Where can we read some of your recent work?
I have work online at Glass Poetry Journal, Rogue Agent, and The Hunger Journal. I also have a poem in the summer 2019 issue of Lily Poetry Review, a new print journal that I highly recommend. I am currently in an MFA program, and lately finding time to submit work has been difficult.
My biggest news is this: I have a chapbook! Split Map won the 2018 Dare to Speak Chapbook competition held by Minerva Rising Press. I was really honored to have my work selected and really enjoyed the process of seeing a book come into being. Being in school means that I haven’t been able to promote this as much as I would like, so I’m grateful for this opportunity to say please check it out at AWP if you are going…or contact me!
Minerva Rising Press – book link: https://minervarising.com/purchase-books/
Rogue Agent: http://www.rogueagentjournal.com/rconnors
The Hunger: https://www.thehungerjournal.com/the-trees-acknowledge-you-rebecca-connors
Lily Poetry Review: https://lilypoetryreview.blog/
What are you reading right now?
In my program, we select our own reading lists, which means I can go wherever I need to go in terms of reading. Right now, my list includes Rilke, Plath, and Simic, and then books by poets writing now, like Terrance Hayes, Layli Long Soldier, and Jennifer Chang.
Here are a few books that I have read recently and cannot stop thinking about:
I highly recommend Rocket Fantastic, by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, for its shape-shifting poems that are linked together in extraordinary ways. Her exploration of selfhood and gender and relationships is so fierce. Everything is fluid and also strict, genders/names/events shift and return in changed ways. As I read it, I began to see how the poems speak to each other and how there is violence, redemption, and power in achieving one’s own identity. “[You can hold a duck down on a rock and cut its head off]” near the end of the collection is the poem that shows the violence in transformation and growth. When I came across it in the collection, I burst into tears.
I also highly recommend Simulacra, by Airea D. Matthews. Her collection confounds me because it is so well orchestrated. Matthews uses multiple forms to explore hunger, addiction, personhood, and reality. Think Greek mythology, conversations with Anne Sexton, and responses to texts of Baudrillard and Wittgenstein. The variety of form is inspirational – text messages, letters, prose poems, and even a condensed Opera script. While cerebral, her poems are also filled with assurance and beautiful language.
Writers who are concerned with the degradation of language through“fake news” and gaslighting need to read Solmaz Sharif’s collection LOOK, which focuses on language, on definitions, and how words have impact. She uses the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms and places real bodies behind the weaponized language. She explores how the language of a poet and the language of a warmonger can use the same words with different meanings. For example, the word “Look” in military terms means, “In mine warfare, a period during which a mine circuit is receptive of an influence.” She is primarily concerned about power and how language needs to be examined and held accountable.
What’s next for you?
At the moment, I am putting together my creative thesis for graduation in July. I hope that this manuscript will become a real book one day. Other than that, I am trying to figure out what I will do once I graduate!
Rebecca Connors’ poems can be found in Glass, Rogue Agent, Dialogist, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. Her first chapbook, Split Map, was published by Minerva Rising Press in 2019. She lives with her family in Boston, where she is currently an MFA candidate at the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College. Follow her on Twitter @aprilist, Instagram @aprilistwrites or visit her site at aprilist.com.
Rebecca Connors’ poem “The physics of rebirth” appears in issue 2:1 of Tinderbox.