Madeline Tiger lives in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, where she is a Master Poet for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She has recent poetry in The Hague Review, The New Republic, Shenandoah, and Slant.
Working Notes, Madeline Tiger:
The facts/images emerged out of the kinetic context of fear. It frightened me more as it became palpable, more in the gut than most images in my poems. It was garbled at first, not even making dream-sense; I had to sort it out, move with it toward its right ending. Needing the poem to teach me, needing to clarify its confusion of negatives. Wary of moralisms. Began to catch its bitterness; began to feed on it. Later, I moved phrases, its little blocks, like an architect redesigns intersections, shapes a lintel. It was becoming an object: then the diction was like brick, and I could feel it as art(i)fact, not mere bitter emoting. I began to hear it from a distance, then I could see the penguins/the crowding; then, the crows. Conflation: birds, crowd, musicians, mourners, me among. . . . I could play with words--textures and meanings, working with the images at initial levels of perception. Is the poem "exoskeletal"? I arrived at/to it from the inside, out. Finally, it shaped up and found (me) (out) what I had been feeling/fearing/knowing.