25 September 2015

Three new poems at Third Point Press!

"Treasure Beach Goat Skull," by Michelle Johnsen. Third Point Press, Issue 2.

My first batch of Silence of the Lambs poems has been published in the second issue of Third Point Press! You can now read "That is rather slippery of you, Agent Starling," "How do we begin to covet, Clarice?" and "Have the lambs stopped screaming?" here. I really like the way poems look on the site but I really love the art they used to pair with them. It's called "Treasure Beach Goat Skull," by TPP art editor Michelle Johnsen, and it is so perfect. Seeing these poems and this art together just make me even happier that we have now officially entered autumn territory and Halloween's a-coming. Cozy and creepy.

Another fun thing about this publication is that one of the poems also happens to be my second-ever perfume poem. Remember The Book of Scented Things, the anthology that I co-edited with the amazing Jehanne Dubrow? Well, it is the prompt that keeps on prompting. A few months ago when I was deep into the writing of this poem series, Jehanne stumbled upon this mention of The Silence of the Lambs on one of her favorite perfume blogs which names the scent Clarice Starling wears: L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci. When she read this, she let me know straight away that I just had to write a perfume poem into my SotL series. And, as usual, she was right. I even bought a bottle of the iconic perfume as "poem research." And while it's not a scent I would wear myself (too powdery and musky and gives me a bit of a headache), it was a great way into a meditation on innocence, decay, and the destructive nature of desire.  

I hope you'll read this new issue from Third Point Press! I can't wait to dig into it tomorrow morning. Happy fall, friends.

09 September 2015

Historical [Re]tell: Panel at the Steel Pen Writers' Conference

On Saturday, October 10, I will be joining writers Laura Madeline Wiseman, Cat Dixon, Britny Doane, and P. Ivan Young at the Steel Pen Writers' Conference in Merrillville, Indiana to present a panel called "Historical [Re]tell: The Writing and Craft of Telling Retellings of the Historic." This is an area of poetry-writing that has been my focus for a long time now, so I'm very proud and excited that Madeline invited to me to be part of this event. Although I don't usually dabble in the historical, my poetic focus has primarily been retellings of folk and fairy tales. I've even branched out recently to other retellings of well-known, more contemporary fictional stories, like The Wizard of Oz and (most recently) The Silence of the Lambs.

To prep for this panel (my first!), I am currently rereading and highlighting the hell out of Twice Upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale, by Elizabeth Wanning Harries. Since I'll be talking on the panel about retelling primarily from the fairy-tale perspective, this book is the perfect resource for studying up and organizing my thoughts on the subject. The tradition of retelling has even deeper significance for fairy tales and their tellers because of how closely it is intertwined with the history of these kinds of stories in particular:  
      Like [A.S.] Byatt and [Angela] Carter, many other late-twentieth-century writers have returned to the fairy tale, mined its imagery, questioned its usual pieties. Most of them, consciously or not, have produced versions that do not hark back to the strategies of writers like Perrault and the Grimms; their tales are not ‘distressed’ to seem ancient, timeless, or in some way authentic. Rather, they draw on the ‘other tradition’ of the fairy tale… Writers as different as Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood, Monique Wittig, Caryl Churchill—writers I could have included here—all have chosen fairy-tale plots and recurring motifs as the ground for variation, experimentation, and transformation. They present their tales as versions of versions, framing them in new ways, transliterating their language and images into new constellations.” (Harries, p. 160-1, emphasis mine)

Today, an interview with panel-leader Laura Madeline Wiseman about "Historical [Re]tell" has been published at Cahoodaloodaling. You can get a sense there of what we'll be talking about on the panel, as well as follow some links to new historical retell poetry by the panelists (including some of mine). Madeline is currently guest-editing this journal's eighteenth issue, which is also themed "Historical [Re]tell." You still have until September 19 to submit!

I am so looking forward to this panel discussion next month. If you are in Indiana or nearby, please consider coming out to the Steel Pen Writers' Conference in Merrillville to support us!

04 September 2015

Forthcoming! Third Point Press

Three more of my Silence of the Lambs poems have found homes at a literary journal! "That is rather slippery of you, Agent Starling," "How do we begin to covet, Clarice?," and "Have the lambs stopped screaming?" have all been accepted for publication in the next issue of Third Point Press. Hurrah!

As of now, five out of my six total SotL poems have been taken by literary journals. It's really great to be back in the world of the actively-published. After taking nearly a year off from submitting poems in order to focus solely on generating new work, I'd almost forgotten the busy, heady rhythm of it all. These acceptances are the best kind of confirmation that I am truly headed down the right path with this new work. 

Now back to the writing desk (er... bed).