Saturday, December 31, 2016

a pause at the end of the year

It's true years are fictions of time, but only kind of. Because we are on a rock orbiting a star and that takes a certain amount of time. Markers are where we confront our role as namers. We don't make time; we notice light and dark. Our bodies are made of time: earth. The sun goes "up" and "down." We sleep and dream. Flowers say hello. The birds migrate. We change.

The ecosystem of a life changes, too. I've been in a new climate. There was sheltering in place so inside great sheets of ice could begin a sort of slippage. Shores emerged. It was very painful at times. I am very strong.

Since last posting, some things with the writing and poetry have helped keep me on the earth. Not washed away to the stars where it is good to go, but I worry -- what if I get lost and can't make it back? This year writing has been a tether to the terrestrial. I will not float away.

People read and wrote about After-Cave. Receiving this type of attention and love is such a gift.

I also published some pieces that are very important to me.

"Field Notes on the Metafur", an essay on interspecies communication and feral poetics at Entropy. This is an expanded version of the talk I gave at Open Press in October. 

 I also was the featured writer for December at the excellent Aspasiology. I also published some poems there in response to Feng Sun Chen's study earlier in the year.

My chapbook, The Primitive Undreamed, was published as part of the 8th Dusie chapbook kollektiv, edited by the tireless and generous Rob McLennan. The Primitive Undreamed is an excerpt from  Sin in Wilderness.

I contributed to the super-cool epic poem BirdWolf at Entropy. 

I also published a poem "United States of Grief," at the 2016 Dusie Advent Calendar. 

Life is change. Sending Love: Michelle

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New Review of After-Cave in Kenyon Review Online & 3 chapters from Sin in Wilderness in YEW

Many thanks to M.P. Jones IV for this beautiful new review of After-Cave in the Kenyon Review Online.

& thanks to YEW journal for publishing 3 chapters from Sin in Wilderness. Here is one of the chapters, "The Way."

also, here are some picture of some borage that I planted -- first in February, and then in April

Sunday, May 01, 2016


The sky shifted its weight towards the horizon
and the masts of sailboats slipped under
the slouch.
I went to honey bloom
& I fed the wings to an imaginary star.
Could you meet me there? on the star?

In this after-life, I wear something other than my body:
a clear dress with all my organs
swimming where you can see.
We scraped away what was awful
and tried to cling to what was left
with our soft teeth and belligerent questions.

That type of dusk in the suburbs —
it hurts your chest, doesn’t it?

You need to walk home now, but it
is so far away. You should have figured
out the bus schedule. Can you let me know
if you see me in the future? Am I okay?

I feel confused about how to handle
the current weather. It comes down like the crux
of a lever. The insides of a pelican shudder
and love letters fall out. We gather them up
and hold them to our lips. They smell like sun
and roses. Remember? this is how beautiful
and simple our insides are? It’s, like, not even
that hard to make up.

published last May at enclave as part of #finalpoem series:

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


okay I'm going to blog for a minute like it is 2005.

my relationship to time feels very peculiar and this has always been true but somehow always feels new somehow as if it is different suddenly. as if at some point in the past I had a relationship with time that felt pedestrian and knowable. I do feel disappointed with myself for not having more discipline re: slowing down and noticing things, but also fuck that noise because there is plenty of guilt to go around already.

but I also feel full of despair and full of hope simultaneously. saying things directly and plainly takes some warming up, but saying them in poems feels better and closer. but now I'm just going to try and type a bunch of informative sentences that hopefully will not be too boring. because I want to remember things. especially things that make me feel good/less alone/happy.

I am very excited that Juliet Cook, whose poetics and general way of being a poet in the world I've admired for awhile, wrote this glitter-guts review of After-Cave. I met Juliet briefly in Minneapolis, and in person she is very sparkly and sweet.

& I'm really glad that I went to Minneapolis. I pretended I was a bit of plankton and just went where I went. I got to spend some QT with two of my BFFs -- Amanda Ackerman & Jessica Smith. Both Amanda and Jessica have new books out and they are amazing. I also finally got to meet Gillian Devereux  IRL, and I immediately found her presence so warm and comforting, so as far as I'm concerned we are bonded for life. I also finally met Amish Trivedi whose dry wit & friendly charm made me feel relaxed and like maybe the world isn't so terrible. Amish also has a new book out and if you don't already have it you should because it is good.

I also did some readings in Minneapolis and that was fun. I still kinda feel like I go into a trancey place when I read, even if I'm nervous, but that nervousness definitely makes my reading faster. so there is time again. because up there reading it feels slow, but Amish took some video and watching it back I can see/hear/feel its speed. In some parts of the book, the speaker is speaking really fast. but in other places, it is more measured with lots of silences and breaks.

The best part of doing readings is meeting other poets and hearing them read.  Or hearing people I love read again. Like I love Harold Abramowitz and Teresa Carmody and so it is always good to hear them read. Unfortunately I had to leave the Insert/Wonder/Les Figues reading before I could hear Matt Timmons and Amanda and all the other rad poets at that event read because that Ahsahta reading was the same night. Then at the Ahsahta reading I got to hear Mary Hickman, Susan Tichy, Aaron Apps, Cody-Rose Clevidence, and TC Tolbert read. I got all swoony for all of them. Also wonderful to meet Janet Holmes at last who I will love forever no matter what because I think it is like a biological rule that you imprint on whoever publishes your first book. Plus Janet is wonderful and so smart and spirited.

with Cody-Rose Clevidence at Ahsahta table. Photo by Janet Holmes. Have you read Beast Feast yet? so good.

It was also fun to connect with the folks from Entropy. Janice Lee is a force of nature and has cultivated such a great community through Entropy and Enclave. She gave me an Entropy t-shirt which is black and that is important because that is the best color for collecting dog fur. & I always feel best when I'm wearing some dog fur.

also, I feel like I should say this somewhere; you have to read Jennifer Tamayo. Now. Go read her.

are you reading her yet?

& like the best thing that has ever happened to me in my whole life is that Bhanu called After-Cave the "best feral lyric" of 2014. 

what I'm reading rn

& so there have been a lot of things that have made me feel happy lately, but also things are still really fucked up. The deaths of Freddie Gray and Walter Scott -- these lynchings happening in broad daylight by the hands of the state -- confirm that there can really be no unslackening of attention to projects of resistance and intervention. Of all kinds. Sometimes making poems feels like the silliest thing, but other times it feels like coming up for air when everything else is poison.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

approaching the equinox

1. Talking about erasure w/ Gillian Devereux The Women in Visual Poetry: the Bechdel Test
Curated by Jessica Smith; with Michelle Detorie, Gillian Devereux, Kathy Ernst, K. Lorraine Graham and Sheila Murphy & an afterword by Maureen Thorson

 2. “The Meat World,” “Solstice,” and “Blink Witch” + “Other” (chapter from Sin in Wilderness) + vintage video

 3. Reading at What's New in Poetry @ Real Pants

 4. After-Cake

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Another review, New Poem, & After-Cave on December SPD Poetry Bestsellers list!

Rob McLennan wrote a thoughtful review of After-Cave 

My poem "The River" (an erasure from the book-length erasure The Sin in Wilderness) is in the wonderful new issue of 17seconds


I'm so excited that After-Cave in on the December SPD Poetry Bestsellers list!

also, I'm *so* into this customer review of After-Cave posted on Amazon.

is this real?