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celeste doaks reads Hannah Lowe

biopic2In this installment of Lyric Essentials, we have the pleasure of welcoming poet celeste doaks to the series. celeste reads two poems by British poet Hannah Lowe, “Dance Class” and “B-Boy Summer,” and shares her insights about how these poems help “excavate” childhood moments and how diving into these everyday moments can help us grow. celeste tells us why she is drawn to Hannah’s poetry and why she believes other readers relate to it as well. Thank you very much, celeste, and as always, thank you to our readers for supporting this series!

(Editorial note: celeste prefers her name stylized lowercase.)


Riley Steiner: Why did you choose these poems for Lyric Essentials?

celeste doaks: While there are many poems I could’ve chosen by Hannah Lowe for this series, these two stood out to me both as metaphorical and aural gems. Often, I think when the literary world views work that’s simple, they tend to overlook it or think of the work as simplistic, reductive. Especially when it comes to narrative poems. However, Hannah’s work has internal rhymes that are working on a complex level. She is attentive to sound and how that governs a poem’s internal structure. And lastly, I wanted to share her wonderful work with an American audience who may have never heard of her. When I met her on my UK book tour, I found her to be delightful—both on the page and in person.

 celeste doaks reads “Dance Class” by Hannah Lowe

RS: What are some of your favorite lines or phrases from these poems?

cd: One of my favorite lines in “Dance Class” describes who I assume is the dance instructor:  “And Betty Finch … / swept her wooden cane along the rows.” This line is such a strong image, but also the wooden cane seems to clank against the floors as she moves along each row. I can almost hear it! And when a visual can conjure sound, I think this is when you know a poet has been successful in their conceit. In “B-Boy Summer,” the descriptions are razor-sharp.

When the narrator talks of  “caps and shell-toe trainers” or “baggy jeans and neon laces,” I get an instant visual that ironically matches the hip hop uniforms that black boys also donned in the Midwest. “Loaded / with desire to be a boy” is just so psychically heavy for me. The use of “loaded” made me think of weapons, but also connotes a general heaviness which is in tension with the childhood admiration here. I also love how this poem is loaded with muscular verbs like “rocked,” “springing,” and “fling.” Those words come alive all by themselves. And the poem’s magnificent return to itself starting with the early line of “Beautiful boys / in the flower garden rocked to the noise” to the penultimate line of “loving boys who never saw me / in the silent garden” was perfect.

celeste doaks reads “B-Boy Summer” by Hannah Lowe

RS: What do you admire about Hannah Lowe’s work in general?

cd: Hannah’s work is very much about memory and childhood, intersecting with race, gender, and class. This resonates with me and my work. Her poems also take time to investigate the everyday, minutiae that makes up our lives. That’s what Neruda did and therefore elevated the mundane to a kind of holy status. By examining our childhoods as adults, we have a chance to return to various sites of embarrassment, excitement, and awkwardness.

Humans can truly begin to evolve by fleshing out these moments. So honestly, one of the reasons I love Hannah’s first book Chick is because it echoes many of the themes in my first book Cornrows and Cornfields. My poems take a trip backward to excavate and sometimes reinvent, those memories. Many of my favorite female contemporary poets such as Sharon Olds, Patricia Smith, and Dorianne Laux have done the same in some of their early poems. I think it was Cicero who said, “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.” I truly believe that and enjoy poets who at one point see childhood as a foundational site for memories.

RS: As I read them, both of these poems tell us about the speaker’s feeling of difference from the people around her and her desire to belong in those worlds where she feels like an outsider. I think poetry can be a powerful way to bring feelings and situations like these to light. What’s your reaction to those themes within these poems — do you think Lowe is successful in conveying them? What effect do they have on the reader?

cd: It’s funny you used the word “difference” here. Hannah Lowe is a mixed-race British woman who had a Chinese-Jamaican father and an English mother. It might seem to readers that the two of us are as diametrically opposed as Superman and Kryptonite; however, those differences are exactly why I’m drawn to her. As a black female in America, I can see my otherness in her otherness. However, there are also moments in which Hannah’s work transcends race, gender, and class constructs. When Hannah’s narrator says, “but I was never a B-Girl, just a body / growing,” I recall my girlhood growing up around men and boys and wanting to possess some of that authority in the world.

As a young black girl growing up in the Midwest, I also craved that equality and freedom (that Hannah wants) without fear of physical danger or societal scrutiny. Even though this poem is very gendered, I know every human can remember a moment when they wanted to be a cool “insider.”

Poetry can indeed become a way to translate and transcend your own helpless moment. I live for poetry like this. And of course, I think Hannah’s successful in her attempts, but I’m clearly biased! Hannah can suspend a moment in time the same way Gwendolyn Brooks does when she talks of “And yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall” in her poem “kitchenette building.” I believe every reader enjoys being drawn into new worlds that have a “familiar” feeling or reading experiences that they can map their own perspectives onto.


Hannah Lowe’s first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection and was short-listed for the Forward, Aldeburgh and Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prizes. In September 2014, she was named as one of 20 Next Generation poets. She has also published three chapbooks: The Hitcher (Rialto, 2012); R x (sine wave peak, 2013); and Ormonde (Hercules Editions, 2014). Her family memoir, Long Time, No See, was published by Periscope in July 2015 and featured as Radio 4’s Book of the Week. Her second collection, Chan, was published by Bloodaxe (2016). A new chapbook, The Neighbourhood, was published in January 2019 (Outspoken Press). She has been Poet-in-Residence at Keats House and a commissioned writer on the Colonial Countryside project with the University of Leicester and Peepal Tree Press.

Further reading/listening:

Purchase The Neighbourhood from Outspoken Press
Visit Hannah’s website
Listen to Hannah’s long poem “Borderliners” from BBC Radio 4

Poet and journalist celeste doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields (Wrecking Ball Press, UK, 2015). She is also the editor of, and contributor in, the poetry anthology Not Without Our Laughter: Poems of Humor, Joy, and Sexuality (Mason Jar Press, 2017). Her chapbook, American Herstory, was Backbone Press’s first runner-up prize winner and will be published late Summer 2019. Her journalism has appeared in Huffington Post, Village Voice, Time Out New York, and QBR (Quarterly Black Book Review). She is Pushcart Prize nominee and her poems have been published in multiple online and print publications such as The Rumpus, Chicago Quarterly Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Baltimore Magazine, Bayou Magazine, and others. In the fall of 2017, she was the recipient of a Rubys Literary Arts Grant. Doaks is the University of Delaware’s Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing for 2017-2020. In her very spare time, she enjoys co-hosting the literary podcast Lit!Pop!Bang!

Further reading/listening:

Read celeste’s poem “American Herstory” from Split This Rock
Visit celeste’s website
Purchase Cornrows and Cornfields from Wrecking Ball Press
Listen to Lit!Pop!Bang! on Apple Podcasts

Riley Steiner is a recent graduate of Miami University, where she studied Creative Writing and Media & Culture. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she enjoys baking, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, and spending way too much money at Half Price Books. Her creative work has recently appeared in the Oakland Arts Review and Collision.

 

 

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SUNDRESS ACADEMY FOR THE ARTS NOW ACCEPTING FALL RESIDENCY APPLICATIONS FOR WRITERS COOP

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The Sundress Academy for the Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term writers residencies during the fall residency period for our Writers Coop. These residencies are designed to give writers and artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.

Open weeks for the summer and fall include August 19 – December 29, 2019. Residency weeks run from Monday to Sunday.

coop3.jpgSAFTA is located on a working farm that rests on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. Located less than a half-hour from downtown Knoxville, an exciting and creative city of 200,00 in the foothill of the Great Smoky Mountains, SAFTA is an ideal location for those looking for a rural get-away with access to urban amenities.

The SAFTA Writers Coop is a 10×10′ dry cabin approximately a fourth of a mile from thecoop1.jpg
SAFTA farmhouse. This tiny house is furnished with a twin bed, a desk, a wood-burning stove, a deck that looks over the pasture and pond, as well as a personal detached outhouse. While the cabin has neither electricity nor running water, residents will have full access to the amenities at farmhouse as well as solitude from other residents to write in the rolling hills of East Tennessee.

coop2.jpgEach residency costs $150/week and includes your own private dry cabin as well as 24-hour access to the farmhouse amenities.

This year, SAFTA is excited to offer two fellowships for writers during the fall period. These fellowships will be fully funded, allowing writers to stay at the Writer’s Coop for free. Applications for these fellowships are due by August 1, 2019.

All other applications for this residency are free and rolling. Apply today to get preferred dates.

Find out more at www.sundressacademyforthearts.com.

 

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Sundress Reading Series Seeks Applicants!

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The Sundress Reading Series is an award-winning literary reading series in the heart of Knoxville, TN, just miles from the Great Smoky Mountains. An extension of Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts, the Sundress Reading Series features nationally recognized writers in all genres from around the US while also supporting local and regional nonprofits.

We are currently curating our fall reading series schedule on October 13, November 10, and December 8, 2019. Our readings take place monthly on Sundays at 1PM at Hexagon Brewing Company.

 

To apply to read for the fall, send 6-8 pages of poetry or 8-15 pages of prose, a 100-word bio, CV, and preferred reading dates to sundresspublications@gmail.com. Please make sure the subject line reads “Reading Series Application.” Application deadline is August 15, 2019.

We will make every effort possible to contact those chosen by September 1, 2019. While we are currently unable to pay our readers, authors are given a discount on future SAFTA residencies and are encouraged to sell their own books and merchandise at the event.

Find our more or to view some of our past readers and schedules, visit us at: www.sundressacademyforthearts.com.

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Meet Our New Social Media Intern: Jessica Lovett

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I’m Jessica and I am a proud Pisces (if that means anything to you), a proud poet (kind of), proudly queer, and proudly Sundress Publications‘ new Social Media Intern! (Can you tell I’m writing this during Pride Month?) 

I’ve loved language all my life, and I like to think it loves me back. As a kid, I barely spoke. I was painfully shy but I was never afraid to write—through writing, I could transform myself. I could say something exactly how I wanted it to be said, rather than fumbling around my words while public speaking. I always knew the words were there to catch me, there to disguise me, even. But as I’ve grown up I’ve come to use words less as a disguise and more as a mirror, a mirror that shows only the deepest, darkest truth, whether that truth is ugly or beautiful. 

I write and I read for this kind of truth. I support artists and creators who are unafraid of their own dark sides—who present readers with a disguise but then let them see beneath it. I also support queer artists, artists of color, and female or non-binary artists. I was drawn to Sundress for their desire to lift up these voices. The voices that have been silenced often have the most to say. I’m lucky that as an intern for Sundress, I can be even a small part of this mission.


Jessica Lovett is a junior at Fordham University, where she studies Comparative Literature and French. Her poetry has been published in Fordham’s Bricolage and ANGLES Literary Magazine. She also loves to write music, impulsively get tattoos, and watch movie musicals.

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Jacquelyn Scott

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I was raised in Jefferson City, Tennessee, which is about 40 miles north from where my ancestors were forced off their land for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I grew up in the wilds of my mountains. Hiking and camping, I sometimes traced my way from the Ramsey Cascades to the Whaley-Big Greenbriar Cemetery, where my family is buried. I used to stand in the middle of that cemetery and look down at the headstones, thinking about my relatives beneath me. One headstone reads, “S.B. Whaley.” I imagine her name was Sarah Beth and question if she, too, felt confined by her gender.

There are ruins of an old school on the trail to my ancestors’ graves. I wonder: if there wasn’t a national park, if that school still stood, if my family still lived there, would I have learned the names of Jhumpa Lahiri, Carmen Machado, ZZ Packer, or Aimee Bender? Would I have found my love of writing Appalachia and Appalachian women through a feminist lens? As Carmen Machado wrote, “I have heard all of the stories about girls like me, and I am unafraid to make more of them.”

I am not a traditional student. I took my time returning to college after I graduated from high school, instead searching for a career path in medicine and psychology, and when I moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee for community college, I came back thinking I would major in nursing and try to write on the side. However, I felt unhappy and constrained because I wasn’t learning the craft of writing like I really wanted. Miranda July once wrote, “But, like ivy, we grow where there is room for us,” and I always found room in literature. When I transferred to my university, I changed my major to creative writing, where I could study how to represent women like me in an artful and literary way.

While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I discovered a passion for literary citizenship. I worked my way up from a fiction reader to the assistant editor at my university’s literary magazine, the Sequoya Review, and started working at the writing center as a peer tutor, helping other students become better writers, both academically and creatively, improving my own writing in the process. In addition, I volunteered as a reader for several literary magazines, such as upstreet, Spark, Ember, and Zetetic, and now, as I pursue my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from The University of Tennessee (Go Vols!), I am honored to intern for Sundress PublicationsI look forward to learning the publishing side of the literary world where I have made my home.


Jacquelyn Scott is a student at The University of Tennessee where she is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and The Write Launch. Find her on Twitter @jacquelynlscott.

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Meet Our New Social Media Intern: Maria Esquinca

IMG_6491-2I must have fallen in love with storytelling as a child. I remember my uncle reading out loud to me from a big fairy tale book. I loved hearing his voice bring to life the characters within the page. After that, it was only a matter of time before I was reading on my own.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family, and I was also a very awkward kid, so reading became a form of escape for me. I could read for hours. Eventually, I started writing, and writing became a way for me to process trauma. It was therapeutic. So, I’ve had a very personal relationship with reading and writing for most of my life. My advisor and professor has told me “writing saved my life” and I believe it has saved mine, too.

Currently, I’m getting my M.F.A in poetry at the University of Miami. A huge portion of my writing has been about immigration policy. I live on the border so immigration has been a topic that has always impacted me. I call myself a Fronteriza, it comes from the word “frontera” which means border in English. I was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and grew up in El Paso, Texas. The two are often described as sister cities because of their proximity. I also write about my family and identity.

I’m excited to bring my experiences point of view to Sundress Publications, but more importantly, I’m excited to intern in a press that cares about diversity, representation, and is women-led.


Maria Esquinca is an MFA candidate at the University of Miami. She is the winner of the 2018 Alfred Boas Poetry Prize, judged by Victoria Chang. Her poetry has appeared in The Florida Review, Scalawag, Acentos Review and is forthcoming from Glass: A Journal of Poetry.  A Fronteriza, she was born in Ciudad Juárez, México and grew up in El Paso, Texas. You can find her on Twitter @m_esquinca.

 

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Megan McCarter

Megan McCarter Picture

Ever since I was little, I have been in love with the art of storytelling. Whether it was creating adventures for my stuffed animals or making up stories to go with picture books before I could read, I have always been enamored with the possibilities that a story can hold. Once I learned to read and then love reading, that delight in stories only grew greater. Every bookstore held the promise of a new adventure. Every library became, and remains today, an old friend. Among stories, whether written or spoken or acted upon screen or stage, I feel at home.

Growing up, I always knew that my life would be filled with stories. As early as middle school I began writing my own stories, building little scraps into scenes, then novels, then series’ and worlds. In high school and college, I became involved with numerous literary magazines, book clubs, and writing groups. I couldn’t get enough. There were too many stories out there that I had yet to hear and too many adventures just waiting to be explored.

During my junior year of college, I became involved with the University of Alabama press as one of their editorial interns. Despite writing my own stories, the process of professionally turning an idea on a page into a physical book you could hold in your hands was magical. So often people are told that writing books is a solitary venture, but seeing the hard work of writing guilds, magazines, and presses helping turn a novel into a polished book is an experience far from isolating. It is wonderful to be around others who care as much about stories as I do, and I look forward to taking the next step in expanding my knowledge and my family of fellow story lovers. I couldn’t be more delighted to work with Sundress Publications and help make the stories of the future an adventure for everyone.

 


Megan McCarter is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a BA in English. She is a founding editor of Call Me [Brackets] literary magazine and has presented her research at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association annual conference. You can find her in Tennessee playing with her pets, nose deep in folklore, or working on her latest story.

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Kimberly Ann Priest

DSC_1183.jpegI’m a poet and an educator, but I didn’t become either until my late thirties when divorce propelled me to seek therapeutic tools to map experience and explore a catalogue of emotions that had been repressed for several of my adult years. As acts of both survival and exploration, I earned a BA, MA, and MFA—all with a focus on creative writing—and began to write and publish poems. These endeavors naturally led me to take on a number of academic teaching roles, primarily instructing first-year composition courses, but with a few opportunities to teach creative writing here and there.

Over the past six years, I’ve had the good fortune to learn from some excellent faculty/poets and have my work published in several notable journals including The Berkeley Poetry Review, and Welter, in addition to the publication of my first chapbook White Goat Black Sheepa series of lyric stanzas about two young sisters reeling in the wake of sexual assault. Most of my poetry explores themes related to trauma, sexuality, the female body, and motherhood. Writing on these topics has opened my world, both in terms of internal space and public interaction. I’ve been able to write through personal traumas and help others do the same.

Currently, as a writing professor at Michigan State University, I am working with a number of inspiring teachers and writers who are equally interested in how various forms of written composition impact health and well-being and I’m looking forward to leading workshops in the community to help survivors integrate grief and stabilize self via artistic expression. I am a strong believer in art, broadly defined, as essential to navigate difficult experiences, order chaos, beautify madness, and enact empowerment by re-shaping stories. When life spirals out of our control, art allows us to regain individual agency and invite community to share in that process.

This is why I’m delighted to be an intern with Sundress Publications and support their visionary concerns for community, diversity, and healing. I look forward to discovering how this internship will broaden my understanding of the publishing world, expand my writing community, and enhance my practicum as an educator.

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Kimberly Ann Priest is a professor of first-year writing at Michigan State University, a poet, and a mother of two very-recently-inaugurated young adults. She likes to buy coffee mugs from coffee shops that impress her during her travels. Though she’s already visited nearly all of the forty-eight mainland United States, she will never turn down a road trip. You will either find her contemplating life and writing poetry or cruising in her Mini Cooper “Marilyn” (Monroe). This year, she has work forthcoming in The Coachella Review and Glass Poetry.

 

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The Invented Meal: Sloppy Macs by Jennifer Jackson Berry

The Sundress Cookbook series brings you meals made by our writers and the stories behind them. In this installment, we have sloppy macs with Jennifer Jackson Berry.

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I always hated this Jackson family meal when my Mom would make it when I was growing up. She continued her mother-in-law’s Depression-era mentality of stretching the sauce to cover 2+ lbs. of pasta, but this needs to be saucy. My revised recipe calls for 1 lb. of pasta to serve 3-4 people, but most days, my husband and I make it with only 2/3 – 3/4 lb. and devour all of it between the two of us. My “to taste” for the listed spices is heavy. I shake them over the pan right from the bottles, but I think it would probably be a good palmful of all three. Yes, even the red pepper flakes; we like this spicy!

 

 

Sloppy Macs

Ingredients:

1 lb. of bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

Oregano and onion powder to taste

Red pepper flakes (optional, but highly recommended)

1 lb. elbow macaroni

Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Directions:Sloppy Macs

Sauté bacon pieces until crispy in large pan. Add crushed tomatoes without draining any of the rendered bacon fat. Stir until fat is incorporated. Add oregano, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. While the sauce simmers, cook the elbow macaroni according to the box directions. Drain macaroni, then stir it into the sauce. Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

 

The Invented Meal

Praise the invented meal, the pound of bacon

scissored into bite-size chunks and dropped

into the deep pan. Praise the meal invented

to stretch meat and the ignorance of generations past

as the grease won’t be skimmed off, but stirred in.

Praise the feel of a wooden spoon in fist

as the fat shrinks to crumbles,

as the can of crushed tomatoes is dumped in,

onion powder and oregano added. Praise

the red pepper flakes, heat that sticks like a slap

and steam that rises—elbow mac drained into a colander.

Praise anything that rises, even cholesterol,

because watching what falls is for every other day.

Not days with sauce this red, with bowls this empty.

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Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016). Her most recent chapbook Bloodfish was published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2019 as part of their Keystone Chapbook Series. Her other chapbooks include When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Erika Moss Gordon reads Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

UnknownIt’s time for a new installment of Lyric Essentials, and for this round, we’re excited to welcome Erika Moss Gordon to the series. Here, Erika talks about her admiration for Rosemerry Trommer as both a friend and a writer and discusses how Trommer’s work invites the reader in to see the beauty in the “everyday treasures” that her poetry illuminates. Thanks for reading!


Riley Steiner: I really enjoy that both of the poems you chose involve the speaker addressing their own self — in one poem, a younger version of that self, and in the other, the personification of their physical body. I think it’s so interesting to see the speaker’s view from farther away, what they say to their own self when they’re a bit removed. What do you admire about these poems that made you choose them for your reading?

Erika Moss Gordon: Rosemerry’s expression of the vulnerable human experience is an invitation to be a part of her own emerging story. Her poetry moves gracefully between the divine and the mundane, and reminds us daily that the two are inextricably intertwined — or better yet, that they are the same thing. It was difficult to pick just two of her poems, but I picked these recent pieces because of how personal they are, and how much I can relate to both — as a woman and as a mother. It all goes so fast, doesn’t it?  And how rich it all is. And heartbreaking. And beautiful.

Erika Moss Gordon reads “A Woman Addresses Her Body” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Erika Moss Gordon reads “Time Bend” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

RS: What do you like about Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s work? How did you first discover her poems?

EMG: I met Rosemerry almost fifteen years ago in a prenatal yoga class (which is another reason I wanted to share specifically one of her pieces about parenting). We were both pregnant with our first-borns (who are about to turn fifteen in September. Yikes!). Rosemerry has written a poem a day since 2005 — a poem every day for over fourteen years! What a gift, and a beautiful practice that I truly believe will go down in history. And when you read her work you’ll see … it’s absolutely wonderful stuff. She really does find a poem inside every rotation — and the gems she continues to unearth will knock your socks off. And it reminds the rest of us that our lives are full of everyday treasures, too.

RS: Has her work influenced your own in any way?

EMG: Her work has influenced me so much. I also write about the everyday, and Rosemerry has been such an inspiration as time marches on and as the layers shed and shed, or as her website reveals … as the veils fall and fall. She has been a mentor both in writing as well as in the spoken word. She is also an enormously gifted performer. Watching her is watching a master. She taught me about what it means to bring words to life — about the shared experience, and about how much more juicy it suddenly becomes when we invite others in. There is a generosity in her art, and this spirit of collaboration lifts everyone around her up.

RS: On a related note, what are you currently working on?

EMG: I have been fortunate to stumble upon a collection of my father’s journals from the 1970’s, and I am currently in the process of transcribing them. I was very close to my dad who passed away seven years ago, and he was a tremendous writer. In all honesty, I’m not sure how this is all going to look. Even putting it into words is a little frightening. But my fantasy is that I will still get to work on an intimate writing project with him after all this time.


Erika Moss Gordon lives in Ridgway, Colorado, with her two children, where she writes poetry, works for a film festival, and teaches yoga. Erika’s writing has appeared in Mountain Gazette Magazine, Fungi Magazine, Telluride Watch, Telluride Magazine, Telluride Inside and Out, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Salmonberry Arts, and 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, a collection of poetry. Her most recent book, Phases, was winner of the Fledge Chapbook Award, published by Middle Creek Publishing in 2016. Her first chapbook, Of Eyes and Iris, was published in 2013 (Liquid Light Press).

Further reading:

Visit Erika’s website
Order Phases from Middle Creek Publishing
Purchase Of Eyes and Iris from Lulu or Amazon
Read four of Erika’s poems at Colorado Poets Center

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer “never fails to bring sensual joy and rich music,” says
Utah’s poet laureate emeritus David Lee. She was Colorado’s Western Slope Poet Laureate (2015-17) and served two terms as San Miguel County’s first poet laureate (2006-2010). She has authored and edited thirteen books, including Naked for Tea, Even Now: Poems & Drawings, and Holding Three Things at Once (finalist for the Colorado Book Award). She’s widely anthologized, including in An Elevated View: Colorado Writers on Writing, Poems of Awakening, and Poetry of Presence. Her work has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, in O Magazine, on back alley fences, on rocks she leaves around town, and in dozens of literary journals including Rattle, Clover, and Spectrum. Her poetry was chosen for the 2016 Shared Visions project, in which composer Paul Fowler arranged “Yet Another Layer” for the Ars Nova Singers.

She’s taught and performed poetry for Think 360, Craig Hospital, Hospice, 12-Step programs, meditation retreats, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Weehawken Arts, Camp Coca Cola, SpiritFest, Business & Professional Women, Wellspring of Imagination, and for hundreds of libraries, colleges, festivals, schools, and groups. She directed the Telluride Writers Guild for ten years and now co-hosts the Talking Gourds Poetry Club. She has thrice won Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, the Fischer Prize, twice won the Writer’s Studio Literary Contest, won the Dwell Press Solstice Prize, was a finalist for Dogwood’s Poetry Prize, and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. She curates “Heard of Poets,” an interactive poetry map of Western Colorado poets, and speaks about poetry and creativity for TEDx. Since 1999, she’s performed with Telluride’s seven-woman a cappella group, Heartbeat, and since 2006, she’s written a poem a day. Her MA is in English Language & Linguistics.

Further reading:

Visit Rosemerry’s website
Dive into Rosemerry’s poem-a-day project, “A Hundred Falling Veils”
Watch Rosemerry’s TEDx talk, “The Art of Changing Metaphors”

Riley Steiner is a recent graduate of Miami University, where she studied Creative Writing and Media & Culture. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she enjoys baking, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, and spending way too much money at Half Price Books. Her creative work has recently appeared in the Oakland Arts Review and Collision.

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