CNF: Flash

by Kate Carmody


A memory flashes into my mind—of a book given to me, How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, a book I didn’t read until long after it left its original owner, a book of breaths, whispering, beckoning, a book that introduced me to “One Art,” the beautiful textual body that broke my heart, given to me, lovingly, by a woman whose name escapes me, a woman who enjoyed talking deeply about life and literature and living the life of a writer, a woman whom I remember little about except she was from Bend, Oregon, her husband worked with me at a high school in the Azores Islands, she was short like me, she had curly hair like me except hers was kinkier and peppered with gray, she was not a frequenter of happy hours or teacher social functions, since she was quieter than the others, she was not as attractive as her rugged, smart, sexy, silver fox husband, who always seemed to wear shirts that made me wonder what was underneath whenever we’d speak, and I’d lose track of whatever he was saying, his musings on history, but when she spoke to me, slowly and tenderly, unbuttoning whatever I cloaked myself with to hide that day, I understood intimacy differently—like a one night stand.


Kate Carmody is a writer, teacher, and activist. Her work has been published in Stain’d Arts and Lunch Ticket and is forthcoming in Lady/Liberty/Lit. She received her MFA from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and dog, Corky St. Clair. The three of them are in a band called Datafacer. Find her on Twitter @KateCarmody8.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “ Flash”?

This piece came to me a few weeks after AWP 2019. I was working in my sunroom when Garth Greenwell’s reading at AWP popped in my head. I started thinking about the pleasure in hearing a master of language read. I thought about how I’m glad I got to share that moment with some of my closest writing friends and was reminded of How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch, which was the first book I read that defined the intense connection between the reader and writer.


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Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

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Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now open. The reading period for standard submissions closes again June 15, 2023. Submit here.


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