Wednesday, February 15, 2017

[Poet Spotlight] Melody Gee

Melody S. Gee's first poetry collection, Each Crumbling House (2010), won the Perugia Press Book Prize. Her second collection, The Dead in Daylight (2016), is now available from Cooper Dillon Books.

Originally from Cerritos, California, she earned a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. She has previously taught at Purdue University, Ivy Tech College, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Southwestern Illinois College.

Her poems and essays most recently appear in The Los Angeles Review, Barnstorm Literary Journal, Spillway, The Book of Scented Things Anthology, Boxcar Poetry Review, and others. Her awards include two Pushcart Prize nominations, a Best New Poets nomination, the Robert Watson Literary Prize, and a Kundiman Asian American Poetry Retreat fellowship.

One of her first published poems was "The Voice Before" in the Greensboro Review in 2008. Nearly ten years ago, she was working with themes of voice and body, the broken and the screaming. She also appeared in one of my favorite venues, Cha Magazine in Hong Kong with a 2009 poem, "Giving," examining the poetry to be found in family and even in rotting fruit.  Next year's ghosts make an appearance in her brief 2016 poem, "On the Vine," which appeared in Meridian.

Victoria Chang, who I've featured in Poet Spotlight previously, remarked on Each Crumbling House: "Melody Gee proves to us through her poetry that first-generation Asian American experiences still matter and will always matter. But even more so, her quietly unsettling and powerful book speaks to the whole human experience through its exploration of inheritance. These are haunting poems about culture, nature, and ultimately about love."

On The Dead in Daylight, Tina Chang remarked, "A fiercely feminine blood runs through these poems. Of wire, of salt, of harvest, of motherhood, of daughterhood, and all that these elements lay claim to. The Dead in Daylight reveals an astonishing voice that is equal parts ferocious and tender. Melody S. Gee's collection builds a generous fire where origin is praised and where history shines beyond the flame."

Currently, she teaches developmental writing at St. Louis Community College, and lives with her husband and daughters in Saint Louis, MO. You can visit her online at

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