Contributor Spotlight: Amanda Chiado

The poems “Bubbly,” “Cake,” and “Chew” by Amanda Chiado Williams appeared in Issue 17 and can be read here.

We’d love to hear more about this set of poetry.

In writing this series, I was working with the undercurrents of collective lies, especially when it comes to key relationships within a family.  I know that most writers have the same preoccupation I have, in that, language always carries this great weight.  The surfaces of words seem always like a lake, reflective, beautiful and hiding great darkness.  I used these points of entry to develop surreal narratives that explored themes of adolescence, fear, transcending history, and memory.  In regards to a craft, I focused on image and points in the narrative where the reader might take flight.  This concept is still one that I am chewing on, like bubble gum.  I have always loved bubble gum and the weight of words.  My favorite element of these poems is how each first line sends the reader off a cliff.

What proved most difficult in writing this set?

The most difficult part of these particular pieces was creating cohesion without redundancy, developing narratives that breathe, and finding surprising ways to punch the reader in the guts.

Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.

I would recommend Dean Young’s Fall Higher.  I have been following his work for some time and I love his humor, intelligence, and complexity.  Ron Koertge’s Vampire Planet is a fun read & full of pop culture.  Ada Limón’s Bright Dead Things is totally and beautifully human.

If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?  

I would love to have a drink with Sharon Olds.  She writes with such emotional power and clarity.  I’d love to have a laugh with her!  

What are you working on now? What’s next?  

I am working on a few different projects including the revision of my first novel, short musicals, a children’s book and a short story about a girl stuck in a well.  I recently applied to be a part of the Visual Poetry Project, which allows poets to work with film makers to create “visual poems.”  I am crossing my fingers for that opportunity!  

Our thanks to Amanda for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read Chiado’s poems “Bubbly,” “Cake,” and “Chew” here:


Amanda Chiado’s poems “The Devil’s Taken his Dress Off” won the Molotov Cocktail Shadow Poetry Award. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart, and Best of the Net. She has twice attended Squaw Valley on scholarship in fiction and poetry. She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and California College of the Arts where she was the poetry editor for Eleven Eleven. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, Witness, Cimarron Review, Fence, and It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip Hop, among others. She works for the San Benito County Arts Council, is an active California Poet in the Schools, and edits for Jersey Devil Press and Weave. She lives with her husband and two children in rural Hollister, California where she sings, dances and collects horror-movie memorabilia. Get weirder at