I’m interested—perhaps because I stutter—in the body as ally and antagonist. The title of my first book, Tremulous Hinge, appears in the text as a metaphor for a moth. As the title suggests, the book is about swaying, exploring instability in the body, across time and within language. The poems, whether describing efforts at speech or chronicling the aging process, portray an inconclusive world of constant adjustments. Formally, they are visually porous, making frequent use of dropped lines, while, through sonic echoes and wordplay, the voice creates a trembling music. The collection opens with a poem on stuttering (an instability in the body and language), and I have recently been writing more about stuttering, expanding upon that first poem. While it presents my perspective on stuttering as a child, I’d also like to explore my view on stuttering as an adult.
While at Headlands
I am currently working on a new manuscript, a series of poems and prose poems about stuttering that confront stereotypes and insist on self-definition. These texts take into consideration my own stuttering as well as the experiences of others. Influenced by disability culture and the social model of disability, they express the lives of people who stutter; examine the interaction between impairment and environment; give voice to bodily difference; and portray stuttering in a positive light, even likening it to poetry itself. Stuttering serves as both content and form, and through alliteration, repetition, and fragmentation the poems themselves, in an act of pride, stutter across the page.
Artist portrait by James Kendi.
“Alphabet Acrobatics,” Poetry Northwest, January 2023
“Stutterfied,” International Stuttering Awareness Day, October 2022
“How to Hear a Stutter,” Kenyon Review, November/December 2019
Three Poems, New England Poetry Club, December 2018
“Stutter,” Poetry Society of America, October 2018
“Porcupine,” Kenyon Review, March/April 2017