The Story Behind “Shuang” by Kevin McGeary

Kevin McGeary

Today’s post is written by Kevin McGeary. We published his short story “Shuang” in in our Fall 2017 issue. 

To quote Mark Twain, “The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.”

When searching for ideas for new stories, I decided to take the seven most salacious news articles from my time in the southern Chinese media, shoehorn them into one work of fiction, and see if it could possibly work.

For what it’s worth, almost everything in my story “Shuang” is based on fact: the marriage corners, the childbirth in an internet bar bathroom, the extortions and Spring Festival “special offers” in abortion clinics, the instances of infanticide that persist to this day, the baby hatches, and even the pregnant woman storming her ex-fiance’s wedding while wearing a bridal dress,Continue Reading

The Story Behind “Daffodils in January” by M. J. Arlett


Today’s post is written by M. J. Arlett. We published her poem “Daffodils in January”  in our Fall 2017 issue. “Daffodils in January” was a direct response to Sylvia Plath’s “Poppies in July,” the title being an obvious play on hers, as well as the word “little” in the first line. I wanted to explore the image of […]

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The Story Behind “Two Poems” by Laurinda Lind


Today’s post is written by Laurinda Lind. We published two of her poems in our Fall 2017 issue.  It’s hard to say what makes poems coalesce—sometimes words just want to come out to play, and sometimes insights demand means of expression. One of these two poems came from observation, and one came as a response […]

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Pushcart Prize Nominations, 2017


We are pleased to announce our 2017 nominations for the Pushcart Prize: “The Suicide Dogs,” creative nonfiction by Telaina Eriksen “Bypass Instructions,” creative nonfiction by Marion Agnew “narcissus,” poetry by Chris Murray “An Egret in Winter,” poetry by John Grey “Which Finger for the Town?” fiction by Andrew Boden “Siren,” fiction by Chaya Bhuvaneswar Congratulations and […]

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The Story Behind “Siren” by Chaya Bhuvaneswar


Today’s post is written by Chaya Bhuvaneswar. We published her short story “Siren” in our Fall 2017 issue. Congratulations, as well, go out to Chaya, the recent recipient of the Dzanc Short Story Collection Prize. Please follow her on Twitter for updates on the book or if you would like to read your fiction, poetry or […]

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Introducing Our Fall 2017 Contributors


Sending 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 […]

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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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