Mid/South Contributors: Lesley Clinton
Featuring one of our Texas poets
Lesley and I first met indirectly through Catholic literary circles, but I hope we can connect in “real life” one day. Two of her poems appear in the Mid/South Anthology. Learn more about her below and check out her chapbook, Calling the Garden from the Grave.
Name: Lesley Clinton
Current Location: Sugar Land, Texas (in the greater Houston area)
Bio: Lesley Clinton’s chapbook of poems, Calling the Garden from the Grave (Finishing Line Press), placed 2nd among books of creative verse in the National Federation of Press Women 2021 Communications Contest. Clinton’s poetry and book reviews have appeared in publications such as America, THINK, Mezzo Cammin, The Windhover, Presence Journal, Reformed Journal, Christianity & Literature, Grand Little Things, Texas Poetry Calendar, By the Light of a Neon Moon, and Ekstasis Magazine. Clinton has an MA in Teaching and is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of St. Thomas. She teaches high school English and is editor in chief of The Chronicle of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. She serves as a board member of Catholic Literary Arts.
1. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your work that will appear in the anthology?
“Grief’s Handiwork” was the fruit of an ekphrastic poetry workshop hosted by Judith Sornberger and presented by Catholic Literary Arts. The painting Near Alcado, NM, by Georgia O’Keeffe inspired it. The poem developed so much from the initial draft that I eventually removed the epigraph, but I’m happy to have an opportunity to highlight the inspirational artwork and the instructor, without whom this poem wouldn’t have come to life.
“Fallen Feather Stars” is one of two poems I’ve written about fossils in the Houston Museum of Natural Science Hall of Paleontology. To my eye, fossils are evocative visions of prehistory, ancient artworks crafted by nature’s own hand. They whisper stories to me.
2. How would you describe your work overall? Do you have other publications you’d like us to highlight?
I’ll defer to J.D. Graham in his review of my chapbook Calling the Garden from the Grave, which he calls “a collection of well-balanced tensions—rooted in place, yet unafraid to travel; modern in tone, yet grounded in tradition.” Wonder, hope, and gratitude underscore everything I write, even works that explore suffering, death, and despair.
3. How does the Mid-South and/or larger Southern region influence your perspective (personally and/or in your writing)?
As a native Houstonian born of New Orleanian parents, I carry the settings, cuisine, and culture of the Gulf Coast within. This region features heavily in my poetry, as do West Texas and the Southwest. I first visited Big Bend National Park as a toddler; those landscapes have claimed permanent residence in my imagination. I’m at home navigating city highways, hiking desert mountains, traveling through coastal prairie lands, stargazing in the Hill Country, and dining al fresco under live oaks. The speakers of my poems often find themselves in such settings.
4. What do you wish more people knew about this area?
We’ve got it all, from dinosaur footprints to moon rocks.
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