Catching Up with Meg Johnson

Where can we read some of your recent work? 

My third book, Without: Body, Name, Country comes out later this year, and you can read a piece from it at Hobart.  

My first full length collection, Inappropriate Sleepover, was published by The National Poetry Review Press in 2014. My second full length collection, The Crimes of Clara Turlington, was published by Vine Leaves Press in 2015. 

What are you reading right now? 

I recently read the poetry collection Bully Love by Patricia Colleen Murphy, and I definitely recommend it. There are many poems that you will want to read more than once. The poem “Eschew” is worth the price of admission alone. I don’t want to give away too much about the book. Just dive in.  

As you probably know, Mary Biddinger is the author of many poetry collections, and her new book, Partial Genius, is a collection of prose poems. Like her previous collections, Partial Genius is a stop-what-you’re-doing-and-read-this-now book. The voice of the poems is fearless. For example, one piece starts out, “All the other women had husbands. Instead I talked about my collection of pig masks.” If writing like that doesn’t stop you in your tracks, what will?  

M. Stone has a new chapbook out called Everything Passes Away, and it feels like a continuation of her 2018 chapbook Evolving God. The poems in both chapbooks are short with tight lines that move quickly to the gut punches. Presented without fanfare, both chapbooks feel as if they were written primarily for the sake of craft. There are stirring moments in the poems (and the voice of the poems has to grapple with a lack of resolution), but overall, the collections have a serene kind of strength.  

What’s next for you? 

Without: Body, Name, Country will be released on September 15, 2020 from Vine Leaves Press. It’s a full length collection of poetry and flash nonfiction. The individual pieces are grouped into two larger sections, I: Vaudeville and II: Diagnosis. My first two books came out before I was hospitalized with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, so the forthcoming book is the one that confronts GBS, among other things.  

I’m currently working on a fiction project.  

I still post updates on the blog I started in 2010.  


Meg Johnson is the author of the books Inappropriate Sleepover, The Crimes of Clara Turlington, and Without: Body, Name, Country. Her writing has appeared in Bust, Ms. Magazine, Nashville Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Verse Daily, and others. She received her MFA from the NEOMFA Program, and was recently writer-in-residence at Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts. Visit her at: megjohnson.org


Meg’s poem “I Am a Midwestern Winter” appeared in issue 2:1 of Tinderbox.