MELISSA STUDDARD (USA)

MELISSA STUDDARD

Melissa Studdard is the author of four books, including the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast and the young adult novel Six Weeks to Yehidah. Her short writings have appeared in a wide variety of journals, magazines, blogs, and anthologies, such as The New York Times, Poetry, Psychology Today, The Guardian, New Ohio Review, Harvard Review, Bettering American Poetry, and Poets & Writers.

short film of the title poem from Studdard’s I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast (by Dan Sickles of Moxie Pictures for Motionpoems) was an official selection for the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, as well as winner of the REEL Poetry Festival Audience Choice Award. Other poems of hers have been made into car magnets, telepoem booth recordings, and Houston City Banners.

Her awards include the Forward National Literature Award, the International Book Award, the Kathak Literary Award, the Poiesis Award of Honor International, the Readers’ Favorite Award, and two Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards. As well, her books have been listed in Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts’ Best Books of the Year, January Magazine’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bustle’s “8 Feminist Poems To Inspire You When The World Is Just Too Much,” and Amazon’s Most Gifted Books.

As well, she has recently been in residency at the Centrum in Port Townsend, and The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Manasota Key, where she was poet in residence.

In addition to writing, Studdard serves as the executive producer and host of VIDA Voices & Views for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and on the TUPP Advisory Council as a Walt Whitman Project Planning Associate. As well, she is a past president of the Associated Writing Program’s Women’s Caucus. She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence college and is a professor for the Lone Star College System.

 

POEMS OF MELLISA STUDDARD

Glissade
 
From this sorrow
I birth a family of sorrows.
I birth my own mother
but she’s already grown.
She’s not a woman. She’s
a sky stealing snow from winter.
I send up kites to try to reach her.
I tie love notes to their tails.
But, no, she’s not a sky.
She can’t hear me.
She’s a mink scuttling across
the floor of morning. I lay
out cheese to try to trap
her, but she won’t bite. She
roams the marshes,
a black flash
disappearing
into cattails.
I put on my tall yellow
boots to follow.
She’s in the middle
of the marsh, a pier
jutting from her stomach.
She’s a house
now. She has no doors
or windows. She grows
smaller. Just a speck
on a ledge in a room. She
holds a key. I try to steal it.
I won’t let her open
the cabinet
of her death.
 
 
The Shepherd of Happenstance
 
I was a gypsy with hips like prophesy
and sandstorms in my eyes.
………………………………..Oh Lordy,
seventeen husbands and two-hundred children.
I traveled so far,
…………………… drank so much wine.
My feet were the keys of pianos, playing
miles and miles of sand.
……………………………….No lie,
I meant to build a camp and stay moonstruck,
near the cave,
…………………….to dance through the night.
Why didn’t I just go inside the trumpet’s lip
and stay? I carried a continent on my back,
……………………………….a sack of sea.
Mother of God. Did you hear the prophecy? Conformity,
conformity, conformity.
……………………………….And plans for escape.
Broke a lot of laws. But remained their plastic doll,
small-waisted, full of lip & shine.
……………………………………….. Father,
they drowned me at the bottom of a river
in a dress made of rocks.
……………………………….Sang a lot of songs.
I’ve always longed for the forest at night, the sounds,
the owls.
……………………Great spirit,
I was a wisp of steam on a lake that no one saw.
……………………………… Oh Lordy.
Bless me. End me. Save me.
I’ve traveled so long.
 
 
I Fell In Love With a Double-Yolk Egg
 
In the egg
that cracked its head,
a tree and butterfly were dancing,
yellow wings, yellow leaves,
yellow, yellow—
breaking away from trunk. Who
painted all that yellow in there?
I’m falling in love with movement,
the swirl of yolk, a sapling hand
on the butterfly’s back, a spin, a dip,
the swish of nucleus
flying into the rafters of bowl,
and here comes my lovemaking
hand, wanting to hold it all together:
how the egg and milk marry bread,
dressed in a dash of cinnamon.
Exotic, scented gown.
Polygamous ritual.
Eyes like ovenlight.
I disappeared into it all,
skipped across the rim of shell,
forgot my name and where I came from.
Hadn’t I been to the source and back?
When they found me, I was dancing with apples
next to the handle of a floured pin.

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