Saved Seven Times Before the Age of Five

Writer-in-Residence Diane Seuss ’78 will have her third volume of poems, Four-Legged Girl, published in 2015.

Her first collection was It Blows You Hollow, and her second, Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, received the Juniper Prize for Poetry.

Last month Seuss was interviewed by Missouri Review intern Anne Barngrover for the Review’s Text Box anthology (October 15). It’s a fascinating read, much like a Di poem: “Four-Legged Girl is specifically concerned with embodiment, beauty, loss, addiction and desire,” says Seuss. “Maybe it is post-body, post-beauty, post-grief, post-addiction, post-desire. I think so. I believe it is located more outside the boundary of community than my other books; its imagination is more iconoclastic, arriving at ferocity, femaleness, freakishness, and solitude–which to me is poetry.”

The interview touches on the treatment of religion (“I tried to be Catholic about the same year as I got breast buds.”), female sexuality (“The four-legged girl’s lonely freakishness is a signal of her monstrous royalty.”), and the recurrence of the name “Mary” throughout her work (“…maybe the four-legged girl is named Mary. I think my notion of the goddess has gotten a lot racier. But in tandem with that raciness is an omnipresent grief.)” The reader also learns a great deal about the College’s resident writer’s writing process–“I have never been someone who writes daily….There is a window of opportunity in which I know all and see all from the poem’s point of view and language palette….Once the window closes, I’m lost. Out of that lostness, when it’s just me and the dog and the nameless stars, comes the next poem.”

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About Jim Van Sweden

Director, College Communications