Copper Canyon Press welcomes its very first Poetry Publishing Fellow, Elizabeth Ash, and it’s our pleasure to introduce you to her here on #MeettheFellowFriday. We asked Elizabeth to answer questions about what she is excited about as the fellow and of course, poetry!
CCP: What are you excited about as Copper Canyon Press’s Publishing Fellow?
E: This fellowship is a unique opportunity to engage with the entire life cycle of a book — from a book’s birth and acquisition, all the way through to its second life, in the reader’s hands. I cannot wait to widen my knowledge of publishing and to do this learning among a team that keeps poetry at the forefront. In just two weeks, Copper Canyon has shown me how deeply they believe “poetry is vital to language and living.” I am honored and overjoyed to be the first Publishing Fellow. Over the moon perhaps, and I’d prefer you left me there.
CCP: Please tell us a Copper Canyon title you love, and why.
E: Here, I am tempted to write an endless list, but will settle for the title loudest in my memory: Tyree Daye’s Cardinal. For the way it leaves my body feeling traveled in, though it is the poems and its narrators and ghosts that travel while Black – through history, across towns and cities. I am particularly fond of the first poem, “Field Notes on Leaving,” for its use of white space and how it feels like a body searching the sky for answers or home. “If you see me dancing a two-step / I’m sending a starless code / we’re escaping everywhere.”
CCP: How do you read a poetry collection?
E: What I love of poetry: its spiral engine, turning endlessly in, or out, depending on where you begin. The possibilities grow. So, I read a collection from cover to end, and always repeat. Each read through, the language reveals a bit more of its underbelly, the connections between poems ignite, and the meaning of a work becomes meanings, or rather, a spilling out of into over. What I’ve been trying to say: I read poetry like a body starved of truth and lies and answers. Like a body wanting to be fed.