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About this poet

Rachel Eliza Griffiths was born on December 6, 1978, in Washington, D.C. She received an MA in English literature from the University of Delaware and an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

She is the author of four poetry collections: Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books, 2015); Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2011), which was selected for the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus American Library Association; The Requited Distance (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2011); and Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books, 2010).

Also a visual artist, Griffiths is the creator of Poets on Poetry (P.O.P), an intimate series of interviews, which gathers more than fifty contemporary poets together in conversation to discuss poetry in relation to individual human experience and culture.

Her honors include fellowships from Cave Canem, The Millay Residency, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Soul Mountain, and Vermont Studio Center.

Griffiths teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York City.


Bibliography

Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books, 2015)
Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2011)
The Requited Distance (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2011)
Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books, 2010)
 

Discrepancies Regarding My Mother's Departure

Another time after she left
I saw a headless woman
hurrying after her like a jaguar.

She pried off her red mouth
like a scar. My father folded the window
so that it fit inside his silence,

pulled apart starlight
with his teeth. Then he ate the fruit
of his own wreckage

until he was full, discontented
where he slept beneath a bridge.
The bones beneath

that bridge disappeared
around him, annunciated
by neglect.

My mother often told me
about her dreams
where amnesia chased her,

where I could see the handle of the shovel
for myself. I could see
where she had buried us or him, how

she had dug up the bones,
twisting blood & metal, as she struggled
with the flesh of memory.

Waiting inside of the night,
I could make out the mound
& her eyes, the blank embrace

of innocence when she returned.
It’s your turn, it’s always your turn,
the night says.

Copyright © 2015 by Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Originally published in Guernica. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Originally published in Guernica. Used with permission of the author.

Rachel Eliza Griffits

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Rachel Eliza Griffiths was born on December 6, 1978, in Washington, D.C. She received an MA in English literature from the University of Delaware and an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

by this poet

poem
Woman, I wish I didn't know your name.  
What could you be? Silence in my house 
& the front yard where the dogwood 
wouldn't make up its mind about flowers. 
Aren't you Nature? A stem cringing, half-
shadowed beneath a torque of rain. 
I too am leaving. I too am half-spun. 
The other day near the river
I
poem

I wish I were like Johnny Cash
& thought my heart was mine.

I’ve worn a black suit
my entire life. It suits the war
my eyes ignite.

My sins sit on my lap,
bald, blind, desperate
for the mercy of lost roads,
glottal white lines.

Only smoke will take me
far to

poem

I pick you up
& you are a child made of longing
clasped to my neck. Iridescent,
lovely, your inestimable tantrums,
I carry you back & forth
from the famine in your mind.

Your alphabet wraps itself
like a tourniquet
around my tongue.

Speak now, the static says