First, thank you for accepting our invite for this interview.
When did you write “Anne’s Sadness” and what’s the story behind it?
I wrote the poems for my chapbook, Anne with an E (a darker and more “adult” take on Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables books), in the summer of 2014. “Anne’s Sadness” was one of the first poems I wrote in that series. I loved the idea of a bisexual Anne, and perhaps this is the largest of my own attributes that I incorporated into her character.
The friendship between Anne and Diana in the original book series was romanticized into a deeply intense and dramatic devotion. I found myself repeatedly returning to the scene where Diana gets married. Anne feels abandoned by Diana in a lot of ways in that scene, but in my chapbook’s universe, Anne has always been a little bit in love with her best friend. I had hoped to capture the feeling of losing both a friend and a complex love in one swift motion.
In your poem “To Write a Letter When There is Too Much to Say”, you write, “…I sit warm under a mocking / sky. I could tell you about leaving, about sinning, / about swinging little boys from my hip….” Who is the intended reader in this case? Do you find that poetry is your instrument of choice when there is too much to say?
Photo: courtesy of the artist
How to Come: Get Yer Rocks Off with Anne of Green Gables
Do not stay up late. Retire before 8 p.m. and slink into your floor-
length nightgown. Breaths will spurt soft, quick from your excited
mouth. Do not frighten. Place your hand over your warm breast and
inhale. Tuck your bible under a muslin cloth. Tuck your Bible into
your bedside drawer. Tuck your Bible. Tuck your Bible–Amen. Get
on your knees by the window with hands clasped. Swell of crude
Lady’s Slipper–Amen. Secret shapes form from the robust silo–
Amen.Amen. Slip into bed. The scratch of the handmade mattress
will redden your sugar-white ankle. Breathe. Reach a timid hand
down your thigh–Amen. Yank up the material and place one
pointed finger inside. Now curl. Now Swoosh. Now Loop. Now–
I thought it was dark as hell in there
but we found the womb was still luscious
green trench waking / wisteria / tumor tunnel flush
with knotted blood & what will the baby eat
you asked around the drag of a cigarette
you just remind me of my father
which is pretty funny if you don’t think about it
so let’s think about it
we thought the baby was dead / someone shouted / night is falling
& that crater fits nude & ridiculous
in a blackout
he feels for / pinecones / thorns / the coyote of your clitoris
meanwhile I find one star to sip
let the storm in my breath in your mouth like a cave
one wind / wounded knuckle / a really good goodbye
thunder burnt & tripping past last night
Not to Be Taken
At the planetarium she wanted to save the world
nostril hairs already crisp before the fire
they said let her fry smoke hiss she admired
its tea color & gentle curl faces plush to window
glass thick as dogs watching thick as the details
burn the whole thing to the ground flame eruption
a tulip sewn in the dark pluck her from chaos
she will comfort her shadow in the heat
& destroy the details.