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FIERCELY LANGUAGE RESISTS: MICHELLE GIL-MONTERO IN CONVERSATION

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  Earlier this year I found my way to Michelle Gil-Montero 's brilliant translation of  Edinburgh Notebook  /  Cuaderno de Edimburgo  by Mexican poet  Valerie Mejer Caso . The notebook is a body, a landscape of grief and dying, of vanished paths. In the landscape (in the body) are mountains, shadowy ponds, quicksand, clouds compressing time, hallucinatory apparitions and transformations. SUSAN GILLIS: How did you decide to take on this project?  Did the book find you or did you find it?   MICHELLE GIL-MONTERO: I had recently translated Mejer Caso’s  This Blue Novel , another book that confronts death and loss, and I really wanted to continue with her work. As soon as I began to read  Edinburgh Notebook,  I recognized  a relationship between the two books that compelled me to translate  Edinburgh Notebook  next. At first glance, the books are pretty different—formally, and in scope.  This Blue Novel  is a sweeping long poem that maps generational trauma, while  Edinburgh Notebook  

Claire Caldwell: A Poem

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Claire Caldwell SOUNDS A RIVER MAKES Gas leak, ventilator, bear clicking its teeth. Twelve hundred caribou hooves on frost. Lips around bottle, bottle slurring on bar. Rattling aspen, dusky grouse, sheets drying outside. Grandmothers stuffing envelopes in a high school gym. Sex in a sleeping bag, house on fire. A children's choir after one kid faints, before the rest start to sing. from Gold Rush by Claire Caldwell , Invisible Publishing, 2020

WHAT SHIFTS: A CONVERSATION WITH BREN SIMMERS

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SUSAN GILLIS: How did you first come to poetry - or poetry to you? BREN SIMMERS: I grew up in a household of readers. We went to the library once a week and loaded up on books. My dad, d.n.  simmers,  was a poet and he encouraged me to write. For two hours every weekend, he would shut the door to his office and we knew better than to disturb him. From an early age, I knew that writing meant quiet, reading and muttering to yourself – all things I loved to do. Later, when I moved out, my dad had a book box by the door, his recently read pile. I could take anything I want. Having that kind of unfettered access to books and family support to pursue writing was key to my finding poetry.   SG: One thing I admire in  If, When  is the way you’ve made time and place almost porous; lives lived a century ago seem as present as those being lived now. In exploring those earlier times and places, what surprised you, what changed you (or, changed for you, in your sense of place and connectedness)?