MEET THE AUTHOR
Returning to writing poems after many
years of work in research-driven prose felt
scary; I wasn’t sure if it would be possible. I
worried I might have forgotten how poems
work or that poems would have moved on,
tired of waiting for me. So at first I thought
I’d just try writing lines. I picked a day I
would begin again, woke early, turned on
a small light so as to not bother my sleeping family, and cautiously made a mark on
a piece of loose paper. More rapidly than I can express, the poems returned, occasionally terrifying me with their force.
These ones came a few months into the return and are—with the exception of the last poem—part of a series exploring what happens when
each line is its own end-stopped sentence, inspired by some of the poems
in Emily Berry’s Stranger, Baby. For me, the excitement of these poems
stems from not knowing what the distance between those lines might
be. Visually, they are orderly; they are evenly distributed on the page.
But the actual gaps between them are sometimes uncomfortably tight,
sometimes vast enough it seems one might fall into a ravine on the way.
This is not to say they are random! Instead, they connect with a thread
of consciousness that moves according to nonphysical laws that I cannot
state, only sense with my hands how to obey.
Heather Christle is the author of the poetry collections The Difficult
Farm; The Trees the Trees, which won the Believer Poetry Award; What Is
Amazing; and Heliopause. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker,
London Review of Books, Poetry, and many other journals. Her first work
of nonfiction, The Crying Book, was published in November 2019. She
teaches creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta.