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Northwestern State University professor releasing second Poetry Chapbook

Dr. Rebecca Macijeski is a professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, and she is releasing her second chapbook this month.

Dr. Rebecca Macijeski is a professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, and she is releasing her second chapbook this month. The book is titled Apocryphal Girl, and it is an exploration of childhood and a celebration of child-like curiosity and creativity. Dr. Macijeski explores some of these themes by narrating through the eyes and mind of a child.

Rebecca Macijeski So some of the poems feature a character called “The Girl.” Sometimes what’s dealt with in the poems is autobiographical, you know, stuff that’s happened to me. But sometimes “The Girl” as the character becomes, hopefully, more of an archetype of the curious child trying to find her way in the world. The poems are trying to place myself in that age between age 5 and about 9. I know 9 is a special developmental age for girls in particular. You know, psychological and developmental studies show that’s kind of the last age before we start to be perceived as ‘girls,’ as gendered in a different way. I’m trying to imagine an existence before all these labels start to infect our view of ourselves. So, the poems are meant to be a celebration of all of that magic and wonder, this kind of influx of experience and curiosity and sensory stuff that activates, you know, the joy of childhood. But also, here and there a warning about the danger of that magic, that curiosity, that creativity, being stolen, as, you know, we grow older and there are more things expected from us from the world and society.

Dr. Macijeski defines this magic as a complex idea, a feeling that children experience in their process of getting older and changing. She began writing Apocryphal Girl when she wanted to reconnect with her child self.

Rebecca Macijeski I think it’s definitely that desire to learn more. That curiosity to learn more. I think presence feels different when you’re a child or when you’re trying to inhabit that sense of child-like wonder or joy. Presence meaning, you’re trying to be in the moment, in the possibilities of the world. “Magic” is kind of a shorthand for that thing that’s difficult for me to describe. I think it’s being in the world in a happy way where you get to be filled with possibilities and fewer limitations.

Dr. Macijeski’s first book, titled Autobiography, is also a chapbook of poems. In both books she draws upon her own experiences, but she says that although most of the narrative she tells is through her own experience, she wants the interpretation of each to be open for everyone.

Rebecca Macijeski I’m drawn to poetry because I’m drawn not only to what the words say, but how the words say what they’re saying phonically, how certain sounds, how certain rhythms can, sort of, conjure emotional experience, memory experience in terms of how the rhythms fall in a line. I love that a single poem can contain a sense of bigness in a small space. I love trying to capture something big in a limited amount of space. I think I’ve settled on the term ‘poetry’ and the term ‘poems’ for what I do because I think it embraces that play with sound and it embraces that hope that I’m going to create a small piece of text that feels really big, and can contain a bigness of experience or emotion or feeling or curiosity in a way where I can imagine a reader sitting down and encountering a single page of text. But, if it’s effective, if it’s doing what I hope it’s doing; it invites that reader to reflect in all kinds of different ways that they weren’t expecting.

Dr. Macijeski joined Northwestern State Universities’ staff in 2017 and has lengthy experience in writing and editing. She says her poems are not meant to be interpreted any single way, but to inspire people to look differently at themselves and the world around them.

On May 30, Dr. Macijeski will host an open read in the Watson Library at NSU at 6 pm.

This is Alaina Atnip with Red River Radio.