Amy Meng will be reading at  The Difficult to Name Reading Series  on Saturday, April 9 at  Study Hall .

Amy Meng will be reading at The Difficult to Name Reading Series on Saturday, April 9 at Study Hall.

I know you're a real poet because I go on your website and all the links lead to sites where I've got to spend $12 and wait two weeks for a copy of a literary magazine containing your poem to arrive in the mail before I can read your poem because it's art and that's how art works. I'm not being facetious either, I think it's a very cool and great thing to finish a piece and say, This has value and I'm going to submit it to a lit mag and wait six months for a response rather than just adding it to my blog. What's that process of writing and submitting and waiting like for you?

My process of submitting is similar to my process of writing: I go into a steady depressive state where I spend all my free time eating clementines, sleeping, and watching The Golden Girls in my room until I can't stand myself any longer -- then I write a poem (or submit a set of poems). Waiting doesn't bother me. I file all my submissions away into a spreadsheet and then I'm mildly surprised when I get a rejection because I'd forgotten all about it.

One of the poems I could read from your site, Inside-Out Joke, contains incredibly tight, visceral language. Some people like Gabriella Paiella (s/o to Gaby, reading at the May 14 edition of DTN) make jokes saying, "poetry's not that great" (paraphrasing). I feel like there is a lot of really bad poetry, it's hard to find the great stuff. Are there some garbage poets out there that you want to take this opportunity to call out publicly? You can just reply with their twitter handles.

Thank you for directing me straight to Shade County, USA. I'm going to name some poets who have been turning trash into treasure / eating cheese down to the rind since the mid- to early-80s: (Lauren Clark) @laurclar, (Lizzie Harris) @HeyLizzieHarris, (Ben Purkert) @BenPurkert, and (Cat Richardson) @ThatCatPerson.

Wait, I found another one of your poems that I can read from the link on your site. To The Modernist Architect. This is such a beautiful, sharp poem. I bet a tough racket is poetry criticism because I'm here like, "this poem is beautiful" thinking I wish I had a better word. It's just a really great poem. You teach creative writing at Rutgers University too, what's that like?

It's great, and if any admin from Rutgers is reading this, note that it'd be even better with healthcare. 

Way serious question. You're working on a poetry manuscript about definitions of love. That's such a fascinating concept. Could you discuss that idea a bit?

It started off as a kind of take on Roland Barthes's A Lover's Discourse, but it's changed to be less directly about "definitions of love." Now the manuscript is about how emotionally intelligent people (women in particular) enter into bad romantic relationships despite knowing this will cause tremendous pain and self-degradation; it's also about how the aftermath of the relationship (if the person is able to leave) needn't involve a sense of shame.

I wasn't thinking about this until after I asked you to read, but Study Hall is a writing space in Bushwick and you also work at Paragraph, a writing space in Union Square. Are you going to be low-key trying to convince writers to switch over to Paragraph while you're at Study Hall or do you take off your Paragraph hat when you're at an event reading poetry and not scheme in that way?

You can join Paragraph by going to and filling out an application for membership. Feel free to e-mail for a free trial day!