Interview with Meg Tuite

Meg Tuite

Joan Hanna: We were so excited to include your poem “Relics” in our October Issue. Can you share with our readers how this poem came about?

Meg Tuite: I was thinking of all the things that we swallow in a lifetime, including our words, our rage, our pain. I started working the poem from there and found many items that speak of different periods in my life.

 

JH: I love that this poem is filled with things that are at once ordinary and yet definitive of the stages of growth. Can you discuss how you chose these images for the poem?

MT: Yes, definitely images that came from different periods of life. I thought of the wild freedom I had as a kid, a teenager, all those things we think we love, want to hang on to and yet don’t understand. Lost love, jealousy, drugs, sex and all those bugs that dive in some of that life outside of ourselves. A kid on a bike is a beautiful thing and I spent my childhood on a bike, as close to flying as I could get. Then the high school years when experimentation of drugs, sex, make-up and glitter were prominent. Once again, ‘yesterday’s gems…’ Okay, I haven’t really given up on any of those, except maybe the glitter? NO. The glitter, too.

 

JH: What did you think of the image used to illustrate your piece?

MT: The artwork by Elizabeth Leader, “Auto Grave,” with the girl diving down in the water and the wreckage below says it all. “Auto Grave” and the poem are a perfect match. Thank you so much for that collaborative beauty, Elizabeth.

 JH: I find it fascinating that all of the objects in your poem have some sort of an oral context. Can you expand on that imagery?

MT: We ingest so many things in life and I often wondered if we could look back at all of those relics, would they tell a story like swimming through the debris of a shipwreck? Memory is a strange gnome. It only gives us minute details of any moment and yet we write memoirs and stories to wrap around those feelings and visuals we still carry like a package. I think of all the things I’ve swallowed and that’s a lot of crap “slugged back with saliva.” And once again the words, feelings, ideas, rage, sadness and pain that are never unleashed, taken inward and float around clinging to internal organs for how long? I’ve heard it takes seven years to clear your lungs from smoking, but what about cigarette butts, or a condom in the digestive tract? If we could just strain out each organ and find out what it still carried, we’d be back in the womb.

 

JH: Please include any links to your website, other publications or other links you would like to share with our readers.

MT: My websites: megtuite.wordpress.com and www.megtuite.com
Also www.magnanimousportraits.com a site with over 150 different collages of writers, artists, musicians and innovators screened on to t-shirts) Hope you check them out.

I have two new collections out right now. “Bound By Blue,” (Sententia Books) is a collection of short stories. (The above link also includes a video of me reading a story from the collection at my book launch in Santa Fe.)

Her Skin is a Costume,” is a long chapbook (80 pgs) published through Red Bird Chapbooks. It is a linked tale that follows a family through flash pieces.

 

JH: Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss your poetry and “Relics.” Can you answer one final question? Can you discuss what recovery means to you?

MT: I love your questions, Joan. I’m trying to squeeze the fog out of my cells so I can find something worthwhile to say. Recovery is finding that I’m still not ten or twelve emotionally when I go back home to see my Dad. Recovery is breaking through some fear that held me prisoner for a damn long eternity. Recovery is writing what I need to write and letting my voice speak and not swallow itself anymore.