by Alice Pettway

A friend
told me, life
can rush
at you faster
than metaphor,
than the water
sea birds
break, diving
retina to wave,
until their eyes
too deeply to
hunt. They starve.

Alice Pettway’s work has appeared in print and online journals, magazines and newspapers including The Bitter Oleander, INSIGHT Into Diversity, The Miami Herald, The Progressive, Teaching Tolerance and WomenArts Quarterly. Her chapbook, Barbed Wire and Bedclothes was published by Spire Press in 2009, and her full-length collection, The Time of Hunger | O Tempo de Chuva, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2017. Pettway is a former Lily Peter fellow, Raymond L. Barnes Poetry Award winner, and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Currently, she lives and writes in Bogotá, Colombia. alicepettway.com

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Dive”?

I tend to write my poems last line up. “Dive” was no exception. The last couple of lines came to me as I watched blue-footed boobies plunging into the water along the cliffs of the Galapagos islands. Their descent—graceful and violent and ultimately fatal—was too good of a metaphor to pass up.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now open. The reading period for standard submissions closes again December 15, 2023. Submit here.


11/27 • Michael Mark
12/04 • Helen Beer
12/11 • Rachel Rodman
12/18 • Betsy Robinson
12/25 • Trish Hopkinson
12/31 • Kim Chinquee
01/01 • Jill Michelle