Poetry Favorites: Jeannine Hall Gailey

Who is your favorite living poet?

Tough one! Can it be a tie between Matthea Harvey/Dana Levin/Denise Duhamel/Dorianne Laux/Louise Gluck/Margaret Atwood? (Um, that's a lot of ties, I know!) 

Who is your favorite dead poet?

Probably Lucille Clifton, closely followed by Louis Simpson.

What is your favorite poem of all time? 

"My Father in the Night Commanding No" by Louis Simpson. It's brilliant. I memorized it when I was eleven.


Current book of poetry you can’t get out of your mind?

So many good ones out there right now! The Cardiologist's Daughter by Natasha K. Moni, and I loved the mermaid poems from Matthea Harvey's If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?

Best live, or audio, poetry reading you can remember.

Some of my favorite memories revolve around unexpected poetry readings. A few years ago, I went to what I thought was going to be a reading by Li-Young Leeat DG Wills Bookstore in San Diego, hosted by Ilya Kaminsky. Li Young Lee didn't show up, so Ilya asked Jericho Brown, who had just had his first book come out, I think that month, and me to read instead. Listening to Jericho read from "Please" I was so enchanted, I just thought: I am watching a real poetry superstar at the start of his career. (Did I mention San Diego is an unexpectedly great place for poetry readings?)


Jeannine Hall Gaileyrecently served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of four books of poetry: Becoming the VillainessShe Returns to the Floating WorldUnexplained Fevers, and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, new in 2015 from Mayapple Press. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry ReviewThe Iowa Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com. Twitter handle: @webbish6.