As a teenager, I wrote a lot of stories about hidden girls. Girls with secrets. Girls with mystery and allure, two things my real self markedly lacked, or so it seemed. The truth was that I had plenty of secrets. But they tended toward the ugly and brutal.
Since poetry itself seemed mystical—how many times did the other kids complain it was a code they couldn’t read?—maybe it was inevitable that by eighth grade I had started adding line breaks to my stories as I wrote them down. I already wanted to be a writer, but poetry seemed even further out on the tree limb, more delicate and dangerous.
As an adult, when I started writing about things that happened to my teenage self, I was still writing poetry but I wasn’t doing it to hide anymore. That was my insurrection.
The poems in my recently-released first book, HIVE, are mostly plainspoken. Which is not to say they aren’t lyrical and musical and deliberately composed. But I fully intended HIVE to be an every-person book. To be accessible and understood.
To that end, I borrowed a few techniques from fiction writing. Unlike many books of poetry, HIVE has a single narrator throughout: a high school age girl who lives in a very poor neighborhood and who belongs to the Mormon church. She thinks these things define her, and in many ways they do.~ read more ~