Three poems by Lindsay Adkins – “In Sickness”, “Milkweed”, and “4AM” – appeared in Issue 10 and can be read here.
Tell us a little about “Milkweed”.
Milkweed came to fruition after the loss of my grandfather. It took a while to write, both because I was grieving and because it was my first up-close experience with death and I was grappling to understand that. This poem was a way for me to wrestle with the idea of death vs. life in terms of emptiness vs. fullness, and to wonder if there even is such a thing as total emptiness—what are we left with? It was also, of course, a reflection on a lovely memory and a way to honor my grandfather.
What was the most difficult part of writing “Milkweed”?
Trying to strike the right balance between form and what I’ll call “earthiness.” Early on in the process it became apparent that there was a musicality to the poem. But it was also important to me that these complex topics of death and memory stay visceral. To me, poetry is unique in that it can ground big concepts, and lift the seemingly smaller ones. The idea to try Milkweed as a sonnet came out of a poetry workshop I was in at the time. I thought it might work, because of the lyricism it already had and the penultimate turn it takes. With some molding I was able to get it to a full-fledged sonnet, and then I bent it into the semi-sonnet it is now.
Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.
This is hard! I read so many different genres. I’ll join the chorus and say Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I can’t tell enough people about how important this book is. He writes in a way that will not be ignored, both poetically and bluntly. His words will get into your blood. I also just finished Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman. I could not put it down and her prose was some of the most beautifully disturbing I’ve ever come across.
If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?
I really admire Jill Alexander Essbaum as both a poet and a novelist. Her ability to use wordplay makes me envious and her poems constantly have me saying, “Oh! I have felt that!” I’m always interested in how writers find words for things we didn’t even know had words. And I loved Hausfrau! She employed many of the same tactics that she uses in her poetry and weaves this lush tapestry of bloody characters, metaphor, symbolism… It is an intricate, lacey piece of art. Finally, and maybe most importantly, she just seems super cool and whip-smart.
What are you working on now? What’s next?
My boyfriend and I are working on a screenplay together, a romantic comedy called Half +7. I’m also brainstorming a poetry collection. A lot of reading, writing, submitting, repeat. And next, hopefully grad school for my MFA!
Our thanks to Lindsay for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read “In Sickness”, “Milkweed”, and “4AM” here: www.sequestrum.org/poetry-from-lindsay-adkins.
Lindsay Adkins is a poet, screenwriter, and actress currently living in the NYC area. A graduate of The University of Hartford and The Hartt School of music, she currently serves as an Assistant Supervisor of Print Production for the Random House Publishing Group and as a Poetry Editor for Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Sugar House Review, The 2River View, Muddy River Poetry Review, and the Aurorean, among others. lindsayadkins.net