Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Featured Poet - Erika Meitner

Erika has published four books of poetry: Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore in 2003, Ideal Cities in 2010, Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls in 2011, and Copia in 2014.

She is a first-generation American born and raised in Queens, NY by her Israeli father and German mother. Along with attaining her BA and MFA, she studied with poet Rita Dove at the University of Virginia as a Henry Hoyns Fellow.
I’ve been exploring interstitial, overlooked, and marginalized spaces: malls, office buildings, suburban developments, superstores, construction sites, and interstates. I am also working with the idea of women’s bodies as geographical locations and sites of inscription via sex, childbirth, and other highly physical acts.
Her work has been included in the anthologies such as Best American Poetry, Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days, Best African American Essays, The Way We Work: Contemporary Writings from the American Workplace, and Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (2008).

She offers may of her works for reading on her own {website}. Click on her name at the top of this post to go to the site's home page. Here, have a couple of samples:

Big Box Encounter

My student sends letters to me with the lights turned low. 
They feature intricate vocabulary, like soporific and ennui
Like intervening and kinetic and tumult.  He strings words together
like he's following a difficult knitting pattern. He is both more
and less striking without a shirt on.  I know this from the time
I ran into him at Wal-Mart buying tiki torches and margarita mix
and, flustered, I studied the white floor tiles, the blue plastic
shopping cart handle, while he told me something that turned
to white noise and I tried not to look at his beautiful terrible chest,
the V-shaped wings of his chiseled hip-bones.  I write him back. 
I tell him there are two horses outside my window and countless weeds. 
I tell him that the train comes by every other hour and rattles the walls. 
But how to explain my obsession with destruction?  Not self-immolation
but more of a disintegration, slow, like Alka-Seltzer in water.  Like sugar in water. 
I dissolve.  He writes enthralling.  He writes epiphany and coffee machine
He is working in an office, which might as well be outer space. 
I am in the mountains. The last time I worked in an office, he was ten. 
I was a typewriter girl. I was a maternity-leave replacement for a fancy secretary. 
I helped sell ads at TV Guide.  I was fucking a guy who lived in a curtain-free studio
above a neon BAR sign on Ludlow Street, and all night we were bathed in pot smoke
and flickering electric pink light.  Here, the sun goes down in the flame
of an orange heat-wave moon.  The train thrums and rattles the distance,
and I think of his chest with the rounded tattoo in one corner and my youth,
the hollows of his hip-bones holding hard, big-box fluorescent light.

Double Sonnet Ending in New Testament

This poem is meant to have the make and model
of a vehicle in it, include a food I dislike, a musical
instrument. He gave up the cello. There were multiple
mandolins on his worktable. An item that is broken
beyond repair? My body. That’s easy. This & this
& this. A love note that falls into the wrong hands?
Every poem I have ever written. Please stop posting
your thumbs-up sonogram pictures. I don’t care
if you’re 43. If you’re an exception or a miracle or
whatever you are. A bird of prey. His son was learning
to be a falconer. Are these like vultures? I’m not sure.
An item of lost clothing—this doesn’t happen often
now that I’m married. Remember those bras
that went missing in apartments, knapsacks, cars?

Bless that time: fear of conception. Holy ruckery
& whiskey & some guy. I drive the highway
in my Honda Civic to the phlebotomist, try to arrive
early to avoid the trainee who always leaves
the bloodless needle halfway in my arm, then
calls for help to the other woman who looks like
a former heroin addict or the Mennonite; both can
deftly navigate my scarred veins. Falcons are
the fastest moving creatures on earth. Your baby
this week is the size of a poppy seed, a sweet pea,
a black olive. I hate olives. In the lab, they play
Spirit FM & don’t know anything about me. The DJ
croons, ‘I am the vine & you are the branches. Those
who remain in me, & I in them, will bear much fruit.

SOURCES: The Poetry Foundation, Poets.org, & Erica's own site.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this poem Big Box Encounter when I came across it, and then liked it even better 2-3 poems later, when she says she made it up about him being bare-chested.