Hannah Beresford, originally of the Helderberg Escarpment of upstate New York, earned her MFA from New York University after spending four years on red dirt at Oklahoma State. Her poems are published or forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Mid-American Review, Sycamore Review, Pleiades, among others, and she is the recipient of a 2017-2018 fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She serves as poetry editor for No Tokens and teaches poetry at Drew University.
"I spent my residency at the Young Women’s Leadership school in Jamaica, Queens under the mentorship of Katie Rainey. The curriculum moved in the vein of creative writing and poetry but always with an inclination toward more philosophical pursuits of personhood and self-reflection. The class was eager and adept at recognizing and celebrating diversity and empathy. I lead the class through interpretation of dream poems as an entry point into metaphor. The students felt confident interpreting their dreams and the dreamscapes of poems and were exhilarated to find the process so closely adjacent to unpacking metaphor. I also lead a lesson focused on thought reflection that helped the students to access poetical associative leaps through careful (albeit playful) observation of their streams of consciousness."
Most Memorable TAP Moment:
"After a dream inspired free-write, students in TYWLS class shared their creative renderings of dreams and were asked to help each other unpack the possible metaphorical implications of one another’s dreams. The care they showed for one another—trying to possess the perspective of a classmate and decode the symbolism of their dreamscape—was intuitive and loving. The students were gentle and quick to share the burden of their interpretations of each other’s fears. They were as quick, if not quicker, to point toward the strengths, triumphs and dream metaphors of good fortune."
Find out more about Hannah here:
"Self-Talk" by Hannah Beresford
I walked home alone some nights in a skinny tie, my
dyke hair—a pinball in hazy lit streets, blistering,
cicadas tuning sloshed in my ears. Sometimes a breeze
painted sweat cool in my hands—or was it tears
or was it that I couldn’t remember those walks home,
really. All the cowboys who drove past in extended cab trucks
caked red with mud would holler something and I
would double into myself like I could evaporate or disintegrate,
like a black-out went both ways. And I wondered, tonight,
if they would load that shotgun in their rear window rack, enter me
the way they always offer to—the way they tell me
I just don’t know yet how I want it. And I tried to suppose
why I made them so mad—what nerve I struck below
that big belt buckle across the bar. One tequila, two tequila, three
tequila never really got old and the heat felt like a cure for me
so I rarely looked sideways—never let in the way they looked
at me, until faces became impressions or I couldn’t see any
and I set off and then a truck would pull out behind me—
an engine revved over a slurred voice stringing slurs at me.
I never should’ve walked home alone so I’d stare at my feet
and try to walk straight and pretend I couldn’t hear or see
and if they stayed long enough I’d pretend to answer my phone
to tell no one that I should’ve never walked home alone.
But I loved the heat—how it held me in shadowed green.
Then, I’d wake up and wonder how far they’d followed me,
how long I’d keep showing up tie-naked and tequila-declawed—
let them stand in for what I still had left to say to me.
Published in No Tokens, Issue 3, Spring 2015