National Poetry Month Spotlight: Jessica Piazza

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections. In turn, the featured poets will introduce poems they love. Happy April!
Today’s featured poet is Jessica Piazza, author of This is not a sky.
Piazza_front coverPrint Gallery
after Escher
And the world endlessly curved. And the stairs never went anywhere.
And always, I stayed right here. And always, you stayed very still.
I lived in this gallery. I saw you once, across. But you seemed endlessly cross,
so I only watched you for days.
You leaned toward me, elbows on sill. The boat in the water
tipped. The gondola wasn’t ashore. And I wasn’t sure anymore.
I never could fill in your face. It might have been me, across. You were always a cross
away, behind each windowpane’s wooden T.
And the paintings were mounted on air. I watched you, across, and here. You were just at the end of the hall. I watched you, impossibly near.
And it’s been a hundred years
of windows and windows and walls.
And every escape I might have endeavored, they limit.
     (If there is an outside,
I’m in it.)

Jessica has chosen to introduce: “Where Babies Come From” by Karen Skolfield.
She says:  To tell the truth, the narrative address isn’t usually my favorite form but this knocked it out of the park. The touch of surrealism gave it a fragmented feeling, which was really fun in a poem that borrows heavily from straightforward prose on a sentence level. Great juxtaposition of the familiar and defamiliarizing  Plus, I don’t have a child, but I imagine that this is how it would feel, especially in the beginning. What a coup for a poem to capture that.
Jess_Bright2Jessica Piazza is the author of two full-length poetry collections from Red Hen Press: Interrobang–winner of the AROHO 2011 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize and the 2013 Balcones Poetry Prize–and Obliterations (with Heather Aimee O’Neill, forthcoming), as well as the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press.) She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and is currently a contributing editor for The Offending Adam and a screener for the National Poetry Series. She is the co-founder of Bat City Review in Austin, TX and Gold Line Press in Los Angeles, and she teaches for the Writing Program at USC and the online MFA program at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. In 2015 she started the “Poetry Has Value” project, hoping to spark the conversation about poetry and worth. Learn more at or