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Michelle Bitting MICHELLE BITTING’s latest collection is The Couple Who Fell to Earth (C & R Press, 2016), named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2016. She has poems forthcoming or published in The American Poetry Review, AJP, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, Diode, The New York Times, Vinyl Poetry, Plume, the Paris-American, Fjords, Tupelo Quarterly and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Her book Good Friday Kiss won the DeNovo First Book Award and Notes to the Beloved won the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award and also earned a starred review from Kirkus. She has won awards from Glimmer Train and the Beyond Baroque Foundation and been a finalist for the Poet's & Writer's Magazine California Exchange, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Julia Peterkin, and Rita Dove poetry awards. Poems have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes, and most recently, The Pablo Neruda, American Literary Review and Tupelo Quarterly Poetry contests.

Recent Work By Michelle Bitting

Photograph by Alexis Rhone Fancher

It’s the start of 2017 on Planet Earth. How’s it feel to be a poet right now?

Awful (it’s my job, not complaining) and awfully important. Not because I am so terribly important–I mean–I’m glad if I write work people find meaningful in some way, but right now, just attempting to feel the sublime moments of aesthetic arrest while coping with my fury and sadness concerning the political situation in America, specifically, the insanely fascistic douche-baggery operating in the White House and majority seats of the Capitol make bearing an authentic and carefree poet spirit through the world challenging, to say the least.

Farmers heft and truckers load crates of lemons onto flatbeds at first light.
The skillet trees stream past,
silhouettes of yellow fruit and shadowed green
like something aquatic. Here I go,
sucked under, again. I love what won’t belong to me
and so sit tight, fingering the wound,
the open sinew, sticky gem pot
in the lap of the matter.