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  • Elemental Conversations: Alejandro Escudé

    Alejandro Escudé is the winner of the 2012 Sacramento Poetry Center Award. The winning manuscript, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013. He received a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from U.C. Davis and teaches high school English in Santa Monica, California. He is also a recent Pushcart Prize nominee and among other journals, his poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Rattle, Phoebe, California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, as well as in an anthology entitled How to Be This Man, published by Swan Scythe Press. Though originally from Argentina, he lives with his wife and two kids in Los Angeles, California.

    Alejandro Escude

    3ER: Was there a specific element that sparked your story idea?

    AE: Yes, the number. I found it to be a challenge that sparked my curiosity.


    3ER: Who are your favorite writers?

    AE: Richard Hugo, Dorianne Laux, William Stafford, Tomas Transtromer, Seamus Heaney.


    3ER: What book/story/poem do you wish you had written? Why?

    AE: Richard Hugo’s “Degrees of Gray in Phillipsburg,” because it’s all there. After a poem

    like that, there’s just silence.


    3ER: Why do you think writing matters?

    AE: Writing poetry is all we have left, it seems to me, to prove we are indeed spiritual beings

    and not just walking shopping carts.


    3ER: What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?

    AE: I once dreamed that I was rock climbing with a few big coaches from the high school

    where I teach. I was above them, but they were gaining on me. They finally overtook me,

    but the weird part was that they literally went over me–two very heavy guys. I wrote a

    poem about it.


    3ER: Do you write in a certain place? Do you listen to music? What are your rituals?

    AE: I write in my home office, on a desktop computer. I sometimes listen to music; lately, I’ve

    been listening to Arcade Fire and Beck, but I also like classical. The poem in 3 Elements

    was at least partly inspired by Holst’s “The Planets.”


    3ER: What do you want to tell our readers about your piece?

    AE: That I am proud of it because I think my twelve year old self never stopped wanting to be

    an astronomer. And this poem has astronomy in it.


    3ER: Where can we read more of your work?

    AE: I won the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Prize in 2012 and my first full length

    collection entitled “My Earthbound Eye,” is currently available at

    or at the Sacramento Poetry Center website. Interested readers can also go to


    Here is an excerpt from Alejandro’s poem, 6324 Kejonuma:

    I could take your bony hands, I could listen

    To the symphony of your little boots.

    Only there, would my desires be translated

    into the language of the spheres.

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    Elemental Conversations: Brittany Ackerman

    Brittany Ackerman is an MFA in creative nonfiction student at Florida Atlantic University. “I believe that in our travels, we learn that searching means giving in to not needing to search, meaning that we could be searching for something with the resolve of knowing we may not find it, and when you make that resolve, you end up finding something else, something even better.”

    Brittany Ackerman

    3ER: Was there a specific element that sparked your story idea?

    BA: I kept a journal on my travels in Israel and found helix, cower, and hammock to
    encompass the ambiance of the Holy Land’s character. In meeting the lovely Chen, who I
    hope will be a lifelong companion, she taught me to how to meditate in the desert and for
    showing me clarity in a most auspicious moment, I am grateful.

    3ER: If you could choose any three elements, what would they be?

    BA: Grunge, Leather, Rabbit hole

    3ER: Describe your writing process.

    BA: I often find myself scribbling on the edges of papers in the midst of a conversation,
    during class, or while walking around grocery stores. Moments turn into scenes, which
    develop into stories that make for literary situations. Sometimes the light will catch in
    between the folds of my blinds; this may cause me to stay awake all night composing a text
    based on a bout of emotion.

    3ER: Who are your favorite writers?

    BA: Jo Ann Beard, Woody Allen, Catullus, and many more.

    3ER: Why do you think writing matters?

    BA: Writing, like any creative art, is a mode of self-expression. Learning the craft has been
    one of my most fortunate opportunities in that I have found, instruction for my technique, a
    method for creating my style, and a way to individuality.

    3ER: Where can we read more of your work?

    BA: My work has been featured in One Image, One Hundred Voices, The Truth About The
    Fact International Journal of Literary Nonfiction, and Coastlines Literary Magazine. My blog
    can be found at Dailyackermations.

    Brittany’s poem, A Human Document, is out now in issue three!

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    Elemental Conversations: Brennan Burnside

    Brennan Burnside was recently kicked out of his apartment and lives with a dear friend in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He dropped out of the graduate program in Engineering at SUNY Binghamton last year.

    Brennan Burnside

    3ER: Was there a specific element that sparked your story idea?

    BB: The element that sparked the poems was the element provided by 3Elements Review. But if you’re referring to the style, the way in which the content is presented, that came from working in jobs that had late hours, no people and lots of stuff. If you work around just stuff, you suddenly realize that there’s a life to it. That when you leave, that the way you’ve organized it or left it has a life that’s beyond you.

    3ER: If you could choose any three elements, what would they be?

    BB: If I could choose any three elements, I’d choose a piano, a cello and a clawfoot tub.

    3ER: Describe your writing process.

    BB: Writing a poem is just a sudden urge. I’ll sit down sometimes and it just won’t be there. But I keep sitting down. And when it’s there, it comes in a sudden fit. I write it down and I feel kind of like I’m stretching something. There’s an exhausted, exhilarated feeling to it. That’s it.

    3ER: Do you write in a certain place? Do you listen to music? What are your rituals?

    BB: I don’t have ritual for writing. Music, I don’t like. I need silence. So, if there is one ritual, then it’s silence. Or, if something hits me when I’m at work or around my friends, then I can feel a silence come around me when I’m writing it down. My friends know I’m weird, so when they see me blank out a little and start writing, then they know. They let me get it out and then I’m back in the world. Another ritual might be coffee or alcohol, but I do that and don’t write. So, I think that’s just a lifestyle choice.

    3ER: Who are your favorite writers?

    BB: Poets, modern poets: I love Carrie Hunter. Absolutely lovely poet. Igwe Williams has one poem that influenced the entire way I write. His organization is what I crave, the organization of his images. This sounds a little strange, but I love the way Dave Chappelle and Eddie Murphy organize their routines and make images that they use later on or don’t even use an image but the negative space around an image. That’s sort of what I’m trying with the poetry I’m writing now. Lucille Clifton works immaculately with negative space. She can write reams in a few words.

    3ER: What book/story/poem do you wish you had written? Why?

    BB: I wish I’d written Benito Cereno. Just for the music underneath it.

    3ER: Why do you think writing matters?

    BB: Writing matters because it’s the spiritual activity of organizing a world that doesn’t want to be organized. Some people organize the world too much. They make it too tight. I hate that. The real way to organize is to leave terrifying spaces between things. That’s life. But you don’t do it justice when you leave it to burn or leave it to suffocate.

    3ER: What do you want to tell our readers about your piece?

    BB: To read it aloud to themselves. Feel the flesh of the words. But more importantly, let it move in front of them. My hope is that the words have enough soul to move like a song, to have the sudden screech of breaks or the deafening silence of the missed step in the dark. That’s what I want in it. Hopefully it’s there. Look for it, please, and let me know.

    3ER: Where can we read more of your work?

    BB: Most recently, I’ve had some pieces in Mu mu and The Idiom. You can find those online right now.

    3ER: What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?

    BB: The weirdest dreams are the ones that make me question reality when I wake up. Those are the dreams where I’m doing “normal” things, things so normal that they’re not even worth mentioning (like putting a coffee cup on a table in the dining room, for example), but then waking up and wondering if that’s something I really did or something I just dreamed. Those are weird, but I love them.

    Brennan has three poems in issue 3. Be sure to check them out here!

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