6 Things With... Megha Sood, author of "My Body Lives Like a Threat"
My Body Lives Like a Threat “is a deep exposition of gender and color-based discrimination, sexual and reproductive rights violations, body politics, immigration, and the impact of a toxic political environment on the country and its people. The full length has been divided into five sections namely “Black Truth”, “War and Peace”, “My Body is Not an Apology”, “A Just Immigration Policy” and “My Body Lives Like a Threat” that deals with the poems reflecting the blatant violation of human rights and the systemic oppression of the people of color in this country and around the world. The book reflects how body politics never remains at an individual level but molds and morphs into a social monster birthing problems like human rights violations, immigration, gun violence, and racial discrimination. This collection is not only a reflection of individual rights violations but also addresses the human rights violation in today’s toxic political environment as a whole. This book highlights my journey, gives it a voice, and strengthens the fact that how the body is so central as a whole yet it remains invisible and still acts as a threat.
Megha Sood is an Award-winning Asian American Poet, Editor, Author, and Literary Activist from New Jersey, USA. She is the recipient of the 2021 Poet Fellowship from MVICW ( Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creating Writing) and a 2020 National Level Winner for the Poetry Matters Project and a Three-Time State Level Winner for NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Poetry Award 2018/2019/2020.
Recipient of “Certificate of Excellence'' from Mayor, Jersey City, New Jersey. Associate Poetry Editor Literary Journals Mookychick(UK), Life and Legends (USA), and Literary Partner with “Life in Quarantine '', Stanford University. Member of National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW), Women’s National Book Association, and United Nations Association-US Chapter.
Works widely featured in journals, Poetry Society of New York, NYPL, PBS American Portrait, NPR, North of Oxford, Rising Phoenix Review, and many more. Author of Chapbook( “A Potpourri of Emotions'', Local Gems Press, NY), Chapbook ( “My Body is Not an Apology”, Finishing Line Press, 2021), and Full Length (“My Body Lives Like a Threat”, FlowerSongPress,2022). Co-Edited anthologies ( “The Medusa Project”, Mookychick, UK) and (“The Kali Project, Indie Blu(e) Press, USA).
Her literary partnership “Life in Quarantine” with Stanford University has been presented in the Open Education Global Forum 2020 and received mention in Stanford Daily. Her works have also been selected in the literary publication of various US universities like (Temple University, Philadelphia), Stanford University, University of Albany, Kent State University, Chicago University, and Arkansas University. Poetry Judge for the SLAM Poetry competition, IITD (Institute of Information Technology-Delhi) Kaizen 21, and State level NAMI NJ Poetry Contest 2021.
Performing venues include the New York Poetry Festival, Paterson Poetry Festival, Newark Arts Festival, Nuyorican Cafe, AWP22, and many more. She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/ and tweets at @meghasood16.
Her anthology “The Medusa Project” has been selected as a digital payload to be sent to the moon as part of the historical “LunarCodex” Project in 2023 in collaboration with NASA/SpaceX. She lives in a family of left-handers in New Jersey with her son and husband.
Megha, such a pleasure to chat to you today! Could you tell us a bit more about this collection, "My Body Lives as a Threat"? What are six things that went into the writing of this book
My mission to spread awareness about social issues, which is an inherent part of all of us living in this world.
The extensive research about the issues mentioned in the book such as the history of Black Lives Matter, Police Brutality, Honor Killings, Broken Prison system, etc.
My heart and soul and the incessant need to bring a collection carrying the message of equality and respect.
My rebel personality that gives me the strength to speak truth to power and to be a conduit for the unspoken and unheard.
Endless hours arranging the book into different sections where each section focused on a particular issue origin of the body politics.
Finding the press whose ethos resonates with my writing and the mission behind it.
Five things you need to get some writing done/for a good writing day?
To have my steaming cup of masala tea next to me.
A quiet house with me sitting in my writing nook.
A head clear of the worries of the day, chores, kids, and whatnot.
A head brimming with ideas and fingers ready to give them shape.
A goal to create something of purpose and beauty.
Four types of readers who will enjoy this book?
Women who are being body shamed for not conforming to the cookie cutters' rules in a patriarchal society.
First-generation immigrants faced with hate crimes, xenophobia, and bigotry waiting desperately for acceptance in a country and to call it a home.
Person of color facing discrimination and systemic suppression.
A person going through the migration and displacement crisis as a refugee or war victim or member of the Indian diasporic community.
Three challenges you faced in the writing of this book?
Thinking of the title of the section that justifies and encapsulates the poems in the section and finally arranging and collecting the poems for a particular section
The fear of getting burned out and finding time to write in the lockdown hunkered down in my small apartment with my family.
To choose 47 poems out of almost 200 poems that speak out strongly to me and to their intended readers.
Two poets that have influenced your work?
1. Ilya Kaminsky for his collection “ The Deaf Republic”
2. Jericho Brown for this Pulitzer prize-winning collection “ The Tradition”
One thing you hope readers will get from this book?
I sincerely hope that this collection of poems brings forth the message of love, equality, and respect we all truly deserve in our lives.
You can buy a copy of "My Body Lives Like a Threat" from FlowerSong Press here, from Amazon here, or from Barnes & Noble here.
Disclaimer: "EMC's 6 things" interview series seeks to promote the artist and their featured writing and is in no way an endorsement of any of said artist's services, opinions or other work outside of this feature.