Wind and Shadows: In Pursuit of a Grandfather’s Story: A Conversation with Tyler Mills by Frances Richey

Wind and Shadows: In Pursuit of a Grandfather’s Story: A Conversation with Tyler Mills by Frances Richey
May 24, 2024 Richey Frances

Wind and Shadows: In Pursuit of a Grandfather’s Story
A Conversation with Tyler Mills
by Frances Richey

In early April, 2024, I met with the poet, essayist and memoirist, Tyler Mills, to discuss her new memoir, The Bomb Cloud, and how it resonates with her poetry collection, Hawk Parable, written on the same subject. They are truly companion books, each richer for the other. They were written in pursuit of her grandfather’s personal classified history with The Manhattan Project. Family secrets generally carry with them equal parts mystery and danger, and in this case, on multiple levels. Tyler’s family history intertwines with one of the most momentous occasions in American and global science history. And yet, her search is also simply one of a granddaughter who wants to know and understand more deeply a beloved grandfather. What follows is a wide-ranging conversation into that mystery and danger.



Frances Richey:  Congratulations on The Bomb Cloud.


Tyler Mills: Thank you. Thank you for having me.


FR: As I read your poetry collection Hawk Parable and then your memoir, The Bomb Cloud, I was impressed with how seamlessly you move between prose and poetry. Is one easier for you than the other, or do you love them equally? Which came first?


TM: I started out as a poet, but I feel the genres are intertwined. When I’m drafting some of my poems, I will sometimes draft in prose poem blocks, and then transform those blocks into poems. So it wasn’t a far stretch for me to write essays. Essays need a kind of plot, a structure, even if that structure is organic or associative. Poems, too, engage their own designs, though the voice is the driving force of the shape they take.


FR: Were you writing poetry when you were a child?


TM: I was. Yes. My poems were very heartfelt. I discovered Emily Dickinson in middle school and wrote in her style. And then I found Sylvia Plath.


FR: That’s interesting. Emily Dickinson was my first poet-crush. And in college, it was Sylvia Plath. And for you, after Plath?


TM:  When I was in college, I  started out as a musician at a conservatory. I wanted to be a violinist and was a performance and music education double major. I was at a music conservatory for one year. While I was there, I took two literature courses: Ancient literature, where I studied The Iliad and The Odyssey, and a survey poetry class. In the poetry class I was exposed to the Modernists and Frost. This opened my eyes to a history of contemporary poetry—scratching the surface, of course—and I wanted to be an English major. Once I switched majors and colleges, I started reading Lucille Clifton, and I fell in love with her poems, Blessing the Boats in particular. I loved her imagery, how she said so much with such a fine-tuned approach to description and metaphor. And then, after her, Milosz


FR: So do you consider Clifton and Milosz your influences?


TM: My early influences. The poet Shara McCallum first showed me a poet’s path, and her poems about history, memory, and childhood were so influential. Studying with her was a game-changer when I was an undergraduate writer in a workshop for the first time. Her work is incredible. She’s such a force.


FR: When you were working, particularly on The Bomb Cloud, did you ever have that feeling that an unseen hand was helping you, that doors were opening that you didn’t expect?


TM: I do feel that way. Yes. I was living in New Mexico and teaching there, and my interest in the Southwest brought me there. The poems from Hawk Parable take place in part there, and I was still working on The Bomb Cloud and was knee deep in family history. When I lived in New Mexico, I started to see some of the photos in my grandfather’s album in a new way, and I felt like I was being guided through history differently. Opportunities presented themselves when I was doing my travels, like to the White Sands Missile Range to connect my body with memory and place. The scent of the air, the wind, the certain slant of light, to quote Dickinson, that kind of presence of place guided me so that I almost felt like I was getting glimmers of answers to the larger story, to my grandfather’s story, and being led in the direction that the book was going to go.


And I also think that there’s a kind of magic that happens with archival material and sometimes there is a kind of unseen hand at work. I think engaging with things that, for whatever reason, have been saved, are fascinating because of how fortunate their existence is.


As I wrote about in The Bomb Cloud, I had access to an address book that was my great aunt’s. She meticulously recorded where loved ones lived, and just so happened to keep detailed records of my grandfather’s military placements. Her notes helped me confirm his bomb wing number, which I located as well in one of the photos he had. And it took me some time to realize what kind of a clue that was. To go back to what you were saying about the unseen hand, because of the landscape, because of having lived in New Mexico, I was able to look at those photos and recognize the landscape in photos of him in his Jeep driving around what would later become the White Sands Missile Range. (He always called it “White Sands.”).


FR: I was thinking about The Bomb Cloud as a whole, the complete book, and I had the thought that I’d been on a journey, and at the end, I was thinking how hard that must have been. At the same time, you’ve given the reader details of the history of that time and event that one might not find anywhere else. Your book should be on the list of books about Los Alamos for anyone who’s researching The Manhattan Project. We have a lot of the history: the documentaries and Oppenheimer, and the book that it came from, and other films and books, but there are so many details in The Bomb Cloud that wouldn’t be found in the other books. You’ve created something that has value to you personally, yes, but that also has value for many different groups of people outside your family.


The Bomb Cloud is so beautifully written. There were times when I felt like I could lift a passage out of the prose and break the lines and it would be a perfect poem. At the same time, it isn’t weighted down by poetic language. It just flows. It’s interesting to read a book where the prose is successfully lyrical around such horrifying events and subject matter. There are many different kinds of dangers including the ultimate danger, the end of life on earth and earth itself.


Were there things when you were working on these books that scared you as you did the research and then put pen to page? About family, about the world itself? Are you still living with the fallout from the deep work on your books?


TM: Yes. So much about the The Bomb Cloud frightened me, and, how to put this, there are so many layers to this. When I finished the book, I was ready to be finished with the subject itself. I was so immersed in it for so long. I needed space, and when I turned it in to my editor, Patrick Davis—who is just amazing, such a good editor and such a kind person—he wanted an intro. And he wanted it connected to the present time. One of the last things I wrote was the very beginning of the book, where I write about sitting in the cafe connecting the book to the Ukraine War and Vladimir Putin…and that terrified me.


And I’m thinking about the way this book may or may not continue to be timely. That frightens me as well because when I started writing the book years ago, it sounded like I was delving into the distant past, especially when I was writing the poems in Hawk Parable, which came before The Bomb Cloud, and people would say, oh, that’s interesting, you’re really invested in this WWII story and then post WWII, where the atomic tests were historic investigations, and then, as I was writing the memoir, that’s when nuclear alerts went off in Hawaii, and the tension began arising in a very public way with North Korea.


FR: When was that?


TM: Everyone in Hawaii received an alert, sent by mistake, on their wireless device and on the TV and radio to take shelter immediately because of an incoming nuclear missile.


FR: Was that recently?


TM: That was in 2018. I was working on the book and the subject became much more timely and resonated more with our national psyche then. I mean, I do think for people who work at Los Alamos and deal with these secrets, the subject has always been timely because nuclear materials are not going away. In terms of a human sense of time, this substance might as well be eternal. So yes, there were many times as I was writing when I was very afraid. When I realized that my grandfather’s story was still in part classified, I felt this bone-chilling sensation because so much is available, so many historical stories are able to be found. As I was writing this story, people were saying, “Everything’s available on Google, why can’t you interview more people?” Almost like, What’s wrong with you? As I sat there at the New York Public Library one morning while I was working on this book, supported by a Café Cultural Grant, I thought, What would it take for something, even now, about The Manhattan Project, to be classified? And when I approached the edge of that question the hairs on my arms stood on end. That’s when I became very aware of my fear. And I think fear guided me in the writing. I didn’t want to state untruths. I wanted to gesture at possibilities using the facts at my disposal because I felt like so much was, and is, at stake.


FR: To your mind, what was at stake?


TM: There are so many layers to that question. Many lies were told about the Manhattan Project. There’s so much violence around its secrecy. Pueblo communities and Hispanic ranchers who lived and farmed near the Trinity Site in New Mexico who were not told that an atomic explosion had taken place. They weren’t given any warning that it was going to happen, either. And they weren’t even told directly after the fact what had actually happened.


There was fallout falling all over the fields. They were told it was a munitions explosion, and nothing more. And I think about that as a profound violence.


So, with this subject, it’s important to seek answers to the hard questions. On the other hand, it’s important not to state mistruths or sensationalize it, even accidentally, because so many mistruths about this subject were stated with dangerous consequences.


FR: And when you say dangerous consequences you’re talking about people’s health?


TM: Yes. So many people became sick. Generations of people in New Mexico. They were downwinders from the test, at the edge of the test site, and their families experienced cancer from that test for generations.


FR: You took on a huge responsibility in writing these books, the poetry and the prose.  You chose to reject conspiracy theories and uncorroborated stories. To use a really bad metaphor, it’s a minefield to decipher what’s true and what isn’t true in a project like this. I was touched by those places where someone in a library or research center would go above and beyond to point you in the right direction. Your books are fortified with an uncompromising intention to stay truthful instead of looking for ways to make the story even more sensational.


TM: You’re right, I never wanted to do that. My publisher got the project and wanted to honor what I was doing. They never pushed me in that direction.


FR: And as a reader, I never felt pushed. The narrator is genuine. It’s a voice that I, as a reader, trusted. And fueling it all, in both books, is the search for the grandfather, his part in Los Alamos, what he experienced in playing his part.


The Bomb Cloud and Hawk Parable resonate with each other. I became aware of those images that weave through both books. The wind is a major player, uncontrollable, and carrying the consequences of that explosion far and wide on multiple levels. The down-winders especially struck me in The Bomb Cloud.


And the shadow/shadows call to each other from one book to the other. In The Bomb Cloud, the black dog that follows you around becomes the shadow dog, and even more so when he disappears. And the last poem in Hawk Parable where a person’s shadow is seared into an outdoor stairway in Hiroshima. An indelible image.


Elegy for the Human Shadow Etched in Stone
Hito Kage No Ishii, steps of Sumitomo Bank, Hiroshima
Archive of a person, you cross your legs
below the sun. It looks like a bundle of linens
climbs the stairs above you
daily as a bell pulled in a tower.
Early enough for an errand, carrying papers
folded up in your hand, you once moved through the air
graying the road in half of a grace
held by a sheen of ox-blood leaves.
In the muscle of the stomach where worry is swallowed,
jasmine began to cool. Can I call it light,
knowing what came? Kettle scorched,
lips and throat gone before calling out then
marbling in a pattern you might cure with balm
nightly until your eyes would cataract into Jupiter pupils,
open as an owl’s—opening—opening.
Particles jump out of thought:
quills of light, heels of molten glass
ripped up from the ground by wind.
Someone else shielded in a room underground
took a breath, then another breath—
umbra of gums bleeding under the teeth.
Vapor is a value. Suddenly, you were every-
where when the bank door unbolted,
X-marks tracked like minutes marked in dust.
Your mind webbed with heat in one second.
Zone of noon. Stolen form. I can’t name you.


Copyright © 2019 by Tyler Mills. Reprinted from Hawk Parable with the permission of the University of Akron Press.



Were you aware of these recurring images as you were writing?


TM: In Hawk Parable, especially, I was thinking of the victims of the explosions in Japan. The atomic bombs turned people into shadows. That was on my mind, deeply. And to think, too, about the way shadows might appear in the text, what a shadow is and means as a representation of a presence, and to indicate what may or may not exist in the texts that are available to us is something that I thought about a lot as I was writing. I was also inspired by the landscape of New Mexico with the brilliant sun, and it casts these very stark, long shadows on the ground too, so the sun marks your presence there. That was a motif in the book, the landscape and the shadows it holds.


FR: Your poems especially captured that for me. And there were passages in the memoir as well. Both prose and poetry are powerful in this respect, but different.


I have to mention your collages in The Bomb Cloud. They were beautiful and arresting, and strange. I wondered where the idea came from to make them and how they helped you in the process of writing the book.


TM: When I was working on Hawk Parable, there was some research I was gathering by hand, and I was recording it from declassified texts about bird migration. I was copying so much down with a pen on paper and trying to figure out ways to engage with the material, but then a lot of it wasn’t working inside of poems. I saved all of my handwritten notes, kept looking at the handwriting and figuring out the traces of my presence on the page, and then traces of history in the content of what I was writing.


At that time, I was inspired by Susan Howe, and her work, That This, and the ways that language can operate between being legible and illegible, conveying another way of being, and presence. That was inspiring to me. And I was also thinking a lot about Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and how visual media worked in that text. Both of those texts influenced me a lot when I was making the collages that would become part of The Bomb Cloud. I also wanted to reckon with a reproduction of the Trinity Cloud and, in a way, abstract it, but also saturate it with color and place it in a new context so that I could engage with it more directly and perhaps a reader might, as well. There’s something so terrifying and awful about the shape of an atomic explosion. It’s been parodied so often in pop culture and almost turned into a cartoon. So how do you get someone to regard it with fresh eyes? That was a question I had, and the visual media was my way into it. The residency at Yaddo, where I met you, that’s where I made the ten visual afterimage works that are in the book.


FR: I had no idea that’s what you were doing. I thought you were writing! It was wonderful to talk to you back then because we were on sort of parallel missions that had to do with murky family secrets that correlated with a larger aspect of American history. For you, the question remains, what part did your grandfather play in the Manhattan Project, and then the bombings of cities.


TM: In my memoir, I found myself tracing the shape of those ideas from absences in texts I could access and through the hints in the archival materials I have.


FR: But you were searching for hard copy proof, right? I imagine, just from reading the book and also, having gone through a similar process, that a lot of your ideas are probably true.


TM:  I suspect that too. When I was writing this book I had a conviction that some of my hypotheses were true, but I wanted to lead the reader there. In one chapter I said, here’s information I was able to pull from the archives, here’s the story of what I know of where they were stationed and what happened there. I question, too, what stories history has appeared to solidify into a clear narrative. But when you investigate the narrative, there are holes. Many holes. In my telling, I was interested in the facts and the absences around them.


FR: What did you think of the movie, Oppenheimer? Did you see it?


TM: Yes.


FR: What did you think?


TM: I have opinions. I know that that movie means a lot to a lot of people. There’s a robust film industry in New Mexico and I think that movie meant a lot to the economy there. And the movie is shedding a light on parts of the story that are new to a lot of people, especially younger people. That’s important. On a personal level, I do feel that there are huge issues in the movie that are problematic, in particular the way the film represents Los Alamos and erased the people who were living there before the Manhattan Project took it over. I only saw the film once. But I keep thinking about that scene where Oppenheimer and Kitty were standing in front of a sweeping vista of the New Mexican landscape, looking at the place where the bomb development would be, and there was not a single person in sight. This moment of the film makes it seem like it was this empty landscape ready to be taken for this government project, but the truth is that people lived there, and their land was stolen from them. There are all these ruins right there, near Bandelier National Monument, of indigenous communities that had been on that land for eons. And people lived there. And suddenly, now, this became a national project, and the movie made the narrative palpable for whiteness. I found that problematic. Christopher Nolan made a choice to erase that story. And there are very few people of color in that movie. They didn’t even show where food might have come from for the scientists, or where building materials might have come from. The Hispanic communities living in New Mexico were erased from the story this movie tells. And the movie made it sound like that land was vacant land.


FR: I’m one of those people who didn’t know the historical details. I haven’t read the books about it, and I thought it was vacant land. I thought that was why the government chose it for the test. They did, at least, include that no one knew for sure that the test wouldn’t destroy our planet.


TM: The scientists didn’t know whether or not the bomb would destroy the Earth’s atmosphere, and they detonated it anyway. The film made that consideration almost seem like an act of bravery—like this possibility of complete destruction was discounted in favor of scientific progress. But what does it really mean to consider the possibility of global catastrophe and go ahead with an action anyway?


FR: I had this feeling reading your poetry and prose about this subject, that there was a deep compulsion to pursue atomic history from a family standpoint, but also from the standpoint of the importance of the story itself, so much so, that you can point out what was left out in the movie, Oppenheimer. It feels like you couldn’t not pursue it, as though you almost had no choice. When did it catch fire in you that you had to do the research and then write about it?


TM: That’s hard for me to answer because right now I’m so ready to be done with the subject completely. I’m happy to talk about it, but I kind of wonder, who was I then? I don’t feel like the same person now, so I’m trying to think back to what drove me to complete it. I think it comes down to my grandfather’s story, the way he resisted talking about his role but he sometimes gave glimmers of what it might be. At one point, he said to write, ‘true fiction.’ I think that was his way of telling me to write nonfiction. At the time, I was writing poetry. This was close to when he died.


FR: So he knew you were writing about this.


TM: I showed him one poem that ended up in Hawk Parable. He didn’t say anything about it but he was glad to have the poem, and I left a copy with him. As I was writing the poems for Hawk Parable, this was after he passed, and I was learning more and more about nuclear history, I became very curious about his role but also kept encountering walls in my research. All of this made me more tenacious about wanting to find out more. So the poems open up their scope into the historical, but then I felt like I had more to say and I felt like there was more to be found, which led me to my memoir. And I also ended up living in New Mexico, also, and writing about the history, environment, and culture of the place—a place that became dear to me—also drove The Bomb Cloud.


FR: Were you close to your grandfather?


TM: I adored him. He was always kind to me, and he was funny. He liked to play games with me. He was also a secretive person, and guarded. But he always had a kind of glimmer in his eye. He would say things, and I couldn’t quite figure out if he was saying something at the surface level or if there was more to the story. He was a complex person.


FR: It makes me wonder. He was a pilot, but he may have also been involved in some way in intelligence. Intelligence officers do tend to be like that. My father was in intelligence in WWII, and he never talked about it.


TM: I wonder.


FR: He definitely knew things. When I was reading The Bomb Cloud, I did get the sense that he longed to tell somebody his secrets. “I was there,” if nothing else. He was giving you little hints here and there that he played an important role. It makes me sad, in a way, that he could never tell anyone the whole story. I felt for him as I was reading. I think he really wanted to tell you.


TM: I think he did. I think he was caught between wanting to and being told that would never be possible.


FR: And yet, there are all these books about Los Alamos. What could he have possibly done that was more classified than what we already know?


TM:  Exactly. In the chapter of The Bomb Cloud titled “Address,” partly about an address book of his sister’s that was passed down to my mother, I explore possibilities.


FR: That reminds me of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad. Those lines in the book: The horror! The horror!  In a way, you are, as poet/author, attempting to enter that horror with your grandfather who carried with him to his grave secrets, what he knew and what he saw that he couldn’t tell. You’ve been willing to enter that heart of darkness in your poems and your memoir to find him.


TM: Yes. It’s bone-chilling.


FR: And at the same time, there’s so much life in The Bomb Cloud. In the speaker, and the speaker’s relationship with ‘Batman.’ That was a bit secretive too. Who is this guy?


TM: The Bomb Cloud started as a book of essays. I was living in Chicago, and my partner at the time (he was not my spouse yet) walked in while I was writing, and I wondered, What would he want to be called in this essay? So I asked him, and he said, “Batman,” and just walked out of the room. And I thought, Yes! And I made it work.


FR: So you were protecting his identity.


TM: I wanted to do that because when you’re writing non-fiction, and you’re writing about people in your life, I wonder about to what extent are you giving them privacy and to what extent are you including them as they are? There’s a tension to the ways the persona represents characters, and I think that Batman was my way to tangle with that.


FR: Do you feel like Cat Woman?


TM: Sometimes. I have this good friend who appears in the book as Xena. And I thought, Who am I? Who could I be?


FR: Another aspect of the book I found amazing was the way you interwove your pregnancy and later early motherhood with plans for your road trip through that desert to ground zero in New Mexico. Later in the book, you let us see the baby as a toddler. This longed for new being is in conjunction with the search for your grandfather, and his secrets from the past. There were passages that were so beautiful, and being a mom myself, they resonated with me. My son is almost 50, yet I still remember everything about when he was born. I think those memories are indelible.


TM: It’s like you can hold the child in your mind and feel the shape of their body as a baby. That’s how I feel about my older daughter. (My younger daughter is a baby now!) She’s tall. Yet I feel I can still hold her weight as a baby in my arms in my imagination.


FR: Tell me about your forthcoming book: Poetry Studio.


TM: It’s coming out in late June. Poetry Studio: Prompts for Poets is being published by the University of Akron Press, and it’s a portable generative writing studio you can take with you wherever you go. On any page you’ll find a prompt that is a guided meditation that walks you into a creative mindset even if you are not feeling creative. You can use the book and spend even fifteen minutes sketching out and drafting ideas for a new poem with each of these prompts. I paired the prompts with contemporary poems meant to inspire you and jump-start you into the mindset of writing a poem.


FR: Who are some of the poets you included?

TM: Lucille Clifton, Philip Metres, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lynn Melnick, Ada Limón, to name a few poets.


FR: The Cloak of Invisibility. I wrote that down. I don’t remember where it appeared in the book. Would you speak a little about that?


TM: I read that scientists have been working on creating a cloak of invisibility, which is made from a material that bends light. I was fascinated by this object, which comes from folktales and fairytales.


FR: Wow! Shades of Harry Potter. But to relate it back to the subject of your book, your  grandfather, who was in a way hiding secrets and possibly parts of himself under his own cloak of invisibility.


TM: Yes, what does it mean to disappear parts of yourself and walk through life so that those parts are always unseen? What is hard to talk about or impossible to talk about? Or forbidden? How might that make a part of oneself invisible?


FR: One last thing. I was very touched by that section in The Bomb Cloud toward the end when your grandfather dies, and some of his things are laid out. Did you get anything of his that’s especially sacred to you?


TM: I have a little mantle clock that was his.


FR: You know, metaphorically, something that keeps time feels so right for your keepsake from your grandfather. The Manhattan Project would not have been possible without Einstein’s discoveries, and Einstein famously said: “Time is relative. It’s only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing.”


What does the clock look like?


TM: It’s a little wooden mantle-piece clock that is deep brown and has a cream-colored face. It’s maybe 6 inches tall. It doesn’t work, but I’d like to have it fixed.


FR: It may not have been what you’d hoped for at first, but it makes me want to say, there are no accidents.


TM: A personal archive can tell its own story, and what you have can say a lot about what is absent.




Once, when we visited my grandfather,
he spread his hands over the placemats,
palms up. This is the plane. Above the creases
brushed like bird-prints across his fingers,
gray wings balanced, stiff as our angry pet cockatiel.
This is the way my mother tells stories:
pausing to notice the cardinals flashing
like wet paintbrushes in the trees.
This is the plane that rested on my grandfather’s hands,
the fragile plastic toy model of a B-29. This is it.
He clicked a finger against one wing.  Plastic flaps
opened. Its propeller spun itself invisible
while wind argued under its cool dark belly.
They interviewed me to do it. I was there,
in one of the other planes, I remember him saying.
The nose was a bulb of glass, inside:
olive green cloth folded above a fist.
A face blurred behind the sun-scarred window.
This is where I sat. Glass clouded with breath
like peeling swirls of glue fingerprints.
A propeller spun itself invisible. Maybe the B-29s
looked like distant white-fronted geese. Maybe
they looked like silver knives in the clouds.
After it drops, you have to count to four. One.
When you see a bright light, you have to pull out.
Two. Maybe Japan looked like a dreaming child
curled in a blanket. Three. When we got to four,
nothing happened. Five. We thought
something went wrong. Six. Wrong? Seven—
propellers spun themselves invisible; strands of cloud
tissue caught fire—a forest pond at dusk
blackening with birds opening up like hands.


Copyright © 2019 by Tyler Mills. Reprinted from Hawk Parable with the permission of the University of Akron Press.


Tyler Mills is the author of the memoir The Bomb Cloud (Unbound Edition Press 2024), which received a Literature Grant from the Café Royal Foundation NYC. Her poetry guidebook, Poetry Studio: Prompts for Poets, is forthcoming this summer from the University of Akron Press. She is the author of the poetry books City Scattered (Tupelo Press 2022), Hawk Parable (University of Akron Press 2019), Tongue Lyre (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, Southern Illinois University Press 2013), and co-author with Kendra DeColo of Low Budget Movie (Diode Editions 2021). A poet and essayist, her poems have appeared in The New YorkerThe GuardianThe New Republic, the Kenyon ReviewThe Believer, and Poetry, and her essays in AGNIBrevityCopper NickelRiver Teeth, and The Rumpus. She teaches for Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center’s 24PearlStreet and lives in Brooklyn, on part of the unceded homeland of the Lenape people.

Frances Richey is the author of three poetry collections: The Warrior (Viking Penguin 2008), The Burning Point (White Pine Press 2004), and the chapbook, Voices of the Guard, a collaboration with the Oregon National Guard and Clackamas Community College, published by the college in 2010. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Gulf Coast, Salamander, Blackbird, and The Cortland Review, among others. She was a winner of Nicholas Kristof’s Iraq War Poetry Contest, and her poem appeared in his column, entitled “The Poets of War,” in June, 2007. She was the Barbara and Andrew Senchak Fellow at MacDowell for 2015-2016, a Finalist for the National Poetry Series in 2019, and a Finalist for the 2020 Pablo Neruda Prize. Her poems have been featured on NPR, PBS NewsHour and Verse Daily. She teaches an on-going poetry writing class at Himan Brown Senior Program at the 92NY in NYC where she is Poet-in-Residence.