The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Historians of Redundant Moments” by Nandini Dhar

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This selection comes from the collection Historians of Redundant Moments, available from Agape Editions. Order your copy here.

Nandini Dhar is the author of the book Historians of Redundant Moments (Agape Editions, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Fugue, Memorious, New South, Best New Poets 2016 and elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Historians of Redundant Moments” by Nandini Dhar

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This selection comes from the collection Historians of Redundant Moments, available from Agape Editions. Order your copy here.

Nandini Dhar is the author of the book Historians of Redundant Moments (Agape Editions, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Fugue, Memorious, New South, Best New Poets 2016 and elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Historians of Redundant Moments” by Nandini Dhar

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This selection comes from the collection Historians of Redundant Moments, available from Agape Editions. Order your copy here.

Nandini Dhar is the author of the book Historians of Redundant Moments (Agape Editions, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Fugue, Memorious, New South, Best New Poets 2016 and elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Historians of Redundant Moments” by Nandini Dhar

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This selection comes from the collection Historians of Redundant Moments, available from Agape Editions. Order your copy here.

Nandini Dhar is the author of the book Historians of Redundant Moments (Agape Editions, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Fugue, Memorious, New South, Best New Poets 2016 and elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “MEDEA” by Catherine Theis

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This selection comes from the play-in-verse MEDEA, available from Plays Inverse. Order your copy here.

Catherine Theis’ latest book, MEDEA (Plays Inverse, 2017) is an adaptation of the Euripides story. Her first book of poems is The Fraud of Good Sleep (Salt Modern Poets, 2011), followed by her chapbook, The June Cuckold, a tragedy in verse (Convulsive, 2012). Theis has received various fellowships and awards, most notably from the Illinois Arts Council and the Del Amo Foundation. She is a Provost’s Fellow and PhD Candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, where she also translates contemporary Italian poetry into English. Theis’ scholarly interests primarily focus on the intersection between translation, poetics, and performance studies.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

Lyric Essentials: Brian Oliu Reads “[asking]” by Barbara Jane Reyes

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Chris: Welcome to Lyric Essentials, where writers and poets share with us a passage or poem which is “essential” to their bookshelf and who they are as a writer. Today Brian Oliu reads “[asking]” by Barbara Jane Reyes.

Brian, this is a damn beautiful poem you’ve read for us today. Before we get to “[asking]” could speak more generally about Reyes’s poetry and how you came to be familiar with her work?

Brian: Yes! So, I was a graduate student at Alabama when the University brought her in for a visiting writer’s series. My good friend Jeremy Hawkins was extremely excited about her coming to read & so he sent me a bunch of her work. I went to her reading & was really blown away by not only how phenomenal her work was, but how good of a reader she was. I think the thing that I enjoy most about her work is the earnestness of it all; how it is completely unapologetic in how it is crafted. It is something that I always try to strive for in my own writing—this notion of saying exactly what needs to be said without any reservation.


Chris:
What elements of “[asking]” make it essential to you as a writer? I’m moved by the imagery in the poem, particularly “…water and rock contain verse and metaphor, even wild grasses reply in rhyme” and the bit that follows, “moment of lucidity; summer lightning bugs, sun’s rays in a jelly jar.” Is it the imagery that does it, or is there another quality that resonates with you?

Brian: I would say the imagery too! I really love how Elizabeth Bishop talks about how poems should have more “things” in them & I totally agree—I think strong imagery is what brings energy to a piece. We can talk about our feelings & higher level concepts in a work, but all writing is a confession of some sort—therefore we have to find creative ways to put our emotions into a piece, & for me, it’s the concrete that helps me latch onto the more ephemeral beauty.

Chris: We’ve totally nerded out about Bishop on Lyric Essentials before—definitely one of my favorite poets. What imagery in “[asking]” brings energy to the poem for you? What are your favorite “things” in this poem?

Brian: “some mythic angel” just makes me want to fist pump in the air. “a cove to escape the flux” is a line I wish I wrote. I just keep finding my head bobbing along to it.

Chris: How have you used these ideas and concepts in your own writing? Are there particular things you like to write about and explore, or anything specific you’re writing about now?

Brian: I think a favorite trick that I love to use is negation—to define something by what it is not, & I love that is how the piece ends; there’s so much that the poem “is” that exists just beyond the constraints of what we have. I always like to imagine that each thing that I write is a sneak peek into what is actually going on—it is here, and then it is gone. I was a kid who constantly found myself not wanting stories or poems to end & imagining new endings or moments where I’d ask “where does everything go from here?” & I feel like this does this beautifully. I’ve been writing a lot about running as well as professional wrestling—both are two things that never truly end; there is always more to run in the same way there is always a new show & universe that needs to be explained.

Chris: Where can our readers get more of Reyes’s poetry? Any books or poems you can recommend?

Brian: Well, first & foremost, she has a KILLER blog (http://www.barbarajanereyes.com/blog/). To Love As Aswang is phenomenal. & as for individual pieces, [the siren’s story] hits all the fabulous notes for me.
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Brian Oliu is originally from New Jersey and currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is the author of two chapbooks and four full-length collections, So You Know It’s Me (Tiny Hardcore Press, 2011), a series of Craigslist Missed Connections, Leave Luck to Heaven (Uncanny Valley Press, 2014), an ode to 8-bit video games, Enter Your Initials For Record Keeping (Cobalt Press, 2015), essays on NBA Jam, and i/o (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015), a memoir in the form of a computer virus. Current projects include two books on professional wrestling, a memoir about translating his grandfather’s book on long distance running, and a nonfiction book about the history of the track jacket.

Chris Petruccelli is still in Northeast Tennessee, but planning–and hoping–to be in Kentucky over the summer. His Rowlet is now a Decidueye. He also has a Metang and a Salazzle. Things are lookin’ pretty good. Chris’s poetry appears in Appalachian Heritage, Cider Press Review, Nashville Review, Still: The Journal, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and elsewhere. He is also the author of the chapbook Action at a Distance (Etchings Press). He runs his first half marathon in two weeks.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “MEDEA” by Catherine Theis

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This selection comes from the play-in-verse MEDEA, available from Plays Inverse. Order your copy here.

Catherine Theis’ latest book, MEDEA (Plays Inverse, 2017) is an adaptation of the Euripides story. Her first book of poems is The Fraud of Good Sleep (Salt Modern Poets, 2011), followed by her chapbook, The June Cuckold, a tragedy in verse (Convulsive, 2012). Theis has received various fellowships and awards, most notably from the Illinois Arts Council and the Del Amo Foundation. She is a Provost’s Fellow and PhD Candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, where she also translates contemporary Italian poetry into English. Theis’ scholarly interests primarily focus on the intersection between translation, poetics, and performance studies.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

National Poetry Month with Les Kay and John Ashbery

To celebrate National Poetry Month, our authors talk about the work that has influenced their writing, reading, and publishing goals and proclivities.

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Les Kay holds a PhD from the University of Cincinnati’s Creative Writing program and an MFA from the University of Miami. His poetry has appeared in a variety of literary journals including Whiskey Island, Sugar House Review, Stoneboat, Menacing Hedge, Third Wednesday, Santa Clara Review, The White Review, PANK, South Dakota Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Michelle, three dogs, and their collective imaginations. His chapbook, The Bureau is forthcoming from Sundress Publications


A Brief Reflection on John Ashbery’s Houseboat Days. Or, How I Became This Poet. Sort Of.

If you subscribe to the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, you’ll grant me this somewhat narcissistic assertion: somewhere, in parallel, or more likely, in many wheres, I am an expert on Ashbery’s poetry who successfully convinces university administration, year after year, to let him teach undergraduates an entire semester devoted solely to Ashbery’s work. Here, however, I am taking a respite from writing corporate instructions to share a memory and a fantasia or two with you.

The lecture halls at the closest university are filled only with sleepy students learning integration as I return, hesitantly, to when I first read Houseboat Days. To say that nothing in my experience prepared me (a junior in college studying Creative Writing) for the book is an understatement. I was befuddled. So befuddled that I sought help from friends who lived in the basement apartment beneath mine—a Computer Engineering major and a Creative Writing major.[1] I showed them the reason I was rattled enough to bang on their front door, interrupt their approaching dinner, and beg for help: “Daffy Duck in Hollywood.”  I asked them both to read the poem, to help me understand the mad persona poem and its collisions of “high” and “low” art.

Both—bless them—willingly did the former; neither, alas, could manage the latter. For me, that singular experience shaped many of the reading experiences that followed. Houseboat Days is a singular book, unlike any I’d read before or since. It is a hybrid of languages—though almost all of them are English, technically speaking. It is, occasionally, an ars poetica. It is, often, an excursion into the occasional, a journey into the unconscious, and a cavorting through consciousness itself. It is, if I remember correctly, fragmentary in that it offers us glimpses of so much more.

I do not doubt that Ashbery and I would disagree, perhaps vehemently, on what that “so much more” entails, but that is beside the point. Rather, what matters is the field of possibility that Ashbery’s poetics can open up. The multiple identities he helps us see within ourselves and, concurrently, in the psyches of all of those around us. This mind numbingly humbling vastness of human experience is the point, or my point. Even if, as in “Daffy Duck in Hollywood”—there is so very much experience to which I—or should I say “you”—do not have access.

And along the way, the weather changes. We change. And, here and there, we find beauty—whatever that means. This morning, while fearing the early summer flash of yellow jackets on my front porch, I reread “Daffy Duck in Hollywood.” I still do not entirely know what it “means,” but now I do know—thanks to Houseboat Days—that not knowing is integral to our collective experience. And that not knowing—at least not yet—belongs in poetry. Experience that poem for yourself 

  

[1] And Michelle Kay is her name. She married me—even after that.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “MEDEA” by Catherine Theis

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Excerpt from “MEDEA”:

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This selection comes from the play-in-verse MEDEA, available from Plays Inverse. Order your copy here.

Catherine Theis’ latest book, MEDEA (Plays Inverse, 2017) is an adaptation of the Euripides story. Her first book of poems is The Fraud of Good Sleep (Salt Modern Poets, 2011), followed by her chapbook, The June Cuckold, a tragedy in verse (Convulsive, 2012). Theis has received various fellowships and awards, most notably from the Illinois Arts Council and the Del Amo Foundation. She is a Provost’s Fellow and PhD Candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, where she also translates contemporary Italian poetry into English. Theis’ scholarly interests primarily focus on the intersection between translation, poetics, and performance studies.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “MEDEA” by Catherine Theis

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“The Chorus of Flames Speaks”

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This selection comes from the play-in-verse MEDEA, available from Plays Inverse. Order your copy here.

Catherine Theis’ latest book, MEDEA (Plays Inverse, 2017) is an adaptation of the Euripides story. Her first book of poems is The Fraud of Good Sleep (Salt Modern Poets, 2011), followed by her chapbook, The June Cuckold, a tragedy in verse (Convulsive, 2012). Theis has received various fellowships and awards, most notably from the Illinois Arts Council and the Del Amo Foundation. She is a Provost’s Fellow and PhD Candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, where she also translates contemporary Italian poetry into English. Theis’ scholarly interests primarily focus on the intersection between translation, poetics, and performance studies.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

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