Ink for an Odd Cartography

Publication Date: April 2009


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How can poems map the distance between bodies or mark the boundaries separating action and desire?  Award-winning poet and Wichita State University alumna Michele Battiste explores uncharted physical and psychic ground in Ink for an Odd Cartography, a revealing collection of narrative poems.  Ink for an Odd Cartography travels from San Francisco to Wichita to New York City, surveying the places and spaces where children talk to gravel, stalkers give pointers, bridges are naughty, and fallen angels kill time in night clubs.

In Ink for an Odd Cartography, Battiste takes on the poetics of geography, examining the influence landscape and place have on people and their decisions.  She investigates the charged distance between individuals, the space between where all the action-and interaction-takes place. The final section of the book, “Mapping the Spaces Between” is a linked series of epistolary poems in which a slightly neurotic speaker addresses her lover.  Though the poems begin tenderly, things quickly go awry.



“These poems are driven by some super high-octane duende. They spin and spill all over the place with a controlled recklessness and a sustained energy. She’s ready to take flight at the smallest provocation, wings oiled up, in tune with the mad universe.”

-Jim Daniels

Love poems, lust poems, being-at-loose-end poems, scintillant-banter-with-wine-and-a-friend poems, done up with the rollercoastering sensibility that gypsy queen, high-IQ-and-octane, brazen-21st-century-chick Michele Battiste brings to the page, the smarts and tenderness lurking under a verbal surface that pops with a scavenging packrat’s hoard of sine curves, tarantellas, pad thai, medical marijuana, Cassiopeia, maki with wasabi, petit mal seizures, Toasted Almond lipstick, doumbek rhythms, tchotchke merchandise, daikon root and cardamom and a Pepper Grove pinot noir, not to mention Ovid’s Book X…odd (and lively) cartography indeed.”

-Albert Goldbarth

About the Author

© photo by Tom Sundro Lewis

Michele Battiste

Michele Battiste is the author of two poetry collections: Ink for an Odd Cartography (2009) and Uprising (2013), both from Black Lawrence Press. She is also the author of four chapbooks, the most recent of which is Lineage (Binge Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines such as American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Review, Anti-, The Awl, and Verse Daily, and her reviews have appeared in Rain Taxi, Open Letters Monthly, and Rattle. She has received grants, awards, and residencies from The Center for the American West, AWP, the Jerome Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Poetry Society of Virginia, and the Blue Mountain Center. Michele has taught creative writing and literature at Wichita State University, the University of Colorado, and Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City, but she currently raises funds for nonprofits undoing corporate evil.

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