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Catching Up With Carly Joy Miller

Where can we read some of your recent work?

Since issue 2:6, my full-length debut, Ceremonial, won the 2017 Orison Poetry Prize, and my chapbook, Like a Beast, won the Rick Campbell Chapbook Prize. I also collaborated on a zine, Shadow Poppets, with the wonderful poet and friend, Mag Gabbert.

The new poems have been marvelously slow—I’m reminding myself of what it means to let the work breathe among the lifework that needs to be done. My recent work has appeared in Hobat Pulp, Sporklet, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, with some forthcoming in Waxwing, The Massachusetts Review, and The Southeast Review to round out 2021.

What are you reading right now?

I long anticipated Diane Seuss’ frank:sonnets—truly, poet pen pals can attest to how often I would bring it up with them for years. And it, of course, does everything I expected it would as a collection: so much lyric, verve, narrative, laughter, grief. It has everything. It’s a book that deserves so many accolades.

While not “right now,” I think about the book that got me to absorb poetry into my brain during these times often: Leila Chatti’s Deluge. There’s an unflinching tenderness in these poems by Chatti—again, a lift toward the lyric that I hadn’t quite seen in her chapbooks. A favorite phrase I love to say to my students about series and book-building is, “We should act like we’re turning a kaleidoscope and discovering new shapes in the light through your poems.” This book does that entirely.

And right now, officially, I’m excited to start my dear poet sister and friend Carlie Hoffman’s This Alaska. I’m revisiting poems by other dear poet sisters Erin Rodoni and Jane Wong in their (very dearly anticipated) collections, And If the Woods Carry You and How to Not Be Afraid of Everything. All of these books have something in common (besides my love for their poems individually): musicality and a verve toward the duende of the world. 

What’s next for you?

I’m carving out moments to work toward more poems for the next collection: I have most of the poems in my head, a potential order, and the collection’s title that I’m not ready to proclaim quite yet to the world. Outside of my content marketing daytime job, I’m delighted to be teaching an elective course on “The Animal: A Study in Transforming the Image” for The Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. It’s going to be a lot of fun—I’m ready to discuss how we’re so lucky to get so many perspectives on animals.


Carly Joy Miller is the author of Ceremonial (Orison Books, 2018), selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2017 Orison Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Like a Beast (Anhinga Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Rick Campbell Chapbook Prize.