Kassie Dickinson Rubico and Resi Polixa: On Their Writing Trails
Our series of year-end updates on writers from the area continues with a past contributor to the blog and a writer who is new to our publication. We’ve had an enthusiastic response to the series both in this space and through shared posts on Facebook. There’s no clearinghouse in the region for information about the literary community, which is something to consider going forward. We’re grateful to the writers for participating in this initiative. — PM
Kassie Dickinson Rubico (left) and Resi Polixa
She divides her time between Lowell, Mass., and Vermont now, but I’ll always place Kassie Dickinson Rubico at least partly in Dracut, Mass., where we both grew up and met after high school days. When I was working in Lowell, I always enjoyed seeing her in one of the downtown restaurants or at a sidewalk café where she would be talking to other writers as if it was an afternoon in Paris. In Vermont, she writes in an antique farmhouse along the Rock River in Williamsville. Along with her writing, Kassie teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire, Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Mass., and in the Changing Lives Through Literature program of the state’s criminal justice system. Her current writing project is a memoir, short essays, 100-word pieces about her mother’s life.
Kassie’s work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guide to Kulchur Creative Journal, Insight Academic Journal, Toska Literary Magazine, The River Muse anthology of Merrimack Valley writers, and other places. A dedicated runner, she has written for Coolrunning.com. See her essay on the RichardHowe blog, which appeared a few years ago, “He Went to the Woods.”
While the teaching gigs squeeze her writing time, she’s been reading plenty: “I finished Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, four books, wonderful writing. There’s a mini-series on HBO, equally as good. And, of course, I’m never too far from Virginia Woolf. I read My Abandonment by Peter Rock with the Changing Lives students. The movie Leave No Trace is inspired by that book, which is based on the experiences of a father and daughter living in the Oregon woods. Terrific film. The book is just okay. The last third was changed for the movie. At Keene State, my class read Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, as we explored the consequences of homelessness. And I read My Improvement by Joan Silver, which I finished and read again immediately, something I’ve never done before. Aren’t you glad you asked?”
Resi Polixa (whose pronouns are they/them/theirs) is new to this blog, but may be familiar to some Lowellians as a park ranger at Lowell National Historical Park and participant in the Public Matters leadership program of the Lowell Plan Inc. and National Park Service. After some time away from writing, this was a year for Resi to get back to composing and sending work out to be published.
Three poems are forthcoming in the LGBTQ Center’s publication at Brown University, where Resi attended graduate school. It will be the inaugural issue of the journal called Undone: A Legacy of Queer (Re)Imaginings. The theme is “Queering Across Borders,” which they say “fits perfectly with my work as it often revolves around questions of identity, home, and body.”
“I also participated in the Open By Riot Laughter online workshop for transgender writers held by Winter Tangerine magazine,” they add. “In that workshop, I wrote a lot of pieces that surprised myself in that they were on topics I always felt too anxious to approach. I’m working on refining those pieces some more to get them ready to be sent out.”
Winter Tangerine “aims to disrupt the status quo. To amplify the unheard. To account for the unaccounted. To publish the unconventional, confront the uncomfortable, marvel in the mundane. We are unapologetic. We are firm believers in the power of art to transform, to heal, to revolutionize.”
“In 2019, I’m looking forward to keeping up journaling, writing, and submitting to different places, and maybe applying to various workshops,” Resi says. “I’m hoping also to develop a monthly open mic series for the local LGBTQ community in Lowell so that there is some space for local LGBTQ voices to find expression. My mom, who was a writer and always very supportive of my creative efforts, passed away this year. To honor her, I want to build up more proficiency in Tagalog so I can continue to honor my Filipino culture in my writing.”