NEA Literature Fellowships

Joshua Kryah

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(2013 - Poetry)

We Are Starved

Always blood and those who give of it so freely.

The hemophiliac, the martyr.

The meat-packing plant at the end of our street.

Piles of ice dumped out back, soaked through with the blood of deer,
           their hind legs broken, stabbed through, hung to drain.

And the children, always the children.

Gathering the ice into small handfuls, licking it as one would
           a snow cone.

We did this because we loved the deer.

We wanted, somehow, to tell it.

Our mouths full of salt and a senseless speaking.

We thought this was how you brought back the dead.

We thought you would believe us.

(Used by permission from the Center for Literary Publishing).

Joshua Kryah is the author of two poetry collections, We Are Starved (2011), and Glean (2007). He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and his PhD from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was a Schaeffer Fellow in poetry. He is currently the Thornton Writer-in-Residence at Lynchburg College and will be the Summer Poet in Residence at the University of Mississippi in 2013. His awards include the Michael W. Gearhart Prize from The Southwest Review and the Third Coast Poetry Prize. Since 2007 he has been poetry editor of Witness magazine. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington, DC area, where he is currently at work on two manuscripts: Closen, a verse drama about the life and work of the British poet John Clare and the English Enclosure Acts of the 19th century; and Holy Ghost People, a meditation on glossolalia.

Photo by Amber Withycombe

Author's Statement

I want to write poems. The NEA understands this. We share a similar obligation. "One writes poetry because one must," says Wallace Stevens. It's a matter of labor and of dedication, essential because we do it. I am deeply appreciative of such support. It makes the work that much more tireless.