Samantha Malay is our first poetry editor in residence, a program that was developed to empower poets to pass on their publishing and editing skills. She offered us a few insights on her life and inspirations as a poet--those things that feed into her art.
What is your work in Seattle?
I'm a theatrical wardrobe technician by trade, providing the relationship between costumes and performers before, during and after their time on stage. I'm utilizing the current standstill in the entertainment industry to focus on my writing and artwork. Inspired by the plant kingdom and my collection of vintage textiles, I work with salvaged fabric, travel ephemera and beeswax to create new textures and patterns. I'm honored to be a poetry editor in residence at Flying Ketchup Press.
Tell us about your poetry.
I’ve worked with my hands most of my life. I grew up in the mountains of rural northeastern Washington State, where my family built a cabin with timbers salvaged from an abandoned homestead, hauled water from a creek, and lived without electricity. My experiences in that time and place continue to shape my understanding of the body, memory, environment and creativity.
My poetry recently appeared in TINGE Magazine, In Parentheses, and Ponder Review, and will soon be published by Kind Writers, SHARK REEF, and Five South. I contributed words and art to The Very Edge: Poems (Flying Ketchup Press 2020), and I edited Postcard from Reno, May 1980 (Cagibi 2019), and Agates (Cahoodaloodaling 2017).
What inspires you?
I’m developing a step-by-step program that will give poets the editing and publishing skills to create a solo collection of poems and share their new tools with other writers. This system will evolve as I make my own book of poems. At Flying Ketchup Press, our goal is to help aspiring poets reach a wider audience, whether they have established writing careers, or simply want to capture their life experiences for family and friends.
Two movies recently helped me reveal a theme in my poetry collection. One was a documentary called ‘The Silence of Others,’ about the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and a legal decision that became known as “The Pact of Forgetting,” which declared that in order for the citizens to move peacefully into the future, those who had committed war crimes could not be prosecuted. This law was an attempt to create a collective amnesia by drawing a curtain over the past. The other movie, ‘Atlantis,’ takes place in modern-day Ukraine, and follows two volunteers involved in the Black Tulip Mission, who work to find, exhume and identify the previously anonymous war dead. Although it’s not a documentary, I was intrigued to learn that none of the performers were professional actors, but people who had been directly involved in the events portrayed in the movie. One of them stated, “we are digging up our own history.” Both movies illuminate the problems historians face when attempting to document absence, missing evidence, and silence. In my family’s case, we have very little material evidence of my father, just a few belongings, his journal, and some photos. My poems are a non-sequential, dream-inspired family history document, a record of my memory of my father’s presence, and the contour, the silhouette, created by his absence.
Samantha was born in Berlin, Germany, and grew up in rural northeastern Washington State. She is a graduate of Seattle University’s sociology program, a theatrical wardrobe technician by trade, and a mixed-media artist. Her poem, Yelm, recently published in "The Very Edge: Poems," is titled with the Coast Salish word for mirage. It is also the name of a small town where her family visited relatives one Thanksgiving. Samantha’s published poetry can be found at thistleandhasp.wordpress.com.
Kansas City’s Flying Ketchup Press released its first collection of international voices in poetry in 2020. Co-edited by Polly Alice McCann and Araceli Esparza, “The Very Edge" is an intense collection of urgent and inspiring voices that bring together writers in English, Spanish, and French. It features New York poet, Anne Whitehouse, and Kansas Poet Laureate, Huascar Medina. Including textile designer and photographer, Samantha Malay, and the incredible meditative portraits by award-winning artist, Mano Sotelo.
Let them take you on a journey across border towns and prairies to the top of the Swiss Alps; fly from the waters of the Amazon to Manhattan rooftops into an arid land where you can sit at the table and hear stories woven from the frayed edges of our hope. With art direction by designer, Kēvin Callahan, this book features several artists including the work of textile designer and photographer, Samantha Malay, and incredible meditative portraits by award-winning artist, Mano Sotelo.
This book is now available on Amazon and Kindle and soon Nook and other formats but will soon be at your library and bookstore.
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Flying Ketchup Press ® grassroots and artist-run, we are a trademarked small press in Kansas City using traditional and hybrid publishing formats established to develop new and diverse voices in poetry and short story. Our dream is to salvage lost treasure troves of written and illustrated work-- to create worlds of wonder and delight; to share stories.
Make friends with your inner editor. Just a dash.