Posts tagged poetry
Posts tagged poetry
Since April is National Poetry Month, today’s resource celebrates that! I was just introduced to the American Academy of Poets website at a literary criticism training workshop, and I was smitten at once.
This website is a great big smorgasbord of information about poets and their works, and you can navigate around in a number of different ways, searching by poem, poet, line, and more. Some of the resources available on the site include lesson plans, interviews, and audio and video files. Better still—it has a section specifically for teens that has a lot of poems that teen readers have rated and recommended.
You really can’t go wrong here, and it’s a very well designed site with tons of great info and lovely poems. Just remember that you likely won’t find much information about poetry that is not American in origin!
Today I’m excited to introduce the lovely and talented poet Tyler Mills, the author of Tongue Lyre, which won the 2011 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013). Her poems have received awards from the Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, and Third Coast and have appeared in the Antioch Review, Best New Poets, Georgia Review, TriQuarterly Online, and elsewhere. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Maryland, she is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Hey Boo Books: What can you tell us about your lovely new poetry collection?
Tyler Mills: The title of the collection, Tongue Lyre, draws upon two different concepts. The first, “Tongue,” invokes the myth of Philomela, or the loss of speech post-violation. The book itself gets kind of dark and dangerous. It also invokes language itself (as in “mother tongue”) and its capacity for song. “Lyre” draws on the convention of lyric poetry, which comes from the word, “lyre.” In the myth of Orpheus, the lyre was an instrument that, paired with the voice, could enchant anything in the world (other than death!). Southern Illinois Press wrote a lovely summary of the book here. And, I’ve written a little bit more about it here, too.
HBB: When did you first begin writing poetry?
TM: It really feels like I first began writing poetry when I learned how to draw…or even began trying to learn how to draw. To me, poetic images are about a way of seeing that is simultaneously a way of making that ties the body, mind, and world together. When I was around twelve, I received a collection Emily Dickinson’s poems as a gift and soon tried imitating her. I made little pseudo-common meter poems about the trees outside my window, a walk in the snow, a candle. My poems now can be kind of huge, but my very early poems were small Dickinson imitations. I spent a year in music school—writing my little poems throughout it—until I came to the realization that all along I really was, or wanted to be, a writer.
HBB: What is your writing process like?
My writing process changes greatly from poem to poem. Sometimes I hear a word or phrase that follows me around for a while. Sometimes I hear a story and hold onto it (like the one in my poem “Violin Shop”) until I find a way to use it in a poem. Sometimes, I approach my notebook with a general, vague feeling that I just need to write, and then assign myself sets of words or a form that I must work with in order to find out what it is I need to say. Often, I revise poems many, many times before I feel comfortable with the idea that they are “done.” I can be kind of neurotic like that. One of my recent poems has been through 40 revisions. Yet, another has only been through four. I suppose what keeps me returning to my notebook is how mysterious the writing process can really be. Keats famously said “We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us,” and I try to remind myself of this when I sit down to work on something and think that I already know what I want to say about it.
HBB: Where do you find your inspiration?
TM: I find my inspiration in art, music, politics, history, memory, and texts of all kinds.
HBB: Who are your favorite authors?
TM: First, I have to say that some of my teachers are my favorite authors. I really mean this and am not just saying that. Their work continues to teach me. I have recently read Stanley Plumly’s Orphan Hours, Michael Collier’s An Individual History, Shara McCallum’s This Strange Land, and Elizabeth Arnold’s Effacement. Srikanth Reddy has also been an inspiration (Facts for Visitors). When I was writing Tongue Lyre, I read Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red and Stanley Plumly’s The Marriage in the Trees over and over. I also read and re-read Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery. And, Lucille Clifton has been a dear poet to me for many years. I was also greatly influenced by James Joyce’s Ulysses and wanted my poems to spark the way his prose does. I also kept returning to Homeric myth and Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The plot structure of the Odyssey is intriguing.It is a frame story, but the shape of its circle is delightfully maddening. I can’t tell you how many times I revised the order of my manuscript before finally arriving at the sequence of the poems that are in Tongue Lyre.
HBB: What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
TM: I would have to say that when I first became serious about writing poems, I came across a copy of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet on a visit to Brooklyn. The quote that has stuck with me was a version of this one, which I hunted down again for this interview: “The necessary thing is after all but this; solitude, great inner solitude. Going into oneself for hours meeting no one - this one must be able to attain.” We writers like to be social, but the writing itself is very solitary. And that’s OK: it’s a good thing.
HBB: Where, besides your book, can we read your poetry?
TM: You can find some poems from the book in Memorious, TriQuarterly Online, and Connotation Press. The title poem of the collection, “Tongue,” is being published in the Women Write Resistance anthology—an exciting project I am honored to be part of.
HBB: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you choose to keep you company?
TM: Wow. Too bad the huge Russian novels I love wouldn’t float very well! Perhaps if I brought the Odyssey, I could learn from Odysseus how to wander (Float? Sing?) my way home.
Check out the beautiful new cover to Tongue Lyre, a collection of poetry by Tyler Mills (who will be interviewed on this blog in the near future)!
At the farewell dinner for my library conference, we got to meet Barney Sheehan, a Limerick native who edited a lovely book of poetry called My Limerick Town and has worked with the likes of Ezra Pound and Desmond O’Grady. Such a lovely gentleman!
Spoken word poet Mark Grist praises girls who read…and it rhymes!
What happens when Frankenstein wants to borrow groceries from an angry mob? How do you tell Dracula that he has a piece of spinach stuck in his fangs? How can the Phantom of the Opera get the “It’s a Small World” song out of his head? What will become of the Creature of the Black Lagoon when he swims on a full stomach? Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich answers all of these questions (and many more!) in a merry rhyming romp through the daily lives of monsters.
Read the rest of my review on A Book and a Hug!