Tag Archives: poetry

Lyric Essentials: Helena Mesa Reads “Winter Stars” by Larry Levis

Helena Mesa PhotoWhen Helena Mesa wrote to tell me which poem she chose to read for Lyric Essentials, she said, “When I think about formative poets for me, Levis always comes to mind. I still remember reading Winter Stars in my kitchen in Houston, and awakening from the thrall, still in my kitchen, sitting on the floor, my lunch cold in the toaster oven.” Here we’ll look at Larry Levis’s control of the line, and think about how that control gives him more freedom to address loss and regret. We’ll also consider how Levis’s attention to specific moments in the past deepen the emotions he describes as happening now. Thank you for reading.

Jessica Hudgins: It was really moving to me, after learning that you first read this poem in your kitchen, to read the poem myself and see that it takes place in another domestic space—the poet’s backyard. You say that this poem and the book Winter Stars shaped you. Can you say a little more about that? How has Levis’ work influenced you?

Helena Mesa: As a young poet first reading Winter Stars, I was struck by the meditative quality of Levis’ poems. I never knew where he would go, how he would arrive there, and I was awed by the way his poems came together. Take the opening narrative of “My father once broke a man’s hand / Over the exhaust pipe of a John Deere tractor.” I never imagined that narrative would move to the statement of misunderstanding to the mind-as-city metaphor to the beautiful, intimate arrival: “Cold enough to reconcile / Even a father, even a son.” As a young female Cuban-American poet, I feared sentimentality, so much so that I buried sentiment under layers of imagery and detachment. Reading Levis was invigorating—he allowed readers to meditate on a small moment with him, and through his meditation, he risked revealing emotion as he discovered meaning.

Levis also challenged me to embrace the free verse line. When writing, I’d hear my teachers repeat, “Think in a 10-syllable line.” It was good advice for me at the time—the syllable count gave me a structure to work within and against as I learned what the line could do. And, while I loved poets whose lines weren’t traditionally shaped by syllabics (poets like Yusef Komunyakaa, Lynda Hull, Lucille Clifton), I didn’t yet understand how they constructed their lines so each possessed integrity, each resonated. In fact, when I first read “Winter Stars,” I foolishly thought the lines weren’t controlled. Look at some of those early lines:

With a sharpened fruit knife, & he held

The curved tip of it, lightly, between his first

Two fingers, so it could slash

Horizontally, & with surprising grace,

Across a throat. It was like a glinting beak in a hand…

The line breaks are super unexpected. The hard enjambments on “held” and “first” push forward, but Levis’s caesuras within the lines—versus the ends of lines—create tension that mirrors the poem’s opening narrative. When I read “first / two fingers” aloud, the internal rhyme and hard stresses emphasize each syllable, which slows the pacing, which lets me further visualize the image before I reach “so it could slash.” The “sharpened fruit knife”—a dangerous object—is being “held,” and the pacing slows down as Levis zooms in on the image of how Rubén Vásquez held that knife “horizontally”—pause—“& with surprising grace”—slightly longer pause—“Across a throat.” So dangerous. The lines tug between speeding forward and pausing with punctuation, musicality, and end-stopped line breaks. And then, Levis balances the most dramatic detail—“Across a throat”—pause—on the same line with “It was like a glinting beak in a hand”—something potentially beautiful that, of course, isn’t beautiful. It’s such a delicate balance between contrasting elements, and Levis’s craft—his control—both evokes sentiment and undercuts sentimentality at the same time.

Helena Mesa reading “Winter Stars”

JH: The extended metaphor that begins, “If you can think of the mind as a place continually/visited…” is particularly striking to me, and of course the way that Levis’s attention keeps coming back to the stars. Can you point to a moment in the poem that you admire and describe what you admire about it?

HM: Yes, exactly! How those stars become a mechanism for meditating on his father and his looming death. There are so many things to admire. The beauty of the turn “I got it all wrong,” stated in plain vernacular speech. Or, the poignant direct address to his father. Or, the sincerity of “where a small wind.…wakes the cold again— / Which may be all that’s left of you & me.” But, today, looking at the poem again, I find myself focusing on Levis’ repetition of “now” in that almost-surreal fourth stanza. Three times he says “now”—it’s insistent. In its most simplistic function, the repetition grounds the reader by locating us in the present time; but more importantly, the repetition of “now” allows Levis to both move through time and pay attention to time. The present moment—in its limitations and imperfection and sorrow—is merely the present moment, and even this moment will be lost, like the California light, the place in their lives, his father’s speech, his father’s life, their relationship.

JH: Do you consider “Winter Stars” an elegy? Like, of course it is, but it also seems less concerned with grief than reconciliation and the way that memory connects us to one another. What do you think?

HM: I’m strangely fascinated by elegies that are non-traditional elegies, which might be another reason why I’m drawn to Larry Levis. When asked about being an elegiac poet, Levis once said, “I often feel that that’s what I am as a human.”

I think of “Winter Stars” as having an elegiac eye or positioning—we see him mourn as his father “is beginning to die”—losing language and, presumably, memory. The grief is present, but it isn’t that raw grief we associate with the death of a loved one. To me, that grief points toward a different kind of loss—Levis mourning the relationship he could have had with his father, and realizing it might be too late. If Levis portrays his father as “ashamed” for “a lost syllable as if it might / Solve everything,” Levis may also feel shame for getting “it all wrong.” And, because the poem focuses so much on the father-son relationship, and even ends on those two clauses, yoked in one line—“Even a father, even a son”—it’s hard for me to detach one from the other. To think of his father’s approaching death means Levis is also aware of his own mortality, without saying so.

True to “Winter Stars” as a whole, however, Levis unites contrasting emotions, or perhaps, turns toward complex emotions. The mourning and elegiac eye end on reconciliation. The sky might be a wide expanse, but within it is starlight, which Levis twice alludes to as something that persists. And, in the final stanza, Levis describes a “pale haze of stars goes on & on.” Starlight endures, in contrast to the temporality of the moment (the meditation), in contrast to the tension between the speaker and his father (the past).

 


Larry Levis (1946-1996) was an American poet. He published several books for which he received recognition from the International Poetry Forum, The American Academy of Poets, and the National Poetry Series. Levis taught at the University of Missouri and Virginia Commonwealth University and directed the writing program at the University of Utah.

Further Reading:

“Winter Stars” by Larry Levis
“The Poet at Seventeen” by Larry Levis
Larry Levis reads at the 92Yk
Edward Byrne on Larry Levis at Blackbird

Helena Mesa is the author of Horse Dance Underwater and a co-editor for Mentor & Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in journals such as Beloit Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, Indiana Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Puerto del Sol, and Sou’wester. She has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences, and she has attended Squaw Valley Writers’ Workshop and Napa Valley Writers’ Workshop. She teaches creative writing at Albion College and lives in Oakland, California.

Further Reading:

Helena Mesa on Verse Daily
Mentor & Muse 
Review of Helena Mesa’s Horse Dance Underwater
Purchase Horse Dance Underwater


A note from Anna Black: It has been my great pleasure to be a part of the trajectory of this series. Through it, I have met many new friends and come to learn about a number of poets that had heretofore been unknown to me. This has been a tremendous pleasure and I am grateful for having had the opportunity. As I am now handling new roles for Sundress, I am handing over the series to the capable and deft hands of Jessica Hudgins, our former intern, and I’m excited to read the new voices that she will bring to the table, too. As for me, you can find me as the host over at Poets in Pajamas, and I’m also now serving as the staff director for Sundress. So I didn’t go far. I hope you’ll welcome Jessica and make her feel at home as you all did me. -Anna

Jessica Hudgins is a writer and teacher currently living in Georgia.

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

CookBook Recipes: Grandma Chavez’s Mexican Arroz, by Sarah A. Chavez

head shot 2After I had been living outside California and far from family for about five years, I started to try to make my Abuela’s recipes. My whole life, we had eaten her rice, beans, tamales, chorizo con huevos, and enchiladas during regular monthly and holiday/birthday visits. These were beloved foods, expected foods. Not once do I remember a childhood visit that did not feature her 32-quart dented, silver-colored pot half full of rice. There was always enough for my father, the person he was dating, my two uncles (the women they were dating), me, my sister, my grandpa, and a possible neighbor or unexpected friend. And then there were the leftovers. Almost as special as eating the fluffy pink rice in her warm cozy kitchen with the gauzy white half curtains that waved in the breeze of the ceiling fan was the Ziploc bag of rice you got to take home. If you were really lucky, it also came with a Ziploc bag of frijoles, some foil-wrapped tortillas, and a plastic grocery bag full of oranges or nectarines from their backyard. No one in the history of visits has ever left my Abuela’s house hungry or empty-handed.

It was summer when I asked to learn her rice recipe during one of my longer visits in from the Midwest where I was attending graduate school. This was years before the stroke that blocked a significant portion of the English she worked so hard to learn during her sixty years in the U.S., before the subdural hematoma which left a scar the circumference of a baseball stretching from the left ear back, the stitching eerily similar. And so typical for her, when the hair grew back, it was all thick salt with an edge of pepper, soon cut in the most stylish fashion. Even in the kitchen so many hours of the day, her nails were done, slacks pressed, a bright-colored blouse under her red apron. I did not inherit her sense of fashion or interest in the domestic, but I wanted to eat that rice whenever the spirit moved me.

What I didn’t know was that there was no recipe, no measurements in the way that I understood them. She didn’t use measuring cups or teaspoons.

“Sure, Mija,” she said when I asked to watch her. “You just go like this.” This became a blur of coffee mugs and eye-balled ingredients. I had a notebook with me, writing down what I thought the standard measurements might be. But two weeks later, back across the plains, my rice was somehow both oily and dry. I called her, “Grandma, how much? You know, how many teaspoons of salt?” I asked. She seemed confused by the question.

“No teaspoons,” her voice echoed from the phone speaker on the counter while I stood in the middle of the kitchen staring at my new cast iron skillet, vegetarian bullion, and long-grain rice. “Just do like I showed you.”

 

Grandma Chavez’s Mexican Arroz

Serves: ~ 8

 

Ingredients:

1 coffee mug full of rice (the inexpensive white one)

3 coffee mugs full of water

Enough oil

Half of a white onion cut into 4 wedges

2 regular spoonfuls of tomato paste (almost half of a tiny can)

Really heaping soup spoonful of caldo con sabor de pollo (the green packaging)

A cupped palm of salt

 

Directions:

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium open flame heat. Pour oil into the pan until the bottom is covered and it looks like a little too much. Rinse the mugful of rice two or three times under cold tap water, check that there are no bad grains—if you find bad ones, take out the bad ones.

Brown rice in oil until they are tanned like your brown hand (but not burned). Add spoonfuls of tomato paste and one mug of water, stir around. Add spoonful of powder pollo and another mug of water. Push the rice around in the pan with an old wooden spatula until pollo powder is dissolved. Pour the other mugful of water, maybe add a little more tomato paste, dump in the salt. Push everything around (without spilling the water) until it looks about right. Place onion wedges cut side down in the pan with the rice. Lower heat to medium-low, cover with whichever pot lid isn’t too small. Pot lids can be substituted with corning ware lids or old cookie sheets with an oversized can of something placed on top to weigh it down.

Check the rice in 20 mins. Smell it, then push around to mix, and take out a small spoonful to taste. Maybe add more water, or don’t. Put the lid back on for another 10 – 15 mins.

When rice is pink and on the verge of mushy, take pan off the heat and leave it on the stove for people to take bites of while they walk through the kitchen before transferring it to a corning dish and placing on the table for dinner.

 


Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the poetry collections, Hands That Break & Scar (Sundress Publications, 2017) and All Day, Talking (dancing girl press, 2014), selections of which were awarded the Susan Atefat Peckham Fellowship. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in the anthologies Xicanx: Mexican American Writers of the 21st Century and Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzalduan Borderlands as well as the journals Brevity, North American ReviewPretty Owl Poetry, Atticus Review, and The Fourth River Tributaries Series, among others. She recently joined the faculty at the University of Washington Tacoma where she teaches creative writing and Latinx/Chicanx-focused courses. She serves as the poetry coordinator for the Best of the Net Anthology, is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, and is a ravenous consumer of all manner of carbohydrate.

Sarah Chavez’s Hands that Break and Scar

Tagged , , , , ,

Virginia Chase Sutton’s New Book of Poems: What Brings You to Del Amo

sundresspub

Doubleback Books presents Virginia Chase Sutton’s What Brings You to Del Amo

Doubleback Books, an imprint of Sundress Publications, is proud to announce the republication of Virginia Chase Sutton’s What Brings You to Del Amo. Bruce Weigl, author of The Abundance of Nothing, had this to say concerning Sutton’s work:

Virginia Book“Face it: as much as we love to glorify and extol the powers of imagination, there are some things you have to see up close and personal in order to be able to bring them into the rarified circumstance of a poem. These would include death, and even worse, all manner of human degradation and suffering possible. Still, bearing witness, no matter how intimate, is no guarantee of good art either. Virginia Chase Sutton manages, no, she illuminates a seamlessness between what is real, and what is barely imaginable in our lives with such precision that you are compelled to bear witness beside her. The poems of What Brings You to Del Amo are relentless in their pursuit of us, and relentless too in their pursuit of the highest level of craft and care.”

Virginia SuttonVirginia Chase Sutton is the author of the full-length collections Embellishments, What Brings You to Del Amo, and Of a Transient Nature, and the chapbook, Down River. Sutton’s poems have won the Louis Untermeyer Poetry Scholarship at Bread Loaf, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, and the National Poet Hunt.  She has been a fellow at Writers at Work, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Vermont Studio Center.  Sutton has won the Paumanock Visiting Writer’s Award and Reading Series and has been a finalist for the Dana Award in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Paris Review, Ploughshares, Western Humanities Review, and Poet Lore, and have received seven Pushcart nominations. Sutton lives in Tempe, Arizona.

Read What Brings You to Del Amo today for free!

Tagged , , ,

Poets in Pajamas Presents Samantha Edmonds

pip

Poets in Pajamas, a Live-Stream Reading Series by Sundress Publications
Presents Episode 43: Samantha Edmonds

Ever wished you could attend a poetry reading in your PJ’s? Wished there were one closer to home? Missed a reading because you just couldn’t muster up the energy to go? Bailed because you didn’t want to go alone?

Well fret no more! Poets in Pajamas (PiP) is a live-feed online reading series presented by Sundress Publications. We bring live poetry, complete with Q&A and poet interaction, to you. We don’t ask you to dig out a scarf, no, we welcome you as you are and bring the poetry. Won’t you join us? We often draw a diverse audience from around the world and we’d love it if you, too, were there.

Samantha EdmondsOur next episode will air on Sunday, November 18, at 7pm EST, featuring Samantha Edmonds. On behalf of Sundress Publications, Anna Black will host.

Samantha Edmonds’ work appears in Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Indiana Review, Day One, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. She currently lives in Knoxville, where she’s an MFA candidate at the University of Tennessee and serves as the Fiction Editor for Grist. Follow these links to find out more about Samantha:

“On Obsession” on Black Warrior Review

Author Spotlight on Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly

“Donor” on Identity Theoryanna black

 

Anna Black has served as the editor-in-chief of the magazine Hayden’s Ferry Review and is a twice awarded Virginia G. Piper global teaching and research fellow. She received her MFA at Arizona State University. More about Anna and her work can be found at @bylineblack and bylineblack.com.

The readings occur on PiP’s Facebook page every other Sunday at 7PM EST/4PM PST. The selected poet will read for about 15 minutes,  and will then open the floor for an additional 10-15 minutes to receive questions from the audience.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

2018 Open Reading Period Results

SundressLogo

 Sundress Publications Announces
2018 Open Reading Period Results

Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce the results of the 2018 Open Reading Period. The winning selections are: Albert Abonado’s JAW, Chera Hammons’ Map of Injury, and JM Miller’s Nightsong. Each is slated for publication in 2020.

abonadoAlbert Abonado’s poems have appeared in Boston Review, PleiadesThe Margins, Zone 3, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and has received a fellowship for poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Every Thursday from 2-3PM, he hosts the poetry radio show Flour City Yawp on WAYO 104.3 FM-LP. He also curates the CityVerse column for City Newspaper. He teaches creative writing at SUNY Geneseo. He lives in Rochester with his wife.

Chera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard hammonsCollege in Plainfield, VT. Her work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Connotation Press, Rattle, Sugar House Review, Tar River Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among other fine journals. Her chapbook Amaranthine Hour received the 2012 Jacar Press Chapbook Award. Books include Recycled Explosions (Ink Brush Press, 2016) and The Traveler’s Guide to Bomb City (Purple Flag Press, 2017; winner of the 2017 PEN Southwest Book Award).

jm wedding 2017

JM Miller is a queer/trans writer based in Seattle. Their first poetry collection, Wilderness Lessons, was described as a love letter to the earth. JM teaches creative writing at the University of Washington Tacoma and has recently adopted a kitten named Cielo. Please visit  jm-poet.com for more.

 

 

 

Finalists include:

Kara Dorris, A Phobia of Dying if Motion Stops
Jonathan Duckworth, Night, Translated 
Amanda Galvan Huynh, Mexican Bingo
Stephanie Lane Sutton, Femme Pastiche
Billie Tadros, Was Body 
Billie Tadros, Graft Fixation

Semi-Finalists include:

Danielle Badra, Like Still We Speak 
Reese Conner, The Body He Left Behind
Megan Merchant, Paper Mother
Jed Meyers, Burning Man
Laura Passin, You are Not God’s Sparrow 
C. Pope, Forgotten Stages of Grief
Shannon Sankey, A Crooked Kind of Flowering
Marvin Shackleford, Monstrous
Sarah Wolfson, A Common Name for Everything

 

Sundress Publications is a 501(c)3 non-profit literary press collective founded in 2000. It is an entirely volunteer-run, non-discriminatory publishing group focused on the creativity of all artists, regardless of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, education, etc.

To learn more about Sundress, visit our website at  sundresspublications.com

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Letitia Trent’s Match Cut Now Available for Preorder

SundressLogo

 

Sundress Publications is pleased to announce that Letitia Trent’s full-length  poetry collection, Match Cut, is now available for pre-order at the Sundress store.

match cut.tifIn Letitia Trent’s latest collection, her poems weave wraithlike through the breaths between cuts, lingering in spaces often left offscreen. The work approaches deified films from the perspective of women, framing lost and forgotten voices against the overpowering mythos of the auteur. Match Cut cherishes its cinematic muses as much it critiques them. It doesn’t burn down; it creates space for women and femmes to respond to scenes and characters created by men.

Trent’s collection emphasizes the limitations of the male gaze and the way women are often reduced to tropes. In “Blue Velvet” Trent says, “with every pan, / every match cut / that when it comes to women, // there are really only two—” The narrators living in these pages don’t wait for their directors to call on them. They shape their own stories, fleshing out tales we love with the woman and femme voices they’ve always been missing. Trent’s verses often dwell in dark places, but their existence is an act of deliverance.

Kolleen Carney Hoepfner, the author of Your Hand Has Fixed the Firmament, says about Match Cut:

“Somewhere between the magic surrealism of a cinematic experience and the transcendence of poetry lies Match Cut. Trent weaves narration through these reflections of films with a master’s precision, enticing the reader along with a bit of edge, the way Freddy Krueger pulls you through a dream. A fantastic collection for poetry readers, cinephiles, and pop culture enthusiasts alike.”

And, from Kristy Bowen:

“Letitia Trent’s Match Cut flickers like a reel of film, where scenes remix and reappear, cold and silver as the screen.  Where American and bodily anxieties sizzle and crackle with each frame, forging an electric tension between audience and character, the watcher and the watched.”

Other advance readers include Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick, who says:

“In Match Cut by Letitia Trent, the reader is warned by the speaker in the beginning: ‘don’t go to that carnival, / I can see what’s coming.’ But we should go, anyway, in terror and in awe, as the poems in this collection beautifully ‘utter lace, / sunsets, girls, and sickness’ and marry images such as ‘lizards / crawling into … bridal dresses.’ Much like the ‘several varieties of snakes and lizards’ found in these poems, the reader is reminded how, inside all of us, exists the reptilian brain where even ‘breathing is erotic. Dying is erotic.’ This collection is ‘the knife that shuts / your eyes and opens / the floors [we’re] bound to.’ Match Cut intelligently and boldly explores the horror film genre in startling new ways that teach us how ‘we are all red from the same accident’ with an evocative exploration into why we should take the time to appreciate ways in which the genre invites us to overcome our anxieties and, for a moment, ‘become [our] body /without apology…[and with] no language of sorry.’”

letitia trentLetitia Trent’s work includes the novels Echo Lake and Almost Dark and the poetry collection One Perfect Bird.  Her work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, 32 Poems, and Waxwing, among others. Letitia works in the mental health field in a small town in the Ozarks with her husband, son, and three black cats.

 

Order your copy today in our store.

 

Tagged , , ,

Poets in Pajamas Presents Sarah Ann Winn!

Poets in Pajamas, a Live-Stream Reading Series by Sundress Publications
Presents Episode 42: Sarah Ann Winn

Enjoy live poetry? Ever wished you could attend a reading without leaving the house or changing out of your jammies? Bailed because had no one to go with? Wish there were one closer to you?

Well worry no more! Poets in Pajamas (PiP) is a live-feed online reading series presented by Sundress Publications. We bring live poetry, complete with Q&A and poet interaction, to you. We don’t ask you to dig out a scarf, no, we welcome you as you are and bring the poetry. Won’t you join us? We often draw a diverse audience from around the world and we’d love it if you, too, were there.

Our next episode will air on Sunday, November 11th, at 7pm EST, featuring Sarah Ann Winn. On behalf of Sundress Publications, Anna Black will host.

Sarah Ann Winn’s first book, Alma Almanac (Barrow Street, 2017), won the 2016 Barrow Street Book Prize, selected by Elaine Equi. She’s the author of five chapbooks. Her writing has appeared in Five Points, Kenyon Review Online, Massachusetts Review, Smartish Pace. She serves as Reviews Editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

Sarah Ann Winn at Beltway Poetry
Sara Ann Winn’s Alma Almanac at Barrow Street
Sarah Ann Winn at The Boiler
Sarah Ann Winn at The Good Man Project

 

Anna Black received her MFA at Arizona State University. Black is a twice awarded Virginia G. Piper global teaching and research fellow. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will be Shelter and In Sight: An Ekphrastic Collaboration, as well as the journals 45th Parallel, Bacopa Review, Wordgathering, the American Journal of Poetry, and New Mobility among others. In addition to hosting PiP, Black is the staff director at Sundress Publications.

 

The readings occur on PiPs Facebook page every other Sunday at 7PM EST/4PM PST. The selected poet will read for about 15 minutes, and will then open the floor for an additional 10-15 minutes to receive questions from the audience.

Tagged , , ,

Lyric Essentials: Mia Leonin Reads Two Poems by Shara McCallum

Mi LeoninMia Leonin here reads “Madwoman’s Geography” and “From the Book of Mothers” by Shara McCallum. In the process of discussing these poems, we cover incredible ground. Are women permitted public rage? What is it in writing motherhood that is so challenging? Leonin touches on the risks of writing motherhood, the need to thrive in the wise wilderness of the unconscious, and what can only be referred to as McCallum’s songs.

Black: Why did you choose poems by Shara McCallum to share with us?

Leonin: I met Shara McCallum when she was an undergrad at the University of Miami. Although she was a gifted young writer, she was thinking of pursuing a career in musical theater. Clearly, she found a different path. She is now the author of five books of poetry.

However, two of the most distinctive elements I appreciate in her work are the construction of voice and the musicality of her diction and syntax. I think McCallum’s love of song, persona, and theater transferred remarkably to her poetry. I am a creative writing lecturer and have been surrounded by nineteen- and twenty-year-old undergraduates for the better part of twenty years, so I appreciate the trajectory of Shara’s passions into her career.

One may consider a career in musical theater as much of a pie-in-the-sky endeavor as poet; however, Shara possessed the desire and skills for voice, performance, and music and to this day they contribute to her unique qualities as a writer. Perhaps someone else may have integrated those passions into another profession. The point (and what I try to communicate to my students) is this: Shara reminds me that if we are in touch with those activities that enliven and embolden us, if we recognize what most gives us a sense of purpose, we will find a place for that purpose. Shara’s truth is a complex one of black and white; mother and daughter; American and immigrant. Her poetry holds these contradictions and more.


Mia Leonin reads “Madwoman’s Geography” by Shara McCallum

 

Black: And why these poems in particular? 

Leonin: “From the Book of Mothers,” a poem from This Strange Land is one of my favorite poems. It explores the complexity of motherhood—moments of tenderness and whimsy, anger and trauma, life and death. Above all, it is a poem that sings. I was so excited to participate in this project because it was an excuse to read this particular poem out loud. The late poet Miller Willams called the poem “a meeting place between reader and writer.” This has always felt true to me—a poem is an act of co-creation between reader and writer. “From the Book of Mothers” takes Williams’ dictum one step further: it is a song that wants to be sung.

I also selected the poem “Madwoman’s Geography” from McCallum’s most recent book, Madwoman. A poetic descendant of Rita Dove, Louise Gluck, and Lucille Clifton, McCallum is a master of voice and persona. In “Madwoman’s Geography,” she creates a voice of feminine authority, agency, and transformation.

In my first life, I slid

into the length of a snake, then

sloughed scales for wings.

She takes us from Eve to Icarus in three short lines. Wow!

McCallum’s work underscores women’s life-long metamorphosis, stirring psychological and emotional depths without falling into sentimentality.

Black: Can you explore the concept of the long poem a little? 

Leonin: I think the literary collage is at the essence of many long poems and that is definitely the case with McCallum’s “From the Book of Mothers.” Her use of collage reminds me of the quilt made by an anonymous woman from Alabama at the Smithsonian and referenced by Alice Walker in her essay, “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.”

The collage is a symbol of the communal reservoir of “women’s work,” a feminine resourcefulness women have accessed for generations to create something beautiful from the mundane, the oppressive, and otherwise unbearable aspects of our daily lives. The women in McCallum’s poems contend with mental illness, neglect, abuse, and poverty. It’s no accident that McCallum employs the collage form to create a work that is vibrant, resonant, and beautiful in musicality and image. The collage aesthetic also affords McCallum the linguistic and cultural latitude to move from the Ganges to the Jamaican Patois of wutless, to numbers in Hebrew, and beyond. McCallum’s syntactic sense of the line is always tight. It’s as if she is writing the bountiful, wholehearted lustiness of Whitman and compressing it into the hymn-tight lines of Dickinson.

McCallum writes: “Pushed from the calabash stained by its pulp,/we were turned into little girls.” The sh in “push” and “calabash,” the alliteration and echo of “push” and “pulp”—these words in proximity churn towards a melodic syntax. The cumulative effect is orchestral and rich.


Mia Leonin reads “From the Book of Mothers” by Shara McCallum

 

Black: Likewise, maybe the concept of a “mother poem”?

Leonin: There is a double consciousness that comes with motherhood: one is propelled into the world of what is and what should be. That should may come from self, society, or both, but as my mother used to say of her mother’s punishments: “the thinnest branch makes the sharpest switch.” Our narrow definition of what is deemed acceptable or interesting to write about on the subject of motherhood cuts deep. We are expected to underscore the mama bear fierceness of mothers, the nurturing instinct of mothers, and the “instinctive” bond between mothers and children, but what of the loneliness, despair, and resentment? What of boredom and humor? What of fathers who mother? Right now, we are having a more public conversation about what it means for a woman to be angry and the double standard imposed upon women when it comes to expressing anger.  We are not supposed to express feelings of outrage and most definitely not on behalf of ourselves.

To ignore women’s experiences is to ignore the power of those experiences and the power of women. The patriarchy is invested in that imbalance of power. It permeates our nation at every level from the top down. George W. Bush’s presidency gave us “No Child Left Behind” and a “Culture of Life” while waging a war that took hundreds of thousands of lives and ripped apart countless families in the Middle East and in the United States. Now, with our “grab ’em by the pussy” president, the already thinning veil has been ripped away. Donald Trump, our president and a man accused of multiple sexual assaults, ridicules Dr. Ford, a victim of sexual assault and lauds her alleged assailant, selecting him to serve on the highest court of the land.

There is a double consciousness that comes with motherhood: one is propelled into the world of what is and what should be. That should may come from self, society, or both, but as my mother used to say of her mother’s punishments: “the thinnest branch makes the sharpest switch.” Our narrow definition of what is deemed acceptable or interesting to write about on the subject of motherhood cuts deep. We are expected to underscore the mama bear fierceness of mothers, the nurturing instinct of mothers, and the “instinctive” bond between mothers and children, but what of the loneliness, despair, and resentment? What of boredom and humor? What of fathers who mother? Right now, we are having a more public conversation about what it means for a woman to be angry and the double standard imposed upon women when it comes to expressing anger.  We are not supposed to express feelings of outrage and most definitely not on behalf of ourselves.

If you are a poet and a woman and you want to write about motherhood, you know you are taking a risk. People don’t want to know motherhood and parenthood deeply. We are in a country that loves to sound the trumpet of family, but denies children healthcare and parents maternity leave. It separates children from their parents at the border and seeks to interfere with a woman’s reproductive choices. McCallum doesn’t just write about motherhood. She writes about it as a changing state of being. She reminds us of the connections to one another, to life, and to death. Her fragmented stanzas and sections interweave movement, echo, and variations to haunting effect. This dramatic tension builds and recedes until the poem ends on a profoundly simple question:

If not this room, this life

then where, then when?

McCallum’s writing about motherhood—here and elsewhere in her work—reminds me: Here. Now. It gives me the courage to write.

Black: What are you working on now?

I’ll be honest. I’m working on living. I’m emerging from a period of great change—the end of a long marriage, the beginning of creating my own home, and the middle of mothering a teenager. I am a strong believer in the wise wilderness of the unconscious mind and so to begin writing, I need to avoid creating a particular project and just write.

Also, in the last few years, I have filled many notebooks and computer files with words that I think are more on the lyric essay end of the spectrum than they are poetry. In time, I will return to these notebooks and cull through them. In the meantime, to return to the wilderness, but well accompanied, I will begin a series of writing exercises that I call “Papelitos.”

___________________________________________________________

Shara McCallum is a Jamaican-born poet and author of five poetry collections including the most recent, Madwoman (Alice James Books, 2017). McCallum received her MFA from the University of Maryland and her PhD from Binghamton University. McCallum is a Professor at Penn State University and the former director of the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. McCallum was recently awarded the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for Poetry and has in the past has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Witter Byner Award from the Library of Congress, and other honors.

Mia Leonin is the author of four poetry collections: Fable of the Pack-Saddle Child (BkMk Press), BraidUnraveling the BedandChance Born (Anhinga Press), and a memoir, Havana and Other Missing Fathers (University of Arizona Press). Leonin has been awarded fellowships from the State of Florida Department of Cultural Affairs for her poetry and creative nonfiction, two Money for Women grants by the Barbara Deming Fund, and she has been a fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts/Annenberg Institute on Theater and Musical Theater. Leonin has published poetry and creative nonfiction in New Letters, Prairie SchoonerAlaska Quarterly Review, Indiana Review, Witness, North American Review, River Styx, Chelsea, and others. She received a special mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize anthology. 

Leonin has written extensively about Spanish-language theater and culture for the Miami Herald, New Times, ArtburstMiami.com, and other publications.  Leonin’s poetry has been translated to Spanish and she has been invited to read at the Miami International Book Fair, Poesia en el Laurel in Granada, Spain, and in Barcelona, Spain. Leonin teaches creative writing at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

 

The Good Stuff:

 

____________________________________________________________
Anna Black received her MFA at Arizona State University and her BA at Western Washington University. She 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. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will be Shelter and In Sight: An Ekphrastic Collaboration, as well as the journals 45th Parallel, Bacopa Review, Wordgathering, the American Journal of Poetry, and New Mobility among others. Black 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. Black is the host of the Poets in Pajamas reading series and staff director at Sundress Publications.
Tagged , , , , , ,

Poets in Pajamas Presents Emily Rose Cole

pip

Poets in Pajamas, a Live-Stream Reading Series by Sundress Publications
Presents Episode 41: Emily Rose Cole

Ever wished you could attend a poetry reading in your PJ’s? Wished there were one closer to home? Missed a reading because you just couldn’t muster up the energy to go? Bailed because you didn’t want to go alone?

Well fret no more! Poets in Pajamas (PiP) is a live-feed online reading series presented by Sundress Publications. We bring live poetry, complete with Q&A and poet interaction, to you. We don’t ask you to dig out a scarf, no, we welcome you as you are and bring the poetry. Won’t you join us? We often draw a diverse audience from around the world and we’d love it if you, too, were there.

emilyrosecole.jpgOur next episode will air on Sunday, October 28, at 7pm EST, featuring Emily Rose Cole. On behalf of Sundress Publications, Anna Black will host.

Emily Rose Cole is the author of Love and a Loaded Gun, a chapbook of persona poems from Minerva Rising Press. Her poetry has appeared most recently in NimrodThe Pinch, and Southern Indiana Review, among others. She is pursuing her PhD at the University of Cincinnati. To check out more of Emily’s work, visit the following links:

“MS Nocturne Without a Magician” on Phoebe Journal

“How Grandmother Tells It” on Glass Poetry Journal

“How Not to Remember Your Mother” on The Raleigh Reviewanna black

 

Anna Black has served as the editor-in-chief of the magazine Hayden’s Ferry Review and is a twice awarded Virginia G. Piper global teaching and research fellow. She received her MFA at Arizona State University. More about Anna and her work can be found at @bylineblack and bylineblack.com

The readings occur on PiP’s Facebook page every other Sunday at 7PM EST/4PM PST. The selected poet will read for about 15 minutes and will then open the floor for an additional 10-15 minutes to receive questions from the audience.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Online: poetsinpajamas.wordpress.com            Facebook: facebook.com/poetsinpajamas
Twitter: twitter.com/poetsinpajamas                 Contact: poetsinpajamas@gmail.com

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Lyric Essentials: Kierstin Bridger Reads Three Poems by Lynn Emanuel

Kiersten BridgerKierstin Bridger came to Lyric Essentials to discuss the work of Lynn Emanuel and really delivered. Here, we see deeply into Emanuel’s work as Bridger highlights her own discovery of Emanuel and the resulting love-affair with her poems. From Emanuel’s uniquely Western aesthetic to Bridger’s dawning understanding of persona, Bridger invites a deep-read and then goes further with an exemplary set of discussion points. And in there too, a 2018 Pandora as Bridger offers “permission to go astray.”

Black: Why did you select Lynn Emanuel? In our earlier emails, you spoke about her inventiveness and her language. Can you elaborate on these, too

Bridger: Lynn Emanuel is magic. She is all mood and slunk. The sound of her “k” is a clunk, a pistol set on a hardwood table. There is something decidedly western about her, an aesthetic she has been known to say evolved from noir, a “light and grime.”

She grew up in the city of my birth, Denver, Colorado which definitely has a grit and blue sky sensibility. Her poems elicit a racy and wry wit that jump starts my imagination, “I am so tired,” she writes in The Dig, “I could lie down among these trees. . . / and let the earth take one slow liberty / After another.” Oh God, don’t these lines just exude a perfectly sex-ragged cool with a subversively American tang?! When I grow up I want to be her.

I first discovered Lynn Emanuel in grad school. I remember reading Hotel Fiesta and The Dig, feeling so aligned with her character but not knowing it was a character. Meaning, I knew poets sometimes employed the use of a poetic mask i.e. “the speaker” but I also knew the persona of “speaker” was usually only inches from the author, an autobiographic self if you will.

I remember I flew through my copy of The Dig like it was some kind of hybrid, a memoir/thriller only to realize that the story was not her story. Lynn Emanuel did not grow up in Ely, Nevada. This was not a memoir disguised as a chapbook, this was invention! It was like a big flash of lightning struck. The thought occurred to me that she was giving me permission. I too could write, not just frame my own narrative with artful cuts and lens changes. She is like the Cindy Sherman of poets. In various collections, she embodies the reader, other humans, versions of herself and even dogs—“The Mongrelogues.”  I love these lines from “Homage to Sharon Stone” from her 1999 collection Then Suddenly:

I have always wanted to be a car, even
though most of the time I have to be
the “I,” or the woman hanging wash;
I am a woman, one minute, then I am a man,
I am a carnival of Lynn Emanuels:
Lynn in the red dress; Lynn sulking
behind the big nose of my erection;
then I am the train pulling into the station
when what I would really love to be is
Gertrude Stein spying on Sharon Stone
at six in the morning. 

In “Persona” she enters a dead man, makes the embodiment “meta”, then follows up by showing us how she enters “the other.” All the while she balances this without ever forgetting a poem’s musicality, the necessity of sensory details, and her fresh, vibrant language—“I throbbed in the big fog of his shirt.”   

But it is her humor, her ability to render a poem, to make it turn the corners of a reader’s mouth in a smile while simultaneously leveling something devastating about death, about liminality or about the cycle of abuse.

She uses her mastery of the language in deft, subtle strokes. There is an intimacy with the reader, like she’s taking us behind the curtain to whisper secrets, secrets of craft, of language of humanity but then we close the book and realize she isn’t really there when only seconds ago she made us skip past time and space—I know I sound crazy, but her poems mesmerize me. She casts a very real spell.  I have the distinct feeling she is listening hard to voices that are inaudible to the rest of us mortals. She is a conduit and a witness, and yet … and yet there is a master at work who diligently pushes and crafts her poems into multifaceted gems.

I was especially fascinated with the method she used for her latest book. The Nerve of it, New and Selected Poems. Shunning conventional chronology, she recast the poems and arranged them next to each other in harmony, she allowed one poem to “talk” to the next one. I admire her willingness to see the poems as finished works, objects so removed from her own life, or her publishing timeline that they could be arranged as a painter hangs work in a gallery, related by theme or image. I love how she can let go like that, let the poetic order reassemble into new meaning.

Kierstin Bridger Reads “The Book’s Speech”

Black: I think at one point when trying to decide, you said, “Pivot, Pivot, Pivot!” Tell us about your selection process? Why did you select these three poems?

Bridger: I think I was referring to my “monkey mind” jumping with possible poets to record and talk about. My brain is restless and it can hardly settle on any sort of favorite. Reading one poet leaps to another, one poem to another. Initially, I was worried that if I chose a friend or a former teacher, inevitably someone would feel left out. So I decided to trace all my favorites back to a source, not origin (as in lineage) but a creative source.

When I finally chose Lynn Emanuel I had a hard time choosing poems—I re-read dozens of them. I became transfixed again. She has a long piece called “The Politics of Narrative: Why I Am A Poet,” oh! I love it so. It’s long and funny and prose-like just as it’s dissing the prose form. The inherent irony and fun she must have had making it has made me a devoted reader forever.


Kierstin Bridger Reads “Flying Trout While Drunk”

Black: Let’s talk about Flying Trout while Drunk. What’s your take on this poem? What would you teach about this poem?

Bridger: The possibilities are endless! The swagger and tone of the piece stop my heart.  

Here are a few starting points for lessons:

1. Character and Persona (If we read this poem as autobiography the poet would be four years old in 1953 so it must be said that this experience has been rendered with another lens, perhaps a compression or amalgamation that do not make it less “factual” ie. less accurate but, instead, more real and true in a deeper sense—(those buttons falling, can’t you just hear and see them? “buttons ticking like seeds spit on a plate.”)

2. Mood (noir sensibility. “Dark slung across the porch”)

3. Efficiency and spare, and precise language

4. Muscular verbs

5. Ridiculously fresh metaphor and simile—“a man of lechery so solid you could build a table on it” or “the trout with a belly white as my wrist”

6. The camera lens approach i.e. going long and tight in focus

7. Sensory details for beginners as well as practiced poets, (the bacon and the trout!)

8. How to approach mystery, i.e. how to intrigue reader without baffling the reader: We think we know where we are in this poem even though time telescopes and turns mobius because of her startling first line. She puts us smack dab in the middle of the scene. That her mother’s knees glowed in the green light was a memory imparted to the daughter as opposed to direct knowledge—so already the poem’s veracity is purposely off kilter. To ground us, the speaker puts herself in, gives us her first-hand account … suddenly we are dragged into the drama just as the child is drug into a drama which will become her own, a history that repeats, “When I drink I am too much like her.”

9. How to juggle time and space in ways fiction can’t do as well or efficiently.

10. The space a poet gives the reader to bring in our own understanding and experience, the essential work a reader must do to connect. In the last third of the poem, we are asked to find meaning, to fill in the blanks. For example, when I was in high school my drama teacher asked us to pantomime sneaking into the house while drunk. Many people overdid it, big pratfalls, and belches, loud steps, and exaggerated movements but the performance she liked best was the sneaky but slightly sloppy precision of the actor who tiptoed in. That last bit:

I have loved you all my life

she told him and it was true

in the same way that all her life

she drank, dedicated to the act itself,   

she stood at this stove

and with the care of the very drunk   

handed him the plate.

When I read those lines I am in that class, I am also in my house at seventeen sneaking in, at the same time I am imagining this mother intoxicated not just momentarily but chronically, thereby rendering her decisions clouded by the disease. I think of the people I have known like that, the trout from the first part of the poem, the smell, my own Colorado childhood … it’s incantatory, positively spellbinding.


Kierstin Bridger Reads “Persona”

Black: Do these connect to your own work in some way? And if so, how?

Bridger: My contemporary work often has a dark tone, especially when I write about growing up in the rural west.  My poems yearn to be as spare and rich as Emanuel’s but I’m still working!

I’ve had fairly good luck with persona poems. My book, Demimonde, has lead me on many fine adventures since its publication. It has won a few awards and I have been able to reassemble my turn-of-the-century research of contraceptives, suicide, yellow journalism and medicinals into a few historical lectures and tours. The book concerns 19th-century prostitutes in small western mining towns. In researching it, I turned into a history nerd overnight.

When I began the book, I was in the midst of completing my thesis manuscript.  I was overwhelmed by talking about myself so much in both my critical essay and in organizing poems that were incredibly personal. I needed a break. 

A project about women who really did not have a voice, women who became, over the course of history, caricatures rather than characters became a bit of a side hustle for me.  I was grateful for the permission my Pacific advisor Sandra Alcosser gave me. She encouraged me to dive in deep to the humanity and lives of these women. Sometimes we all need a strong dose of encouragement and permission to go astray.

The smaller project had no expectations or personal weight. It seemed to have a life of its own. Doing the research lead me to poets like Natasha Trethewey, and her book Belloq’s Ophelia. Though I deeply admired the way she wrote about prostitutes in Storyville, I knew my take on persona poems would have to look completely different—no letters for one thing.

I wanted to conjure women who were, by and large, illiterate. I began like most writers, writing about them using a narrator’s voice but the poems didn’t have a pulse until I changed perspective. I had to use persona in a first-person voice to make them come alive. I had to listen hard for their voice in the aspen and in the cool rivers near my home. It was a time of deep imagining but also a kind of enchantment. It revived me and turned into a book I love. My publisher, Lithic Press, did a gorgeous job with the presentation. We layered the poems with vellum printed antique photographs.

Black: What are you working on now?

Bridger: I’m excited about reinventing a project I’ve been working on for a while, a historical project that may turn into collaboration. I enjoy working with people. I recently completed a back and forth piece with Irish Poet Clodagh Beresford about a Colorado/Ireland donor eye transplant. We traded stanzas in a see-saw fashion. It was incredible. We did a Skype reading of it not too long ago—she was in Ireland while I was in my car in a parking lot outside of a hospital. Isn’t technology grand?

I’m always working on at least ten different projects at a time. I’m re-designing a house we want to buy, organizing the poets for our reading series, planning a trip, but in terms of my writing life? I feel I am finally at a place I can encounter my biography and push harder on what I once saw as periphery.

Perhaps I used to think “going deeper” meant getting more confessional, more in touch with how I felt as a child or a teen, exploring my culpability, or my adult perspective thrust upon a long ago occurrence, but recently I have discovered I need to ask more questions.

When I was sixteen, I was involved in a fatal car accident. It surfaces in my writing because, thirty years later, I still grapple with it, the survivor’s guilt, the loss of life and innocence, but in the wake of the “me too” movement, I’ve begun to question the circumstances of the life of the girl who died that night.

I want to get beyond my personal stake in the narrative and ask bigger questions. Why was she so estranged from her family? What were the circumstances around the intimate, on-and-off relationship she had with our much older boss? Why did we not question it at the time?

Sometimes I think I have a memoir in me and sometimes I can’t imagine the amount of plot and storyline that would require. Though I flirt and publish short-memoir and flash fiction, I can easily lose hours in a poem with 37 lines.

I ask myself, how would I possibly manage chapter after chapter of a full-blown memoir? Mary Karr did it, Patti Smith did it, Nick Flynnthe list goes on and on I say. In some ways, my full collection All Ember (Urban Farmhouse Press) was a memoir.  But if I’ve learned nothing else from Lynn Emanuel, it is that time and practice reframe events with new understanding as well as new levels of artistic design.

Here in Telluride, literary burlesque has been a big annual event for the past 5 years at the Telluride Literary Festival. Every year I swear I’ll never do it again because of the time involved and the difficulty of shepherding extremely busy, really talented women together to rehearse. Every year it’s a different theme. Last year, it was my turn to direct a huge performance we called “Uncorseted.” We made unsung heroines of the world war era come alive. Our point of entry was “where did the suffragettes go? We became Margaret Sanger, Anna Akhmatova, Margaret (Molly) Brown, Inez Milholland Boissevain, Mata Hari, and Marie Marvingt. It was incredible. I may or may not have some ideas brewing about 2019! Wink.

Something brand new: I’ve taught in workshop settings, guest lectured and stoked the fires of a small literary community but I have never taught a full course at the University level. In January, I will begin teaching online poetry at Adams State University. Preparing curriculum, researching poems and poets is a rabbit hole I thoroughly enjoy exploring, even if I get lost sometimes. In fact, as I answer these questions, I am at the same time researching the perfect political poem to read at a talk I’m giving with our Colorado State Laureate, Joseph Hutchison.

I have noticed I rarely tread the same stone twice—endless combinations thrill me. My daughter came home recently and asked us to guess how many combinations existed in her upcoming class trip matrix. She said there were three trip options and twenty-three kids. Each trip needed at least seven kids. This kind of story problem usually gives me a headache and I tap out immediately but what I loved was the idea of calculations which could endeavor to account for all the possibilities, called combinatorics.

I think the continued conversation with my students and peers will open up paths I’ve never tread before. I rarely cook the same meal twice. I know I will never teach a class the same way twice, either. Reinventing the wheel is where it’s at. I’m eager to begin something new.

______________________________________________________________________

Lynn Emanuel has twice received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Emanuel also won the 1992 National Poetry Series for her book, The Dig. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Best American Poetry, Oxford American Poetry, and many more. Emanuel teaches at the University of Pittsburgh where she directs the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers’ Series which she also founded. Emanuel is the author of five books.

 

The good stuff:

Lynn Emanuel at the Poetry Foundation
Lynn Emanuel’s The Dig in Publisher’s Weekly
Lynn Emanuel’s The Nerve of It at Project MUSE
Lynn Emanuel at Ploughshares
Kierstin Bridger at Colorado Poet’s Center
Kierstin Bridger at Fruita Pulp
Kierstin Bridger’s Demimonde at Lithic Press

 

Kierstin Bridger is a Colorado writer. She is the author of two books: All Ember (Urban Farmhouse Press) and Demimonde (Lithic Press) which won the Women Writing The West’s 2017 WILLA Award for poetry. She is a winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, the 2015 ACC Writer’s Studio award, a silver Charter Oak Best Historical Award, and an Anne LaBastille Poetry Residency. Bridger was also short-listed for the Manchester Poetry Competition in the UK. She is editor of Ridgway Alley Poems, co-director of Open Bard Poetry Series, co-creator of the Podcast, Poetry Voice with Kierstin Bridger and Uche Ogbuji and director of the 2018 literary Burlesque at The Telluride Literary Festival. She earned her MFA at Pacific University.

______________________________________________________________________

 

Anna Black received her MFA at Arizona State University and her BA at Western Washington University. She 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. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will be Shelter and In Sight: An Ekphrastic Collaboration, as well as the journals 45th Parallel, Bacopa Review, Wordgathering, the American Journal of Poetry, and New Mobility among others. Black 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.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: