National Poetry Month Spotlight: Michele Battiste

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2016! 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.

Today’s featured poet is Michele Battiste, author of  Ink for an Odd Cartography and Uprising.

UprisingMiksa Beckmann
When the Arrow Cross came in 44, I was wily, one
step ahead and always hiding. I knew the ghetto,
its shadows and recesses, the corners
that transformed a body into stone or a stick
of furniture. I lost my children to foresight
in ‘36. My husband, faithful to Hungary, let them leave
us behind. I lost him to Auschwitz. He was not
as stealthy. All I had left was my life and I hung
on to it. I should not have become complacent, believing
the Stalinist dream, growing light and large
with greedy breathing, deluded to think the air
free. Once again my life is contained in a suitcase,
25 kilos and 60 years of suffering.
They are deporting me to the village of Jaszapati
because of a suspicious foreign contact –
my daughter, Vera Beckmann, residing at
1029 Central Avenue, Ocean City, New Jersey.
mcbseriosasmallMichele 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.