Unbinding the Lyrics of Being

Many thanks to Christal Cooper for featuring my poem “Astral” in her blog series “Backstory of the Poem.” I really appreciate all the work she puts into this series. She dug up and included lots of fun photos of me that I didn’t even know I had, like the one below, as well as images of and by Leonora Carrington, who is the subject of the poem. I talked about how I wrote “Astral,” resisting unhealthy conformity, and how I used to jump on a trampoline in my dress when I got home from work. Also included are notes that didn’t make it into the final draft of the poem.

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https://chrisricecooper.blogspot.com/2018/10/32-backstory-of-poem-astral-by-melissa.html

New York Times Photo and Poetry Collaboration

My poem, “Everyone in Me Is a Bird”, which was originally published for the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, is now featured as part the New York Times’ “Being Women” project, an exciting poetry and photography collaboration.

This beautiful series, created by Kerri MacDonald and Morrigan McCarthy, began last summer and will run each year.

Other poets in the project: Tonya Ingram, Joy Harjo, Layli LongSoldier, Jennifer Chang and Nickole Brown.

Photographers: Ruth Anna Fremson, Cig Harvey, Maddie McGarvey, Annie Flanagan, Nydia Blas, Erika P. Rodrgz and Anjali Pinto.

The print edition is on the cover of the “National” section for Saturday, August 18, 2018.

Here’s the online edition:

And here’s the Instagram write-up:

View this post on Instagram

🔊“What they said to think, I thought not but instead made my mind into a birdcage with wings.” This summer, we selected 6 #poems by female poets working in the United States and asked photographers to let the words inspire them. Turn your volume up to hear @melissastuddard read her poem “Everyone In Me Is A Bird.” ✨“This poem can be interpreted in many ways, depending on how you feel about your own womanhood or gender,” the photographer @maddiemcgarvey writes. “There is so much pressure in society to be a certain type of person or female, and not everyone feels like they fit that mold.” She worked with the photographer @annieflanagan to create these composite images, a creative project they’ve worked on together for years. They explored different ways people might feel confined in their own bodies — ”a preteen girl and a broken window, an aging woman surrounded by both a riot scene and a peaceful willow, or a transgendered woman with birds flying everywhere,” @maddiemcgarvey writes. They also photographed one another. “We wanted the images to reflect the darker side of womanhood, and what that might mean to people individually,” @annieflanagan writes. Swipe left, then visit the link in our profile to see more photos inspired by #poetry. Audio recording by @lauratx.

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The world drifts like a madness inside you

I’m very happy to have two poems on the myth of Icarus featured at the University of Leicester’s Creative Writing Blog for World Poetry Day!  These two poems have never been paired before, as “You Were a Bird; You Are the Sea” was collected in I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast, while “Stomp the Ground” was written later and appeared in Southern Humanities Review. Happy World Poetry Day, everyone!

http://creativewritingatleicester.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/two-poems-by-melissa-studdard.html?m=1

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Blue Mountain Review Interview

I love the questions Charles Clifford Brooks III asked me for our Blue Mountain Review interview. I got to talk about how my grandmother took a 20 year Proust class, my mother instilled a love of storytelling in me, and my kid, Rosalind Williamson, is basically the literary love child of Franz Kafka and Gabriel García Márquez (not because of any credit to me, though I wish! ).

 

What they said to think, I thought not

I’m delighted to see my poem “Everyone in Me Is a Bird” featured at the Academy’ of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day today! This poem was inspired by a line from Anne Sexton’s poem “In Celebration of My Uterus.”

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/everyone-me-bird

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Democracy, Pigeons, Skylines and Such

The Journal is one of my favorite lit mags, and I’m happy to have a poem in their new issue, along with some stellar company. I think of their aesthetic as the ideal manifestation of Emily Dickinson’s “tell it slant” advice. Here’s a link to The Journal’s website, if you’d like to check it out: http://thejournalmag.org. And here’s a shot of my poem in their current print edition:

 

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An Offering to Mind and Body: A Review of Lois P. Jones’s Night Ladder–By Kate Kingston for LARB

“In Jones’s poems, as in Lorca’s, duende and qi come together on the page in an act of passion, an explosion of energy, ensuring that the words live on in the mind long after the reader has closed the book.”

An Offering to Mind and Body: A Review of Lois P. Jones’s “Night Ladder”–By Kate Kingston for Los Angeles Review of Books

This is a beautiful book! I’m so happy to share the review!

Click here for full review: An Offering to Mind and Body: A Review of Lois P. Jones’s Night Ladder

VIDA Voices & Views Interview with Don Share (Part II)

 

I’m thrilled to announce the release of the second video of a two-part interview featuring poet and editor Don Share. Recorded in late 2015, in this episode of VIDA Voices and Views I interview Share, who reads his poems “Food for Thought,” “Eclipse,” “die Welt is so verkehrt,” “Another Long Poem,” “Hwæt!” and “Looking over My Shoulder,” as well as offering a generous, in-depth discussion of the poems. Other topics discussed are comedy and seriousness in poetry, the good faith of editors, Poetry’s diverse readership, and more.

About Don Share:

Beloved poet and Poetry magazine editor, Don Share, was a 2015 recipient of VIDA’s “VIDO” Award for his contributions to American literature and literary community. In addition to being the author and editor of over a dozen books, including WishboneUnion,Bunting’s Persia, Seneca in English, Squandermania and The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of POETRY Magazine, which he co-edited with Christian Wiman, Share is an accomplished translator, whose renditions of Miguel Hernández were awarded the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize and the Premio Valle Inclán. As well, Share’s work at Poetry has been recognized with three National Magazine Awards for editorial excellence from the American Society of Magazine Editors, and a CLMP “Firecracker” Award for Best Poetry Magazine. Share is celebrated in the literary community for his generosity, innovativeness, and warm wit.

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Don Share Quotes from This Episode of VIDA Voices & Views:

“If you look all over the world, at the images in the most troubled places, you see women having to pay the price for the violence that occurs. Whether it’s domestic violence or warfare or poverty, it’s women who have to convert all kinds of emotion and disadvantages into a world that makes it possible for somebody else to survive.”

“The images we see, which are real, of the world and the bloody violence and horrors of it, start with a cut. We’re done to death by many cuts.”

“Every time somebody holds a child or another person in their arms . . . that’s the level on which our work in the world needs to be imagined and reimagined continually.”

“In my experience, editors are always reading work with good will and good faith and good intentions. And those good intentions don’t just pave the road to hell. People are reading the work when they could be doing something else, perhaps to benefit their own careers. And they do so willingly. It’s not a sacrifice. We all do it because we choose to do it. And we’re lucky to do so. What I hope is that the good faith is communicable.”

“If I like a poet’s work, I buy their books because it means so much, not just to the poets but to the presses that try so hard to put the work out there. I buy books because I believe in that. If we aren’t buying each other’s books then the whole system falls apart.”

“I try to pay attention to all kinds of language, as we all do—not just literature, but the language that engages us 90% of the rest of our time. It’s there. It’s ours.”

“If a poem has five good words in it, that’s a considerable achievement.”

Poetry did some surveys to understand our own audience better, and more than half of our readers have no advanced degree past high school. They are general readers, sophisticated people who want to read challenging contemporary poetry every month . . . and they are there for us, and we should never neglect our understanding that our audience is what we would wish it to be and we just need to say something to them in the best way we can.”

About VIDA Voices & Views:

VIDA Voices & Views is a video interview program designed to call attention to a plurality of voices by interviewing writers, editors, publishers, series curators, anthologists, awards committee members, and other dedicated members of the literary community about their own work, vision, and concerns, as well as topics at the forefront of literary activism. The program seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the literary landscape and the issues facing artists of all genders, as well as to foster nuanced conversation about gender parity, race, disability, LGBTQ, economic, and other crucial issues impacting writers today. The host and executive producer of VIDA Voices & Views is Melissa Studdard. Other members of the team are Lauren Rachel Berman, producer; Samuel Caterisano, editor; and Eamon Stewart, graphics designer. To learn more about VIDA Voices & Views and to listen to our other interviews please visit: http://www.vidaweb.org/about-vida-voices-views/

* To be notified of upcoming releases, please be sure to subscribe to VIDA’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCunPGWDkx4k-SiQDWaAWrfA