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Summer Local Writers Series: Feature 5: Melissa Dickey

The Summer Local Writers Series at NolaVie features works produced by New Orleans poets and prose-writers as part of NolaVie’s ongoing correspondence with the city’s arts and culture. The writers selected will be drawn from diverse sets of intellects in order to paint a broader picture of the relationship between language and community, art and structure. The series will focus on writing that speaks to these critical relationships.

Most importantly, the series aims to carry on New Orleans’ legacy as a literary entrepôt. We will experiment with various forms of supplemental material, but the center of each feature will be the text. Put simply, the Series seeks to spotlight some of the good writing that’s happening here, and we hope you enjoy it.

Melissa Dickey is a New Orleans native and author of The Lily Will (Rescue Press, 2012). She graduated from the University of Washington and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She teaches creative writing at Tulane University, co-edits Thermos magazine, and keeps a blog.

Daybook (2)

scrapes a thin
layer of dirt
from one
edge of the curb
to the other.

That beach glass
comes back
– what
I am –

along tracks.

Nothing like this but
this life.


I Declare This the Time of Good Enough

When I was little this, that.
Want to just tell the story of light.

And then there was
the lightness of the second hand
around the face.

I imagine there are points,
that we move along certain grids,
not afloat but abroad upon everything
which ages us.

What are you hinting at.
To say the thing as clearly as I can.
But nothing needs to be said.
the students

the students believe if you want anything bad enough if you dream it fervently it will be yours

and what do you know about difficulty about death on sidewalks and in homes about bodies and birds on sidewalks with their eyes poked out?

moving world through a window
– damn frame –
smell of urine on the wind
slightly damp under the arms, up in the ether

the truth is we don’t know how to be in this world

who is that we? is it me?

try: we are here
there is no alternative




shared duty

morning ferry:
adrift on needles of light.

patches of driftwood accumulate
on the surface and are moved.

not long ago, the same person home
in each house, mostly.

now, if you’re there, I’m away,
taking a turn in absence.

how do we stay afloat.
domestic, the depth of the wound.


Erik Vande Stouwe is editor of the Summer Local Writers Series for NolaVie.


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