Inspired by Stanley Kunitz’s “The Abduction,” Sarah Crossland’s “Abduction,” and hours upon hours upon hours of X-Files episodes, I’ve been working on a series of alien abduction poems.
These have been really fun to write, although it seems they are not for everyone, which is fine! One of the most interesting things about writing and reading poetry is how we all have different tastes and ways of processing meaning. This makes for such a wonderful, diverse landscape of poetry, and I’m happy I get to contribute to it in my very small way.
I’ve been interested in abduction narratives for a while. They pose large questions about life and mystery and the frustratingly elusive nature of reality. How do we know what is real? What happens to us when powers beyond our control upset the very fabric of what we consider to be reality? I’ve also been interested in abduction narratives as a way to deal with and process trauma, including the questions that arise that may never be answered. Additionally, there seems to be a metaphor that I’m playing with, at the very root of these poems, about what it’s like to live with a head and heart that periodically check out for days at a time. Depression, in my experience of it, feels like being ghosted from myself. It feels like being stolen from my own life.
But I’m always returned.
You can find two of my abduction poems at Nashville Review and in Anomalous Press’s speculative folio at Drunken Boat. I hope I will be able to publish more of them.
In other poetry news, I’ve put together what feels like a solid chapbook and am in the process of submitting it to various contests and presses. I took a longer view of the poems I’ve been writing for the past two years, and I realized they are almost all written from the perspective of a spouse or loved-one who is left behind during wartime. Some of them are written from my personal experience, but many are persona poems set during past conflicts, especially the Vietnam war. I’m nervous about trying to publish a chapbook, but it feels like the next natural step.