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Catching Up With Amy Miller

Where can we read some of your recent work?

I recently had a nice little clump of publications: six poems that were finalists for Radar’s Coniston Prize, a poem that was a runner-up in Sweet’s literary contest, and three pandemic poems featured in the Spring Creek Project’s “The Nature of Isolation” series. Poems also appear in the Rewilding and Show Us Your Papers anthologies, and an essay on my *very* awkward first reading was published in the anthology Far Villages: Welcome Essays for Beginning Poets

What are you reading right now?

Recently I read a nonfiction book that was so good that I went back to the beginning and started reading it again—Michael Lewiss latest, The Fifth Risk. On the surface, it’s about the government “transition” between the Obama and Trump administrations in January 2017, and it’s frightening and exasperating on that level because—good lord, what ball was not dropped by the incoming regime? But most of the book is an in-the-weeds exploration of how the U.S. government works, particularly the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Commerce, all of which do way more than most people realize, with extremely high stakes—these are agencies than ensure nuclear missiles don’t fall out of planes, power grids don’t go down, and discoveries are made in weather forecasting that save millions of lives. The book is also a love letter to civil servants, brilliant people toiling in obscure government jobs because they’re passionate about keeping Americans safe and dedicated to pure science, people who work in ugly concrete buildings when they could be making a lot more money doing something else. People whose jobs really matter. I wish I’d read this book at age 20; it might have changed my career path.

What’s next for you?

I’m at work on a second full-length poetry manuscript, a novel, and a travel memoir. A local art gallery is carrying my origami poetry boxes. I’ll be hosting and emceeing our town’s popular annual William Stafford Celebration—via Zoom this time!—in January. 

BIO:

Amy Miller’s full-length poetry collection The Trouble with New England Girls won the Louis Award from Concrete Wolf Press. Her writing has appeared in Barrow Street, Gulf Coast, Tinderbox, Tupelo Quarterly, Willow Springs, and ZYZZYVA. Her latest chapbook is I Am on a River and Cannot Answer (BOAAT Press).