Juliana Gray
May 2014


Juliana GrayJuliana Gray’s second collection, Roleplay, won the 2010 Orphic Prize and was recently published by Dream Horse Press.  A chapbook, Anne Boleyn’s Sleeve, won the 2013 Winged City Chapbook Press poetry chapbook contest was published this year.  Recent poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from PMS: poemmemoirstory, Measure, 32 Poems, River Styx and elsewhere.  An Alabama native, she lives in western New York and is an associate professor of English at Alfred University.


Statement of Poetics

When I realized I had to write a statement of poetics, my first impulse was to search for what others have written.  I mostly squelched that wish to hide behind better poets, but I’m still reluctant to make some grandiose proclamation.  I write because I like it, because I enjoy fiddling with language, meter, and line breaks.  I like research.  I like learning new words, or polishing up old ones.  Few experiences are better than losing a Sunday morning to words, then stirring to find thesaurus and dictionaries scattered across the desk, cats sprawled upon the books, and a raw new poem on the screen.

One subject I keep returning to is marriage-- my own, those of fictional and historical characters (like Anne Boleyn), some purely invented.  I keep turning the idea of marriage this way and that, trying to see what I think of it.  I also write funny poems.  Some readers seem to think Billy Collins is the poet who’s allowed to be humorous, which is a shame (for poets like me and for Billy Collins).

Okay, just one quote from another poet, Howard Nemerov, who said that “poetry is getting something right in language.”  Yes, exactly.



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