Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018), selected by Juan Felipe Herrera as the winner of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and Nowhere to Arrive (Northwestern University Press, 2017), recipient of the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize. She holds degrees from Princeton University and NYU’s Creative Writing Program, and has received fellowships and support from Kundiman, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and Poets & Writers. She teaches at NYU.
Jenny Xie, CRF 2018
To be a fellow at Civitella Ranieri is to be reminded that while the forces of creativity can be difficult to court, there are rare environments where receptivity to these forces widens and where one is afforded the inner latitude to recognize and invite them in. I am beyond grateful for the rhythms my life and writing practice took on here, for the slow walks across the dry Umbrian hillside, the generous stretches of time reading in the shade of olive and cypress trees, and for the privilege of stillness and routine that brought lines and poems to my door, when I was present to receive them. Civitella has been a haven and a gift, in more ways than I can know or put to language.
I was profligate like a floodlight to the sun.
Hoarded saccharine and toothmarks,
wanted only the thickest rhymes, two of each.
Full I was of promises I never intended to keep:
puckered laughter, lines to feast.
I let everyone who entered my life enter through me.
Demanded nonsense love and bodies that would ring.
Not to mention higher kilowatts
of creeping joy, more red in everything—
(From Eye Level, Graywolf Press).