The Story Behind “Perfect Child” by Melissa Ballard

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Today’s post is written by Melissa Ballard. Her essay “Perfect Child” appears in our Spring 2016 issue.  In 2011, I drafted a poem about the “I choose ‘zis” scene in “Perfect Child.” But my poems are prose with random line breaks, so I abandoned that effort. During the summer of 2012, I took a class with […]

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The Story Behind “Big Alabama and the Danforth Avenue Gang” by James Valvis

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Today’s post is written by James Valvis. We published his short story “Big Alabama and the Danforth Avenue Gang” in our Spring 2016 issue. Charles Bukowski was in his declining years when, after years of snubbing him, they chose one of his poems for Best American Poetry. When they finally took that poem, they asked […]

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The Story Behind “What My Premature Birth Taught Me About Writing” by Dallas Woodburn

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Today’s post is written by Dallas Woodburn. Her essay “What My Premature Birth Taught Me About Writing” appears in our Spring 2016 issue.  Being a “preemie” is an aspect of my identity that has shaped my life, and that I have been writing about in various ways for as long as I can remember. In middle […]

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The Story Behind “Two Poems” by Rebecca Macijeski

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Today’s post is written by Rebecca Macijeski. Her poems “Sonata for Water and Birds” and “Searching” appear in our Spring 2016 issue. “Sonata for Water and Birds” and “Searching” explore my fascination for what we can become in the gray area where opposing forces or energies overlap. The poems come from a book- length project that tries to […]

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The Story Behind “In Transit” by Christopher Woods

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Today’s post is written by Christopher Woods. His series of  photography “In Transit” appears in our Spring 2016 issue. If I do not move, my heart is still beating. Blood courses through arteries and veins through my body. The engine goes, but where? I stand up. I am in a room. I cross the room. I cross […]

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Compose Journal Seeks Assistant Managing Editor

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Update: Please note that this position has now been filled.  Have you always wanted to join the exciting world of lit mags? Now’s your chance. Compose is looking for an assistant managing editor. This role involves an interesting combination of responsibilities, including reading submissions, copyediting, and managing social media. For the right candidate, this could be an amazing opportunity to […]

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Writing in the Dark

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Today’s post is written by special guest Todd Outcalt. For the past forty years I have written, primarily, in the dark. This habit, however, was not one born of preference, but of necessity. During the day—when the sun is shining and all is right with the world—I have worked diligently in the lengthening shadows of […]

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Introducing Our Spring 2016 Contributors

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Spring is on the way, the days are getting longer, and here at Compose we’re getting excited about our forthcoming issue. We received nearly 600 submissions across all genres during the past reading period, but we had space to accept only a small percentage of those. Our senior editors are now working through edits with our contributors to prepare each selection […]

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The Story Behind “The Call of Birds” by P. Kearney Byrne

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Today’s post is written by P. Kearney Byrne, whose short story “The Call Birds” appears in our Fall 2015 issue. In 2013, I saw a UK short story competition with a prize of £7,500; a lot of money at a time when I was indulging in daily fantasies of winning my way into the black in […]

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The Story Behind “Puzzle Pieces” by Bernard Grant

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Today’s post is written by Bernard Grant. A piece of his creative nonfiction—”Puzzle Pieces“—appears in our Fall 2015 issue.  Sometimes an image causes words to sound in my head, looping like a catchy jingle. The only way to lose it is to write. “Puzzle Pieces” was an attempt to rid myself of one such sound: “The woman […]

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