Melissa Studdard: Everyone In Me Is A Bird

Melissa Studdard: Everyone In Me Is A Bird. Featured in the New York Times

Top top Yay! Here’s the print version of the New York Times “Being Women” feature with my poem. You can see two of Maddie McGarvey and Annie Flanagan’s photographs here, as well as photographs by Anjali Pinto and a poem by Jennifer Chang. Multimedia collaboration is one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a writer, and I’m so happy to share space with these talented women. Thank you, Morrigan McCarthy & Kerri MacDonald!

My poem in the New York Times

Melissa Studdards poem - Everyone In Me Is A Bird - featured in the New York Times
Melissa Studdards poem – Everyone In Me Is A Bird – featured in the New York Times


For the love of henna!

At The Hermitage Artist Retreat
At The Hermitage Artist Retreat
When the birdsong rings human by Melissa Studdard



Yes!! My first New England Review publication–one of my Philomela poems! Many thanks to Rick Barot and Carolyn Kuebler. Cannot wait to read the rest of the issue, which is power packed with terrific poets and writers!‬

first friday - Houstons oldest poetry reading series hosted by Robert Clark at Inprint House presents Melissa Studdard

first friday – Houstons oldest poetry reading series hosted by Robert Clark at Inprint House presents Melissa Studdard

I’m excited to read at the Inprint House at 8:30 PM for the First Friday Series. There will be an open mic too! Bring yourself! Bring poems!! Bring smiles! Hope to see some of you there.
PS I did not make this wonderful banner. Robert Clark, who runs the series, made it.

I’m delighted to have a poem in the new issue of The Pedestal Magazine. Many thanks to Malaika King Albrecht, John Amen, and Stefan Lovasik.


I’m not a huge fan of making announcements like this on Facebook, but I know it will be announced at the reading I was supposed to give tonight, as well as in some other contexts, so … First of all, Rosalind and I are absolutely okay!
But, a few days ago we were in a car accident, and my car was totaled, and we had a few injuries–Rosalind has some bruises and minor injuries, and I have a fractured rib and other minor injuries. I’m out of the hospital now, but I’m resting a lot, and I’m behind on everything.
I know I owe people interview responses, poems for publications, correspondences, and all kinds of other work. Please be patient with me as I work to catch up, rest, and heal. 💞And many thanks to all who have been so kind and supportive already. One thing an accident or illness always reminds me is how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life.
Reading for the Writers for Migrant Justice in benefit of Immigrant Families Together at the Houston Holocaust Museum

Reading for the Writers for Migrant Justice in benefit of Immigrant Families Together at the Houston Holocaust Museum.
I’ll be part of this reading for the Writers for Migrant Justice in benefit of Immigrant Families Together, this Wednesday, 9/4, starting at 6:30 PM at the Houston Holocaust Museum.

Lupe Mendez, Robin Davidson, Analicia Sotelo, Leslie Contreras Schwartz, Roberto J. Tejada, Ron Starbuck, Robert Clark, Robin Reagler, Kevin Prufer, Daniel Peña, Dave Parsons, Gabrielle Langley, Rich Levy, Katie Hoerth, Jane Creighton, Erika Jo Brown, and several more outstanding writers and poets will also be reading.

In addition, we’ll raffle books to stand in solidarity with our transmigrant/refugee/immigrant brothers / sisters / siblings.

If you’re not in Houston and would like to support this event, there are readings taking place tomorrow in over 40 cities.

Michael and Erika say we should start a 98 Degrees cover band


Michael and Erika say we should start a 98 Degrees cover band called “98 Degrees in Florida with a Heat Index of 107.” It was an inspiring week with this bunch, and I am so grateful to The Hermitage Artist Retreat for making it happen.

Melissa Studdard looking forward to the Reading with Michael J Seidlinger on the Hermitage beach
Melissa Studdard looking forward to the Reading with Michael J Seidlinger on the Hermitage beach.

This is how writers strut the catwalk! Lol! I’m very much looking forward to reading with Michael J Seidlinger on the Hermitage beach. I’ll be reading new poetry and from ‘I Ate the Cosmos for breakfast’, and Michael will be reading from a manuscript-in-progress about a social-media-driven road trip he took across the US.

Melissa Studdard turning 50 - photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher
Melissa Studdard turning 50 – photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher


In turning 50, I’m overcome with gratitude for my life and the people in it. My friends and family are the greatest gifts, the ones I happily receive every day. If could give one piece of advice to those younger than me it would be to build a life of mutually supportive relationships. Nothing has made a greater impact on my well-being and creativity than beginning to restrict toxic relationships and foster healthy ones. Thank you, my friends, for being your beautiful, supportive selves.

Rosalind Williamson with her first published poem
Rosalind Williamson with her first published poem


This is my kid’s first published poem! In the brand new, super cool Defunkt Magazine.

Melissa Studdard in Aspen
Melissa Studdard in Aspen


In the bounty of gorgeous trails that is Aspen, my favorite is here, at the end of Castle Creek, near an old mining ghost town.

Vivek Tailor from New Delhi and his article about Melissa Studdard and her work
Vivek Tailor from New Delhi and his article about Melissa Studdard


I’m so grateful to the wonderful, brilliant poet/doctor/critic Vivek Tailor for this article about my work. One of my favorite days ever was when I got to meet him in person in New Delhi, and we ran around all day visiting mosques and historical sites. There’s a picture of us here from that day!

Melissa Studdard in LA
Melissa Studdard in LA

The two most glorious thing about LA are the poets and the trees! Thank you, Elena Secota, for this photo with my beloved jacaranda! And many thanks to Lois P. Jones for hosting me in so many lovely ways, and to Maja Trochimczyk for having me read in her wonderful Village Poets Reading Series at Bolton Hall Museum.

The woman who fell in love with a jacaranda tree


The woman who fell in love with a jacaranda tree.

Melissa Studdard read for Poetry Night accompanied by D Dar Casas
Melissa Studdard read for Poetry Night accompanied by D Dar Casas

What an honor it was last night to be accompanied by D Dar Casas and her magnificent guitar stylings as I read for Poetry Night on The Veranda at LaCenterra. Thank you for the wonderful photo, Cary Loughman!

Melissa Studdard with one of three new poems in the double issue of Cutthroat
I’m thrilled to have 3 poems in the new double issue of Cutthroat. This one is an Epithalamion, written last summer to read at a pre-wedding celebration for 2 of my amazing poet friends, Paige Lewis & Kaveh Akbar. It’s just barely past their one year anniversary now. Many thanks to Pam Uschuk and William Pitt Root, who always do such a beautiful job of curating the issues. It’s an honor to be in such company!

Melissa Studdards poem - Daughter - translated by Faruk Hosen for Shahittobarta
Melissa Studdards poem – Daughter – translated by Faruk Hosen for Shahittobarta

Oh oh! How lovely is this? Thanks to Faruk Hosen for translating my poem “Daughter” for Shahittobarta.

Visible Poetry Project released a video poem made by Pat van Boeckel based on Melissa Studdards poem “To Be With Trees” for their National Poetry Month Series.


I decided to stay in Manasota Key an extra week (😌!!!) so I’m in island/residency mode and running late on everything, but here’s something lovely–a couple of days ago, Visible Poetry Project released a video poem made by Pat van Boeckel based on my poem “To Be With Trees” for their National Poetry Month Series. Many thanks to VPP and Pat, as well as Jenn Givhan and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, who originally published the poem.

A starfish on the floor beside Melissa Studdards bed
A starfish on the floor beside Melissa Studdards bed

The Hermitage Artist Retreat is indeed a magical place. I woke up this morning and this starfish was on the floor beside my bed. How did it get there? My door was locked. It’s been awhile since the starfish was alive, for sure. Now, a poem is about to happen.

The view outside my studio at The Hermitage Artist Retreat
The view outside my studio at The Hermitage Artist Retreat
Melissa Studdard is poet in residence at The Hermitage Artist Retreat and she has the opportunity to carry on the Favorite Poem Project readings


Starting next week, I’ll be poet in residence at The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Manasota Key, Florida for a few weeks, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to carry on their tradition of community Favorite Poem Project readings.

The Favorite Poem Project was established by wonderful poetry champion Robert Pinsky in 1997, and he also kicked off the Hermitage Favorite Poem reading series in 2012. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be beautiful! And if weather permits, it will be on the beach! Also, I will be reading “Samurai Song“, which is a favorite poem of mine!

I am delighted to announce that I’m passing the baton of the Women’s Caucus presidency to someone we all love, trust, and admire, Jenn Givhan. And I am also delighted to announce that the amazing Lynn Melnick has agreed to stay on as VP another year! Hooray for women writers. It’s going to be a great year! Also, I will so miss working with Hafizah Geter, who has served the max three year officer cycle and is stepping down with me. Hafizah, I’m sure the entire caucus will miss the deep care and expertise you brought to everything you did for the caucus – Melissa Studdard

REELpoetry Houston 2019
REELpoetry Houston 2019

‘I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast’ won the Audience Award at the REEL Poetry festival!! So exciting! The festival, overall, has been an amazing experience. Much gratitude to Toni Holland, Fran Sanders, Billie Duncan, Jane Creighton, and everyone else who worked so hard to bring this wonderful new event to Houston. And thanks to everyone who voted for my poem. What a surprise!

I’m super excited that the Motionpoems film Dan Sickles made based on my poem ‘I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast’ will be shown at the REEL Poetry film festival in Houston this Saturday. I’ll be at the festival most of the weekend.

“A word, depending on where it’s placed, and at what time, can change everything.” – Joy Harjo

I’m so happy to share this VIDA Voices & Views interview I conducted with Joy Harjo. It’s full of wisdom and inspiration, thanks to her great answers!

Many thanks to R.J. Jeffreys too, for excellent production work.

I’m over the moon and skyline to see “Fascinating, the Parts of Us” featured at Poetry Daily today! Many thanks to the editors, and the Waxwing editors, who originally published the poem.

Melissa Studdard is judging the 2019 poetry prize for The Pangolin Review
Melissa Studdard is judging the 2019 poetry prize for The Pangolin Review


I’m delighted to announce that I’m judging the 2019 poetry prize for The Pangolin Review (deadline 31 October 2019). Last year’s winner was the amazing Alexis Rhone Fancher, and the runner up was the also amazing Bola Opaleke! You can read their winning poems at the site.

“I want to create more equality in this world. I want to stand up for the things that I see that are wrong. I want to build solidarity. In every poem, I won’t do all of that, but I can try my hardest to dedicate my life to making poems that cover as much of that as I can.” – Fatimah Asghar

Many wonderful words and insights from Fatimah Asghar in this interview conversation for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.
Many thanks to R.J. Jeffreys for some seriously advanced production work.

“I’m thrilled, and I mean THRILLED, to have my first acceptance from POETRY Magazine! I’m working hard on a new collection told mainly from the perspective of the severed tongue of the mythological character Philomela, and this is the first batch of poems I’ve sent out from it. What a blessing! So grateful for the editors for all they do!” – Melissa Studdard


South Florida Poetry Journal interviewed Melissa Studdard in June 2019:

He asked me which imaginary poetry hotel I would stop at, and I said it would be called “The Unfinished Wing of Heaven” after a line from Li-Young Lee’s ‘Book of My Nights’ and that the trees would grow poems instead of leaves, and birds would fly around inside the lobby, reciting poetry to the guests, and the bar would have a jukebox that played poems instead of songs, and each room would be wallpapered with the writings of a different poet…
I also talked about R.J. Jeffreys as my ideal editor, and I shared links to poems by Stalina Villarreal, Aliah Lavonne T, Bola Opaleke, and Noah Baldino.
Many thanks to Lenny DellaRocca and South Florida Poetry Journal Soflopojo for the fun questions! – Melissa Studdard

Congratulations to the winners of the April 2019 IBPC poetry contest: 1st Guy Kettelhack, 2nd Rachel Green, & 3rdToni Clark. It was my pleasure to judge such beautiful works – Melissa Studdard

“I wear my clothes like moods. I like to have the freedom to change styles in both life and writing. Why we wear what we wear … Many thanks to Marcelle Heath and Apparel for Authors for great questions like these. ” – Melissa Studdard

I wear my clothes like moods
72.1 I wear my clothes like moods
72.2 I wear my clothes like moods
72.3 I wear my clothes like moods
72.1 I wear my clothes like moods
Thank you to everyone who helped me choose which photo to use for the Poetry Foundation website. Here it is!

“Thanks again to Kelli Russell Agodon for the shots, which were taken on the last day of our Centrum residency when we were both at the height of inspiration and full of love for poetry and all things poetic!” – Melissa Studdard

Pam Uschuk about dignity in in About Place Journal


“What is dignity? Do we, as a culture, value it?” Pam Uschuk asks in the preface to the ‘Dignity as an Endangered Species’ Edition of ‘About Place Journal.

I’m honored to be a part of this conversation with my poem “Translating the Oracle,” published alongside gorgeous work by Nickole Brown, Rita Dove, Joy Harjo, Connie Post, Octavio Quintanilla, Hedy Sabbagh Habra, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Patricia Spears Jones, Cornelius Eady, Rebecca Seiferle, Lindsey Royce, and many others.

Thank you, Pam, for doing such important work, and always with so much heart.

“The world is incredibly beautiful, sad, harsh, lovely, lonely, nurturing, ugly, resplendent, sublime. I can’t quit thinking about it. I’m in love with it. I hate it. I have to write about it.”

Many thanks to Shafinur Shafin for interviewing me for Prachya Review.

Huge congratulations to my pressmate, poetry sister, AWP roomie, unnamed collective sibling, and friend, Leslie Contreras Schwartz, for being named Houston’s next poet laureate. Her outreach plan will focus on mental health, youth, and non-traditional communities. Leslie, I believe in you and cannot wait to see all the good you will do these next 2 years!! ❤️

Sometimes a review is a poem


Sometimes it feels like a review is a poem too! I love love love what Charles Clifford Brooks III wrote about ‘I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast’ in the new issue of The Blue Mountain Review: “The nature of existence is putty Studdard shapes into voluptuous bits of truth.” Voluptuous bits of truth? I’ll take it. Thank you, Charles!

Melissa Studdard - Philomelas tongue says


Yay! Soooo excited to see this new poem from my Philomela’s tongue project floating around Twitter from Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine!!

I’m out of town and haven’t seen the journal, so thank you, Zach Linge and Zoë Brigley Thompson for posting! Thank you, Don Share, Holly Amos, and Lindsay Garbutt for being incredible!

Melissa Studdard taking dance classes - live your dreams

“I’m almost 50 and finally taking the dance classes I have wanted to take since I was 5. I’m starting with bellydancing, which I LOVE. Live your dreams, friends. It’s not too late! Thank you, Anna Lisa Schkade-Siytangco. You are an amazing teacher! The best anyone could hope for … ” – Melissa Studdard

Melissa Studdards poem - The Heart Is a Muscular Organ - in Tiferet

I have a new poem in Tiferet, which just arrived in the mail. I so admire the care Donna Baier Stein, Jeremy Birkline, Adele Kenny, Gayle Brandeis, Lisa Sawyer, and all other editors take with this journal. Everything is always gorgeous – from the selections, to the cover art, to the design–even the signature font. ❤️

NEWORLDREVIEW - Melissa Studdard on the cover
NEWORLDREVIEW – Melissa Studdard on the cover

I got to be on the cover and have a poem in the journal. Fun!

Melissa Studdard and Kelli Russell Agodon at Centrum Foundation
Melissa Studdard and Kelli Russell Agodon at Centrum Foundation


We are going to write and write and write and write!


Many thanks to Christal Cooper for featuring my poem “Astral” in her blog series “Backstory of the Poem.” I really appreciate all the work she puts into this series. She dug up and included lots of fun photos of me, as well as images of and by Leonora Carrington, who is the subject of the poem. I talked about how I wrote “Astral,” resisting unhealthy conformity, and how I used to jump on a trampoline in my dress when I got home from work. Also included are notes that didn’t make it into the final draft of the poem.

Melissa Studdards poems in Waxwing
Melissa Studdards poems in Waxwing

After years of loving Waxwing, I finally submitted and am thrilled to see the beautiful red seal next to three new poems. Many thanks to Todd Kaneko, Erin Stalcup, Justin Bigos, & the other editors. I’m also happy to share space with Kelli Russell Agodon, Emmalee Hagarman, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Wren Hanks, Lisa Low, Adrian Belvins, Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Sam Ross, Laura Epósto, Catherine Pierce, Arlene Naganawa, Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad, and Chloe Martinez. Happy fifth anniversary, Waxwing! 🎉

Astral for Leonora Carrington by Melissa Studdard
Astral for Leonora Carrington by Melissa Studdard


I’m super happy to have a poem about one of my heroes, painter Leonora Carrington, and her immigration to Mexico, in the new issue of New World Review.

I was interviewed by Celeste Vertikal Duckworth on A Taste of Ink. There is a Music Intro.

Melissa Studdards two poems in the new issue of The Normal School

So happy to have 2 poems in The Normal School: A Literary Magazine, from California State University at Fresno.

Reading with Leslie Contreras Schwartz at Brazos Bookstore in Houston to celebrate the release of her new book Nightbloom & Cenote
Reading with Leslie Contreras Schwartz at Brazos Bookstore in Houston to celebrate the release of her new book Nightbloom & Cenote

“I’m excited to read with Leslie Contreras Schwartz Monday night at Brazos Bookstore in Houston to celebrate the release of her new book, Nightbloom & Cenote! I’ll be reading new work in addition to work from Cosmos. And there will be cookies! And wine!” – Melissa Studdard

A Celebration Of Love Poems
A Celebration Of Love Poems

This is going to be so beautiful! If you’re in Seattle tomorrow, come hear us celebrate Paige Lewis, Kaveh Akbar, poetry, & love love love!

Mellissa Studdard is invited to the Hermitage Artist Retreat
Mellissa Studdard is invited to the Hermitage Artist Retreat


I’m so excited to have received an invitation to be a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, and am so grateful to my nominator! I get to spend 6 weeks there.

Melissa Studdard featured in the Dhaka Anthology of World Poetry 2018
Melissa Studdard featured in the Dhaka Anthology of World Poetry 2018


What a wonderful surprise! I didn’t realize I’d be getting a hardback copy of the Dhaka Anthology of World Literature. Thanks, Aminur Rahman & Bilkis Mansoor. I’m happy to be included. 😌


Here’s a gorgeous video Nikesh Murali created from my poem, “In Another Dimension, We Are Making Love.” If you love poetry, Nikesh is a must follow on Twitter. He makes and posts videos of contemporary poems regularly, and, as you can hear and see, his voice is honey golden, and his image pairings are lovely.

My Grandmother Was a Chandelier by Melissa Studdard
My Grandmother Was a Chandelier by Melissa Studdard

So happy to have this poem in the beautiful new issue of Smartish Pace! ❤️

The Jesus Bus by Melissa Studdard
The Jesus Bus by Melissa Studdard


I’m super thrilled to have this new poem, “The Jesus Bus” in the current wonder-filled issue of the New Ohio Review!

Happy World Poetry Day
Happy World Poetry Day!


I’m very happy to have two poems on the myth of Icarus featured at the University of Leicester’s Creative Writing Blog for World Poetry Day. Here’s the beginning of one of them (they’re long and skinny, like falling). Happy World Poetry Day, everyone! 🙂

Blue Mountain Review interview with Melissa Studdard
Blue Mountain Review interview with Melissa Studdard


I love the questions Charles Clifford Brooks III asked me for our Blue Mountain Review interview (page 100 – 102). I got to talk about how my grandmother took a 20 year Proust class, my mother instilled a love of storytelling in me, and my kid, Rosalind Williamson, is basically the literary love child of Franz Kafka and Gabriel García Márquez (not because of any credit to me, though I wish! ).

” I’m so excited to hear I was elected president of The Women’s Caucus for AWP! This really helps take the sting out of missing the conference. I can’t wait to get to work with amazing VP’s Hafizah Geter and Lynn Melnick. It’s going to be a great year. Many thanks also to Amy King, Margaret Rozga & Lois Roma-Deeley, who have been doing the work for a long time. 💛 ” – Melissa Studdard

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