The sun falls out of heaven like a stone
Author Archive for: Miciah Bay Gault
About Miciah Bay Gault
Miciah Bay Gault is the editor of Hunger Mountain at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She's also a writer, and her fiction and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Sun Magazine, The Southern Review, and other fine journals. She lives in Montpelier, Vermont with her husband and children.
Entries by Miciah Bay Gault
One of Ovid’s gods is drunk,
and stalking the city in peg-leg pants,
velour shirt open to the loins,
In my English class, we were frequently discussing the definition of truth. After reading Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, our class became obsessed with the idea that there is no absolute truth. When we were assigned to write any short story we liked, I decided to expand on the idea that “truth” is like a […]
Single, childless Augustus Cyril St. Clair would have filled both vacancies with the same presumed applicant, would have married David Biffenbaugh’s daughter the moment she touched his shoulder and trailed a finger like a hot wire through the hair on the nape of his neck.
It’s almost midnight but I have got to clean out my bedroom closet. It’s packed with junk and has, like, the most vicious spider problem this side of a radioactive-arachno movie. I’m delving into terror. At least I don’t have a big shoe collection, since spiders like to hide in shoes. For a girl who’s […]
Right while I’m getting my braces, and saliva I can’t swallow is pooling in the back of my mouth, Doc Hallowell tells me about square dancing. “I do it every Saturday with Linda,” he says, “and after we’re done we go to Bobby Ray’s for a nightcap.” I can see Linda holding “Mr. Thirsty” off […]
One of my primary goals in writing Contents May Have Shifted was to make a book in which each of my sentences worked harder than they ever had before. I was brought up in the post-Raymond Carver school of compression, and I still believe the poets are the real wizards…
I stumble under sunny-thunder sky. The weather
simply does as it chooses, and we all might
learn some lesson there. I’ve been drinking.
Joel was worried about the dead dog in his trunk. Heat rose off the road in front of him, rippling the air like a photograph warping over a flame—he was beginning to regret his decision to pack the ice inside the trash bag with the dog. In this heat, he knew, the ice would be melting, soaking the fur, and if there’s […]
We are thrilled to announce the results of our 2017 contests! With nearly 1,500 entries, we had a wonderful time reading and a hard time choosing our finalists. Thank you to everyone who entered. The winning pieces will be published this fall, right here in Hunger Mountain’s online companion. Thank you to our talented assistant editors […]
We’re beyond excited to announce this year’s guest editors, three writers we’ve long admired. We can’t wait to view Hunger Mountain through their creative lenses. Please help us welcome: 2018 Guest Prose Editor // Melissa Febos Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010), and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017). […]
The best interviews come out of passion for the interviewee and their craft. You are providing a conduit for them to expand or reach their fan base, and the best way to do that is to be a fan yourself.
Becker’s belief in reality, his faith in meaning, and his understanding that meaning can be communicated, has value, and originates in consciousness; are all affirmations of human life. These are ideas worthy of gratitude.
3 Poems from Tom Paine
If you catch yourself thinking your evolution as a writer depends on an obligatory descent into darkness, then stop that shit, ‘cause that’s the Gremlin talking.
Kaveh Akbar writes with such spiritual risk and honesty that we as readers are brought into the liminal spaces of language, addiction, and displacement.
Challenge that American addiction to speed — figuratively and literally! The worst writing I have ever seen has come from prescription stimulants and too much coffee, and sometimes both.
Comics take a bunch of images and put them together in a coherent and articulate way, where you go from image to image, and from text/image combination to text/image combination. Then you look at it all and it all adds up to something.
When the doctor arrived, she examined Snookie’s nose inside and out. She poked and pinched and prodded, and finally declared, “There’s nothing wrong with this little girl.
God don’t let that be
my bombshell daughter naked
in a sleeping bag on a public bench
My identity as fractured as my vision, I erected walls around me. Hard walls. Flat walls. Walls I made and maintained…I’d already accepted my fate.
The backstage lights are off. The actors are in shadow, lit only by the faint glow of the house lights onstage. You tunnel around them, trying to keep up with Dani Aguilar, but Cinderella has somehow gotten ahead of you…
What I’ve learned through writing about Suzie is that stories sometimes choose writers. If something interests you, you should write about it. I still believe this is true. For me, this was the story I had to write.
The book offers a journey of disorder and disappearance. As in life, one must find a way.
His outsider art graces the album cover of Little Creatures
by the Talking Heads, and a vision of his dead
sister climbing down from Heaven
For a couple of months I’d been lost in the metaphorical woods with my writing. The prize, my second book, circled out of my view like a fleet-footed creature of the night.
I stop and drop my bike on the ground, and the young woman’s head appears in the back window. My father’s head pops up too, and then I see a hand reach up, an open hand patting the window, as if asking me to wait.
“Fuuuuuuck!” I scream – three – possibly four times – as I hurtle through air, as my innocent 14-year-old campers giggle until they can’t stand, as the honest wind tells my body a story of speed and force and falling.
I’m sorry your study was ruined,” he said. “But I think those rats gave you an answer after all. Maybe not what you were looking for.
She pours us tea, one that claims
to detoxify, to soothe the throat. Honey
dissolves in the agitated swirl
“California itself has appeared almost as a singular character throughout my writing, kind of like the hotel in The Shining, but less creepy — or more creepy, depending on how you view my work.” – Alex Green
Love without sense or control, love made into a god, is no longer love. It’s a weapon wielded most painfully on the self, but perhaps it also has the potential to deliver healing.
This magic is also called the magic of correspondence or contagion — the properties of one thing leaping to another.In folk medicines around the world, it shows up in what has been called the doctrine of signatures…
Half the time, the poems are alright and the prose pages generally work out, but it’s all about that discipline. It’s all about ratcheting in that time.
Edna’s voice resembled nothing so much as what you’d hear coming from a poultry barn full of caged white turkeys: that loud, shrieking up-and-down gobbling that almost makes you want to scream, yourself.
You can safely e merge to sit with magenta tulips ,
orange day lilies shouting
We usually go for the middling neighborhoods. We don’t want curving brick driveways, brass knockers, tall clumps of waving grasses, gates, cameras. Nope – we want something riiiiight in the middle.
In celebration of their eleventh birthday, the mother orders her twins Sunday suits from the Sears and Roebuck, matching breech pants, double-breasted sailor coats with yellow neckties.
We are literary. We produce literary fiction for literary people. That is why it’s paramount that we expose ourselves and our work to the same ruthless mockery as the saddest of Z-grade films.
The stories they are living are moments of purgatory, the still transitionary moment where one state of living has ended, but the next stage of life has yet to begin.
A lot of times I’ll sit with an experience and let it germinate. Part of it will be something that happened to me, and part of it will be something that I’m trying to work through in my practice.
Are you going to write about every trauma in your life? No! Life is ridden with traumatic events. That’s part of living. But in some cases, writing about personal trauma is a powerful way to make a point.
It’s the things that come out of my own life or the reading that I’m doing, or things that I’ve heard from friends or whatever. But in this case, I think it’s just been an ongoing evolving project that had adapted to the realities of my own life…
Caldwell’s poems manage to explore substantial themes with an intimate gaze; the humor is simultaneously empathetic and darkly cynical.
Alison’s poem, Coming Out, is featured in Hunger Mountain 21: Masked/Unmasked on sale now.
Every once in a while, I’ll call a psychic. I was on the phone with one at one point and she said to me, “Oh, wait. Hang on. Hang on, they’re speaking to me.” And I was like, “Go ahead.”
I have never committed murder. Nor have I ever been at a murder scene with police, forensics, and medical examiners gathering evidence. But I know how to write that scene. So do you.
Ultimately, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to simplify, simplify, simplify. Computer people call this “iterating,” as in “let’s iterate on the simplest minimum viable product.”
So it goes with writing and birding. You try to find a sapsucker, but stumble up on a tiny jewel of a hummingbird. You persist and strive despite a robin showing you the insanity of ignoring results.
I’m going to die, and I want my experiences, as much as I can control them — which is not much — to be experiences with art that makes me feel something.
Nolan’s soft, subtle expressions paint these invisible terrains with a quiet, haunting power. The speaker’s thirst for her previous life is a mirage that beckons us forward…
“It seems like everyday now, anytime we make art, or really listen to someone else’s point of view, or empathize with the other, that it’s a fight against meanness…”
Most of what I write is love poetry. And a lot of it comes from dreams. A lot of it comes from lucid dreaming, that half-awake, half-asleep state.
“With Animal” explores the extreme natures of parenthood. There is no “animals are right, humans are monsters” philosophy, as people and beasts are both capable of selfish indifference and deep empathy.
I had to find a way to diffuse these tense and often unbearable situations. One day while discussing a student’s poem, I blurted out, “Hey, the cake isn’t baked yet.”
These are erasures of a book published by MOMA, which features transcribed versions of three lectures given in the 50’s and early 60’s
Any horse I made notes about, any horse for which I gathered stats and records, or any horse I got close to so as to describe him or her, was always seen in context of its human counterparts.
“There is such an awful stigma around self-publishing, that the books will not be enjoyable…these indie authors just need the guidance and support to help them through the process.”
I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well is one of those books that doesn’t come around often. It is the rare book that possesses three key qualities: language, love, and candor.
It might seem paradoxical or even impossible to embrace a low-stakes mindset about your important work, but it is very doable, and gets easier with practice.
Humor is just one of many tools in the writer’s toolbox, and funny for funny’s sake is nice, but if it doesn’t contribute to what you’re trying to accomplish…
You never really have to look at the blank page at all because by the time you’re free to write and can actually get to a computer, you already know what you’re going to write.
2017 Deadline Extended to March 8th! Click here for guidelines and to enter the contest. The 2017 judges are: Matt Bell– Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize Joni Tevis – Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction Prize Major Jackson – Ruth Stone Poetry Prize Cynthia Leitich Smith – Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing […]
The judges are: Janet Burroway- Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize Robert Michael Pyle – Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction Prize Lee Upton – Ruth Stone Poetry Prize Rita Williams-Garcia – Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing Janet Burroway, awarded the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing by the Florida Humanities Council, is […]
“Isa, this package came for you.” Mamãe sets a box in front of my cereal bowl.
“It’s from Vó Ziza,” I say. My granny, Ziza, lives in Brazil, far away from our family in Miami.
The warbler’s folded in my tongue
like a lemon drop. What joy
it is to trap a festival inside,
In steps at your command/down the plank of a tall
fast ship with the salt/of sex across its lips.
The ores of divine providence are everywhere infused, and everywhere to be found. St. Augustine, De Doctrina Cristiana The margins of the world surrounded me—at least in the physical sense—for hundreds of miles in every direction: a no-man’s land of semi-arid deserts; middles of nowhere; and solitary mountain ranges. I lived in this no-man’s land, […]
These creatures with breathing blue
necks. Arch and bristle. Forelock and star.
In origami the mountain fold
an obstacle. The valley fold
folds up: receptacle.
The difference between
structure and stricture,
and wastepaper basket.
I Am Reborn as a Shadow Frog eyes glimmer in water then douse themselves and shiny turtles topple off a log down to the water’s under-black when I step out skin form and sun hauled out of layers of trees spring wood summer wood the bark and pith to walk and stand at […]
WAITING Monday April 16th At the barre at Miss Allie’s I lean and dream: onstage alone where the spotlight glows, fears of an audience scatter like stage dust. Music flows through me – it always does like air and blood moving my limbs to dance in ways that push me out so close to the […]
When my mother died, I stopped calling her mum and began to call her mama.
The teacher did not like the poem,
but seemed unable to say why, his face
seeping dismay or disgust.
I had killed the engine, filed my nails, organized my wallet, and done a sketch of my left hand.
Wherefore the marram grass settled the land there also sprang the children who are as the sand in the sea, and houses on stilts as good as gone.
For they everted the irreversible,
Proved all that time my life went door slam
Door slam done an epic waste for the sake
I am The Weird Girl. The Freak. The Barfy Little Feeb.
I’ve seen you in souks that spill with people,
On streets that reek of three continents,
Found you filling cut-glass crystal with the scent
Of nine woods and the rose petals of three cities.
Unghost, the leftover residue across the surfaces of
the sea, after a receding
wave or a skimming of the hands. The present has no
Our house was too big. It dwarfed me and my mother, who cried every year when we received the first winter heating bill.
I found out I was pregnant during rock-climbing season. The weekend before the test showed positive, I was clinging to the stone faces that flank central Oregon’s Crooked River.
What else is she ever going to be
but one of the wind’s outgrown costumes
stuck in the swingset’s tangled chains
The memory hits me like hunger: sudden pangs, gnawing edgewise. First it’s just a headline and the torn edge of a story.
Some admire the old bull’s cracked horns and peeling hooves, the second skin of ancient
mud as wrecked and crumbling as this narrow road
Five o’clock a.m. on a morning last fall, in the Walgreens of an affluent suburb on Chicago’s North Shore, where I have gone to buy batteries for my flashlight…
We took a walk this evening as we often do. My husband pushed my daughter in her stroller as I walked alongside.
I wanted the prize but the prize looked the other way
It was the other prize…
You can dress my naked genome up.
You can teach it art and poetry,
but it will pace the corners of the night
grunting, ‘Something else. There’s something else.’
We should be glad our safety and security
are someone’s top priority, yet we
can’t help but hope for fresh announcements
The body keeps us ordinary. It says Sleep, and we must,
it says Eat, and we do.
i have walked with half a skull and i have walked
with a blanch shell. i have walked, legs
split hungry, and i have walked too old.
July 2016. Hello readers and writers. First off, we want to extend a special invitation: please submit for our upcoming print issue. Hunger Mountain 21: Masked/Unmasked will be out in February. We need your brilliant work now. We’re looking for poetry, children’s lit, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The theme, Masked/Unmasked, can be interpreted in myriad […]
2016 Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize Judge: Janet Burroway First Place: Jude Whelchel for “A Good Medicine” Runner-up: Jennifer Hasty for “The Slide” Our special mentions are: Nell Pierce for “No Small Miracle” Mark Rader for “Phosphorescence” The 2016 finalists: Dianne Bechtel for “It’s a Boy” Charlene Logan Burnett for “Thirst” David Denny for […]
“Why do you have tattoos?” I often hear.
“Because I like tattoos,” I say.
Some people understand. Some don’t. And some don’t like it…
I’m in Philadelphia, on my couch, next to my dog. I’m trying to write nonfiction. I have published some fiction, so I think of myself as a fiction writer. I have published some poetry, so sometimes I think of myself as a poet. I have published a few essays, but I have never….
Ten photographs from the series “Ari” by Evie Lovett. Originally featured in Hunger Mountain Issue 19: The Body Issue.
This past summer my husband, Derek, and I spent seven weeks in Mexico, where he took immersive Spanish classes, and I holed up in our rented apartment finalizing some contracted writing projects. I also spent my days trying to learn….
We are pleased to nominate six Hunger Mountain authors for 2017 The Pushcart Prize: Hope Chernov for her story “Things I think about while swimming“ Noelle Catharine Allen for her story “Day Trip” Michelle Webster-Hein for her essay “These Things Should Not Happen” River Holmes-Miller for her essay “What is There, What is Missing” Daneen […]
Over the past three decades, Don has worked in a variety of art media. He considers painting to have the broadest vocabulary for articulating the intersection of practical existence and spiritual inquiry.