Interview //How a Phrase Will Find You: A Conversation with Michelle Peñaloza

Michelle Peñaloza, who was born in the suburbs of Detroit, grew up in Nashville, lived in Seattle, and now resides in rural California, offers rich, lush poetry packed to the margins with stories of her father and mother, tear-inducing fights with lovers and bouts grappling with self-doubt. Maneuvering through rivers of anger with an ability to turn a masterful phrase, Peñaloza has written a new collection of poetry, Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire, which won the 2018 Hillary Gravendyk National Prize, and will be published by Inlandia Institute in the fall of 2019. To celebrate the publication, I caught up with Peñaloza to ask about her family, her relationship to anger, and how she fell in love with the written word.