Please support CRATE.

We’ve just started a Kickstarter page to fundraise for our forthcoming print edition of Issue 8 which will feature fiction, non-fiction, poetry and short dramatic works. In past issues of CRATE, we’ve featured Susan Straight, Chris Abani, Juan Felipe Herrera, Kimiko Hahn, Barbara Jane Reyes, Oscar Bermeo, Tom Lutz and more!

No amount is too small, and we’ll love you forever. You can donate here! 

Thank you!

-CRATE Editorial Staff

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Our submission period is open!

Hello there!

Our 2011-2012 submission period is now open until January 1, 2012.  Please submit fiction, non-fiction, poetry and short dramatic works here.

We’re no longer using email to receive submissions, so please be sure to check out our Submishmash website in order to submit your work.

We’re looking forward to reading what you send us!


CRATE Editorial Staff

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CRATE, Volume 7 & cratelit, Issue I, Volume I

Hello, out there! We’re excited to announce not one, but two (!), publications, which have been released this Spring. First, our print edition of CRATE, Volume 7 is available for purchase on PayPal here.  We’re featuring work by Oscar Bermeo, Ocean Vuong, Dan Lau, Hobie Anthony, Roxanna Asgarian, Kimberly Kaye and many, many more!

CRATE, Volume 7 makes for perfect summer reading! Photo by Kamala Puligandla.

Second, our very first issue of cratelit, CRATE’s online companion, is now live!  We are hoping to use more experimental forms, visual and artwork (poetry comics! fiction videos! memoir tweets!) in future issues of cratelit.  Please enjoy!

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Interview with Victoria Patterson

Victoria Patterson’s latest book, This Vacant Paradise (released earlier this month) has recently been compared to Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth by the New York Times Book Review.  A busy writer and Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside, we’re glad she found time to talk with us about waiting tables, hamster YouTube videos and haunted inns here on cratelit.

What are you reading?

I’m reading the Story Prize finalists: I just finished Anthony Doerr’s Memory Wall; before that, I read Suzanne Rivecca’s Death is not an Option; now I’m reading Yiyun Li’s Gold Boy, Emerald Girl.  I’m hoping to finish all three by March 3rd, when the winner is announced.

What were some of your most alternative days jobs as an aspiring writer?

I worked in restaurants for close to 20 years–hostessing, catering, and, for the majority of years, waiting tables.  If I never wait on another table, I will have fulfilled a dream.  But I still find my way around a dinner party or a party of any sort by helping serve and/or bus tables.

Do you have any special projects in the works?

I’m writing short stories.

What’s your favorite writing snack? Drink?

Coffee, water, and Orbit White Bubblemint Gum.

What have you learned from the oldest person you know?  The youngest?

Oldest: “Every day above ground is a good day.”  Youngest:  Slow down and look.

Do you have any favorite blogs?  Are you inspired by any particular YouTube videos?

Three Guys One Book, The Nervous Breakdown, Maud Newton, and The Millions.  What’s youtube?  Oh, yeah, now I remember.  The hamster playing the piano, or wait, maybe the hamster was eating Cheetos.

What is a word you think you would never use in your writing?


Have you made any writing resolutions for 2011 and are you keeping them?

No resolutions.

Have you visited the Mission Inn, the pride of Riverside, CA?

There are some crazy cool paintings at the Mission Inn.  Highly recommended.  One of my former professors at UCR insists the Mission Inn is haunted.  (If you want to know who, come talk to me–we’ll dish.)

Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel This Vacant Paradise, slated for March 2011 with Counterpoint Press.  Her story collection Drift was a finalist for the California Book Award and the 2009 Story Prize.  The San Francisco Chronicle selected Drift as one of the best books of 2009.  Her work has appeared in various publications and journals, including the Los Angeles Times, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review.  Her essays appear in the anthologies Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book (De Capo Press) and The American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (Soft Skull Press).  She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside.

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UCR MFAs read at the Culver Center

Have some video.

Editor-in-Chief Eric Shonkwiler and Assistant Poetry Editors Rachelle Cruz and Angel Garcia read from their various works.  Video courtesy Scott Hernandez McNaul, Poetry Editor. (All-in-all quite a Crate-filled evening.)

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Writers Week Interviews

Writers Week brought a troupe of very talented and interesting writers to UCR last month. Some of these writers were on our minds for much longer than the week and were even accommodating enough to allow Rachelle and Kamala to delve deeper into their lives, writing and otherwise.

Find interviews with Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Adam Gallari, Daniel Hernandez below and look forward to a future interview with Belle Boggs.

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Interview with Jennifer Kwon Dobbs




What are you reading currently?

I’m currently reading Stacey Waite’s The Lake Has No Saint (Tupelo Press 2010), some classic criticism on poetry and painting via J.D. McClatchy’s edited Poets and Painters (UC Press 1998) and sundry articles on globalization. Waite is a master of the sensual detail and an old acquaintance from our days at Pitt’s MFA Program, so it’s lovely to see her poems finally receiving a wider audience, which they’ve richly deserved!

Reading Douglas Kearney’s Black Automaton (Fence Books 2009) and his online interviews about visual poetics and Russian Futurism has encouraged me to return to that old question — poetry’s relationship with painting — in order to think about the movement of a central idea through distortion (e.g. writing on top of writing) and the page as a canvas of restless action.

And I’m slowly making my way through Negri and Hardt in order to grapple with my own deeply personal questions about identity as a feature of global capital, the self penetrated by networked services and the good enclosures of poetry to bring feeling to bodies where feeling has been drained and rerouted for other markets. In short, I am trying to write away from identity (that old argument) toward notions of the self that might disrupt hegemonic sentiments (e.g. orphan rescue).

What were some of your most alternative days jobs as an aspiring writer?

While living in Stillwater, OK, I worked in a gas station cleaning pumps and ringing up sales. My father was a steelworker before a heart attack forced him into early retirement. Opening up the Get N Go at 5:15 a.m. reminded me of his daylight schedule: warming up the truck; packing a lunch of bologna between Bilo white bread; wearing the same uniform everyday, yet alternating between two pairs of “work pants” (one pair always in the wash).

I learned from my father and from this job how a body makes due despite strain, but in the end, any job entails gifts of the body that no job can adequately pay back. A worker wants respect in the moment of transaction — the work of her/his body in exchange for currency — not pity nor pittance, and pride in one’s work goes a long way toward getting from one shift to another. I think of the work I currently do with my hands — typing, flipping pages, etc. I’m not behind a register, but still, I keep regular hours.

Do you have any special projects in the works?

Currently, I’m working on a collection of essays with the Korean Unwed Moms and Families Association, focusing on their life stories and realities with generous assistance from the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network. It’s a book that I’ve researched for the past 2 years in the U.S. and Korea. 89 percent of Korean children available for domestic and overseas adoption come from unwed mothers who want to keep their children but who suffer cultural stigma and who are caught up in a institutionalized system privileging adoption over family preservation.

While it might be uncomfortable to hear these mothers’ stories as they challenge deeply cherished sentiments (e.g. unwed mothers as victims, adoption as best option), it’s necessary to humanize and to hear from the mothers, themselves, to end cultural stigma against them rather than to enable it further.

Continue reading

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