Dear Selection Committee by Melissa Studdard

Source: Jackleg Press
Paperback, 132 pgs.
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Dear Selection Committee by Melissa Studdard is a poetry collection that will have you on your toes, make you gape in awe, and have you wishing you kept some of your own boldness on the surface. These are poems of empowerment. In the opening poem, “Dear Selection Committee,” readers will see immediately that Studdard is bold and ready to ask for what she wants, whether it is a corner office or the ability to drink chardonnay when she wants.

In “My Kind,” the narrator says, “I’m building a life/out of sad songs, good friends, and leftover microwavable food./It occurs to me that I may be my own soul mate. That’s how I’ve/ended up in this body alone.” While there is a great deal of socialization, Studdard also brings to the forefront the inner life and loneliness of this persona. How do you fill those voids you experience? With friends, good food, pets? In “Untitled,” her persona’s “address is nostalgia/for things that never happened. I wander in/and out of coincidence, dragging a wagonful/of unrequited lovers behind me.” and later the persona says, “Oh — what we embrace/to avoid the life we’ve been given…Generate/a disaster in your life to sidestep/the true catastrophe of your life.”

The poems at first blush appear to be very tongue-in-cheek, with wild situations and imaginative conversations. Beneath the surface there is a powerful female voice carving out her due. From burying the past and digging it up to expressing exasperation with being human and all that requires. One of my favorite poems is Wrap it in Silk, which was published in The Los Angeles Review.

Dear Selection Committee by Melissa Studdard reminds us that we are center stage in our own lives and we need to live it boldly and without excuses. We can be kind, but also we can get what we want by going after it, not waiting for it to come to us. This collection is funny, sexy, and empowering. You won’t be able to put it down.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Melissa Studdard is the author of five books, including the poetry collection I ATE THE COSMOS FOR BREAKFAST. Her work has been published or featured by places such as NPR, PBS, The New York Times, The Guardian, POETRY, Kenyon Review, Psychology Today, and New England Review. Her awards include The Poetry Society of America’s Lucille Medwick Memorial Award, The Penn Review Poetry Prize, the REEL Poetry Festival Audience Choice Award, the Tom Howard Prize, and more.