For this third week of National Poetry Month, I’d like to honor Michelle Castleberry.
Michelle was recommended to me by Collin Kelley. And then I read her. And whoa nelly!
Michelle Castleberry grew up in Warren, Arkansas. Her early years were spent working on a family farm alongside her parents and two younger siblings. Her writing springs from experiences of life around fields and timber lanes. It echoes the rhythm of Southern Baptist preaching and hymns. In childhood she was drawn to music and began playing piano in church as a child and later saxophone in honky-tonks and blues clubs as a teen and young adult. Many of her poems address music or the lives of musicians. She can sometimes be seen sitting in with local bands in Athens, GA.
After a time of working in shelters for the homeless and battered women, Michelle attended graduate school at the University of Georgia. Since 2007, she has worked as a clinical social worker at Family Counseling Services, Inc. While she works with people from a variety of backgrounds with diverse challenges, she specializes in working with people in the arts and also has experience working with people affected by domestic violence. Empathy and an attention to language are useful both of her roles as therapist and writer.
Her poetry and microfiction have appeared in publications including Umbrella, Bellemeade Books, The Flagpole Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Poemeleon, The Anthology of Southern Poetry: Vol. V – Georgia, The Chattahoochee Review and forthcoming in an anthology of eco-poetry by the University of Georgia Press.
As a writer who enjoys the performance of the poetry, Michelle has recorded poems for WUGA’s “Wordland” program. She is member of the Athens, Georgia community of Word of Mouth, a monthly open poetry reading. She has been featured three times at that reading and her poetry, in text and audio form, and that of many of her favorite poets, can be found on the Word of Mouth website.
Her first collection of poems, Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems was selected as a finalist in the poetry division of the 50th annual Georgia Author of the Year awards. Michelle lives in Watkinsville, Georgia with her boyfriend, filmmaker Matt DeGennaro. She is co-writing a feature film with him to be produced by their new company, Flying Mule Films.
If you’d like to catch up with Michelle, you can find her on YouTube.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.com. If you’d like to purchase a copy of her phenomenal collection Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems, please visit her on Amazon.com.
Now sit back, relax and enjoy the verbal stylings of a truly gifted poet.
Chanterelle (For Wyler)
Join me next week when I introduce you to newly published poet and author Yo’ Sista.
Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition. ~Eli Khamarov, The Shadow Zone