Issue Four: Featured Interview
Your Path is Not Going to Look Like Anyone Else's:
A Witchy-Good Discussion
with Kailey Tedesco
on her new book
Tianna, EIC of Rhythm & Bones: Thank you for agreeing to be our interviewee for Issue Four, Kailey. I’ve been a fan of your work for some time, before I even started Rhythm & Bones. I picked up a copy of your book She Used to Be on a Milk Carton when it was first published and was enamored with your poetry. Now you have a new book out, Lizzie, Speak from White Stag Publishing and I’m excited to hear about this as well as more upcoming projects!
Kailey Tedesco: Thank you so much for having me, Tianna! <3
TGH: My pleasure! First, what inspired you to create your first collection, and how would you say it defines your work as a whole (or, perhaps, doesn’t define it)?
KT: She Used to be on a Milk Carton was inspired by my own girlhood and the concept of girlhood in general. It was a collection that was very full of me, and in that way it’s very personal and vulnerable and soft.
I saved this question for last because I don’t know exactly how She Used to be on a Milk Carton defines my work, to be honest. The poems in this collection ignited my love of language and free association, and many of them taught me what my own voice sounds like, so I will always be grateful to She Used to be on a Milk Carton for that. In a few years, I hope to have better perspective on this. For now, I’m glad that this collection exists in the world, and I’m also glad to be able to be able to experiment and grow from the process of writing it.
TGH: Tell us about Lizzie, Speak. You got the inspiration from Lizzie Borden, but what fascinates you about her story, and what made you decide to write a collection dedicated to her?
KT: I’ve felt haunted by Lizzie Borden since I was really young. My mom used to say the rhyme to me before I fell asleep, and when I got older, we went on a family vacation to see her house in Fall River, MA. I think it was then that I was struck by the nuance and duplicity of the Lizzie Borden narrative. I remember watching some Lizzie Borden features on Chiller before visiting the house, and they said that Lizzie murdered a cat at a dinner party because it wouldn’t stop nuzzling her friend. For some reason, I just couldn’t believe that. I asked the tour guide if this was true, and he told us it wasn’t.
I guess I’ve felt a strange connection or kinship to Lizzie that’s scared me at times. While writing the collection, I found out that my great-great-grandma was Lizzie’s neighbor, and that Lizzie’s doctor (Dr. Bowen) may also be related to us in a distant way. This just sort of valid