Vintage DB 105: Brandon R. Schrand’s “Collusion,” DB 9

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One of the smaller pools of work among the many types published in our journal is that of non-fiction, but lucky for you, that’s exactly the type of enthralling writing that makes today’s vintage pick worthy of a second glance. Brandon R. Schrand’s “Collusion” was part of our Panliterary Awards Competition and was good enough to earn a spot as a finalist in DB 9, Winter 2007–2008. Check out an excerpt below and scroll down for a link to enjoy the rest:

“I learned Vic’s story the same way I learned the stories of many of our guests — in fragments. Neither my parents or grandparents ever sat down and told me someone’s story in a complete narrative, start to finish. It was impolite to talk about anyone at that length. I suppose it felt less gossipy, less indulgent if they ladled out bits of their story intermittently, in abbreviated turns. Generally, I took what I heard and filled in the holes with my own observations. The pieces of Vic’s story filtered down to me this way: He was in the pen. Killed someone. Intelligent. Has a teenage daughter. Has a temper. I took note of the tattoos that inked his forearms, the time he spent in the lobby phone booth talking, I presumed, I hoped, to his daughter. The far-flung father calling home. Then I tried to align this information with the stories and rumors I had heard about him. There were always stories. I watched him in the lobby or as he slipped into the bar. I spied on him through the keyhole in the French doors of our apartment.”

Brandon R. Schrand is the author of Works Cited: An Alphabetical Odyssey of Mayhem & Misbehavior (2013), and The Enders Hotel: A Memoir (2007). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sports Illustrated, The Dallas Morning News, The Utne Reader, Tin House, Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, Columbia, River Teeth, Ecotone, and numerous other publications. He also has essays in several anthologies including Borne on Air: Essays by Idaho Writers (EWU Press); Now Write!: Nonfiction Writing Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers (Tarcher/Penguin); and The Book of Dads: Essays on the Joys, Perils, and Humiliations of Fatherhood (Ecco/Harper Collins). He has won the 2006 Willard R. Espy Award, Shenandoah’s 2008 Carter Prize, the Pushcart Prize, four Pushcart Prize Special Mentions, and has had Notable Essays in the Best American Essays 2007, 2008,2009, and 2013. His nonfiction has also earned a Yaddo residency. He lives in Moscow, Idaho with his wife and two children. For more info. about Schrand, visit his website.

Click here to read “Collusion”


This post was originally published January 26, 2017 on by Rose McNeill.

Vintage DB 104: Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingde’s “Blood Promise,” DB 21

This week’s awesome vintage selection is a throwback to Spring 2015, when Drunken Boat celebrated its 15th anniversary with the publication of DB 21. Featured in this issue is one special folio entitled “Union,” filled with works on the same theme, which contains several pieces by writer and artist Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. “Blood Promise” is a poem that is particularly compelling for the way it allows us a candid peek at the lives of four women struggling with the immense population disparity of men and women on their island. The lack of men is not simply frustrating, but also begs questions of their hopes, desires, and even their self-worth. This incredible freestyle poem will make you laugh, make you feel, and most importantly, make you think.

“How much more sick can it get? Siew Mee said.
She kicked a box of boxes but screamed when it hurt.
Mum says the ticket is to marry a rich man, Siew Mee said.
That’s a stretch, Serena said.
How about trying to find a man to marry, she said.
How about trying to find a man anywhere, Meghan said.”

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of an epistolary novel, Singular Acts of Endearment, two hybrid works, and seven poetry collections. A former journalist, he has edited more than fifteen books and co-produced three audio books. His eighth collection of poetry, Reading to Ted Hesburgh, is forthcoming from Squircle Line Press and Glass Lyre Press, 2017. Among other accolades, Desmond is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Poetry World Cup, IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, National Indie Excellence Book Award, Singapore Literature Prize, two Beverly Hills International Book Awards, and two Living Now Book Awards. He helms Squircle Line Press as its publisher and founding editor. For more information about Desmond and his work, visit

Click here to read “Blood Promise”


This post was originally published January 19, 2017 on by Rose McNeill.

Vintage DB 103: Jennifer Chang’s “Love After Love,” DB 17

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Today’s Vintage DB is especially great for those readers who don’t “get” poetry, as well as those who love to analyze and delve deeper into poetic works. After reading Jennifer Chang’s gorgeous poem, you can also see how it’s broken down and explained by author Lisa Russ Spaar, who’s book The Hide-and-Seek Muse: Annotations of Contemporary Poetry, was published by Drunken Boat Media in 2013, and hence featured in DB 17, Summer 2013. Both Chang’s poem and Spaar’s notes are valuable additions to your store of poetic knowledge, so enjoy!

“…I gather leaf-fall
the dried-out catalpa
pods and once loved him
the mountain orchard
the honeylight the last
lowing of wind before

Jennifer Chang is a poet, scholar, editor, essayist, and a professor of English and creative writing at George Washington University. She has been recognized by Virginia Quarterly Review’s Poetry Series and was a finalist in the Shenandoah/ Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers. Chang was originally published as a writer in 2008 by the University of Georgia Press with her first book The History of Anonymity, a collection of lyrical poems that was an inaugural selection for the Virginia Quarterly Review’s. Jennifer has also begun to work on a second collection of poems, titled Some Say The Lark, forthcoming from Alice Jame Books this year. To read more of Chang’s poetry and other works, you check out her Poetry Foundation page.

To learn more about The Hide-and-Seek Muse and its author click here

Click here to read “Love After Love” and its interpretation by Lisa Russ Spaar


This post was originally published January 12, 2017 on by Rose McNeill.

Vintage DB 102: Joseph Nechvatal’s Digital Artwork, DB 3

Delving deep into the archives this week, we come upon the eye-catching works of visual artist Joseph Nechvatal. With their provocative patterns, sensuous overlays, and somatic color palette, these pieces are intriguing enough as it is — but there’s something else that really separates them from other DB artwork. Nechvatal’s paintings and animations are computer-robotic assisted, meaning that he uses a homemade computer virus to create his designs and robotic spray guns to realize the creations on canvas. Take a peek at his works featured all the way back in DB 3, Fall/Winter 2001–2002, and you’ll see why this artist continues making unparalleled art still today.

Since 1986 Joseph Nechvatal has worked with ubiquitous electronic visual information, computers and computer-robotics. His computer-robotic assisted paintings and computer software animations are shown regularly in galleries and museums throughout the world. From 1991–1993 he worked as artist-in-resident at the Louis Pasteur Atelier and the Saline Royale / Ledoux Foundation’s computer lab in Arbois, France on The Computer Virus Project: an experiment with computer viruses as a creative stratagem. From 1999 to 2013, Nechvatal taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City (SVA). His book of essays Towards an Immersive Intelligence: Essays on the Work of Art in the Age of Computer Technology and Virtual Reality (1993–2006) was published by Edgewise Press in 2009. In 2011 his book Immersion Into Noise was published by the University of Michigan Library’s Scholarly Publishing Office in conjunction with the Open Humanities Press. To view his full body of work you can visit Nechvatal on the web at

Click here to enjoy Joseph Nechvatal’s artwork


This post was originally published January 5, 2017 on by Rose McNeill.

Vintage DB 101: Denise K. Lajimodiere’s “Bag Balm,” DB 11

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If you’re familiar with “Bag Balm,” you know it’s a salve that can do wonders for dry skin, but you probably wouldn’t expect this viscous yellow goo to inspire poetry. That’s why Denise K. Lajimodiere’s piece, “Bag Balm” is such a lovely ode. Seemingly about an everyday object, this poem tells the story of the extremely important role Bag Balm came to play in the life of the narrator’s grandmother, a native American woman, when she was under attack by raiding soldiers. This clever, surprising poem was published in our first semi-annual edition of Drunken Boat, №11, Winter 2010.

“All hail the chartreuse can of lanolin
good for all tits whether attached to
the four legged or the two.”

Denise K. Lajimodiere is the author of one book of poetry, Dragonfly Dance. Lajimodiere’s poems have appeared in Yellow Medicine Review and North Country. She was named an Associate Poet Laureate of North Dakota. She composed a poem for the Sporting Words theme of the Poet Laureates gathering in Indiana. She was born on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa reservation where she is an enrolled member. She holds a doctorate degree in Educational Administration from the University of North Dakota and is currently working as an assistant professor in Educational Leadership at North Dakota State University. A long time jingle dress dancer, she enjoys traveling to Pow Wows throughout the US. To purchase a copy of her book, you can visit her Amazon page.

Click here to enjoy “Bag Balm” and other poems


This post was originally published December 22, 2016 on by Rose McNeill.

Vintage DB 100: Francesco Ciusa’s “The Kiss,” and other artwork, DB 23

“Il Bacio”

Unusual in both origin and time period, this week’s vintage pick is an artist born more than one hundred years ago in Sardinia, off the coast of Italy. Sculptor Francesco Ciusa was featured in our second-most-recent issue, DB 23, Spring 2016, as one of many artists, writers, and poets to represent Sardinia in a special folio edited by author Ciriaco Offeddu. Today, take a look at Ciusa’s incredible craft of ceramic, marble, bronze, and more to create human sculptures that seem to feel and breathe as much as they impress and awe. His ability to capture — perfectly and forever — the tension, emotion, and fleetingness of a moment, as can be seen above in “Il Bacio” (“The Kiss”), is the reason he is featured today as an artist who deserves a second look.

Francesco Ciusa lived from 1883–1949. He was born on the mysterious island of Sardinia and attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. Today you can find his work on display in museums throughout Italy including those of Nuoro, Rome, and Cagliari. For a fuller biography and links to multiple photos and videos of his artwork, be sure to click the link below to his artist page in DB 23. For more Sardinian writers and artists, check out the rest of Offeddu’s “Sardinia” folio here.

Click here to view “The Kiss” and other sculptures


This post was originally published December 8, 2016 on by Rose McNeill.

Vintage DB 99: Amy Wright’s “Salinas Grandes,” DB 15

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Simple but eloquent, you’ll need only a moment to appreciate this week’s featured Vintage DB. The image above, created by Amy Wright, appeared as part of our “Handmade/Homemade” Folio in DB 15, Winter 2012, and is a part of the creator’s memoir.

Amy Wright is Nonfiction Editor of Zone 3 journal, Coordinator of Creative Writing at Austin Peay State University, and author of Everything in the Universe, Cracker Sonnets, and five chapbooks including the prose collection, Wherever the Land Is. Her prose and poetry appear in numerous journals and literary magazines including the Kenyon Review, Baltimore Review, Western Humanities Review, Sonora Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume IV: Southern Appalachia. For more about Wright’s work (and to check out her very helpful list of writing resources,) visit her at

Click here to view “Salinas Grandes” in DB 15 or above for full size.


This post was originally published November 17, 2016 on by Rose McNeill.