(he/they) is the author of in which I take myself hostage
(Spuyten Duyvil, 2021), At Root
(Alien Buddha Press, 2020), not human enough for the census
(Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019), every time you die
(Alien Buddha Press, 2019), and VOS
(Yavanika Press, 2019). He holds an MFA in poetry from The University of Notre Dame and will be completing his Ph.D. in creative writing this year from the University of Glasgow. He is from Long Island, New York, and currently resides in South Bend, IN where he teaches writing and gender studies courses.
What are you working on?
I am hesitant to call anything I have written “quarantine poems” but the collection I am just now finishing was born in March, when quarantine had compounded the depression that had landed me in the hospital in February. These poems were a way to grapple with the world I was, as many of us were, feeling estranged from. They are often bizarre, surrealist inspired poems that sometimes evoke an apocalypse that is both otherworldly and of earthly. They shift between short and squat and long and slender—though are never more than a page each. I’m currently playing around with the spacing and order of the poems, but feel like this one is soon to enter other orbits.
A book of poems exploring personal trauma that includes Buffy the Vampire slayer as both character and metaphor is currently taking up the majority of my writing time. The desire to write about personal trauma, to lift it from my body and onto the page in some way, just felt necessary for these poems, and Buffy felt like a natural companion, as that show, and the fact that her character was consistently forced to carry and process trauma, helped me, often subconsciously, process my own trauma. I started writing these poems in quarantine as well, and I have probably just under the length of a chapbook right now. This is the first time I have written poems that I find to be narrative, and part of the slow progression my poems have taken from being more abstract to more personal.
I am also continuing to write a long poem in the skin of a play, because it feels like multiple voices need to speak it, but that these voices need to remain voices—to give them shape I think would rely too much on articulate bodies, despite the fact that this particular poem is drenched in questions of embodiment, but also disembodiment: what does it mean for a body to stop being a body, what about the transmissions in between flesh and ether? I think this project might stay in my pocket for a while, gestating.