Introducing Our Fall 2017 Contributors

leaves-1051937_1280Sending you hearty autumn greetings from the editorial team at Compose!

Our Fall 2017 issue is now well underway, and we very much look forward to sharing the work of these writers, poets and artists with you in late October.

In the meantime, as we work through edits and lay out the issue, take a look through our fantastic lineup of contributors.


Julie Paul is the author of three books: two collections of short fiction, The Jealousy Bone (Emdash, 2008) and The Pull of the Moon (Brindle & Glass, 2014) and the poetry collection, The Rules of the Kingdom (MQUP, 2017). The Pull of the Moon was awarded both an IPPY award and the Victoria Book Prize and was named a Top 100 Book in the Globe and Mail. Her essay “It Not Only Rises, It Shines” won the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Award from The New Quarterly, and her story “The Expansion” won The Rusty Toque’s 2016 Chapbook Award. She lives in Victoria with her family, where, in addition to writing, she works as a Registered Massage Therapist.


M. J. Arlett is an MFA candidate at Florida International University, where she is the nonfiction editor for Gulf Stream Magazine. She was born in the UK, spent several years in Spain, and now lives in Miami. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lunch TicketMud Season ReviewPoet LoreRust + MothTinderbox Poetry, and elsewhere.

GRACE STREET, Edward A. Dougherty‘s latest collection of poems, is available from Cayuga Lake Books. He teaches at Corning Community College and is a regular reviewer for American Microreviews & Interviews.

David Koehn‘s first full-length manuscript, Twine, now available from Bauhan Publishing, won the 2013 May Sarton Poetry Prize. His poetry and translations were previously collected in two chapbooks, Tunic, (speCt! books, 2013) a small collection of some of his translations of Catullus, and Coil (University of Alaska, 1998), winner of the Midnight Sun Chapbook Contest. He just released Compendium (Omnidawn Publishing, 2017), a collection of Donald Justice’s take on prosody. His second full-length collection, Scatterplot, is due out from Omnidawn in 2020. His writing has appeared in a wide range of literary magazines including Kenyon ReviewNew England ReviewAlaska Quarterly ReviewRhinoVoltCarolina QuarterlyNew York QuarterlyDiagramMcSweeney’sThe Greensboro Review, and many others.

Cammy Thomas has published two collections of poems with Four Way Books: Inscriptions (2014) and Cathedral of Wish, which received the 2006 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her poems are forthcoming or have recently appeared in The Missouri ReviewSalamanderOcean State ReviewThe Maine Review, and Off the Coast. A fellowship from the Ragdale Foundation helped her complete Inscriptions. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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The Story Behind “Bypass Instructions” by Marion Agnew

Marion Agnew

Today’s post is written by Marion Agnew. We published her essay “Bypass Instructions” in our Spring 2017 issue. “Every illness is a narrative.” –Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby “Bypass Instructions” came about for many reasons, all of which are probably familiar to most writers: I wanted to document and explore a significant experience—in this case, my […]

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The Story Behind “The Suicide Dogs” by Telaina Eriksen

Telaina flowers glasses small

Today’s post is written by Telaina Eriksen. We published her essay “The Suicide Dogs” in our Spring 2017 issue.  “The Suicide Dogs” was one of the most difficult essays I’ve ever written. How do you attempt to sketch a portrait of two beloved people in a minimal number of words, but also talk about the reality […]

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The Story behind “Creatures” by Beth Sherman


Today’s post is written by Beth Sherman. We published a piece of her flash fiction, “Creatures,” in our Spring 2017 issue. I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time searching for story ideas. For me, figuring out what to write about is the hardest part of the writing process. My life is pretty […]

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The Story Behind “bind” by Chris Murray

CMurray Headshot

Today’s post is written by Chris Murray. We published two of her poems from ‘bind’ in our Spring 2017 issue.  ‘bind’ is a short book, that is not quite a chapbook. It is set on peripheries, within self-imposed psychic borders and it is limited by human psychological boundaries, concerns that operate in silence for the most part. ‘bind’ takes […]

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The Story Behind “Layers” by Lita Kurth


Today’s post is written by Lita Kurth. We published her poem “Layers” in our Spring 2017 issue.  In 1996, the year she won the Nobel Prize, I found Wislawa Szymborska’s “Some Like Poetry” on the Xerox machine at the university where I worked. Captivated, I promptly used it in my Composition classes to illustrate how the […]

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Seeking Submissions for Our 10th Issue—Fall 2017


Ten. Our tenth issue. Ten. October 2017. Ten. 1 + 2 + 3 + 4. Ten commandments. Ten plagues. Ten years—a decade. Ten. The completion of a cycle. Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing is now considering submissions for our tenth issue—Fall 2017. We’re on the lookout for pieces that address the theme “Ten” […]

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Introducing Our Spring 2017 Contributors


Our Spring 2017 issue is now well under way, and we hope to launch very soon! If you’ve submitted work to us and haven’t yet received a response, your work is being considered for our Fall 2017 issue. We’re always reading, so send us your poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, photography and art anytime. Submission guidelines can be […]

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The Story Behind “Across Which the World” by Laura McCullough

Laura McCullough Photo

Today’s post is written by Laura McCullough. We published her poem “Across Which the World” in our Fall 2016 issue.  It’s hard to discuss my own work. I think if I could say what I needed to say in another form, I would. A poem is what I write because I can’t say something any other […]

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The Story Behind “Shepherding” by Michael Overa

Michael Overa

Today’s post is written by Michael Overa. We published his short story “Shepherding” in our Fall 2016 issue. Memory has always struck me as a rather tenuous thing. Even the healthiest minds muddle and jumble and transpose memories. Inevitably, I struggle with the idea of memory primarily because of my own love-hate relationship with it. I’ve no […]

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