March 28, 2016

Tiana Clark



from Rattle #50, Winter 2015
Rattle Poetry Prize Winner

[download audio]


Tiana Clark: “I was driving home one night in a trance, under a spell of highway hypnosis. NPR was playing in the background, discussing Maureen Corrigan’s book, So We Read On, about the story behind The Great Gatsby. Something about Terry Gross’s intoning voice and the interstate’s passing white lines drummed up the genesis for this poem about identity. Growing up biracial in the South, other kids would often ask, ‘What are you?’ In many ways, I’m still searching in my work to answer that question. Race, spirituality, family, gender—my obsessions converge in my poems, sometimes to subsist, sometimes to subvert. I look for my place between the classic and modern traditions by breaking and creating new forms. I like poems that take risks. I find it infectious, as I start to become more reckless in my work. I write to access that blood-jet pulse—to rake my flaws across the page, sift through my past hoping to find grace, connection, empathy, power, and—most of all—honesty.” (website)