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Artist Interview

Dora Malech

April 8, 2016

 
                                                                                                                     "Hover" by Dora Malech

Dora Malech doesn’t drive a black car. She doesn’t have a Labrador. She owns an aging Chihuahua named Angel and drives through Baltimore in a sedan the color of a clementine. She knows all the words to “Semi-Charmed Life” and half of Shakespeare. She can rock galaxy-printed spandex like no other and take a figure of speech and explode it. When have you heard a word multiply? When has a punchline made you cry? Meet Dora Malech: author (of Shore Ordered Ocean and Say So), poet, teacher, artist, blogger, activist, and winner of the “rhymes with” contest. 

What were your first words…as a poet?
I had a pink diary in which I wrote daily journal entries from front to back and poems from back to front when I was a kid, so my daily life and my imagination kind of met in the middle, as they should. I definitely remember using the word “lagoon” in one of those poems.

What does your Bitmoji wear when she’s writing?
I’ll let her answer that:

 

What would you rhyme with “rhymes with”?
In a poem—
               time’s myth.
Or—
         lime’s pith.

But also… Grimes GIF? 

via GIPHY

Best scar story:
My knees don’t agree with hills and stairs. I’ve taken a tumble down hills in both hemispheres—once in San Francisco and once in Wellington, New Zealand. I also took a nice bloody fall down a flight of stairs after the first time I read at Ode, an act I’d rather not repeat this time.

Describe your perfect bachelorette party.
I think it would involve karaoke and crab dip. My idea of “fun” is basically shaped by the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, regardless of the significance of the celebration.

What’s the best thing you’ve heard a child say?
The misunderstandings stick with me. Someone close to me refused to be a ring bearer in a wedding when he was a little kid, because he thought he was being asked to be some kind of circus animal—a “ring bear.” 

Is there a photo of something that inspires you? 

  

What’s on your bucket list?
Does dismantling institutional biases and systemic inequality count? That’s going to take more buckets than just mine though.

Where is the best place to eat in Baltimore, and what do you order?
I’d recommend an entire eating tour, but if you’re going to go to one place, stop in at Lexington Market for crab cakes and oysters. While you’re there, you can pick up some Berger cookies, which are basically big lumps of fudge with something cookie-like underneath.

What was the last revision you made on a poem?
An editor saved me from unintentionally but egregiously ripping off Dylan Thomas in the final line of a recent poem. Once it was pointed out, it was so obvious, but it felt like it had just come to me! It’s fixed now, so I won’t tell you where to look for it. Too embarrassing.

Favorite name of something found in nature:
I like the monosyllabic ones, like bract and rill. Though every poet loves petrichor. And you can’t go wrong with Chihuahua, though I don’t think they’re found in nature very often.

                                                                      "Angel"