. I love walking to the library on rainy days and filling my bag so full of books it almost breaks. But I hate not being able to underline and write in the margins, so I photocopy the poems that pop and tape them to my studio wall. The due date is a friendly push to finish reading whatever I check out.