ode boutique

2019--01

Artist Interview

Molly Hatch

May 7, 2019


Molly Hatch is, among a myriad of things, a smile-maker. Everything she creates—from whimsical mugs, to vases with a surprise twist, to books that open into bouquets—is meant to delight and bring joy. Locally situated and nationally acclaimed, Molly Hatch is an artist whose collections of ceramics, books, totes, and gifts playfully mix the traditional and familiar with the modern and new. The result is a breadth of work from which anyone can find a personal treasure or the perfect gift. Molly will be leading a Succulent Painting Ode Workshop this Thursday, where participants will receive her new book and learn to play with plants and watercolor. (Sounds like the makings for a beautiful Mother's Day card!)

Ceramicist, painter, author, teacher: is there anything else you hope to add to that list?
Ha! That is a lot isn’t it? I am pretty happy with the list as it is…

What’s on your playlist when you work?
I often listen to Mozart piano, podcasts (any and all true crime podcasts) and on photo shoot
days we listen to Maggie Rogers Pandora station.

You are the daughter of a painter and an organic farmer. Do you have any particular cherished
memory from watching or helping them work?

I think the biggest take-away from my childhood was my work ethic. My favorite chore growing
up was weeding in the garden—there is always something so satisfying about a freshly weeded
row of plants!


What’s your go-to gift to give?
I love gifting a mug—everyone always can use a new favorite mug!

Best thing about Spring?
My favorite thing about spring is hearing the peepers on evening walks with my dog—you know
the weather is really changing and spring is about to be in full swing when the peepers are
singing at night.

What fills your cup?
Seeing my designs in use is so incredible! I love when people share how they are living with my
products, it’s amazing to get those emails and messages with photos and kind words about how
my work affects those who live with it. Warms my heart!

There’s a children’s book called Beautiful Oops, which celebrates mistakes: a smudge or tear is
transformed into something beautiful. When have you, as an artist, “messed up” and created
something great from that mistake?

All the time! It’s actually one of my favorite parts of being an artist designer. Often “happy
accidents’ lead to some of my best designs.

Current favorite color and/or pattern:
I always love cobalt blue, can’t go wrong! Liberty calicos are my favorite patterns.


What contemporary artists inspire you?
I am a big fan of Beth Lipman, a glass artist from Wisconsin, Melanie Bielenker is a jeweler in PA
whom I also admire.

Is there any place or thing you’ve seen that’s visually stunned you?
Portugal blew me away—all of the tile everywhere! It was a fantastic survey of every possibleway to live with and use tile architecturally both inside and outside.

Featured Look

Poetry Reading at Ode

April 12, 2019

Artist Interview

Nathan McClain

April 12, 2019



In the poem "Casabianca", Elizabeth Bishop writes, "Love's the boy stood on the burning deck/ trying to recite `The boy stood on/  the burning deck.' Love's the son/ stood stammering elocution/ while the poor ship in flames went down." She ends the poem with "And love's the burning boy." Nathan McClain poetry reads as if it written from the vantage of that burning deck, that boy, that love. He writes “the whole mess”—messes made by families, across landscapes, through history. And he doesn’t shy away from any of the details. In this adherence to the particulars of “how reckless we’d been, how much we’d ruined”, he shows us the whole human: what we’ve done, what’s been done to us, and those moments, when the only thing left standing is love. Nathan McClain is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), and is currently a visiting assistant professor of creative writing and African American literary arts at Hampshire College. He will be reading at Ode on Friday, April 12th, 6-8pm, alongside poets Leslie Marie Aguilar, Arda Collins, and Dora Malech.

An ode and an elegy meet on the sidewalk. How do they greet each other?
You say “meet,” but I feel like they more likely literally run into each other, which, I suppose, is a kind of meeting. The ode is turning a bright green apple in its hands, utterly captured, and the elegy is saying goodbye to everything it passes: the flitting bird, the budding tree, its reflection in the café glass, its cold coffee.

Poem that changed your life or poem you wish you’d written:
I wish I’d written “No Kingdom,” by Carl Phillips. It’s a poem I return to again and again; it’s a poem I teach regularly. I love how simplistic the event and diction are, though the tonal complexity, its modulations, are staggering, how the ordinary is transformed and deepened through image, how the poem shifts to a certain resignation, or ambiguity, how quiet the poem remains.

April has been called “the cruelest month”. What would you call it?
April can be cruel, it’s true, but it’s also a month devoted to writing and sharing and reading poems, too! How could I be mad at that or see that as cruel?! I will say I have never finished a NaPoWriMo, not quite, so maybe April is a kind of disappointment?

Give us a writing prompt:
One of my favorite poems, one I teach constantly, is Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Bight” (if you don’t know it, you should absolutely read it). With that in mind, meticulously describe a landscape or scene, rich with details. There should be an underlying narrative, though that narrative should only be communicated through image, or figurative language. How the writer details and frames the world should define the emotional stakes and narrative cues for a reader.

The question “does poetry matter” can be an annoying one, so we won’t ask you that. BUT, if poetry was actual physical matter, what would it feel/smell/taste like?
Hmmm… actual matter? Poetry would feel, at turns, like wind-blown grass or animal fur, smell like the whole roasted chicken, but in the cartoons, a character floating on the aroma into the kitchen. Poetry would probably taste like the red hot jawbreakers from my childhood.

By what quotes/lines/provocations/inspirations/affirmations do you live (or aspire to)?
When I lived in Brooklyn, I used to walk by an American Apparel on my way to work. I tracked each stage of its closure—the shelves stripped down, becoming barer, the sales becoming more and more desperate. At some point, long after the clothing, the furniture, the employees, were gone, someone taped to the pale brick wall: “please allow me to be tender with you, / please allow yourself to be tender with me.” If there’s a provocation to which I aspire to live, I feel as though it would be that.

What books are on your nightstand or docket?
Well, that’s changed, or at least increased, because of AWP recently. Of the 20 or so books (far too many to lug around) I bought, I’m particularly excited for Jericho Brown’s The Tradition, Keetje Kuipers’ All Its Charms, Geffrey Davis’ Night Angler, Jessica Jacobs’ Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going, Sam Ross’ Company, and so many others. I had a good haul at AWP.

What does your poetry wear to a party?
Maybe a wool cardigan with leather elbow patches? Skinny jeans? Tennis shoes? Keeping it classy, staying casual.

Go-to morning song:
Hmm. I don’t generally listen to music early on, but I’ll say that I recently rewatched the second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy, and I loved watching baby Groot dance to ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky”. It was adorable.

What’s the most recent line you’ve written:
“I lost my voice,” which I believe will be the title of a new poem. I frequently teach my students that it doesn’t take a great event to begin a poem; I actually did lose my voice recently after having a cold. I’ve lost my voice before. I don’t think I would have thought about writing a poem about it if it wasn’t writing other poems that feel related to the subject matter.

 

Artist Interview

Arda Collins

April 11, 2019




What does your poetry wear to a party? Arda Collins' reply: “For some reason, this made me picture a pine tree at a party, so whatever the pine tree is doing, that’s the answer.” Somehow, this is the perfect way to describe Arda’s work. Deceptively plain-spoken moments make way for the uncanny. The familiar, when misplaced, become other and new. Comedy, they say, is tragedy plus time. Well, Arda harnesses that tragedy and that time. Her poems are both the really good house party and its unexpected guest, the pine. Arda Collins is the author of a collection of poems, It Is Daylight, which was awarded the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. She is currently teaching poetry as a Lecturer in English Language & Literature at Smith College. She will be reading at Ode on Friday, April 12th, 6-8pm, with poets Leslie Marie Aguilar, Nathan McClain, and Dora Malech.

An ode and an elegy meet on the sidewalk. How do they greet each other?

They say, “I love you” at exactly the same time.

Poem that changed your life or poem you wish you’d written:
“If you want to kill yourself, how come you don’t want to kill yourself?” by Fernando Pessoa.
This poem isn’t actually about suicide. It’s about the nature of reality, and Pessoa can talk about
metaphysics and still be so funny. When I first read this so long ago, it was a revelation.

April has been called “the cruelest month.” What would you call it?
Winter Part Three. I live in Massachusetts! Last night it snowed a little even though the
daffodils have started to come up in my yard.



Give us a writing prompt:
Describe the worst sunset you’ve ever seen.

The question “does poetry matter” can be an annoying one, so we won’t ask you that. BUT, if
poetry was actual physical matter, what would it feel/smell/taste like?

Gin and tonic on a February evening when it’s a little light out.

By what quotes/lines/provocations/inspirations/affirmations do you live (or aspire to)?
I do whatever the quotes on the box of herbal tea tell me to do.

What books are on your nightstand or docket?
Rivka Galchen’s collection of stories, American Innovations
James Baldwin’s collected essays

What does your poetry wear to a party?
For some reason, this made me picture a pine tree at a party, so whatever the pine tree is
doing, that’s the answer.

Go-to morning song:
Aretha Franklin, “Who’s Zoomin Who?”

What’s the most recent line you’ve written:
“I walk into a room and it’s as though I’ve just been born.”

 

Artist Interview

Dora Malech

April 9, 2019


Elvis lives. A gentleman: elegant man. The eyes, they see. Anagrams are cool. Words that beget other words, using the exact same letters. A fun game, an impressive trick, you think. But then you meet Dora Malech...and your mind is blown. If one can have a way with words, Dora has a universe. Her recent collection, Stet, employs anagrams and other formal restraints to create poems that simultaneously alight and take flight. She works from a lyrically molecular level to get at the heart of the matter. Dora's poetry is much like her visual art: intricate lines meticulously crossing and recrossing each other, creating multitudes. Look close, and the center always holds. But step back, and you’ll begin to see that from all of these lines, these pieces, these iterations, comes the shape of something whole: a living, breathing form. 

Dora Malech is the author of Stet (Princeton University Press, 2018), Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011), and Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2009). Her fourth collection, Flourish, will be published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2020. She is assistant professor with The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. She will be leading a Poetry Word-Shop at Ode on Thursday, April 11th, and reading from her work on Friday, April 12th, alongside poets Nathan McClain, Arda Collins, and Leslie Marie Aguilar. 

An ode and an elegy meet on the sidewalk. How do they greet each other?
The ode would be a big hugger and full of compliments for the elegy. The elegy would just nod in the moment, but she would later send the ode a lengthy formal letter articulating how much that moment meant to her.


                                                           "Ecosystem" by Dora Malech               

Poem that changed your life or poem you wish you’d written:
Gwendolyn Brooks’s “To The Young Who Want to Die,” which ends:

Graves grow no green that you can use.
Remember, green's your color. You are Spring.

April has been called “the cruelest month”. What would you call it?
It’s National Poetry Month, so I’d call it a full calendar.

                                      

Give us a writing prompt:
Write a poem that describes a body of water from your childhood. You can interpret “body of water” literally—a lake, ocean, or reservoir, for example—or you can go with a more personal interpretation—an open fire hydrant, a bathtub. Try to portray the feeling of being in or near that body of water without using more than three adjectives (descriptive words like “blue” or “warm”) in your entire poem. Use no “adverbs of manner” (the “-ly” adverbs like “madly” or “loudly”). (It might help to write freely, and then go back in and replace these words if you find them.) Restricting these descriptive words will push you to find strong, specific verbs (action words) and nouns (people, places, things), as well as strong surprising figurative language (metaphors, etcetera). Title your water poem either “Origin Story” or “Creation Myth.”

The question “does poetry matter” can be an annoying one, so we won’t ask you that. BUT, if poetry was actual physical matter, what would it feel/smell/taste like?
Rich, wet earth and sunlight—the conditions for growth.
                                                                                                   
By what quotes/lines/provocations/inspirations/affirmations do you live (or aspire to)?
It changes every day! Right now, it’s the end of Ada Limón’s poem “Instructions on Not Giving Up”:

. . . . Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

                                               "Hover" by Dora Malech

What books are on your nightstand or docket?
I just finished reading Marwa Helal’s Invasive Species (Nightboat Books, 2019). I’m about to start Darcie Dennigan’s The Parking Lot and other feral scenarios (Forklift Books, 2018).

What does your poetry wear to a party?
Velvet pants and a fanny pack. Or maybe that’s just me.

Go-to morning song:
Right now, The Dirty Projector’s “Break-Thru” and Lizzo’s “Juice.”

What are the most recent lines you’ve written:
What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?
What’s a girl like you doing in?
What’s a girl like you?