Poets Go Pop: Talking Stranger Things and Feminist Poetry with Jenny Molberg

A Demogorgon-Fueled Interview with the Author of Refusal and Marvels of the Inivisble

This is Poets Go Pop, a semi-regular feature at PopPoetry, a poetry and pop culture Substack written by Caitlin Cowan.You can learn more about it here. Check out the archive to see other TV shows, movies, and films whose intersections with poetry I’ve covered. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, subscribe so you won’t miss a post!

Welcome to the first-ever video installment of Poets Go Pop, an interview series with contemporary poets whose work illustrates the powerful and creative relationship that poetry and pop culture can have.

For this first episode, I sat down with my dear friend and longtime collaborator Jenny Molberg via Zoom to chat about Stranger Things, feminist poetry, and where the hell was Ophelia’s mother during that whole Hamlet thing?!

I met Jenny when we started our PhD program at the University of North Texas in 2011, and we were fast friends from the beginning. To this day she’s my best reader, best editor, and most vocal supporter. I’m continually struck by her courage and compassion in a world that seems to have vanishingly little of either. I’m very grateful to call this immensely talented and gracious human my friend.

Jenny is the author of Marvels of the Invisible (winner of the Berkshire Prize, Tupelo Press, 2017) and Refusal: Poems (LSU Press, 2020). She coedited the Unsung Masters Series collection Adelaide Crapsey: On the Life & Work of an American Master. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, Poetry International, Boulevard, Copper Nickel, The Adroit Journal, Best New Poets, and other publications. She is the recipient of a 2019–2020 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as scholarships and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers Conference, the C.D. Wright Conference, Longleaf Writers Conference, and Vermont Studio Center. She is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Central Missouri, where she directs Pleiades Press and edits Pleiades: Literature in Context.

Check out our interview in the video below!

Thank you so much for watching. If you liked the poems you heard Jenny read, check out her latest book, Refusal: Poems, from which she read during our interview.

You can purchase Refusal through LSU Press, IndieBound, and elsewhere.

I’m so grateful to Jenny for her wise and beautiful words, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for her. You can keep up to date with her here on her website.

Who are your favorite poets whose work features pop culture elements? Let me know in the comments! I’m building a list of living writers I’d love to reach out to for future Poets Go Pop segments!

P. S.

Jenny and I chatted about a few of the items below in our interview. Check them out!

  • Pilot, by Danika Stegeman LeMay, is a long-form work of erasure centered on the TV series LOST. You can pick up a copy from Spork Press.

  • Sarah J. Sloat’s Hotel Almighty (Sarabande Books) is another book-length erasure, this time of pages from Stephen King’s Misery, which was famously made into a film starring Kathy Bates and James Caan.

  • You can also check out Jenny’s self-described “pop science”-inspired collection, Marvels of the Invisible, from Tupelo Press.

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