Miriam Bird Greenberg

“Over the past fifteen years the US has been shaped by a series of disasters; the beginning of this century might be best characterized by a zeitgeist of psychic instability grown out of and in response to those disasters (imagine The Descent of Alette rewritten as a work of narrative nonfiction). With “Would You Believe” and “Ophidia” I’m interested in indulging my own documentary impulse and in telling true stories—complicated by the mask made of fog that is poetry, with its hazy relationship to truth (constantly destabilized by something as simple as syntax, or the way empty space makes its way around the words of a poem), and by my own reluctance to write a recognizable self into my work. My poetry isn’t political so much as an attempt to chronicle the intimate landscapes and sensory worlds of dispossession, so often sidelined by the mythos of progress. It’s not directly concerned with the recent, vital conversations taking place in the public sphere around Occupy/Decolonize, #YesAllWomen, Ferguson, but with those happening along the seams, as a way to make sense of the psychological spaces that reside between points of disaster while leaving room for the slipped stitch of breath and syntax as a strategy for enriching, not occluding, the telling of true stories.”

Miriam Bird Greenberg is the recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the Poetry Foundation and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She recently completed a Wallace Stegner Fellowship. She lives in Berkeley, where she teaches ESL.