Meet the Fellow: Kaci X. Tavares

Copper Canyon Press welcomes Kaci X. Tavares as our Poetry Publishing Fellow and it’s our pleasure to introduce you to her here on #MeettheFellowFriday. We asked Kaci 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?

K: I can’t believe I get an immersive, hands-on apprenticeship at a leading press across all areas of publishing—from acquisition to editing, production to design, marketing to finance. I particularly love CCP’s dual identity as publisher and non-profit, which allows its talented team to center both CCP’s mission—poetry is vital to language and living—and its dedication to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, two beliefs I share. Every day, I wake up knowing I get to champion verse that is changing the poetic landscape and help bring it to readers worldwide—how many people can say that?

CCP: Please tell us a Copper Canyon title you love, and why. 

K: If you read one book this year, please read Lucille Clifton’s The Book of Light. I consumed this resonate collection of chiaroscuro in one sitting. Though written thirty years ago, these poems’ seemingly fragile forms hold a palimpsest of the political and cultural fears Black communities and women still face today. Whether she be speaking to Superman, Atlas, Lucifer, or her own daughters, the hero of this story is Lucille—the Black female poet who decides to live. “won’t you celebrate with me / what I have shaped into / a kind of life?” 

CCP: How do you read a poetry collection?

K: In this order, first:

  1. The Front Cover and Back Cover
  2. The Table of Contents
  3. The poem that sounds the most personal
  4. The poem that looks the most controversial
  5. The poems with the most intriguing forms or that contain bilingual verse

In this order, second: From cover to cover

With these things, always:

  1. A cup of tea (English breakfast before noon, peppermint after)
  2. A pen and notebook
  3. An eye for craft
  4. A desire to learn
  5. An open heart