Name: Gabrielle Bates
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Current City: Seattle, Washington
Occupation: Writer, Editor, Social Media Manager for Open Books: A Poem Emporium
What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry is the force around which so much of my life orbits. Reading it, writing it, and celebrating it has brought me so many opportunities and adventures in this life (not to mention the vast majority of my friendships). It gives my life, my thoughts, my unsayables shape and course.
What is your favorite poem?
It changes by the day, but right now I'm really into the poem "To Be Read in the Interrogative" by Julio Cortázar. In one English translation (I believe by Stephen Kessler) it goes:
Have you seen
have you truly seen
the snow the stars the felt steps of the breeze
Have you touched
really have you touched
the plate the bread the face of that woman you love so much
Have you lived
like a blow to the head
the flash the gasp the fall the flight
Have you known
known in every pore of your skin
how your eyes your hands your sex your soft heart
must be thrown away
must be wept away
must be invented all over again
Why do you like this poem?
I love how deceptively simple it is, how deft and surprising it increasingly becomes as the poem unfolds. It's the kind of poem I like to have memorized, so I can carry it around with me in the folds of my brain. I love how it reminds me to be awake and alive in my life.
Gabrielle Bates is a writer and visual artist. You can follow her on Twitter @GabrielleBates and on Instagram @Gabrielle_Bates_.