Contributor, Sunni Brown Wilkinson finalist of the 2013 Atlantis Award, was interviewed for the release of an award-winning chapbook The Ache and the Wing, Editorial Intern Nikki Lyssy sat with Wilkinson to discuss the relationship between hope and loss, the many different selves we live, and honoring grief through remembrance. Click here for the full interview.
In this excerpt Sunni has this to say about the beginning of the collection:
Sunni Brown Wilkinson: In the opening poem (“Rodeo”), something in the speaker is broken. I don’t say what outright, but it becomes apparent in the poems directly following: we had just lost our youngest son. I did feel like my body was literally broken. I was recovering from my fourth C-section, I was 40, and the baby we had anxiously been awaiting was stillborn. I’d never known how physically crippling grief could be, and I barely had the strength to get through each day. And in that opening poem, there actually aren’t any birds, just a hummingbird hawk moth, which looks like the tiniest bird but is in fact an insect. So in that first poem, I would say there’s just heaviness and struggle, no wingspan, very little to lift the body toward lightness.
Sunni Brown Wilkinson‘s poetry can be found in Western Humanities Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, SWWIM, Crab Orchard Review and other journals and anthologies. She is the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019, finalist for the Hudson Prize) and The Ache and the Wing (winner of Sundress’s 2020 Chapbook Prize). She also won New Ohio Review’s NORward Poetry Prize and the 2020 Joy Harjo Prize from Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. She teaches at Weber State University and lives in northern Utah with her husband and three sons.