NEA Literature Fellowships

Landon Godfrey

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(2017 - Poetry)


One evening after he comes home from work, the sun has moved on from our house. The windows can’t see the forest, which now hides behind the sky’s chalkboard. A box of strike-anywhere matches waits by the wood stove like a gang of extras in a vendetta movie. Instead of dragging it against the stone floor, he lights a match on a windowpane, the little flame looking out into the dark forest. I did not know it was possible to force fire out of the interaction between a small chemical-tipped baton and the smooth transparent membrane that says of course you may keep imagining outside and inside won’t ever collapse into each other. I thought the surfaces of both parties in the exchange had to be noticeably rough. Not a miracle, but this new fire feels like one for a moment.

(originally appeared in Inch)

Landon Godfrey’s first collection of poems, Second-Skin Rhinestone-Spangled Nude Soufflé Chiffon Gown, was selected by David St. John for the Cider Press Review Book Award. She is also the author of two limited-edition letterpress chapbooks, In the Stone (funded by a Regional Artist Project Grant) and Spaceship (Somnambulist Tango Press). Her poems have appeared in Waxwing, Slice, Copper Nickel, The Adroit Journal, Bennington Review, Best New Poets, Verse Daily, and other places. A recipient of honors such as a North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship, she is currently working on her second collection of poems, Inventory of Doubts. Also an artist, she co-edits, -designs, and -prints Croquet, a letterpress postcard-broadside poetry journal created on vintage presses. She earned an MFA from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program and a BS from NYU in studio art. Born in Washington, DC, she lives in Black Mountain, NC.

Photo by Gary Hawkins

Author's Statement

I’m very grateful to the NEA for including me in this fellowship of writers and artists, and delighted, humbled, amazed, and honored to receive the gift of recognition and encouragement. And food. And time to read and walk. And space in which not to know the answers. I thank all involved for such good help.