On Donuts, Spirals, & Reading Tanya Grae’s Poems
Hello Slushies! Today, we put the “pee” in PBQ when Jason reminds us not to over-hydrate (it’s a thing!). Marion is in the Philadelphia Studio and Samantha in Portland for the Tin House Summer Workshop, which triggers an epic donut-discussion. Must-try doughnuts: VooDoo Doughnuts in Portland, Federal Doughnuts in Philadelphia, and Dough in New York City. After daydreaming about desserts, and resisting the bullying power of nutrition Apps, we dive into three poems by Tanya Grae. These poems are included in Grae’s Undoll (YesYes Books, 2019). All are ekphrastic, allusive, homage poems– and we pour over the way Grae adapts, innovates, remixes, and recreates poems across these poems. We’re drawn to the layered conversation and formal prosody and synchronicity she sets up– our thumbs are flipped, our heads are spun. The first is after Lorca’s “The Unfaithful Housewife” (translated by Conor O’Callaghan). The second is an intriguing and baffling poetic rant, “Duchess, A Found Poem.” And the final, the tripendicular “Dear Ozy,” triggers the sound of thinking from the Slush Pile crew: we ponder maps and palimpsests, spirals and dimensions, Google searches and precarious empires. Samantha reminds us that someone, maybe Twain, said “history doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.” Associative spirals make this conversation a joy.
At the Table: Kathy, Marion, Brit, Jason, & Samantha
Tanya Grae was born in South Carolina while her father was stationed at Shaw, and she grew up moving to random Air Force towns like Little Rock, Minot, Tucson, Panama City, and Homestead. This survivalist training prepared her for a litany of jobs, academia, and parenting three humans, two of whom are now adulting. Her debut poetry collection, Undoll, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in fall 2019 and was a National Poetry Series finalist. Her poems and essays have appeared in AGNI, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Post Road, and other journals. She now lives in Tallahassee with her youngest daughter who loves her despite her inability to help with advanced math, certain her mother’s attempts could bring about the apocalypse. Spotting bad store sign grammar is her superpower; kvetching about it is her weakness. Find out more at: tanyagrae.com
Poems by Tanya Grae