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Amee Nassrene Broumand

The Wolves Ripen: A Gothic Halloween Interview with Poet Kate Dlugosz

During my tenure as BHP’s Guest Editor in March 2018, I was lucky enough to publish many gifted writers. One of these was Kate Dlugosz, whose mythic poetry stayed with me long after my editorship was over. Earlier this month I invited her back onto Burning House Press for a gothic Halloween special. She agreed. Take note, this interview is merely masquerading as an interview. What follows is a gorgeous helping of dark prose poetry for those of us who have October in our bones.  Enjoy!  —Amee Nassrene Broumand

In your poem “Springtime,” you write: “If nothing else, I know owls come from flowers.” Tell us some more origin stories. Where do bats come from?

Bats come from song, as the shape of music from the cords formed of autumn constellations played by the wind upon the harp of the waning crescent moon. It is from the stars and the moon that the bat took flight from the night sky, the space between the stars where they learned to see by shape. And released by moonlight, through the darkened canopies of wine-red treetops they fly as hordes of poppy seeds, scattering over the moon as grey clouds, and the world below them becomes strange and wild and unknown in the dark. The bats echolocate the moths and the beetles in the night, and in the blindness of their own vision seeing with clarity the worlds of ghosts and spirits that pass over our own. You feel the first chill of autumn is the hiss of the bat as it grazes your neck. At times the bats hang down from the banisters of old barns, the wooden planks slicing the moon to shreds like a white moth between their fangs. And sometimes they sleep hanging from the limbs of oak trees by their claws before taking flight into purple dusk in search of blood, the moths and monsters prowling under moonlight. Bats suck the red from apples and rosehips and would consume the sun if they could sink their teeth into flame. Should you stare into the vast night sky on a clear autumn night, you are stargazing through the blackness of their wings. Continue reading “The Wolves Ripen: A Gothic Halloween Interview with Poet Kate Dlugosz”

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Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge by Amee Nassrene Broumand

Broumand_Gorge1Broumand_Gorge4Broumand_Gorge5Broumand_Gorge6Broumand_Gorge7 Continue reading “Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge by Amee Nassrene Broumand”

Photos of Astoria, Oregon by Amee Nassrene Broumand

Broumand_Astoria dBroumand_Astoria c.JPGBroumand_Astoria eBroumand_Astoria fBroumand_Astoria j Continue reading “Photos of Astoria, Oregon by Amee Nassrene Broumand”

An Interview with Poet Laura Potts

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

Hello Laura, thank you for taking the time to speak with me here on Burning House Press! I love the complex music of your work. What’s your relationship to sound and the oral tradition of poetry?

Always, in testament to its fundamentally oral heritage, sound has stood at the forefront of my work: that is, I have always tried to pay homage to the ancient verbal roots of poetry with an acute focus on just how moving sound can be. It is probably, in the words of Harold Bloom, my own anxiety of influence: the writers that haunt me the most are those who expand the malleable state of sound. There is no single prescriptive path which sound can take in poetry, and I think that appeals to the rebel in me. And I’ve studied it quite intensely really: I often apply scansion to Latin poetry to see the specific moments of gravity and levity which bring a line alive. And, of course, I always read my work out loud as I write: it may have one life on the page but it has another one aloud.

“the writers that haunt me the most are those who expand the malleable state of sound”

You had the chance to work at Dylan Thomas’s birthplace in Swansea. What was that like?

My summer there was the single most academic season of my young life. At first I’d planned to stay for a week or so, but that soon turned into a couple of months and I’m sure I learnt the equivalent of a whole degree in that time. I travelled from a small village in Carmarthen to Swansea each day, where I walked up the old hill of Cwmdonkin Drive and through the small black gate of number five which Dylan had pushed so many times. My time was largely spent reading, writing and researching his work. I wrote essays for The Dylan Thomas Society and saw a performance of Under Milk Wood. I drank in the pubs he drank in. I slept in his bedroom a night or two, with the old gas lamp still burning. I visited the boathouse in Laugharne which he shared with his wife, and even interviewed an old neighbour once. Yes, my broken old bookcase still models three rows of Dylan and always will. It was the summer to always remember. Continue reading “An Interview with Poet Laura Potts”

On Personal Transformation

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

This isn’t an essay. It started life as an essay but then it began to twist & bristle & sprout distinctly unessaylike appendages.

The eyestalks struck me by surprise.

Perhaps it’s an insect or some sort of strange crustacean.

* * * * *

Imagine you find a giant handbag bleating in the corner like a lost lamb. You take it & shake its contents out onto the table.

What do you find?

Take a minute to think about this.

* * * * * Continue reading “On Personal Transformation”

Winter Crow: A Photographic Sequence

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

Snow doesn’t look like the idea of snow, not during a snowstorm. During a snowstorm the sky becomes a void churning with insensate bees, bees that sting & bite. Snowstorms are neither pretty pictures nor charming holiday romps—snowstorms are winter.

Winter unvarnished by the domesticating tendencies of sheltered human eyes.

 

ANB IMG_7541

ANB IMG_7544 Continue reading “Winter Crow: A Photographic Sequence”

An Interview with Poet Farah Ghafoor

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

Farah, welcome! Thanks for speaking to me here on Burning House Press. You’re seventeen and not only an accomplished poet, but also the editor-in-chief of Sugar Rascals, your own literary journal for teens. What is it about poetry that calls to you? What role does it play in your life?

 Thanks for having me!

Poetry has always been the perfect outlet for my joy, anger, sorrow, and opinions. It means that I can come home after a long day, usually tired, and turn my emotions into something beautiful, something that other people can enjoy and connect with. A relief from the tedious busyness of life, reading and writing poetry forces me to slow down, spend some time in other people’s brains, and relish in the incredible complexities of language. Though it’s occasionally a little draining, if I don’t write for a week, I start to suffocate with words.

The adventure of poetry really calls to me, too. I love the tough questions, defensive answers, confessions, secrets, glorifications, histories, judgments, and other elements that poems can present in a condensed form. I love how you can control this kind of adventure. I love how you can use language to its limit. I love how this kind of raw, pristine communication is of endless potential. And I love how a poem can truly be anything.

“if I don’t write for a week, I start to suffocate with words”

Continue reading “An Interview with Poet Farah Ghafoor”

The Fire, the Eclipse, and the Spiders

photos & an experimental essay

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

It’s raining at the moment. Calling it rain might suggest a downpour or perhaps a steadiness of purpose, but this rain is too ambivalent for any of that relative cheeriness. This is slacker rain. This rain drizzles on and off all day, turning the landscape into a listless void. It’s hard to even tell the color of the light in such rain—is it grey, or is it a lurid shade of green?

I’ve never been sure, yet I know it well: as I child I stared out of myriad windows into this rain—into the glistening trees that slouched with waterlogged branches—and tried to imagine the sun. It didn’t work, of course; the rain had seeped into my mental eye. Instead of sunlight, the inside of my skull grew lush with moss. Forests sprang up, haunted by arboriform spirits and carnivorous umbrella monsters. Predatory ferns infected my temporal lobes and burst outwards in Medusa-like fronds, marking me as forever coiled, an absurd Beardsleyan grotesque.

The sun is out of reach. Continue reading “The Fire, the Eclipse, and the Spiders”

An Experimental Conversation with Writer Erin Calabria

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

ANB: Autumn begins to pulse from leaf to flavescent leaf, beading—here and there—into cardioid splashes of pomegranate. The hum of the forest alters. Over the hills, in a dilapidated garden choked with honeysuckle vines gone wrong, sunbeams curve down upon a mud-eaten shoe. In places such as these, even saints grow timid.

EC: Currents of light and wind thread a passage. I trail my hands through the leaves, and they come away doused in bergamot, verbena, thyme, traces of care still scattered in this tangled place, death not reversed but charmed into a feral green. I crush rosemary needles between my teeth, think how I must have gone wild too early, trying to possess some other shape. The wind pushes me like a weathervane through the bramble, up to the hollow brink where a house once stood. A granite threshold left sunk in the ground marks where ghosts should step. How can it be the only things that seem real to me now are ruins. Continue reading “An Experimental Conversation with Writer Erin Calabria”

An Interview with Physicist and Poet Florence Lenaers

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

Hello Florence! Thanks so much for agreeing to speak with me here on Burning House Press. I’m fascinated by your bio: you’re a PhD student in physics who also writes poetry. I’ve got to ask, why? What draws you to both physics and poetry?  

Hi Amee! Thanks a lot for this opportunity. Oddly enough, the driving force was, & still is, the same in both cases: a thirst for equilibrium, the urge to build an extension upon my collage-like experience of the world; to challenge myself out of my comfort zone, towards areas left uncharted on my maps; to counterbalance an excess of centripetence; to overwrite certainties; to ride a Trojan horse within my own fortress, then to open the gates to cross-pollination.

“my favourite places to roam are borderlands”

Continue reading “An Interview with Physicist and Poet Florence Lenaers”

a conversation in poetry with stephanie roberts

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

I invited poet and artist stephanie roberts — who has poems on Burning House Press and in The Arsonist Magazine — to trade lines of poetry with me. I’d never collaborated with another poet before, so the experience was something of a leap into the unknown. We began emailing poem shreds back and forth. The days flowed by, as did the weeks; the lines formed and shifted. Soon, a poem emerged —

 

(α)  ANB:

Lacewings quake in the crepitation of thistles

& reeds. Crickets creak wintled heartbeats dry.

 

(β)  stephanie roberts:

It would have been perfect, the river remapped boundary;

the embryonic recreates in its image.

Continue reading “a conversation in poetry with stephanie roberts”

A Conversation in Photographs with Narayan St. Jude

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

The city was Boise, Idaho. The year was 1995. I was 17 and taking photography classes at Boise State University. While hovering over trays of chemicals in the darkroom one afternoon, I wound up having a three-hour-long conversation with one of my classmates, a gifted artist named Ronny Joe Grooms. Flash forward to 2017. I message my friend Ronny Joe – who goes professionally by the name of Narayan St. Jude – and ask him to join me in photographic conversation for Burning House Press.

He agrees. Continue reading “A Conversation in Photographs with Narayan St. Jude”

Poetry as Experience

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

Note:  Creators, would you like to be interviewed for one of my Burning House Press blog posts? See the details at the end of this post.  

Continue reading “Poetry as Experience”

3 Poems & An Interview With Poet Amee Nassrene Broumand

The Sandpipers

 

It’s time for a ghost story—now,

while opalescent giants, dark-robed, stride

over us, hair blazing with the night

to come—

they imagine themselves

masked, bejeweled, descending

to the asylum window. The inmate’s lament—

 

They came in the night and stole my head.

What did they do with it? My old green head. Continue reading “3 Poems & An Interview With Poet Amee Nassrene Broumand”

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