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Simone Muench

Simone Muench was raised in Louisiana and Arkansas, and holds a PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of six full-length collections, including Lampblack & Ash (Sarabande, 2005), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry, and Suture (Black Lawrence Press, 2017), co-written with poet Dean Rader

Muench is the recipient of a 2013 NEA Fellowship for poetry, two Illinois Arts Council fellowships, the 49th Parallel Award for Poetry, and others. In 2014, she recieved the Meier Charitable Foundation for the Arts Achievement Award.

Muench is the Writing Program Diector at Lewis University, where she teaches English, Creative Writing, and Film Studies. She is the chief faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, and a senior poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly. She lives in Chicago, Illinois. 

Selected Bibliography

Wolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014)
Orange Crush (Sarabande, 2010
Lampblack & Ash (Sarabande, 2005
The Air Lost in Breathing (Helicon Nine, 2000)

By This Poet


Wolf Cento

Very quick. Very intense, like a wolf
at a live heart, the sun breaks down.
What is important is to avoid
the time allotted for disavowels
as the livid wound
leaves a trace      leaves an abscess
takes its contraction for those clouds
that dip thunder & vanish
like rose leaves in closed jars.
Age approaches, slowly. But it cannot
crystal bone into thin air.
The small hours open their wounds for me.
This is a woman's confession:
I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me.

Sources: [Anne Sexton, Dylan Thomas, Larry Levis, Ingeborg Bachmann, Octavio Paz, Henri Michaux, Agnes Nemes Nagy, Joyce Mansour, William Burroughs, Meret Oppenheim, Mary Low, Adrienne Rich, Carl Sandburg]

Orange Girl Suite [excerpt]

Young women carrying baskets of oranges used to stand near the stage in London theatres and sell oranges at sixpence apiece and themselves for little more

between dresses we came.
between naked and nothing
we slipped into the delirious
coils of perfected ears, 

       pear dust on our skin
              sarsparilla sounding our 
                     fizzied song in sailor mouths.  

we were translated by churchwomen
who placed umlauts over our words.

when we recovered, we were sold 
in beautiful clothes, sent sailing into the gulf
where the moon pitched
its lemon-lateness over the celluloid

       slickness of sea.  we were movie stars
              who never entered the frame.
                     we were green and gone

lisping "o" words in the air:
ode, odalisque, obituary.

The rynde of the orrendge is hot, and the meate within it is cold

there are only two ways 
       to peel an orange
              in fragments or in one
       coiling brightness.
let us rewind and revel 
       in the orangeade of sun-
              decked eyes. turn me spinning 
       in a carousel-sweet dress
ear marked by radio teeth
       red leaf breath.
              your arm is on fire
       as we ride in a dark
car to the carnival.
       the constant clink 
              of seatbelt to belt buckle.
       the sky’s cotton candy
melting in a girl's cold mouth.