Melanie Tafejian

Melanie Tafejian

“We are all one question and the best answer seems to be love—a connection between things.”
― Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures

Up and over the green hills, winding my way into the valley, I arrived at Township 10 with a trunk full of books and an eagerness to get writing. I was welcomed by the bookshelf which held some of my favorite poets. I knew when I saw their names that I was in a good place.  Each night I brought Mary Ruefle’s “Madness, Rack, and Honey” to bed where I fell asleep to the quiet of the hollow and woke to rain pounding at the door.

My mornings were spent at the kitchen table, where I filled my mind with the music of poems and watched the sun make its way over the hills. The early morning light illuminated the table filled with books and peppers and tomatoes from a friend in Asheville. I found the kitchen, which smelled of basil from the garden, to be my favorite place to write. From the table I could watch a sunflower sway, crows march the grass, the occasional butterfly swirling.

In the evenings I threw pots and let the words I had spent all day reading continue to rattle in my head. Most of my poems come to me while I’m in motion: taking a shower, going for a walk, washing the dishes. Rarely do they come while I am sitting at a desk. Working with clay provided me a kind of meditative motion. The focus it takes to work on the wheel has an undeniable kinship to the focus of poem making. With both you have to get into a zone, you snap out of it and the pot falls, the poem disappears.

I had suspected it would be this silent meditation that would lead to poem making at Township 10, and of course, in many respects it did. But to my surprise, it was the snippets of time with people that really made my writing come to life. It was beers on the back porch with Kyle and Isabel. It was trips to the little market in Marshall where I chatted with vendors. A conversation with Kyle about glazes sparked a poem titled “Cobalt,” which is one of my favorites I made while at Township 10.

At Township 10 I found space to create, space to thrive. A space to be nurtured by the cabin, by the landscape, and the many inhabitants of this entrancing place."