portion of the artwork for Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz's poetry

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s Comments

The five poems included in this issue of FRiGG were all written during my last year of living in New York City, a place I called home for fourteen years.

Since 2002, I had worked at the same (incredibly nice but not writing-related) office job, and had only recently begun to feel an itch to escape. I had been applying for fellowships, residencies, and grants for over a year with absolutely no success. When I wrote most of these poems, I was just beginning to come to terms with the idea that the life I was living—office worker-by-day, writer-by-night—was going to be it for a while. I think the poems “Lilith,” “Thank You For Your Interest for Our Fellowship,” and “Green Umbrella” spotlight that mindset. Although I clearly didn’t realize it when I wrote them, all three seem to about re-evaluation, and trying to find meaning or perhaps further depth into something I had already become accustomed to.

“Teacher Evaluations” and “The Night We Met” were both written after I received the incredible news of having been awarded the 2010-2011 Writer-In-Residence position at the University of Pennsylvania. I think they continue that theme of re-evaluation, both from different ends of the spectrum. With “Teacher Evaluation” I am a witness, and with “The Night We Met” I move from witness to participant (with gratefully happy results). Shortly after writing these final poems, I moved to Philadelphia and started over fresh, in a number of ways.

When I teach writing workshops, I always tell people to write and save, to never judge and never, ever delete or throw out. All five of these poems came from different places and were written in such vastly different moods. I know for a fact that they were all written in a time of great insecurity and instability, and I am sure I thought about throwing each one of them out at some point. But I am happy they all (we all) survived, and grateful that they found a home—together—in FRiGG.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 31 | Winter 2011