Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Nicole Terez Dutton

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry. Each
month we will be shining the spotlight on a poet affiliated with, and nominated by, 
one of our poetry partners. If you are a partner with a poet to nominate, email 
laurin@masspoetry.org.

Highlighted by Grub Street

Nicole Terez Dutton

Nicole Terez Dutton’s work has appeared in Callaloo, Ploughshares, 32 Poems, Indiana Review and Salt Hill Journal.  Nicole earned an MFA from Brown University and has received fellowships from the Frost Place, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her collection of poems, If One Of Us Should Fall, was selected as the winner of the 2011 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts and teaches in the Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program, as well as Boston University and Grub Street.


Poetic Profession

Nicole’s favorite things to keep her in good writing spirits include her mighty morning cup of dark, dark coffee, her family, their funny little dogs and cat, reading before lights out, her giant New Oxford American Dictionary, cheap Bic mechanical pencils, washi tape for putting drafts on the walls, and a huge empty sketchbook.

Every Answer Is Yes

And guitars burning us up, quick
as malaria, strapped into the hind bucket
of second hand Buicks, speeding
away, always, and always dumbstruck
by the drums trundled in our bones
the whole interstate home. We love
the basement band drenching us
cottoneared. We love our pomade
and polyester bodies smashing
their atoms against other bodies,
our habit of becoming massive
bumper crops of noise. Sharpened
with sweat and honeyglaze, we are
kindling, snake hips swerved to
iced Ohio hairpins, we are tucked chins
and tuned limbs set for everywhere
past curfew, past subdivision tree lawns
crackling black grackle like alarm clocks.
This blood hollers all the linking verbs
by heart, the joules inscribed within
congruent and uprising integers, the many
ways in which we are not small and not sleepy,
but born of a pure velocity. We are burning
through cassettes and frost-stunted
tulips. We love the way we carry
powerchords in our teeth and wind loops
around the block with time to kill, we love
and we love, and it doesn’t ever matter
if we get there.

Grub Street LogoGrub Street is the second largest independent center for creative writing in the United States. Their mission is to be an innovative, rigorous, and welcoming community for writers who together create their best work, find audience, and elevate the literary arts for all. They accomplish this by, among other things, offering the highest quality classes and services for writers at all stages of development, and by educating writers through the entire writing process from inspiration to publication and promotion.