Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets
I am so grateful for my time at Civitella, which gave me the space to breathe and think after a long and difficult semester of dissertation writing and book touring. I spent my time going for long walks, getting to know the other fellows and their inspiring work, visiting rare art in tiny medieval towns so beautiful and so unlike my own home, and reading in the secret garden as I stared out at the hills of Umbria and worked on planning out the turns of my second book. I loved my time at the castle, and I’m so glad that I was able to be there.
Soldier for a lost cause, brute, mute woman
written out of my own story, I’ve been trying
to cast a searchlight over swamp-woods & parasitic ash
back to my beginning, that girlhood—
kite wisp clouded by gun salutes & blackbirds
tearing out from under the hickories
all those fine August mornings so temporary
so gold-ringed by heat haze & where is that witch girl
unafraid of anything, flea-spangled little yard rat, runt
of no litter, queen, girl who wouldn’t let a boy hit her,
girl refusing to be It in tag, pulling that fox hide
heavy around her like a flag? Let me look at her.
Tell her on my honor, I will set the wedding dress on fire
when I’m good & ready or she can bury me in it.