Megan Falley is in a word: sharp. Her poems have a sting to them that stays and her voice could silence a room. She is water running too hot in the best way.
In addition to touring and teaching an online writing course called “Poems That Don’t Suck,” she is the author of three collections of poetry: After the Witch Hunt, Redhead and the Slaughter King (Write Bloody Publishing) and Bad Girls, Honey (Tired Hearts Press).
KATIE: So you’ve had a busy year, touring both with Speak Like a Girl and Andrea Gibson. Did you have a favorite show? Do you have any great tales from the road?
MEGAN: Touring with Andrea versus touring with SPEAK LIKE A GIRL are very different experiences. With Andrea, most folks are die-hard fans of them with their quotes tattooed on their bodies and it is so lovely to look out into the audience and see many haircuts similar to Andrea’s. It was also nice to never have to explain what ‘scissoring’ was at those shows. With Olivia, we had to win the audience over as most of the shows were booked through student activities programs and that was fun as well. To see people enter the show sort of skeptical and then after hold up a “MY VAGINA IS ALREADY VAJAZZLED ENOUGH” sign with one of our tiaras on.
My favorite show with Andrea was at a venue in Buffalo, NY where we decided to do our “Blank Space”/”Spank Space” parody LIVE. It was the most awkward. It’s hard to pick a favorite show with SPEAK LIKE A GIRL but touring with Olivia was some of the best times of my life. Most mornings we had off we’d find a random breakfast spot in the town we were in, both eat a savory breakfast, then share something sweet. We also went thrifting in most cities and there was always a wedding dress that fit Olivia like a glove. Always.
[The song I recommend here is by one of my favorite musicians in the universe – who happens to be an ex and good friend of mine. It’s called “Failing Miserably” by Sophia Wortzel and I think Olivia and I listened to it on every road trip we took this year.]
KATIE: I’ve been reading your work for a long time now but it all started with “A Simple Love Poem” back in 2012. A friend sent it to me and it was the beginning of a great love. I’ve noticed though that love isn’t too common in your books, or at least not in the way that love is usually portrayed.
Because of this, I have to ask– what is your take on love, both as a writer and as a person outside of your art (as much as those two can be separated, at least)?
MEGAN: I had to look up what “A Simple Love Poem” was because I didn’t remember it. I see that I surreptitiously snuck my then-partner’s name in the poem. Nice. What’s interesting is that historically I’ve hardly written about love — at least the kind that doesn’t end in flames and restraining orders, but this last year it is all I care to write about. My next book will be entirely about love, relationships, gender, sex and sexuality.
I recently read Bell Hook’s All About Love and she says that we are culturally so confused about love because we do not have a common definition, and went on to suggest that the definition of love should be something like “the commitment towards the spiritual growth of ourselves and our loved one.” I am in a relationship now that feels like that very definition of love and it makes writing about love much more flavorful for me. The puzzle piece stuff always icked me out. I didn’t want to write a book of hallmark cards I only half believed in. Now that I feel the permission to write about love as messy and clumsy and growing as I am — it feels much more fruitful and fascinating and infinite. Gosh, love is so rad!!!
[This song, “Open” by Rhye, reminds me of the night I fell in love so hard. It was a really spectacular night]
KATIE: I think I’m contact blushing. Personally, I think a Megan Falley line of Hallmark cards is a brilliant idea. But that has to be interesting to see your writing take a new turn. Has your writing process been different with this book?
MEGAN: You know, my writing process for love and relationship poems has been a unique landscape. Typically I write with a deadline or goal in mind (some sort of publishing contest or a 30/30 or once a poem a day for a year), and everything is very intentional. With this book, I was feeling like I had not written since the dawn of time and then sat down to compile everything that could possibly be a poem — and realized i had about 95 pieces about relationships. Some were just for me — things I needed to get down post break-up. Others were poems I wrote for a lover and turned into single-edition chapbooks just for them.
I guess the difference with love and relationship poems was that there was no other goal other than to heal or to give. Much like love itself — huh?
[ Speaking of something being like love, here’s The Magnetic Fields – “Love is Like a Bottle of Gin” ]
KATIE: You mentioned earlier your covers with Andrea Gibson. What is your relationship with music? How, besides writing, do you express yourself?
MEGAN: My relationship with music: “it’s complicated.” I got into poetry by falling in love with lyrics — my first memory is listening to Annie Lenox in the car with my mom as a kid and feeling like “whoa. you can DO that with words? you can make me SEE like that with just WORDS?” I think I always thought I’d be a musician of sorts. There’s that quote from the show GIRLS where Hannah Horvath says something like “I just think what everyone else thinks — that I have one or two REALLY good folk albums in me.” That quote is so awesome. I relate.
Music feels like the one who got away. Knowing all of this, last year a very sweet person sent me a ukulele in the mail. Lately I’ve been teaching myself guitar and piano on garage band. I sing all of the time. I’m going to win music back and make her my girl. I plan on incorporating it into a lot of my art and shows in the next coming months!
[Here’s the Annie Lennox song, “Cold”, that made me realize poetry was everywhere. It’s. So. Good.]
KATIE: Speaking of the coming months, is there anywhere you haven’t performed that you’d like to? And how do you keep in touch while you’re on the road?
MEGAN: I really want to perform in Hawaii. And other countries too. I’m headed to Sweden to watch the Uppsala International Poetry Festival later this month and can’t wait — but I love the idea of poetry being the catalyst for world travel. I also lived in New Zealand for a stretch a few years back — and if I could go back…that would be a honeydream.
I am notoriously bad at keeping in touch on the road. Probably notoriously bad at keeping in touch in general. My first real tour was 100 days, 13,000 miles, cross-country, alone in my car, promoting After the Witch Hunt (Write Bloody Publishing 2012), and I had so many hours alone in my car that I became Little Miss Catch Up. I hate being on the phone if I’m not also doing something productive so touring alone was really great for my friendships. But when I toured under SPEAK LIKE A GIRL, I didn’t really talk to anyone but Olivia on our hours-long car rides. And we never ran out of things to say.
But I really love FaceTime.
(Here’s Beyonce’s “All Night.” Because I’m listening to it while answering these super fun questions and dancing in my chair!)
KATIE: What is your ideal Sunday morning?
MEGAN: My love turns over and asks me to spoon them and we fall back asleep like that. When I blink open, I see the back of their neck, their triangle of freckles, shoulder blades, which is my favorite place in the world. The coffee is good. We drink it outside while the dogs chase each other around the yard. We’re dog-sitting someone else’s pup, of course, so there’s at least four here today.
One of us plucks at an instrument while we talk to each other. We both took the day off so there’s no rush. The news is good today, something hopeful, something we can believe in. I’m making breakfast and they’re hungry. It’s all I need.
Megan is currently booking shows and workshops. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.