Ange Mlinko is the author of two books, Matinées (Zoland Books, 1999) and Starred Wire (Coffee House Press, 2005) which was a National Poetry Series winner in 2004, and a finalist for the James Laughlin Award. She was born in Philadelphia, and currently lives in Beirut. She has lived and worked in Brooklyn, Providence, Boston, and Morocco. She has taught poetry at Brown, the Naropa University Summer Writing Program, and Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. Her poems are about urban life, about language and its failings, about the things we see and do not see. The New Yorker praised her “unique sense of humor and mystery”.
Mlinko’s style has often been compared to that of Frank O’Hara, perhaps because they share an affinity for narrative in verse. She has said of her technique, and of poetry in general, that “What narrative comes down to is design.” She acknowledges being influenced not only by the work of O’Hara, but also of Jack Kerouac, Michael Gizzi and Bernadette Mayer, among many others. Her poems are packed with information, with brief memories, with moments both real and fictive. References to seemingly unconnected places and ideas create an opening for the imagination to work in. In ‘Conversion Comedy’, Mlinko skips from butterflies to Catholicism to a near-death experience in a desert to talk of sacrifice, and concludes by referencing Elizabeth I. The aim is as much to inform as it is to offer up stopping points of interest: “The flags don’t give any shade at all.// On the anniversary of our country/ we throw dynamite at the air/ we build into,” she says in the middle of ‘Year Round’. A political reference is made without being overt, and Mlinko leaves the reader to interpret just what she might mean.
Matinées, Zoland Books, Cambridge, 1999
Starred Wire, Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 2005
Shoulder Season, Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 2010
Kane, Daniel, ed., Don't ever get famous: essays on New York writing after the New York School, Dalkey Archive Press, Champaign, 2006
National Poetry Series, 2004
Randall Jarrell Award for Criticism, 2009