With Her

 

I want to write a poem about horses, too.
I have already written poems that feature
horses. Sometimes prominently.
 
I want to write a poem about horses
in tercets, so I am writing a poem
about horses in tercets. I tell my students
 
it is important to engage the grammar
of each line of poetry by jarring expectation
about what the line can do, its dimensional
 
limits. In this case, grammar is a gunky blood,
gels to whatever electable unit of time. I walk
straight up to a horse. Its nostrils blare the weather
 
of stones. My poem about horses should be a poem
about failure, too. Like most nouns, I love horses
from a theoretical distance. Up close, they terrify me.
 
My thoughts turn fleshy. My friend’s horse ripped
her hair from her scalp as a girl, thinking it hay.
Like a wheel crushing a foot, who could blame
 
the horse for having no depth of metaphor,
only an automatic sense of knowing what it wants.
My friend wore her bald spot all over her face.
 
The horse was shot in the same corral by a father
years later. She was mendacious, unruly. So far,
I don’t enjoy the tone of my horse poem.
 
This morning on my run, I followed tree roots
along the sidewalk cracks. Such raised lines
wanted to teach me about circumstantial damage:
 
A horse bends over to feed, chomps down on
yellow, tastes mint shampoo, if it tastes at all.
A root lifts the sidewalk like a tuft pulled up
 
from the skull. Either way, something collapses
as the highway spells nearby distance. A great cross
is mounted over a mound. The surface eases.

 

—Originally published in Muzzle Magazine

BOOKS

Indictus 
(forthcoming from Noemi Press; winner of the 2016 Noemi Press Contest)

 

 

Swan Feast (2015)

 

“There is no document of civilization that isn’t also its ruins.” Swan Feast is the banquet of a fallen goddess, told through the trance of an autobiographical duckling girl. The transforming voice is visionary. She connects the discovery of the Venus of Willendorf to the discovery of oil in the Middle East, implicating imperial industrialism to the passing away of Venus into faded memory and historical anorexia. Empire is the tomb of the goddess. To excavate is a “hilarious privilege,” and its anachronism borrows illumination from darkness. The duckling is resurrecting ancient powers whose excavation ride on rage, grief, a woman’s paradoxically empowered desperation which finds solidity in disappearance. In the wake of suffering, we may remember ourselves. Out of ruin, an alien star rises.
— FENG SUN CHEN
 

Chapbooks

And I Shall Again Be Virtuous (2014)

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Conversation with the Stone Wife (2014)

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Poetry

"Judges," Granta (forthcoming)

from "The Lake," Bennington Review (forthcoming)

"With Her," Muzzle Magazine, June 2017

from "The Lake," The Essay Review, May 2017

"Black Tourmaline," Foundry Journal, December 2016

"Ezekielle" and "Duderonomy," The Lifted Brow Online Edition, December 2016

from "The Lake," PEN America Poetry Series, December 2016

"To Become Myself I Fear What I'll Become" and "Apteria," Horsethief, September 2016 

"Ezekielle" and "Duderonomy," The Lifted Brow, July 2016

"Hexodus," "Perviticus," and "Book of $$$$$$$," Public Pool, June 2016

"Eden: a Postscript," "A Valley Is Where a Hole Ends and We are Forced to Begin," and "Liquid Waste," Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal (Print)

"He Needs a Stage or a pedestal or a pinnacle" and "liquid Waste," jubilat, Spring 2016 (Print)

"panic attack (for wretchedness)," "Portrait of the tongue forgetting itself," "Rock missive," and "Rhythm thirteen," The Wanderer via Harlot Media, Spring 2016

"Vagenesis," The Boston Review, Spring 2016

"Exchange III" and "Delirium of Negation," The Offing, Spring 2016

"Rogue Meets Ms. Marvel," "Battleground!," and "Definitions of a carriage," Typo Magazine, Spring 2016

excerpts from "Man Hole," Verse, Winter 2016

Two poems from "Liquid Waste," Washington Square Journal, Winter 2016

"Chiaroscuro," Vinyl Poetry Poem of the Week, Winter 2016

"let everything happen to you," Sixth finch, Spring 2016

"Where does this tenderness come from?" and "Man-Made Lake," Pith, Fall 2015

"The limits of What We can do," The New Yorker, Fall 2015

"Edenic," The Kenyon Review, Summer 2015 (Print)

"Let Everything Happen to You," Poem-a-Day via The Academy of American Poets, Spring 2015

"To Label the Beast," Sundog Lit, Winter 2015

 

Fiction

excerpt from Malignant (novel-in-progress), Cosmonauts Avenue, November 2016

 

Personal Essays

"Song For Daniel, Stillborn," The Lifted Brow, issue 31, September 2016 

"Conceding Is Not Consent," The Fanzine, Winter 2015

"Throwing Up Huevos Rancheros in a Motel in Napa, 1 pm," Delirious Hem, Fall 2014

 

Interviews and Conversations

Shelterbelt Series: Natalie Eilbert and her sci-fi Feminism, NPR Illinois, October 2016, conducted by Rachel Otwell

Voices of Bettering American Poetry Interview Series, VIDA, August 2016, conducted by the Bettering American Poetry Anthology editors

Make (No) Bones Podcast, Episode 6: an Interview with Natalie Eilbert, Make (No) Bones, May 2016, Conducted by Toby Altman and Emily Barton Altman

"Piss on the Sheets": An Interview with Natalie Eilbert,  SmokeLong Quarterly,  April 2016, Conducted by Megan Giddings

Boro Book Chat: An Interview with Natalie Eilbert, Queens Book Festival blog, February 2016, Conducted by Allison Fabian

30 Must-Read Debut Poetry Collections from 2015LitHub, December 2015, Conducted by Adam Fitzgerald

Left Over with Natalie Eilbert, drDoctor Podcast, August 2015, Conducted by Sam Farahmand

On "Imprecation," In Their Own Words Series, Poetry Society of America, June 2015, Conducted by Brett Fletcher Lauer

Excavation, Consciousness, and Creation: An Interview with Natalie Eilbert, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, August 2014, Conducted by Tobias Carrol

Poet of the Week: Natalie Eilbert, Brooklyn Poets, May 2014, conducted by Jason Koo

Natalie Eilbert Interviews Valeria LuiselliThe Atlas Review, May 2014

An Interview with Natalie Eilbert, Editor-in-Chief of The Atlas ReviewWashington Square Review, January 2014, Conducted by ONSQ Editors

 

 

Reviewing Others

"Cheer Up, Femme Fatale: A Review of Kim Yideum," Sink Review, Summer 2016

"I feel discouraged about the future: a review of Anna Moschovakis's They and We Will Get into Trouble for This," The Fanzine, Summer 2016

"Anne Boyer's Garments AGainst Women: a Review," Sink Review, Winter 2016

"Aaron Apps's Dear Herculine and Intersex: a Review," Sink Review, Fall 2015

"Tongue Kiss Her Other Tongue: Inside Jenny Zhang's Hags," Boog City, Winter 2015

"Twerk by LaTasha Nevada Diggs: a Review," H_ngM_n, Fall 2014

 

WORKS IN PROGRESS

Upcoming projects include a new book of poems called Man Hole (finished!) (Hi!) 

An untitled collection of essays about trauma, consent, and exercise (in process). Essays from this book include (but are subject to abattoir–style revising) the following:

An untitled novel about a flagrant liar named Alex whose lies are complicated by trauma, eating disorders, and a typical morass of her generation's role in a literally dying world (circa 2040). Surrounding Alex is one giant unforgivable lie told blackout drunk at a party, plus a strange new world of biometrics apps, high society, and (in general) technological solipsism (in process, CLEARLY).