5 Questions with Maggie Millner, Author of Couplets

Mar 10, 2023

Headshot of Maggie Millner

Maggie Millner was born and raised in rural upstate New York. She teaches writing at Yale and is a senior editor at The Yale Review. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Poetry. Couplets is her first book.

Maggie Millner will be reading from her debut book Couplets, a story in verse published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, on Monday, March 13, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. PST. She will be joined in conversation by Megan Fernandes, Sam Sax and Oscar Villalon. This event will be both in-person at City Lights Bookstore and available to watch online.

Where are you writing to us from?

Brooklyn! Just east of Prospect Park.

What is bringing you joy right now, personally/artistically/habitually?

My friends. Orna Guralnik. Looseleaf rooibos. Doubles from a Caribbean restaurant in my neighborhood called De Hot Pot.

Which writers, artists, and others influence your work in general, and this book, specifically?

The epigraph from Edna St. Vincent Millay is very telling, I think! I’m a sucker for anyone who can write really fluid formal poetry—and all the better if their work engages with queer life in some way. June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, James Merrill, Marilyn Hacker… the list goes on.

What books are you reading right now and would you recommend any to others?

I recently reread the truly genius Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse by Anahid Nersessian. I also just discovered this book called The Politics of Poetic Form, edited by Charles Bernstein, which includes a thrilling essay (complete with a graph!) by Rosmarie Waldrop, and transcripts of some fascinating Q&As at the St. Marks Poetry Project in the 1980s.

If you opened a bookstore, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?

I’ve been so inspired recently by all the lesbian bookstores in Madrid—we need more of those here in New York! Maybe I’d name mine “Lorraine,” after Lorraine Hansberry, and we’d move a lot of copies of A Raisin in the Sun.

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