Remembering poet John Wylam

IMG_0252I go to church, but I also go to this church, which is the woods.

I’ve been remembering my friend John Wylam, who passed away recently.

I met John in late August of 1996 when we were both students in the MFA program at Bowling Green State University. At first we seemed to be unlikely friends, but he was a true kindred spirit, a gentle soul who knew so much about poetry and struggle and the Rust Belt. I’m glad that our friendship lasted beyond our years at BGSU.

When I read John’s thoughts on poetry, music, motor sports, politics, and life in general, it brings his voice back. Maybe you’d like to listen, too?

Pre-Order Small Enterprise through Black Lawrence Press

Special pre-order price when ordering directly through BLP.

“Swift heels in oily puddles. A toaster wrapped in a bundle of t-shirts. A toddler clutched to the chest. So much stale beer, so much burnt coffee. Biddinger serves you a slice of pie and a double. Tells Tom Waits to eat his heart out. Gives Johnny Rotten the finger. Poems that salvage a grandmother’s ring, bleed standing up, nurse, and run. Remember pinhole lakeside constellations, what it felt like to travel by train in a buttoned coat. To be a girl, then woman, weary scavenger, city mouse, wanton, the record of your petty crimes, the small business that keeps the clockwork sky in place.”  –Danielle Pafunda

Mary Biddinger at NEA Writers’ Corner

The 2015 National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellow profiles are now available. Much gratitude to the NEA for its invaluable support of writers and artists.

I realize that receiving an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship is not going to have the same kind of momentous impact on the morale and local economy of my Rust Belt town, but nonetheless I feel that it is a victory for all of us here in Northeast Ohio. I write poems about ordinary folks in the Midwest, using everyday artifacts from their lives, and this award demonstrates that someone is listening. –Mary Biddinger 

Coming soon: Small Enterprise

Biddinger cover_rev5
Mary Biddinger’s fourth full-length collection of poems, Small Enterprise, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in late August 2015, and now available for pre-ordering.

Small Enterprise at Black Lawrence Press.

Small Enterprise at SPD.

Title poem from the collection, at Gulf Coast. 


“In Mary Biddinger’s Small Enterprise we find a brilliant wackiness that slips into surreality that slips into memory that slips into dream—and then back again. We find a pile of memos from the most interesting Risk Management department on earth. And we find a bewilderingly smart narrator who looks at the world like this: “When I met the machine that eventually/would replace me, all I thought was/ how it filled the room with sun pools/and erroneous static.” Biddinger’s enterprise, in all its departments and gears and springs, is indeed small—it shrinks until it implodes, comes out the other side as the absolute-vast: ‘One team lost its ball, played soccer with a globe.'” —Sarah Vap

“These poems, the best I’ve seen yet in a career that already outshines most living poets (and plenty of dead ones), offer still more evidence that Mary Biddinger is one of the best, most entertaining poets out there. But these aren’t just exercises in clever line breaks and punchy imagery. With her trademark blend of wit, surprise, and poignancy, Biddinger scrutinizes the many spheres of human existence, further pushing the stylistic envelope whilst maintaining her fidelity to art that matters, to language that roundhouses the psyche into something dizzyingly close to enlightenment.” —Michael Meyerhofer