writing in the borderlands of the literary & speculative
| Works in:
Abyss & Apex, Alluvian, Atticus Review, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Five:2:One, Flyway, Folio, Glass, Gravel, Hobart, Iron Horse Literary Review, Ithaca Lit, Liminality, Lontar, Nice Cage, Nimrod, phoebe, The Puritan, Reed Magazine, RHINO, Rising Phoenix Review, Rogue Agent, SAND, Stonecoast Review, Strange Horizons, Switchback, Thin Air, Uncanny Magazine |
“Morituri te salutant” and “Woman as Ouroboros” NIMROD (forthcoming)
“Shape Shift” POETRY MOVES for C-TRAN, presented by Artstra and Clark County Arts Commission, October 2022 – June 2023 | season 12
> Read about Poetry Moves
“Love as a Bee Sting” POETRY MOVES for C-TRAN, presented by Artstra and Clark County Arts Commission, October 2020 – October 2021 | season 10
“Selling Oranges” ATTICUS REVIEW
First prize winner of the 2020 Poetry Contest selected by Roberto Carlos Garcia
Nominated for the Best New Poets 2021 anthology
“Close Encounter at Dance Party” PHOEBE (issue 49.1, Winter 2020)
> Purchase the issue
"In my writing, the personal often gets filtered through the speculative, where intimate themes of loss, grief, and reflection are refracted through the lens of imagined, post-human futures. My poetry is inspired in part by literary modes outside of poetry, particularly science fiction and fantasy, history and myth. Spoiler alert, “Close Encounter…” is a poem whose speaker is intended to be a non-human entity, perhaps an AI, in a post-human world. Humans may no longer exist, but the culture persists somehow (perhaps in some kind of elaborate simulation), and there is a latent sense of nostalgia and self-awareness when the speaker comes face to face with—of all creatures—a tiger.
The tiger is a potent symbol for me for many reasons. In very real terms, it’s an animal whose numbers decrease every year because of habitat loss and poaching so using the tiger gives the poem that immediate layer of loss, of the horror of what has been wrought on the world. The tiger in the poem is most likely a clone, generated in a lab, reduced to a living artifact for amusement and yet it evokes something in the speaker that speaks to a kind of realness. The poem pays homage to William Blake’s “The Tyger” and hopefully recalls some of that poem’s comparisons between ‘civilized’ beauty and primal ferocity."
“Evolved” CIMARRON REVIEW (issues 206, 207, 208/Winter, Spring, Summer 2019)
“Death can take away something, but it can also transform, create anew. Grief is like that—a trick of the senses, where even a “whale spine” could be the “wingspan of a bird.” I wrote the poem to try to capture all these illusory and sensory elements. This poem is about that tension, where grief becomes a catalyst for change."
“Secret Society of Dodos” IRON HORSE LITERARY REVIEW (Apocalypse issue)
"I wanted to explore the emotional and physical experience of aging within the apocalyptic theater. As I get older, I grapple with what that means biologically and culturally for me, for my ‘status’ as a woman. Growing old is inevitable, of course. Yet for women, especially women without children, there’s also that sense of loss and a tendency to want to mourn that choice—not out of regret but because it forces me to grapple with the passing of time.
Parallel to this, I’m constantly reading the stories about animal populations under tremendous pressure, how hundreds of species are driven to extinction all around us due to everything from habitat loss and pollution to climate change. I grieve for that loss, too, the impact we’ve had on the natural world. This poem attempts to connect those narratives about bodies and nature in arrested development, and is my way of making sense of time looming over all of it."
“Stars That Are Not Stars” FOLIO (The World Tree issue)
> Purchase the issue; also available at Upshur Street Books, The Potter’s House, and Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.
“Notes from a Matrix Operator” RHINO
"Topsy was a captive Asian elephant put to death in 1903, allegedly for crushing and killing a man (in the elephant’s defense, the guy threw a lit cigar in her mouth), though she was probably put down because she had proved too unruly for her handlers. The event was filmed in Luna Park on Coney Island. She was originally going to be hanged but that was deemed too cruel so they decided electrocution would be ‘more humane.’ It was a dramatic end to a life held in unthinkable cruelty and bondage. Yes, it’s an infuriating story, and when I first read about it, I knew I wanted to bring that into a poem somehow.
On the surface, ‘Topsy’ is a narrative told from the viewpoint of a woman who has lost someone close, someone she loves obviously. But love is complicated: love can be a burden, it can be its own bondage. The loss unlocks something other than grief. It unlocks a suppressed fury, but not a fury born out of anger; rather, one born out of a sense of bewildering freedom. Like being cut loose and left screaming in the wind. This poem is an attempt to express that catharsis when we become untethered by change."
“Dark Forest” SAND (Family issue)
"The protagonist’s journey is is about finding some sort of closure from the tragedies she’s experienced. She’s looking for some healing, quite literally, from these healers. At the same time, she holds on to some doubt about whether it’s all real, or that it actually works; it’s all wrapped up in her not wanting to let go.
What I wanted for this character was an acknowledgment that she CAN believe (hence, this place is truly a holy city) even if she decides it’s all hocus pocus…that a sense of faith (in a non-religious sense) does matter anyway. This place she’s been so terrified of, that’s wrapped up in legend, doesn’t really have monsters… but it does have ghosts. And she can live with that, and in her own way, move on."
“A Haunting” and “Shape Shift” HOBART
“How to Fix a Dancer When It Breaks” UNCANNY MAGAZINE
Nominated for the 2019 Rhysling Award
web and print publication
“I loved the imagery throughout 'How to Fix a Dancer When It Breaks' and the delicacy in the writing. The poem paint[s] shades of subtlety in the shifting emotional reactions to the difficult circumstances in which the narrator find [itself]…[explores] imagery of healing, whether the healing is considered positive or not…”
~ S. Qiouyi Lu, Guest Editor, Uncanny Magazine
“Night Terrors” ROGUE AGENT (issue 41)
“How to Fold a Paper Crane” THE PURITAN (issue 41)
> Read THE TOWN CRIER author note
“Mandala” STONECOAST REVIEW (issue 9)
“All of our readers enjoyed 'Mandala.' The imagery, the tone, the voice, the intent—all of it was conveyed well. Most importantly, the poem was felt.”
~ Morgan Talty, Editor, Stonecoast Review
> Purchase the issue; also available at Kelly’s Books to Go and Amazon
"I grew up in Southern California and watched the news about the raging wildfires in late 2017 with a kind of frozen horror. The Thomas Fire that burned through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and through Los Padres National Forest has since become California’s largest wildfire on record, burning a staggering 281,893+ acres during its stoic march through the hillsides. A story caught my eye in late January recounting efforts by wildlife officials to treat two black bears with terrible burns. Interestingly enough, they used a novel approach that involved putting sterilized tilapia fish skin on the burns. The collagen in the skin supposedly accelerates healing.
Vetrinarians sewed on the fish skins and then wrapped the area with corn husks and rice skin. Two bears, one of them pregnant, underwent the procedure on their paws and have since been released. The fish skin covered paws made me think of chimeras and something mythic and eternal, but it also had a temporary quality to it: the bandages would eventually wear out; the bear would be released and move on. This poem is an attempt to capture all those disparate elements."
“Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Pasadena” REED MAGAZINE (California issue)
“Mapmakers” FOLIO (Crossroads and Intersections issue)
“Cosmonaut’s Lament” LONTAR
“The Queen’s School for Girls” STRANGE HORIZONS
“There was something about the way 'The Queen’s School for Girls' took an innocent question from a school girl … asking ‘What is the heart’s shape?’ and the teacher, instead of having an extremely philosophical question conversation with them, … takes them to see a cadaver and a real heart, brain. It had such a visceral punch to it. … We’re not just talking hearts and flowers and feelings here; we’re actually taking this into the dimension of what these organs look like and how we conceptualize that, and how we attach emotion. I’ve never quite seen a poem do something like that with such an innocuous question. I had no idea what I was going to see when I [read the poem] but it was full of marvels.”
~ A.J. Odasso, Poetry Editor, Strange Horizons
> Listen to the podcast
“Alternate” ITHACA LIT
Finalist for the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize selected by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
“Canary Song” CIDER PRESS REVIEW
“Rebellion” ABYSS & APEX
“Xylophone” CONNOTATION PRESS: AN ONLINE ARTIFACT
“What struck me about the poem 'Xylophone' was how deftly the ending of the poem is handled, the skilled control of the language juxtaposes with the innocent crush and romance that takes place 'for a moment like this all summer. The poem builds momentum from the tension of the language describing the young man’s study of a girl. By the end we learn that: 'The music in her knowing laugh enough / to run the scales for him, to sing the encounter.' In my mind, as I read these lines, I heard 'of him' not 'for him,' and the poem suddenly held an entirely new depth. This is a poem about awakening to the hungers of the body, and how gentle we are with that hunger and with love when we are young.”
~ Ösel Jessica Plante, Associate Editor, Connotation Press
“Big Bang” and “The Distance Between Us”
“Things I Have Wished For” FLYWAY (issue 18)
“America” and “To the One Who Left” SWITCHBACK
“Boats” and “Portrait” THIN AIR
“The Rise and Fall” ALLUVIAN (Climate Change: Tidal Shift issue)