National Poetry Month Spotlight: Katie Umans

When I saw the boy
catching frogs, adding
their small weights to
what he cared for and could not
let go, it was not that I wished
to jump from his net, bugling
my abundant song.
It was only that I saw
straight through myself
and although I was green
and lush, I had no lusts
the width of pond.
I have heard throats
clamped shut
unclose themselves:
they make the sound
of blooming over garden walls.
They make the sound of cakes
thumped from the pans.
I was once soil, tilled and tumbling
with dumbstruck worms.
I did not smell of trees
until I climbed to see
the funeral below me.
My hem was muddied.
The view was clear:
there was a body
being left alone.
Q: Where is your favorite place to write?

A: If there is a spot near water, I’ll take that. It’s also nice to climb into high spaces — attics, garrets, lofts. Otherwise (and mostly) wherever my desk is.
Q: Do you remember the first poem you read that really blew your mind?
A: “The Doormouse and the Doctor” by A.A. Milne. Such pathos… if you’re about five years old and very affected by animal sadness.  I have had hard feelings toward chrysanthemums ever since my dad first read it to me. I think the first non-kid poem to blow my mind was Prufrock.
Q: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the last 12 months?
A: Most meaningfully interesting: I got married. Most fleetingly interesting: I saw Tom Cruise buying cider donuts at a farmstand.
Katie Umans’ first book of poems, Flock Book, will be published next year (Black Lawrence Press). Her poems have appeared in a number of journals, most recently Barrow Street and Indiana Review. She lives in New Hampshire.