We are happy to announce Jameson O’Hara Laurens as the winner of the Ping-Pong Free Press Poetry Prize 2016: Judge, Melissa Broder. Her collection MEDÆUM will be published Fall of 2016, here is a poem from this upcoming collection. Congratulations Jameson!
In my back patch
blackberries coagulate through sticky skins
You can’t pick them without drawing blood.
Each year the house hidden at the far end in the bramble
slinks an inch farther away.
What is the opposite of an exile? An invile?
Sweeping the clay with her robes,
curing swaths of shorn grass
with a train of her grieving?
Not yet alive are the hills with their howling.
The sky scowls.
Three dogs told me in a dream.
A bird opened the Bosphorus for his crossing.
A bird flew into the house.
History about as light as a loadstone.
The soul of the proprietor is worn thin.
The partriarchs are dying off
but no one can pull the keys from their clutches,
rigor mortis crisps, & their
lips & gates smack shut.
I see them here outrunning
what they didn’t know still ran in their veins
Outrunning sleeves they forgot they were wearing
so long they spill over their limbs and to the ground.
Don’t try to affect airs.
Get out of my light.
pc: P. Bouclainville
Regarding the creation of her book, Laurens writes that she was already working on a series of persona poems when she discovered that the voice of Medea rang especially true to her: “I felt that it needed to speak through one of my characters. [Moreover,] what if we recognized that her crimes are metaphorical?… Like any enemy, Medea was easier to label as a murderess than she was to truly understand as a character who transformed from ingenue to warrior, to outcast, to mother, to sorceress, to murderess.”
The result, Laurens states, is: “a manuscript on misbehavior. Its intention is to investigate with empathy the peculiarity and rage that inhabits the Medea of Greek mythology. It also allows for the uncomfortable notion that she is incarnate today in women who,… caught between duty and true nature, are faced with impossible choices.”
Jameson O’Hara Laurens completed her MFA in poetry and translation in 2014, and has collaborated with artists, choreographers, and translators. She is fortunate to call a bilingual secondary literature classroom her professional home, and has recently received research sabbatical and leadership grants for teaching projects. Having grown up in the West, she has an ongoing concern for the natural world, and for all things apiary. She became a feminist writer by necessity. Her work has appeared in Enclave, Alexandria Quarterly, Hawkmoth, and Poet Republik. MEDÆUM is her first collection.