3 Questions for Theresa Senato Edwards

Theresa Senato Edwards, MA, MFA


1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

The poetic line helps me hear the music of the poem, share a particular phrasing—like in a musical piece—showing where the poem needs to rise or resolve, be quick or slow, where it needs to hold its breath or breathe.  The poetic line can be very freeing, especially when risks are taken, using enjambment, caesura, and white space.  But it can also be strict, helping structure the progression of the poem.  It is an important, even sometimes unpredictable, thread of a poem for me. 

2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

I absolutely do find a relationship between writing and the human body.  In my most recent manuscript “Wing Bones,” I maneuver in and out of the concept of genetics, how addiction can take hold of generations, and how obsession can help build or destroy the body.  My first book Voices Through Skin devotes an entire section on the body.  And my other books also connect in some way or ways to the real and surreal idea of body—living or dead (The Music of Hands), natural or supernatural, even though each book has its own poetic style and content: full-length or chapbook poem collection, poem/art collaboration in response to the Holocaust (Painting Czeslawa Kwoka), or long poem fictional narrative (Green).  The idea of the body is fluid in much, although not all, of my work.

3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

What has become so disheartening for me being a poet is the publishing world.  The poetry field is very competitive and very subjective; so although many great poets’ work is being shared, there are many potentially influential poets’ work that is not being published, recognized, and/or read at all.  I know this is true in most industries, especially in the arts.  And, I guess, I wish this would change.  The world could use more creative, poetic/artistic truths and insights to help generate a more lasting, universal understanding and peace.  

Theresa Senato Edwards’ poetry books include Voices Through Skin, (Sibling Rivalry Press), a poem from this book entitled “Her Rituals” was a poetry finalist for the OCD Foundation’s Dare to Believe Contest; Painting Czeslawa Kwoka ~ Honoring Children of the Holocaust, a full-color collaboration with Painter, Lori Schreiner (unbound CONTENT), which won the Tacenda Literary Award for Best Book; and two chapbooks: The Music of Hands (Webbook, Seven CirclePress; print edition, self-published); and Green (republish Finishing Press; first published by Another New Calligraphy). Excerpts from Edwards’ manuscript in progress, “Wing Bones,” can be found in Gargoyle Magazine and online at The Nervous Breakdown, Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, and Amethyst Arsenic.  Edwards was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received a writing residency from Drop Forge & Tool.  Her website: http://www.tsenatoedwards.wixsite.com/tsenatoedwards
Excerpt from her long narrative poem “Wing Bones,” the title poem of her new manuscript.

Middle Child
When you had breast cancer, she called you regularly
the only time
you knew she’d call
like children’s
tin-can conversation
she saved mother’s thickest bluest yarn, put the knitting bag
of memories in the right-triangle closet under the steps,
found that one blue vein that mothers saved for daughters
through death, your mother tightened the string,
a story’s presence in the metal—
and when she walks into your wake,
she already knows what is on the brink of being gone


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