may be the poetry editor of Still and a long-time member of the Hindman Writers Workshop.
I personally believe that my work will withstand any challenge.
It will be edited and compiled into manuscript form by Tuesday!
Here’s an interview I had the pleasure of doing with fellow writer and MSU graduate, Charles Maynard. You should check out his blog— it’s full of tantalizing interviews with amazing people such as myself, as well as creative works that will surely blow your mind, and all put together by one of the most interesting people I know.
I have had the honor to read and hear Sosha Nicole Pinson’s work on multiple occassions. I always find that these occasions offer insight into not only the life of the author, but into my life as well. Perhaps that is a quality of great writing, that the reader is somehow taken to a place beyond that from which they started. In essence, the reader is no longer the same person because of the work/mind with which they have been a part of? This does not happen with all writing but Sosha’s work has always had that effect on me. Her voice seems to have the ability to continue to inspire within memory, a prolonged experience of reading and hearing her work.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Sosha.
has been the de-shelving of my bookshelf that I’ve had since childhood and choosing which books will make the trip with me into the house I’m renting with friends and which will be boxed away in my closet for remarkable amounts of time. I filled up two giant plastic tubs with them and still have more that I haven’t packed because of reading them.
My goal of having a personal library is almost complete.
I’m going to start using this for editing things on my computer. I’m probably more excited than I should be.
Usually when writing I will make notes via classic paper&pencil/pen/crayon combination and rough drafts but when I try to polish them I compile them on a word document on my laptop—- which is incredibly distracting. I hope this program will find a way to isolate me from distracting technology.
I am a child of water
Born under the stars
Aquarius frozen water child
Sunday’s child is full of woe.
My ears burn to the sound of high water
I didn’t learn to swim until I was ten
Awkward tan lines down to my knees
From long legged shorts to hide the hairs
That the other girls were already starting to scrape away in showers
I held my breath in my neighbor’s pool
And was always the first to come back up
I had dreams
the water would rise above our house
above the hill my papaw lives on
And I would stand at the door and peek through the blinds
And we had to cross on logs to get out of Riles Branch
The way Mommy did when she would check on the creek
Damned up at the main road of Lick Creek
And I saw giant sea turtles, sharks
And I slipped into the water
The sound of rain on the roof
The muted sound of nothing when I sink into the bathwater
The water keeps calling me back to it
Keeps trying to get to me
Slides in between the cracks in the foundations of my house
Set off by construction blasts to build roads that get you to Pikeville a few minutes
Faster the way the water tried to grab my feet as it rushed into my garage
When I tried to save my shoes in seventh grade
Faster the way I slipped in mud to see the damage
the day after I came home from college
To see the line the water left on my house that stared at me eye level
It smashed our storage building against a tree
When it realized that it couldn’t get to me
Our Christmas decorations strangled in the current
Plastic Santa bobbing away, waving a plastic mittened hand
To the neighbors that lived on higher ground.
The sound of the wind in just the right angle against my ear
My head a hollowed out seashell
Against the ocean
It recognizes me
My feet slowly buried in the sand
The soft pound of waves against my shins
Claiming me as a creature beckoned out of its shell
And when I pull away
Running away from the beach
The sand clinging to my ankles
I press the button on the elevator open
And slither into a corner
A slimy tentacle, a crawdad claw, water child
Forgetting to breathe in through my nose
Out through my mouth.
Sister: Poems by Nickole Brown and it is a fantastic, fascinating concept to me. A novel… in poems. It just makes me bite my lip in excitement.
I just finished reading “A Heartbeat Pillow Too” and I am in love. I love the specific descriptions of the birth of her younger sister. It’s just fantastic. The last section just made me hold my breath to focus on how intensely it made me feel. I feel like posting the last section alone will not do it justice so here is the poem in its entirety.
A Heartbeat Pillow Too
For you, he sped
down the emergency lane
then spent sixteen hours pacing
long white hospital halls
in squeaking tennis shoes.
For you, he bought me
a blue tee-shirt that read
I’m The Big Sister Now
across my unformed breasts
and a book that said
it would be ten days
before you could make your own
tears despite all your crying,
and despite all your crying
you’d been crying months before
this with two tiny, seaspun lungs.
For you, there was pain
medicine shot straight into her spine,
stirrups cushioned with pot holders,
pills to dry her up,
bottles with disposable bottles of milk,
pills to make her flow, pumps to do it for her—
nipples spreading plump and brown.
There were stitches that dissolved
on their own and a softsong nurse
in latex gloves who stitched
a routine incision that kept one hole
from tearing into the next.
For you, there were mittens to keep
your long fingernails from scratching
yourself, needles that pricked
your ankles with vitamin K,
an incubator where you waited
like a dumb tomato on a windowsill
for the liver-yellow to fade. At home,
he had a room freshly painted
for you and in it was a battery-powered
pillow he bought that mimicked
a heartbeat to trick you into thinking
you were not born yet.
Some things I would like to learn from this poem is her use of punctuation, the styling of sentences to create narration, as well as the point of view and her (in my opinion) success at addressing her sister as the you in this poem.
I feel like retyping this poem after reading it a few times gave me a better feel of the way she consciously chose her line breaks. Overall, I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.
that James Still’s Chinaberry is so hard to put down. I don’t want to make any statements on it before I’ve finished it, but I’m approaching it as a reader first and then as a writer. I worry too often that while we pick things apart we do not allow ourselves the proper amount of time to enjoy them.
While reading The Poet’s Companion I came across a few quotes that I found particularly relevant to my writing life.
"Your experience is not yours alone, but in some sense a metaphor for everyone’s."
"No one can call herself a poet unless she questions her ideas, ethics and beliefs."
Speaking on that last quote, I try to keep myself as open as possible to the thoughts and belief systems of other people. I find myself constantly questioning my innate beliefs in reference to my observations on life and what subject matter I feel my muse has drawn me to. I find myself particularly drawn to taboo subjects— allowing explorations of sexual concepts, religious concepts and a preoccupation with activism to reshape my personal experiences into something more universal.
I’ll try to post a new writing prompt every day.
“I’m trying to understand why”
What kind of mysteries remain in your life? What has been left unexplained? Is there a certain behavior, a habit, a type of person, or a culture that you want to learn about or understand? What will you never understand?
The swirls of her fingerprints
the shape of her knees
the grooves of skin around her eyes
the sound of her voice when she is talking about something she loves
I imagine these are the kinds of things we have in common
and she may not understand that everything I write will find a way to try to reach her— but until I understand myself without needing to know these things, then I will keep writing them, keep reaching into the memories of my inner layers of skin to try to find her.
Also, the person who posted this prompt is a new friend of mine and I’m pretty excited to continue getting to know him and his writing better. Anyone else excited for writing prompts?
Currently I am working on my thesis— which is supposed to be a book length manuscript of poems (if I’m not mistaken). The central theme of my manuscript so far is communication with my biological mother who I don’t know. Right now I’ve got about 10 drafted poems toward this thesis. My thesis adviser, the lovely Rebecca Howell (author of the poetry chapbook The Hatchet Buddha), has given me quite the reading list for the summer. I may post my reading list or notes that I take on my reading.
Prose— James Still’s Chinaberry edited by Silas House
Poetry— The Complete Works of Anne Sexton