Starting Pitches

by Abby Manzella


[Editor’s Note: Click on the triptych below to view it at full size.]  


Abby Manzella is a writer and critic who sings whenever she can. She has published with sites such as Lit Hub, Brevity, The Rumpus, The Millions, Bust, and Kenyon Review. Her book Migrating Fictions: Gender, Race, and Citizenship in U.S. Internal Displacements was named a Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Title. Follow her on Twitter @AbbyManzella or on Facebook @AbbyManzellaAuthor.


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

Not too long ago I was looking through some digitized videos of performances from when I sang a cappella in college. It was amazing how well those moments were already concretized in my mind, but beyond that it was the feeling of joy that most touched me. I wrote a flash piece about it, and then I moved on to other things.

When I saw your call for triptychs, I immediately thought about that put-away piece. It seemed like the perfect way to complete that original work that was about sound and space. There was the organization of the women on the stage as well as the structuring of the song through the starting pitches of three or four notes that reminded me of the columns of the triptych. It was about bringing disparate parts, notes, and people together so you could see the distinct beauty of each while also seeing how they could work together.

Singing and growing with those women gave me great happiness but also deep despair when there was pain and loss offstage. In those columns that present public definitions and private thoughts I wanted to capture the honesty of the performance but also what is behind those public presentations for good and bad. It was a remarkable time!


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.

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Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now OPEN. The submission period closes June 15, 2020; submit here.


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