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Showing posts from June, 2014

The Feminist Wire

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Today, two new poems of mine were published on The Feminist Wire. "Girl with no Hands" and "Interlude" appeared alongside this very fitting photograph of a tree that looks remarkably like a dancing girl. These two poems are the seeds of a new manuscript project I've been working on for the last year, called Catechesis. And it is growing slowly, but steadily.

I hope you enjoy reading them!

There are birds here

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We are now in the full porch-swing of summer, which means Summer Poetry Salons at my beloved Lit House. In celebration of the second salon of the summer on June 24 (tomorrow!), I was given the unbelievably fun task of designing and printing a letterpress broadside for Jamaal May's poem "There Are Birds Here," a love song for Detroit.



As much I loved this poem on my first reading (and second and third), it was a particularly difficult design challenge. Don't get me wrong—there are so many ways to illustrate this poem because it is so packed with images. But to illustrate it in a way that actually adds to the text, that builds on the complex foundation set down by the poet—that is the challenge to be met. That is the challenge we always aim to meet at the Literary House Press.  

So that means no birds and no buildings. For me, those are the two most obvious, but least important images in this poem. Those details are just the shell around the actual poem. But after playin…

West Chester Poetry Conference, year two

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I've just returned from this year's West Chester Poetry Conference, my second time attending. Although I'm still exhausted from the four-day stretch of poetry workshops and panels and readings (and sleeping in dorms), it was a wonderful, unforgettable time. This year's workshop offerings included an opportunity to work with the amazing Mary Jo Salter—so, obviously, I jumped at the chance. I've loved Mary Jo since I discovered her 1999 collection A Kiss in Space at my favorite local indie bookstore (The Compleat Bookseller) back in my high school days. I read her poem "Hail in Honfleur" while loitering at the neatly-stocked shelves with the classical radio playing over the shop speakers. I will always remember this poem and how I was immediately charmed by Mary Jo's wit and wordplay, which struck me as perfectly, whimsically French. I wanted to live inside that poem.

Mary Jo Salter's workshop—"Line, Sentence, Stanza, Poem"—was a much need…

Tori is my diva

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Recently, a poet-friend of mine asked me a fun little question that has stuck in my head since that night. Who is your diva? His is Cher. Another poet at the table named Stevie Nicks. I knew mine right away: Tori Amos



I don't know that I could explain exactly what it is about her music, her writing, and her person that make her such an invigorating kind of comfort to me. The haunting piano melodies, the whimsical girl-power lyrics that (even as a writer-snob) I am not ashamed to belt out around the house, her powerful and strange vocals. All I know is when my anxiety demons overpower me--leaving me small, ugly, painfully forgettable, and disconnected from all the things and people I love--Tori can bring me back every time. She fills me when I feel emptied out. She makes me brave and fierce when I can't breathe and my hands are shaking. I can't imagine my world without her in it.

We'll see how brave you are. 
We'll see how fast you'll be running. 
We'll see ho…