The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: FOUND FOOTAGE by Maggie Woodward




This selection comes from FOUND FOOTAGE by Maggie Woodward, available from Porkbelly Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for September is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Maggie Woodward lives in Los Angeles, where she’s pursuing a PhD in Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of the chapbook FOUND FOOTAGE (Porkbelly Press, 2017) & earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlas Review, Devil’s Lake, New South Review, TYPO, & elsewhere. Previously, she served as Senior Editor of the Yalobusha Review & curated the Trobar Ric Reading Series in Oxford, MS. You can find her online at www.maggiewoodward.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner(both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Nik Buhler

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No matter how old I was, it’s always been unlikely that you’d ever find me without one, if not three or four, books with me. I would stay up well past my bed time, reveling in how sly I was, just to finish a few more chapters of the most recent story I just couldn’t put down. Even as I advanced to high school where I became more involved taking AP and dual enrollment classes, playing varsity volleyball for four years, and becoming an active member and even president of multiple organizations such as the Gay-Straight Alliance and HOSA, my love for reading never waned but instead morphed into a challenge of how many novels I could finish without neglecting my school work!

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to pursue academia in the long term. In high school, a select few of my teachers and professors further impassioned my love for reading and learning, even going as far as to help me find degree programs that would best suit me for college. Upon entering my freshman year at the University of Tennessee, I became mesmerized by all the options available to me; I wanted to learn everything there was to learn but I couldn’t help but gravitate towards text and writing based courses. Eventually, I found myself in a Philosophy course and became enamored with the subject immediately. I loved the analysis, the debate, and the thoughtful, structured writing that came along with it. However, it was still missing something for me – literature! I quickly picked up a second major in English literature where I could explore the expanses of both subjects that truly speak to me,

With the help of many wonderful professors and mentors during my time so far at UT, I have been lucky enough to encountermany positive, life-changing experiences. The people I have met here have pushed me to be the best version of myself that they are confident I can be while not letting me be limited by insecurities or anxieties. Because of this, I have been blessed with the confidence and support to reach towards dreams and goals of mine through submitting works, participating in a poet residency, seeking out well suited graduate programs, and, of course, this internship with SAFTA! I know my time here will further propel me forward towards my goals in collegiate work and studies through encouraging me to better myself and reach success beyond what I though possible.

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Nik Buhler is a queer poet from middle Tennessee who attends the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where they are a senior who studies English Literature and Philosophy. When they are not at home chainsmoking, drinking beer, and playing with their adorable cats, Buhler can be found in coffee shops and libraries craving fries, furiously typing out papers due the next day, and screaming about the existentialist movements influence on modern literature.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: FOUND FOOTAGE by Maggie Woodward




This selection comes from FOUND FOOTAGE by Maggie Woodward, available from Porkbelly Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for September is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Maggie Woodward lives in Los Angeles, where she’s pursuing a PhD in Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of the chapbook FOUND FOOTAGE (Porkbelly Press, 2017) & earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlas Review, Devil’s Lake, New South Review, TYPO, & elsewhere. Previously, she served as Senior Editor of the Yalobusha Review & curated the Trobar Ric Reading Series in Oxford, MS. You can find her online at www.maggiewoodward.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner(both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: FOUND FOOTAGE by Maggie Woodward




This selection comes from FOUND FOOTAGE by Maggie Woodward, available from Porkbelly Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for September is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Maggie Woodward lives in Los Angeles, where she’s pursuing a PhD in Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of the chapbook FOUND FOOTAGE (Porkbelly Press, 2017) & earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlas Review, Devil’s Lake, New South Review, TYPO, & elsewhere. Previously, she served as Senior Editor of the Yalobusha Review & curated the Trobar Ric Reading Series in Oxford, MS. You can find her online at www.maggiewoodward.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner(both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: FOUND FOOTAGE by Maggie Woodward




This selection comes from FOUND FOOTAGE by Maggie Woodward, available from Porkbelly Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for September is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Maggie Woodward lives in Los Angeles, where she’s pursuing a PhD in Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of the chapbook FOUND FOOTAGE (Porkbelly Press, 2017) & earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlas Review, Devil’s Lake, New South Review, TYPO, & elsewhere. Previously, she served as Senior Editor of the Yalobusha Review & curated the Trobar Ric Reading Series in Oxford, MS. You can find her online at www.maggiewoodward.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner(both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

Sundress Reading Series Presents Carlina Duan, Lisa Dordal, and Sophia Stid

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The Sundress Reading Series is excited to welcome Carlina Duan, Lisa Dordal, and Sophia Stid for the September installment of our reading series! This event will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, September 16th at Hexagon Brewing Co., located at 1002 Dutch Valley Dr STE 101, Knoxville, TN 37918.

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 12.10.19 PMCarlina Duan hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and currently lives in Nashville, where she is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Vanderbilt University. Her debut poetry collection, I WORE MY BLACKEST HAIR, was published by Little A in 2017, and received a Finalist Award in the Little A Emerging Writers Contest. Her poems can be found in Black Warrior Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Narrative Magazine, and elsewhere. She is currently the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Nashville Review.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 12.10.26 PMLisa Dordal (M.Div., M.F.A.) is the author of Mosaic of the Dark (Black Lawrence Press, 2018) and teaches in the English Department at Vanderbilt University. A Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets University Prize and the Robert Watson Poetry Prize, her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Best New Poets, Ninth Letter, Cave Wall, CALYX, The Greensboro Review, Vinyl Poetry, New Poetry from the Midwest, and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 12.10.32 PMSophia Stid is a writer from California. Currently in the MFA program at Vanderbilt University, she has received fellowships from the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Lannan Foundation. She is the winner of the 2017 Francine Ringold Award for New Writers. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Image, Beloit, Nimrod, Ninth Letter, DIAGRAM, Haydens Ferry Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others.

 

The Sundress Reading Series is an award-winning literary reading series that is held monthly at 2 p.m. at Hexagon Brewing Co. just outside of downtown Knoxville. The Sundress Reading Series is free and open to the public.

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Body, In Good Light by Erin Rodoni




This selection comes from Body, In Good Light by Erin Rodoni, available from Sixteen Rivers Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for September is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Erin Rodoni is the author of two poetry collections: Body, in Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017) and A Landscape for Loss (NFSPS Press, 2017), winner of the Stevens Award sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Poetry Northwest, and The Adroit Journal, among others. In 2017, she won the Ninth Letter Literary Award for poetry and The Montreal International Poetry Prize.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner(both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

Lyric Essentials: Ashley M. Jones Reads Two Poems by Lucille Clifton

Ashley M. JonesAshley M. Jones seemed to know almost immediately after being invited to join me here at LE that she wanted to talk about Lucille Clifton. Her certainty made me smile then and her confident answers to my questions since have drawn me in and made me want to hear more. In our chat, she covered important ground, discussing the way that good poems pursue you, the volumes that can be packed into two lines, desire, the sonnet, Black women, the patriarchy, and so much more.

Black:  Why did you choose Lucille Clifton?

Jones: I will always, always, always choose Clifton. She has become a poet-mother to me, speaking to me through the page, and, thankfully, through videos of her reading and discussing her work. I chose these poems specifically because they’ve been on my mind—that’s what good poetry should do. It should haunt you in the most delicious way—to be pursued by a poem is one of my life’s greatest joys.

Clifton has a way of opening life up to its deepest, most honest truth, and that’s one reason why I love her work. I feel like I am, simultaneously, seen and instructed.

 

 

Black: And why these poems specifically?

Jones: So, “sorrows” is a poem I just recently discovered. I have Clifton’s collected works, and although I’ve read many of the poems, I have not read them all—this is on purpose. I’m not usually a cover-to-cover poetry book reader—I like to find something new each time I open the book. I like to linger on a poem and return and return and return.

With Clifton’s collected works, it’s no different—because there will never be new work, I have to savor what’s here, meander through the pages at my own pace. So, I found “sorrows.” I think I was looking for an example of a poem for an intro to creative writing class I’m teaching, and that poem jumped out because it illustrated what poems can do that prose cannot, but the content was also so right-on—again, good poems pursue you in this way, like angels, swooping into whatever you’re feeling—so I kept thinking about it.

Sorrow is an emotion many of us know well, but the way Clifton describes it opens it anew. The conceit is that sorrows are like dark angels, leeching onto mortals, falling in love with us. The difference, according to Clifton, between sorrow and desire (or a desire to be desired, even by sorrow) is so slight, we can barely recognize it. That take on sorrow is the most accurate, I think. It is true that to be sad is a deep a commitment, at least in my life, as it is to be in love or loved by someone. It’s a powerful relationship.

“Black Women” has been on my mind for a long, long time. It describes, succinctly, what Black women have given and given up, what place we’re told we hold in society. It tells an entire history of Black womanhood in America in just sixteen lines.

Black women are expected, required, to be Strong and Dependable and Able To Nurse An Entire Nation of Men, but we are not, have not, been valued as sexual (not sexualized—we have been overly sexualized, our sexuality has been and is still misunderstood and misnamed) or as delicate or as worthy of affection.

This country, this patriarchy, won’t allow our strength to fold into vulnerability. It began during slavery—we had to make ourselves undesirable to the masters who raped and raped. We lifted up the Black men so they might survive the daily emasculation they faced, but in that lifting, we endured the way the white patriarchy found its way into our men’s fists and words against us. All of this, for survival in a country in which we were never meant to survive.

 

 

Black:  This line in “Black Women”: America made us heroines / not wives. is one that I know many return to. Would you open it up for us, discuss it a little?

Jones: This line, and the line that follows: “we hid our ladyness / to save our lives” resonates so deeply with me.

It not only explains, as I’ve said, the history of Black women in America, but it speaks to the way we’re seen today, too. America made us heroines—let’s look at that first.

It would seem, at first, that being distinguished as a heroine is a good thing—it means you’re strong, you’re smart, you save people. Yes, those things are true. But a heroine often has no duality, and we know from our own human experience that we’re full of nuance and duality and contradiction and complexity. But that distinction as heroine leaves little room for nuance.

Harriet Tubman, for example, is hailed (rightly so) as one of the great American Heroes of all time. She was strong, smart, brave, and a lover of her people. Nowhere in that story is there room for her to be soft, fragile, vulnerable, desirable and capable of desire. Yes, we learn that she was married but when we look at how people think of her today, it is never in terms of her whole personhood. This is part of the reason I decided to write about her in my new collection—I wanted her to become more than just that one side we see in history books.

Not wives—again, a heroine is a heroine. She’s not desired for anything but the help she can bring. Mammy is an example of this. Like Tubman—and yes, there’s a larger conversation to be had regarding this comparison between Mammy and Harriet Tubman, but go with me here first—Mammy was a savior. She saved the Good Missus from having to deal with wailing, writhing white babies. She knew just how to raise them so they’d leave their mothers alone. She was the best cook this side of heave—-working away in the Big House on dinners her family could only dream about. She was utterly unsexual—nothing but jolly darkness lived beneath her skirts. No rouge for her cheeks. No curls in her hair, just a headscarf and a big, friendly smile.

Although we are neither Tubman nor Mammy now, this expectation for Strong Black Womanhood still exists. And, we, statistically, the least desired (again, this is a waaaaaay larger and more nuanced conversation—I’m just going off of statistics) by men.

Our attributes are praised when anyone else but us has them—Kylie Jenner’s lips, the Kardashians’ claim to have invented du-rags, cornrows, box braids, you name it. Our strength is depended upon, even on a statewide scale—they tell us Black women saved the election between Doug Jones and Roy Moore here in my home state of Alabama. But so many of us face this issue of not being seen as potential romantic partners. That’s what that line drums up for me. All of that in just two lines! Clifton at her best.

Black:  What is the connection, if any, to your own work in that of Clifton’s?

Jones: I hope there is every connection between my work and Clifton’s. I aspire to her brevity and precision, and although I am far from mastering it, I think I draw closer each time I take to the page.

I also aspire to her powerful vulnerability. Clifton is always authentic in her poems—there’s a certain humanity you can feel rising up from the page. But there’s also this sharpness, this undeniable power. She is showing the nuance, the complexity of Black womanhood in each piece she writes. I hope that’s coming through in my pieces—that’s what I try to create in each poem.

Black: You have so much going on, it’s hard to know what to ask you about. What are you working on now?

Jones: Right now, I’m writing a new collection of poems, preparing for the 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival, and trying to be the best teacher to my high school and college kiddos.

The new collection started as a study of Gwendolyn Brooks—her formal poems spoke to me, and her ability to write such biting critiques of American society in an often neat and tidy package (here, I mean form, rhyme, and the sometimes sugary nature of her language) was so appealing that I had to try it for myself! So, I started to write exclusively in the sonnet form, and although I’m still mostly writing in sonnets, this project has become more of an exploration in how deeply I can dig into my own well of emotion and experience to pull up poems that, like Brooks’, simultaneously disarm and alarm the reader.

I’m thinking, specifically, of “The Ballad of Rudolph Reed.” This poem is a traditional ballad. It has a nursery rhyme feel, but it explores the horrors of American life for a Black family. This poem disarms through the neat packaging but delivers its alarming punch in the content. I’m playing with that. What can a sonnet (or near-sonnet) hold that it has not held before? How can I continue the work Brooks (and so many others—Patricia Smith, Wanda Coleman, Terrance Hayes) continue to do in formal work (or, new forms, or even free verse), to open up the canon and create space for marginalized experiences to be lifted up to the heights of the “classics” we study.

A sonnet, you see, is undeniably “artistic” and “important” if it’s written by Shakespeare. What happens when you use that form, that undeniably “art-worthy” form, to talk about lynchings in America?

The Magic City Poetry Festival is a celebration of poetry and place, and I am its founding director. Our second festival is slated for April 2019, and we are working working working on securing grant funding to create an even bigger festival than we had last year. We want Birmingham to become a literary destination, and that takes WORK. If any of you readers are nearby Birmingham come April, we’d love to see you at our events (they’re all and always free)!

Thank you, Ashley.

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Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is the author of 14 books of poetry including the last, The Collected Works of Lucille Clifton published posthumously in 2012, 10 children’s books, and many more. Clifton received a number of prestigious awards in her lifetime including the Ruth Lilly, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Coretta Scott King Award, the National Book Award, and more. Clifton served as a chancellor on the board of the Academy of American Poets in addition to teaching at several universities including UC Santa Cruz, St. Mary’s, and Columbia. In 2006 Clifton was a fellow at Dartmouth. From 1979-1985 Clifton served as the Poet Laureate of Maryland.

Ashley M. Jones received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University.  Her debut poetry collection, Magic City Gospel, was published by Hub City Press in January 2017, and it won the silver medal in poetry in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including the Academy of American Poets, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, Steel Toe Review, The Sun, Poets Respond to Race Anthology, and The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy. She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a 2015 B-Metro Magazine Fusion Award. Her second collection, dark / / thingwon the 2018 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry from Pleiades Press and is forthcoming in February 2019. She currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is Second Vice President of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave , founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival, and a faculty member in the Creative Writing Department of the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

 

Links to the good stuff:

Clifton’s Homage to my Hips

Clifton at the Academy

Remembering Clifton, in the New Yorker

Clifton Reading “The Lost Baby Poem”

“How to Become a Poet,” Ashley M. Jones at The Rumpus

Ashely M. Jones at her own Website

Three Poems by Ashley M. Jones at Scoundrel Time

 

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Anna Black has served as the editor-in-chief of the magazines Hayden’s Ferry Review and Inkspeak, and is a twice awarded Virginia G. Piper global teaching and research fellow. Black received her MFA at Arizona State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will be Shelter, edited by poet Andrea Gibson and In Sight: An Ekphrastic Collaboration, as well as the journals 45th Parallel, Bacopa Review, Wordgathering, SWWIM, The American Journal of Poetry, and New Mobility among others. She has taught composition, creative writing, and/or publishing at Arizona State University, Western Washington University, Perryville Women’s Prison, and the National University of Singapore. For Sundress Publications she organizes the Poets in Pajamas reading series and Lyric Essentials.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Body, In Good Light by Erin Rodoni



This selection comes from Body, In Good Light by Erin Rodoni, available from Sixteen Rivers Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for September is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Erin Rodoni is the author of two poetry collections: Body, in Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017) and A Landscape for Loss (NFSPS Press, 2017), winner of the Stevens Award sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Poetry Northwest, and The Adroit Journal, among others. In 2017, she won the Ninth Letter Literary Award for poetry and The Montreal International Poetry Prize.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner(both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Body, In Good Light by Erin Rodoni




This selection comes from Body, In Good Light by Erin Rodoni, available from Sixteen Rivers Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for September is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Erin Rodoni is the author of two poetry collections: Body, in Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017) and A Landscape for Loss (NFSPS Press, 2017), winner of the Stevens Award sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Poetry Northwest, and The Adroit Journal, among others. In 2017, she won the Ninth Letter Literary Award for poetry and The Montreal International Poetry Prize.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner(both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

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