Poetry Wednesday

This week’s poem comes from Wendy Willis, whose debut collection, Blood Sisters of the Republic, is not to be missed!

Quicked

I wanted to begin with once upon a time,
with trilly notes stacked like teacups,
the sky white and open. I’d say Yes—

a dark and stormy night. A hero’s quest.
But there’s salt in my teeth and the wind
won’t rest. The arc breaks and I can’t stop

singing: the ankle bone connected to the
shin bone. Grandiosity is its own reward.
Unarmed with apron or jelly jar or ladle,

the bump and thrust, the fast-growing sod,
the urge of the urge. Oh man oh man oh man. Yes, then,

let it in.

wilsonlibunc:

"Seven Wonders of the World" advertising cards from Alfred Williams & Co. Booksellers and Stationers in Raleigh.
wilsonlibunc:

"Seven Wonders of the World" advertising cards from Alfred Williams & Co. Booksellers and Stationers in Raleigh.
wilsonlibunc:

"Seven Wonders of the World" advertising cards from Alfred Williams & Co. Booksellers and Stationers in Raleigh.
wilsonlibunc:

"Seven Wonders of the World" advertising cards from Alfred Williams & Co. Booksellers and Stationers in Raleigh.
wilsonlibunc:

"Seven Wonders of the World" advertising cards from Alfred Williams & Co. Booksellers and Stationers in Raleigh.
wilsonlibunc:

"Seven Wonders of the World" advertising cards from Alfred Williams & Co. Booksellers and Stationers in Raleigh.
wilsonlibunc:

"Seven Wonders of the World" advertising cards from Alfred Williams & Co. Booksellers and Stationers in Raleigh.

wilsonlibunc:

"Seven Wonders of the World" advertising cards from Alfred Williams & Co. Booksellers and Stationers in Raleigh.

5 Questions, 3 Facts

Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s new poetry collection Paper, Cotton, Leather is a gorgeous book inside and out, due out in September (but it’s available for pre-order now!). Jenny took the time to answer a few of our questions about poetry and writing, and more, below. You can read a poem from the collection here. 

P53: What is your favorite time of day for writing?

JSO: The really early morning. Everyone’s asleep and the parts of my brain that are logical aren’t awake yet either.

P53: What initially drew you to poetry?

JSO: The challenge of having to affect someone in a somewhat small space. I also like the idea of translating emotion.

P53: Drink of choice?

JSO: Does hot tea count?

P53: How do you organize your personal library?

JSO: By color.

P53: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen lately?

JSO: There was a very large moth, the largest, resting outside my bedroom window and I watched as a bird picked it up and carried it away.

Three Facts about Jenny:

1. I was so committed to wearing large and heavy earrings in the eighties and nineties that my right earlobe ripped, and I had to have plastic surgery to repair it.

2. I wrote to John Stamos when I was ten and he wrote back.

3. I went alone to Las Vegas for one of my birthdays and had a limousine drive me around the city.

Melanie thought it was boring, school, but she couldn’t see what else she could do. She wanted to get on with it, but she understood she was a child and that part of being a child was years of waiting.”

“Southerners do have, they’ve inherited, a narrative sense of human destiny.”

Flash Friday

Christine is off to Chapel Hill this weekend for the Merge 25 Festival (Neutral Milk Hotel! Teenage Fanclub! Bob Mould from Husker Du! So many more!), but before she goes, here’s a quick story to tide you over til next Monday. It’s from Steve Mitchell’s debut story collection, The Naming of Ghosts. Happy weekend! 

Flare

She’d built the fire in the middle of the living room floor, between the coffee table and the overstuffed chair, not far from the television. By the time I stumbled in, the flames were pretty high and it was hard to tell whether she’d used my clothes or her own. I backed into the bedroom, still bleary eyed, pulling the comforter from the bed and running at the fire like a drunken matador. I fell toward the flames, wrestling them into the blanket, inhaling great gobs of smoke and blackening my hands, rolling on the floor with the flames until I was sure they’d died; then I sat up, straight legged in my pajamas, catching my breath by the smoldering mound of ash and comforter.


It was one of the great things about Evie, she was always surprising me. I never knew what she’d do next and I never seemed quite prepared for what she came up with. The chunks of glass in my iced tea, the razor blades in my shoes. The blue-black glint in her eye and her roundhouse swing. The fights melting into rapturous lovemaking, her body bucking under mine, arms pinwheeling her head, clutching at my shoulders or the bedsheets, her breath ragged in my ear; or, the disastrous sex, bruised and raw, giving way to a new bloodletting, always somehow unique, both of us managing to find new weapons or use old ones in new ways.


The smoke alarm finally clicked off and the silence surprised me. I looked up; everything else in the apartment seemed intact, only the front door was ajar. I got up to close it, running my fingers lovingly over the scarred doorframe and the pitted wall of the entrance hall, remembering how she’d shoved me to the floor by the door and mounted me there, my body wedged tightly into the corner; or how I’d ripped her blouse open from the back and pushed her onto the shapeless couch. Her teethmarks on my chest, the bruise on her neck.


I was scooping the smoking corpse of the fire into a metal trashcan I’d retrieved from my office when the doorbell rang. I let it ring while I finished the job, let it ring until it became a knock, tentative at first then more emphatic. His hand was in mid-air when I threw the door open.
He looked like an accountant or a coroner, all sandy-boyish hair and sweater vest. He blinked at me with an innocent confusion. I don’t know whether it was my scorched pajamas or my sooty face. I studied him, imagining Evie standing over the bed as he slept, plotting his dismemberment.


“Evie sent me for her things,” he said. Then, extending his hand, “I’m Adam.”


“Yeah, I bet you are,” I replied, shoving the smoldering trashcan into his arms and closing the door.


Evie. Man, I love that woman.

wilsonlibunc:

David Sedaris as a freshman at Western Carolina University. From the 1976 yearbook, Catamount.

wilsonlibunc:

David Sedaris as a freshman at Western Carolina University. From the 1976 yearbook, Catamount.

Jack White’s Third Man Records is venturing into publishing, and their very first anthology will include a previously unpublished story by Press 53 author Pinckney Benedict!