Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Robyn Joy Peirce

67: Robyn Joy Peirce

Publish a manuscript of original poetry

Robyn Joy published her chapbook, Tumbling Through (Budget Press) in 2022. Her poems have been featured in Humana Obscura, Blood Pudding, PoemCity Anthology 2023, Writers for Recovery anthologies (4 volumes), 2022 & 2023 Mountain Troubadour (Poetry Society of VT), Hippocrates Initiative (international 2020 anthology), Preposition: The Undercurrent Anthology, Sixfold (Winter 2021), Two Timbers Press (2021 Collection), and Through the Window, Across the Road. She is founder of Rabbit&Wolf, which hosts a monthly poetry reading series at a local art gallery co-op, as well as other pop-up poetry events in her community. She is also a member of the PSOV’s editorial board. Her poems tell personal stories in the context of nature, addiction, sexual identity, trauma, and chronic & mental illness. She resides in Central VT with her husband and their exceptional cat, finding delight in communing with the natural world. She regularly shares (and deletes) first drafts Instagram @the_comma_struggle

Project description

My project is a full manuscript of original poetry. It is a love letter, an apology, and a list of grievances. It is naming where I came from, where I was wounded, and where I was unkind. It is a prayer in the mirror to tell myself to keep going. It is an invitation to celebrate every time I do.

My poems tell personal stories in the context of addiction, sexual identity, chronic illness, mental illness, trauma, and my adoration of the natural world. My style is confessional and personal with no regard for politeness. I am often more concerned that words feel good in my mouth and ears than if they make tangible sense.

The experiences and feelings I write about tend to be specific to me, but all this self-reflection might encourage the audience to see a reflection of themselves. Which is to say, as it is released into the wild, my story becomes the reader’s story. Part of publishing is letting go of the exact intention a poem was written with and allowing the audience to create a new poem with their lens. With that in mind, I am eager to see what this can turn into!

I have been hosting a monthly poetry reading series and pop-up events around the community under the name Rabbit&Wolf since last fall and have a small (and growing) mailing list. This will be an excellent place to start promoting my book once it is published. I will also be able to set up a book launch party and other readings through connections I have made.

The obvious and most accessible way the public will experience my finished project will be to read the book and hear me read it. I love readings because they are the most intimate form of performance I know of. A reader has the attention of the entire audience, and the genre of poetry I appreciate most is when the writing is personal and brave. It’s like calling out all your secrets and having a group of people witness them with intention. I hope to purge my secrets into these pages and into the world to be reimagined.

Media Samples

Pastoral Brutalism. “I wrote this one with the idea of nature and industrialism in an argument.”

On a Wednesday. “This was written on a Wednesday after a dear friend and I talked about feeling placated by everyone but each other.”

a thin slice of silence. “During a deep depression last year I visited the river often and found a lot of comfort there while continuing to struggle.”

Instagram | Venmo

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Acadia Klepeis August 24, 2023