New Issues Poetry & Prose - WMU
TitlesSubmission GuidelinesOrderingDonateAbout Us

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is the author of Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books) and The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press). She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Delaware. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Indiana Review, RATTLE, Brilliant Corners, Puerto Del Sol, and many other journals. A Cave Canem Fellow, she is the recipient of fellowships from Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Cave Canem Foundation and others. A photographer and painter, her visual work has been published widely in both national and international magazines and journals. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York.

Also by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

 

 

 

Mule & Pear

Mule & PearMule & Pear

$15.00 paper | 97 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-936970-01-8
Publication Date: Sept. 5, 2011
Buy: Amazon.com | spdbooks.org

A Green Rose Book

These poems speak to us with voices borrowed from the pages of novels of Alice Walker, Jean Toomer, and Toni Morrison—voices that still have more to say, things to discuss. Each struggles beneath a yoke of dreaming, loving, and suffering. These characters converse not just with the reader but also with each other, talking amongst themselves, offering up their secrets and hard-won words of wisdom, an everlasting conversation through which these poems voice a shared human experience.

"How dare the dead things return?” and “How did I end up/being a ghost of every/nothing?” asks Rachel Eliza Griffiths in this haunting debut. Smart, nuanced, lush in their beauty, yet never unaware of beauty’s price, the poems in Mule & Pear meditate on what to do with the ghosts of history by which, as if inevitably, we find ourselves now shaped, now cornered, and now inhabited—each of us, then, an unwitting vessel made to carry the past forward. Griffiths is a master at capturing persona, and uses that gift, especially, to consider the notion of heritage—how much is inherited, how much is imposed? How much of what we believe is what we’re told is true? The ambition of these poems dazzles, as does indeed their achievement."
         —Carl Phillips

"Griffiths gifts us with deleted scenes, alternate endings, and a VIP pass to wander the sets of some of the greatest literature of our time. The reader won’t be able to resist the urge to reread Hurston, Morrison, Larson, et. al. or put this new way of seeing perhaps a new poetry technology down. But what else should we expect from an artist who sees the world through so many mediums?"
         —Frank X Walker

Praise for Miracle Arrhythmia:

"Candid, intimate, brimming with impressively keen and sensuous description, Rachel Eliza Griffiths’ Miracle Arrhythmia raises autobiography and personal odyssey to the level of myth and inspiriting music. An arresting debut by a passionate, hard-at-work new poet.”
         —Cyrus Cassells

Praise for The Requited Distance:

"These poems soar with stunning lyric grace and yet we feel their earthly and epic gravity along the lengths of our bones. . . .The Requited Distance is a breathtaking performance."
         —Eric Pankey

Poem

Sula / Be Soft under Rock

Robins fell along rutted roads. Breasts
shuddering like pummeled fruits
from the plague of a woman’s mouth.
All over the Bottoms language
bonded against its bondage.

When Sula returned, marked
with a hungry rose and red feathers
drifting from clotted clouds, a wild man
danced toward a collapsed mine of souls
where songs echoed like bats.

Shadrack won't you sing your Always.

When Sula pulled Ajax back from his skin,
the surprise itself killed her. Loam
gushed on the sheets where they writhed
in their own glares. His sugar funk
salted newer wounds. Old things,
without flames, burst into smoke.

She surrendered to a man
who never meant more than a taste
of soil. Poison this thing inside you
that dreams venom.
Tomorrow
would cling to a boy she swung
beneath the river in a dream.

Splay the valves of this heart, Sula.
Soft as a mollusk. Cling, like emerald moss,
to the underbelly of stones
way beneath black rivers.

Stiff robins beyond
that boarded window
in the bedroom. Twilight singed
a bowl of oranges
in her grandmother's mind.
Softer tongues of
acid licking her. Love can kill
the flesh it craves.