Saturday, April 20, 2013

an email I sent to friends & family

A few weeks ago, I set up a Facebook "event" to let friends and family know about a project I am working on--fundraising for Tupelo Press.  Here is the bulk of that message:

"Some of you have done Polar Bear Plunges, some 3-Day walks. We all have done some form of strange, difficult, empowering, important work to help a project we believe in.

For me, April will be about Tupelo Press, a poetry press with some creative fundraising: each month, they’ve culled volunteers in the poetry world to perform the writing equivalent of these athletic feats--a poetry marathon, in a sense. Every day for the month of April, I will generate a new poem-draft, which will be posted on their website, for all to see, in order to raise money for this press to continuing printing the quality work I’ve come to love. It’s a nice month to do it, National Poetry Month, when many others are participating in NaPoWriMo and variations.

For the record, I’m aiming for a grand total of $500. It’s an amount that intimidates me, but if ten people gave $50, or 50 people gave $10, then I’d be set. In other words, every dollar counts.

To donate:

Please go to: and select the Donate button. To give towards my goal, please put my name (Molly Sutton Kiefer) in the Honor field.

If you don’t feel comfortable donating online, you can also send a check with my name in the “memo” field to Tupelo Press at this address:

Tupelo Press
243 Union Street #305
North Adams, MA 01247

And even if you can’t spare anything by way of monetary donations, please do feel free to cheer me on. You can leave comments on each day’s collection of poems, you can email me, or leave a note on Facebook, and I will appreciate it.



I am only $126 away from my goal.  I'm at the point where every $5 and $10 donation counts--and I'm grateful for every bit.  I'm also hugely grateful for everyone who has been keeping up with the poems I've been writing and sent me notes of encouragement.  It's been an overwhelming but ultimately good experience.

I know not everyone can contribute financially, or you already have extra dollars earmarked for other projects--many (most!) on this mass list are artists themselves.

To get a sample, here's a poem I wrote last Wednesday, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, on the flight home from New Jersey / New York:

Gateway / by Molly Sutton Kiefer

Will Ryman’s sculpture Bird is a temporary art installation in front of New York City’s Flatiron building on display in April of 2013.

I am nursing my son; no one meets my eye.
I think of all I could hide beneath this
flannel blanket:  purloined magazines, a kilo
of cocaine, trafficked organs, another woman’s baby.
On the televisions, the reporter gives
her dramatic monologue; the scrim behind her holds
the runners in flight, the flash of finish line.  How few
will want to watch and say, That’s me.  My son
erupts in my lap, his meal is done, definitive,
a morning out of context.  I feel the puff, the cloud
he’d been saving since waking.  It’s the sort
that earns new furniture, only it’s my lap
that’s been blown out.  He arcs like a cat,
and I am on the floor, peeling off his ruined suit.
The televisions fill with white dust.  I slip to search
the airport shops for something to wrap him in.
This is the first time I’ve been alone in days.  Even
my own wasting garners an audience.  All I find
is a onesie adorned with landmarks at a shop called
America!.  The shirt decrees Born in the USA,
which isn’t a lie, but I am not the sort to billboard
my child with a flag.  At the conversion
of concourses, a woman in polyester moves
to the center, sky-lit, puts her hand up, palm out.
At once, the bustle stills, as if she was a warning
shot.  Halt, heart.  Sweaty men in navy jackets
tell those behind them—stop—caught before
they slam into the next, avoid a cluster
of businessmen pileup, all roller bags
and cellular phones.  A held Ferris wheel—no one
even minds swaying on the rim.  She stands
in an invisible box.  Her pleated compatriots
are moving silently, as if on castors, shrouded
in stage mist, expressions blank.  We are locked
down; an alarm tweaks at the gate and I am apart
from my three.  I scurry and watch.  Security searches
chair and floor, a crackle and then I hear something
about a missing bag.  On the televisions, it’s Monday again
and again, and the reporter tells us
of packed nails and ball bearings darning flesh.
On the way out of the city, our children pumped sound:
bleat-bleat-bleat-bleat-bleat.  I slid into the backseat,
leaned into one carseat, my breast funneled
into his mouth, my hand in hers, and my eye
caught the silent bird displaced in front of the Flatiron.
In its mouth, a draped rose, its body made
of five thousand nails painted black.

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