Catching Up With Cynthia Atkins

Where can we read some of your recent work?

First, I’d just like to say thank you Sarah Ann Winn and Tinderbox for dreaming up

this helpful column, “Catching Up,” as it’s a very special thing when a journal really takes the time and extends the courtesy of making a contributor feel we are part of this publishing family.

I know how fiercely competitive it is in our biz, a behemoth of talent out there, so when an editor finds that your piece is worthy, it really is something to celebrate, and for many of us, this just never gets old.  *This last couple of years I’ve been pleased and proud to have work appear:

Apogee Journal: “When God Is a Bullet”

Cleaver Magazine“Autmaton Aubade”

Diode: “My Body Is A Vessel”

Expound: “When God is A Medicine Cabinet”(*this poem received 1.7K shares, a miracle for me!)

Los Angeles Review: “When The Internet Is The Loneliest Place on the Planet”

Rust+Moth, “Anorexia Nervosa”

Sweet Lit: “Imaginary Friends” & “House and Home”  *and just nominated this poem for a Best of the Net

Tinderbox Poetry Journal: “Proba”

Writing In A Woman’s Voice: “Mirror, Mirror”

*Also, Rise Up Review, SWWIM Miami, and recent anthologies include, “Who Will Speak For America?” (edited by Stephanie Feldman and Nathaniel Popkin), Nasty Women Poets (Edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane, Lost Horse Press), and “The Eloquent Poem,” edited by Elise Paschen, Persea Books)  

A review of my 2nd collection, “In The Event of Full Disclosure” by Arya F. Jenkins for Cleaver Magazine

What are you reading right now?

I’ve been reading a beautiful debut collection by Annie Woodford, Bootleg (Groundhog Poetry Press, 2019) 80 pgs, and notice from her acknowledgments that she is also a *Tinderbox sister.  The poems are little jewels unto themselves, as the poet unearths the beauty, pain and fabric of  the multi-layered culture of Appalachia.  The poet weaves ancestral stories with such lyrical finesse, these narratives evoke such a sense of love and loss for this landscape and people, which are riddled with both beauty and wreckage.  The poet so skillfully renders these polarities with images that convey the sacred and profane: The mother slurs her speech, her teeth/gone from poverty or something else,/though she has the brow and bone of beauty.”  This collection is startling in its deftly notices attention to detail, a memory comingled with the hymnals of something wild and unknown in the shadows: “We took it on faith they were there, /trunks like blind men’s hands feeling the dark,/wide feet alive to sound in the straw.”—Woodford’s Bootleg is a heart-salving  and stunning book.    

What’s next for you?

“Still-Life With God” has been a four year venture–grappling with my own questions about faith and being.  The poems attempt to take God back from religion and look at the rubric through the spiritual, mental, and physical realm, ie, at odds in a material world.   Questioning this new role ‘self’ against the onslaught of’ ‘social media’–which I think is the drug of the 21st century–we are all addicted. A whole new paradigm, trying to navigate these very disparate waters in dark times—The book is due out Feb/March of 2020, Saint Julian Press. *We’re still working on the cover design, so none to show yet, but this is the real fun part—designing the book, and this is the part that really energizes me.


Cynthia Atkins is the author of Psyche’s Weathers and In The Event of Full Disclosure, and the forthcoming collection “Still-Life With God.” Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including, Alaska Quarterly Review, Apogee, BOMB, Cleaver Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Denver Quarterly, Diode, Florida Review, Flock Lit, Green Mountains Review, Los Angeles Review, North American Review, Rust + Moth,  SWWIM, Tampa Review, and Verse Daily. She has received fellowships from Bread Loaf and the VCCA, Atkins teaches creative writing at Blue Ridge Community College and lives on the Maury River of Rockbridge County VA with her family. More or @catkinspoet info at: www.cynthiaatkins.com.