Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.
Name: Ellen Stone
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: “Today is the Sabbath of medicine” and “Dear garden shed”
Ellen lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has recently retired from Community High School where she taught high school special education and English for over 20 years. She continues to advise the Poetry Club there. Currently, you can find Ellen in her garden, the woods, the kitchen, the backyard with her dog, at a poetry event, or writing somewhere in my house.
What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?
I just found out my first full length book of poems, What Is in the Blood is coming out next March with Mayapple Press. This collection has been a long time coming and is largely based on growing up with and now caring for my mom who is bipolar. I have a sonnet coming out next winter or spring in the first American abortion anthology, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion edited by Annie Finch. My poem, “In Wisconsin” was chosen by The Citron Review as one of 10 poems they published in an anthology to celebrate their first decade of publishing. I have also been honored to have poems nominated for the Pushcart prize or Best of the Net by Two Cities Review, Up North Lit, and Eastern Iowa Review.
Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?
I am currently working on a new book with a working title, Daughters Leaving Home in the Age of Aggression – that deals with the complexity of watching three daughters in their twenties find their way in the world as a mother who is an assault survivor.
Who is your favorite author?
Oh, that is impossible… Recently, I have been reading C.D. Wright, Diane Seuss, Jericho Brown, Ilya Kaminsky, and Camille Dungy. So many poets and writers transfix me with their words.
What is your favorite poem/essay/book?
Again, I cannot say I have a favorite poem, essay or book – there are too many to mention. If I to go back to old favorites, though, I would reread some of James Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Thomas Hardy, Rita Dove, Ross Gay…see what I mean?
What inspires you to write?
I write for fun, or for joy, or to explore ideas. I write to help quell intense feelings that overtake me. I also write to help me cope with overwhelming situations, or to solve problems.
What is your favorite sweet?
I think I would be inclined to say, pie is my favorite sweet, but to be honest, I tend to make crisps more often because they are easier. I also adore plum jam…it has just the simplest, but most transcendent flavor. Ann Arbor’s Farmer’s Market had prune plums this fall that I washed, pit, cut in two, and cooked down with some sugar or honey and lemon. That jam will keep us going through the winter!
Thank you, Ellen, for taking the time to reconnect with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!