I have often said I was born on a houseboat anchored
along a grassy bank under
a weeping willow near where the river bends
like a missing man’s elbow. So much green. Rain,
or the promise of rain. My mother’s hair a dark tent. Her face bent to mine.
Her body my bread. The crows arranged
on the roof, just so, all silhouette and contrast—this how I remember it,
as if such a moment could last. As if, even then,
I could have seen it from every angle. As if anyone
has ever seen such stillness. As if to see is anything
like to understand.
To love a place is to leave it behind.
Elegy for where i was born
Amorak Huey, a 2017 NEA Fellow, is the author of the poetry collection Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and two chapbooks. He is also co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the forthcoming textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Boomsbury, 2018) and teaches writing at Grand Valley State University.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life? What have they taught you?
The biggest influence on me as a writer is the fact that I grew up in a family of readers, surrounded by books. It taught me the joy and power of language. It taught me to imagine a world I could not see or taste. It taught me that we are not alone, that others also dance and crave and mourn and try to make sense of the madness and loneliness of the human condition.
What are you proudest of?
I'm proudest of being a father, a husband, a teacher.
What are some other literary journals you admire?
There are so many journals publishing so much brilliant writing. To single out just two is perhaps folly, but I think Waxwing and The Adroit Journal are maybe the two most exciting poetry journals these days. They are consistently chock full of light and wisdom and language; it's an event when a new issue drops.
What advice would you give other emerging writers?
Read, read, read. Read some more. Keep reading. And always be writing the next poem, in your heart and mind if not yet in language on the page. Also, don't be in a hurry. Let your writing life unfold as it will. Do the work and the life you want will follow.
What does your future hold?
Sunsets and graduations, goodbyes and adventures I can't predict. Grief and joy in abundance (and hopefully in balance).