National Poetry Month Spotlight: Michele Battiste

Accepting the Newborn
Bees are dying, eon-old tree
frog species appear to have
disappeared, coy leaflets hiding
only dew and droppings.  I root
for cutter ants, little bodies
like keys, locking up entire
Central American eco-
systems, their devotion to
compost carved into rainforest
floors, mapping the cycle of food
then life, then food.  What I wish for
you is complicated.  It’s a
guilty trade when the littlest
ones go first, go fast, and beckon.
Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
A: My favorite place to write is Flatiron Coffee, a little coffeehouse bookending a very unsexy strip mall in Boulder.  It’s next to a Great Clips and a shoe repair shop where they tried to charge me, no joke, $95 to repair a pair of sandals that cost $19.
Q: Do you remember the first poem you read that really blew your mind?
A: For my 14th birthday, my best friend gave me Langston Hughes’ Selected.  I remember reading Montage of a Dream Deferred over and over again and thought that I had discovered that language could be music.
Q: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the
last 12 months?
A: Up until recently, my political and social activism consisted mainly of voting, on-line petitions, small monetary contributions, and arguing with my conservative parents.  In the last couple of months I have become a very active advocate for childcare at CU Boulder, and it amazes me the power one individual has to make changes in her community.  I’m hooked.
Michele Battiste’s first book, Ink for an Odd Cartography, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award and was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2009.  Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming on Verse Daily and in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Rattle.  She currently lives in Boulder, CO where she teaches and studies and wades in the creek.