“….one of the best books of contemporary poetry I’ve read in a long time. Wherever Willis goes in her next collection, I’m ready to follow.” Rose Solari reviews Graffiti Calculus in the Santa Fe Writer’s Project!
Fledgling Rag issue 14
An essay about the practical purposes of Emily Dickinson’s vestal gown, in “Writing Lesson,” a blog at American Scholar.
She’s let herself go, they’re saying,
as if her self were a balloon
loosed over the street, its string fraying,
or like milk in a hot room
turned to curds. As has her flesh—
and true, her back teeth are missing,
her lipstick’s less than fresh
on her worn mouth (& not from kissing),
her roots have grown out, & her scent’s
the musk of her own skin. This kind
of self-forgetfulness, of a self spent,
in a girl would be a sign
of self-harming rage. It’s another thing
in a woman her age who has only one fight,
it’s come down to that: to find
a self to hold on to, & use it use it use it.
in The Southern Poetry Review 52:1 Summer 2014
Where you could get a latte served
to you in a thick white cup, an animal cracker
and a spoon set in the saucer,
and, sinking into an soft sofa, could lose
yourself like all of us splashing sparrow-like
in our private pools of wi-fi—
she’s opted for Persian Nectar,
offered by the nice young man. She expected
blue as opals, shot
with pink and violet, small fires.
But it’s the peaches of Paradise she gets,
perfumed with bergamot,
Sa’di’s Gulistan, a spring morning,
attar-gul in whiffs in the walled garden.
The kingly hoopoe hoots
to a nightingale chanting in the
branches of a jasmine, tulips nodding
in a breezy dance, a pool,
its fountain splashing droplets
in languid streams, roped pearls in sunlight,
the sheen of the turtle-dove…
Will she find the Beloved? She tips
the glass to her lips, closes her eyes and swallows
all and nothing that is not there.
in Politics & Prose’s District Lines Vol. II, Spring 2014
Having just written and published a book-length poem, sequences interest me. What happens when one poem leads to another? It’s kind of a narrative, but not only. A little like stringing a necklace, but also making a web. So I’m looking forward to teaching a one-day seminar on the poem sequence at WriterHouse in Charlottesville, VA, on April 26, 2014, from 1 to 4 PM.
Here’s how to sign up.