Episode 9: Yesenia Montilla

Author photo by Ana Leiva.

Author photo by Ana Leiva.

Episode 9

Yesenia Montilla is a New York City poet with Afro-Caribbean roots; she is the author of The Pink Box, released in 2015 by Willow Books, and her work has appeared in literary journals such as Adanna and The Wide Shore. A 2014 CantoMundo Fellow, she received her MFA from Drew University in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.

Discussed In This Episode

Being a baby poet. Poetry as a puzzle. Low-residency MFAs. Discovering your grandmother was a secret poet. Writing and dreaming in Spanish. "There is something about wanting to be other, and usually that is wanting to be whiter." Being exoticized as an "other poet." Writing about Sappho and about your father smoking crack. "That's what makes us, struggle and joy and beauty." Writing in your dream state. Dead white poets. Carrying your two-week notice in your pocket. The terror of public readings. Trauma is inherited. "Write down all your shit." Reading is the antidote to writer's block. 

Recommended Reading

The Pink Box, Yesenia Montilla
"Maps," Yesenia Montilla
"The Day I Realized We Were Black," Yesenia Montilla
What the Living Do, Marie Howe
Terrance Hayes
Patrick Rosal
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Alexis de Veaux
Ross Gay
Ada Limon
Jack Gilbert
Yusef Komunyakaa
Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Natalie Diaz
Aracelis Girmay

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Courtney