About nicole v basta
nicole v basta's poems have found homes in Ploughshares, Waxwing, Plume, Crazyhorse, North American Review, The Cortland Review etc. She is the author of the chapbook V, the winner of The New School's Annual Contest and the chapbook the next field over, out now from Tolsun Books.
A Profile of the Author
Notes on "and thank every hour" and "prayer"
While I was an artist-in-residence at the magical Art Farm Nebraska, I read a lot of old books that had been kicking around the farm for probably decades, one of which taught you how to identify birds, bugs, among other things. I think “and thank every hour” really did begin with a deep appreciation for the sound of the word warbler. In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard says “Why didn’t God let the animals in Eden name the man…” So I think I am trying to say something like that, or I am always saying who the hell put humans on a pedestal above the rest. These poems are part of a larger manuscript that contends with ancestral stories including the disappearance of my great-great grandmother at the hands of Russian soldiers. I also deeply care for a person who was a soldier. The complexity of militarized violence includes how a soldier is also a kind of victim of that violence. The final two lines of the poem surprised me but they were there from the start and I knew that they belonged.
99.9% of the time, my poems have 10-30 drafts before I start sending them out. “prayer” is one of maybe two poems that I wrote in almost one fell swoop. This praying mantis came to visit me at my studio in the middle of a field on Art Farm. I guess I was thinking about control and chance that day while this mantis performed a bunch of cool moves in front of me. I read in the book that a praying mantis can grab a butterfly mid-flight for a snack. Sometimes I want to be the mantis, sometimes the butterfly, sometimes the little bugs that nip at your ankles. I always want to believe all of it means something
Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.
Well, it is suddenly too close to winter so I am trying to lean in. I’ve been eating a lot of roasted veggies and thai chili peanuts and night cap cheese. I’ve switched to whiskey from tequila, but mostly I’m drinking lemon balm and skullcap cinnamon tea. I’m currently not a mother to any human or fur children but an auntie to two beauties: Spudzy and Beanie, an elder pup (you’re so smart, Spudz) and an actual puppy. Loretta Lynn died today and I wouldn’t be a coal miner’s (grand)daughter, if I wasn’t honoring her by listening my way through her years as a honky tonk angel. Also, my poet sis Sophie Klahr turned me on to Ethel Cain and I’ve been listening to her a bunch. Townes Van Zandt and John Prine are always on repeat in my world and I’m in a big Brandi Carlile, Valerie June, and Kate Wolf (Across the Great Divide!) season of my life.