Author: Lesley Wheeler

  • Poetry’s Possible Worlds for pre-order–so there, Three of Cups reversed!

    One great thing this week: Poetry’s Possible Worlds arrived at the distributor, so you can pre-order it from SPD! This is particularly excellent because of the great thing NEXT week: the first book launch event! Virginia’s Poet Laureate was kind enough to connect me to the Muse Writers Center, which is hosting a virtual event […]

  • Ashes to bluebells

    “Early on, I divined that this book already exists in the future. / After all, I thought of it; it’s a probability somewhere, complete, on a shelf. / My intention is to consult that future edition and create this one, the original, for you.” -Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, from A Treatise on Stars (2020) At first, when […]

  • Hard lines, soft lines

    Next week I should receive my advance hard copies of Poetry’s Possible Worlds. I feel like I’m facing a portal, a door to strange woods opening at the back of a wardrobe. I know book launches are lucky and thrilling, but they also ramp my anxiety right up, especially the tasks that involve talking up […]

  • Differently to #AWP22

    It’s been a packed week, but also kind of a splendid one. I feel more connected to literary people again–and more conscious of how much the first pandemic year, especially, disconnected us. I returned from a good conference last Sunday to visit with the wonderful poet January Gill O’Neil, who talked to my class the […]

  • Fairy monster godmother gets the chair

    Yesterday, at a NeMLA panel called “Hybrid, Feminist, & Collaborative,” the writer and artist Mary-Kim Arnold talked about “feeling like a hybrid” as a child born in Korea then adopted into a New York family. Explore her whole amazing website if you have time, but here’s one piece that literally stitches image to text in […]

  • Reading Warsan Shire during a Russian invasion

    From Warsan Shire’s brand-new book Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head, a stanza from a poem called “Assimilation”: The refugee’s heart has six chambers.In the first is your mother’s unpacked suitcase.In the second, your father cries into his hands.The third room is an immigration office,your severed legs in the fourth,in the […]

  • On the threshold of Poetry’s Possible Worlds

    I started this blog in March 2011, during a Fulbright fellowship in Wellington, New Zealand, as an intellectual diary during one of my life’s biggest adventures. My forthcoming book, Poetry’s Possible Worlds, is in many ways this blog’s culmination. I’ve always read to survive my life, and in the blog, then called “The Cave, The […]

  • Pretending the house is clean

    It’s my mother’s birthday tomorrow, February 7th, so I spent some time this morning looking at photos. She always looked happy holding a baby–that’s me, beginning the lifelong practice of talking with my hands–although I really like the one, too, of the mid-60s records spread out on the floor. The classroom pictured above is one […]

  • Mind of winter (not)

    For me, midwinter is a time of introversion. I’m three weeks into my university’s winter term, so I’m planning and leading discussions and meetings constantly, but they’re usually based on study and solitary thinking–not extroverted stuff, even though there’s a social, performative aspect to the work. The class based on NEW reading and thinking is […]

  • Literary sources and afterlives

    “Extended Release,” now in Guernica, is one of those poems that came to me in a rush, the kind that writers sometimes refer to as a gift, in that it arrives in near-final shape. I jotted in a dim living room during my mother’s last weeks, when she was in and out of hospitals and […]