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Kevin Fedarko

Early in my career, lusting as I was to become a literary light in the nonfiction world, I realized that I desperately needed the services of a mentor. I imagined a sort of a cross between an Oxford don, a Jesuit spiritual advisor, and Dr. Phil – an uber-mentor in my mind’s eye. I pictured this person in very specific terms.

Bruce Smith

1. The donée is the unasked for, the inescapable thing that is given to
you. For Lowell it was history, for Berryman it was the Freudian myth of
the Id, for Hughes it was forms of blackness, for Dickinson it was
devotion and skepticism. What is your donée?

Bruce Smith

1. Poems – lingering and leaping.
I imagine twelve poems of depth and vision, beautiful shapes and
astonishing revisions. One assigned poem that will break us into a kind
of sobbing joy. There are no assignments, per se, but the Exemplars are
there to be used as music to play towards.

For the “Firsts” issue we reached out through social media and asked our Hunger Mountain friends to share their favorite first lines of literature. Here are a few of them.