We’re reopening submissions for our “Origins” series, where authors talk about the origin of a story, essay, or poem. The story, poem, or essay must not be self-published or in progress but appearing in a literary journal and accessible to our readership through the web (please include a link of the original piece in your “Origins” essay). Send your submissions to editor Jen Michalski at jen [dot] michalski [at] gmail [dot] com. In the meantime, enjoy this “Origins” from Roxane Gay, which we published in 2010:
In today’s ORIGINS, Roxane Gay discusses the origins of her story, “Do You Have a Place For Me?” which appeared in May 2010 issue of Spork.
I’m an emotional writer. My heart always guides my words. I rarely use prompts. “Do You Have a Place For Me,” however, was inspired by a prompt of sorts—a poem by xTx, with the same name (and forthcoming in PANK). I can’t quite put my finger on why but something about the poem moved me profoundly. The ideas and images that writer worked with lodged in my brain and my heart because the language was so beautiful and so intense. I was also inspired by Elizabeth Hildreth, a writer who is working on an incredible series of English to English translations where she takes the work of a writer and reinterprets it through her own words. I got turned on to her work because she did a translation of a story of mine and also has work forthcoming in PANK. As I read the poem “Do You Have A Place For Me,” I immediately knew I wanted to write something that did something similar to Elizabeth’s translations, something that responded in some way to such remarkable words.
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