“This Mode Can Serve as a Gateway Into a Deeper Honesty”: An Interview With Melissa Wiley

Melissa Wiley

Few essayists blend the cerebral and the visceral the way that Melissa Wiley does in her work. Her latest collection, Skull Cathedral: A Vestigial Anatomy brings together a host of works inspired in various ways by vestigial organs. It builds on the work in her previous collection, Antlers in Space and Other Common Phenomena, which wrestles with mortality and humanity, along with the complexities of both. I spoke with Wiley to learn more about the genesis of both books and what’s next for her.

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Fruitless Forest

Fruitless Forest by Melissa Wiley Freddy stood behind our piano with his mouth hanging open. His face was leaning into a picture I had painted, one of a little girl seated among brown fire rising from frame’s bottom. Her cheeks were the same pale lemon as the paint tipping the flames behind her. She kept her eyes closed, impassive, never seeming to notice the conflagration.

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