WA Book Award

No matter who I tell or how many times I say it, the news never ceases to be surreal. Friends, I am a finalist for the Washington State Book Award for my debut full-length poetry book, “Blood Song.”

The awards will be held on October 14th at the Central Library in Seattle. To be held in the same esteem as poets like Paisley Rekdal and Tara Hardy, Don Mee Choi and Megan Snyder-Camp, seems like a strange slip up. These are poets I’ve heard about for years, and who am I but a reader with a golden ticket?

Other nominees in the various other categories include Sherman Alexie, Lindy West, and Ted Chiang. If you live in the Seattle area and attend the ceremony, I’ll be the one looking dazzled but happy, a reader surrounded by writers.


My Body Mourns, Limb by Limb, As I Recount Your Final Days

I’m happy to have one of my poems featured on the Crab Creek Review blog! It owes a debt to Kevin Young’s beautiful poems in his “Book of Hours.”  If you missed this book when it first came out, I highly recommend going back and remedying that. It is gorgeous.


I don’t know what hunger is for

or what to hunger for.


You can’t give me

any more anymore.


Read the rest of the poem here!




Apéritifs: In the months leading up to the release of our book “A Single Throat Opens,” a collaborative lyric exploration of addiction, Meghan McClure and I will be compiling a playlist pairing songs with new writing to be enjoyed before the main course. Cheers, friends

A Brief History of Truths:

Once when I was a child, a girl I didn’t know said, “I heard you were a crybaby.” After telling her I wasn’t I ran back home from the baseball field. Alone in my room, hiding my wet face from the world.

After my family moved to America. In the basement of our new home and for no reason at all. My father walked in from the garage asking what was wrong. I couldn’t answer so he picked me up and said, “No matter what I’m on your side.” Even harder then, into his shoulder, from such unbearable sweetness. The heart dies of this sweetness.

While watching the comedy “Liar Liar.” The moment Jim Carrey tells someone he is a horrible father. The quiet ruin of his face.

Most recently when my youngest asked about a photo in my bedroom of two sisters (Jordan and Merced) riding the ferry. When she asked where they were, and I had to admit (out loud) Merced died years ago. That blunt, old fact.

In every instance it is the truth, unexpectedly revealed, that breaks me: I cry easily. My father is loyal to his children in a world where some fathers aren’t. Merced, the best person I’ve known, is dead.

I wrote this book as honestly as I could. I tumbled to the very bottom of every truth to finish. Here’s another truth: to write the stories my family privately speaks of is an act of betrayal I now must live with. The truth: I have had a good life but. The truth: I have been hurt like you and hurt unlike you. The truth: I have broken myself to bring you this.

I am, and have always been, on your side.