VIDA Reads with Writers — Ellie Tipton!

What are you reading on the subway or in the waiting room today?

WARNING: It’s ALL Poetry. I’ve been trying to work through all the books I picked up at AWP 2016. I just finished Elizabeth Scanlon’s Lonesome Gnosis and now I have Mary Rueffle’s My Private Property popping into my bag. I also read Forklift Ohio’s latest issue on the train the other day. All of these are so good!

What book popped for you in 2016?

Honestly, Tyehimba Jess’s Olio had me enraptured over the December break in 2016. I love a lot of what Wave Books publishes, and this book was exceedingly brilliant.

Whose words do you return to regularly?

Bishop, Stein, Dickinson, Whitman, Peter Gizzi, Jorie Graham, Paisley Rekdal.

Is there an author you can’t wait to read next?

I’m looking forward to Terri Ellen Cross Davis’s Haint (Gival Press) and Cynthia Arrieu-King’s Manifest (Switchback Books). I’m always excited to see what authors/books Perugia Press (women owned & publishes only women) are publishing. I met the editor at AWP, and she was really quite awesome.

What are you working on now? What can VIDA fans look forward to from you next?

Well I recently restructured my first book-length manuscript, Birdsong & Buckshot: An Elegiac Echo. This work is a journey – a reflexive guide through chaos and order. It plays with the elegiac mode and tradition as the speaker explores her attachment and detachment to grief. Themes of labor (work and birth) as well as identity are also prominent in the poems.
I’m also working on a second collection which is a book about female performativity. It’s in the very early stages :-).

What do you hope your work for the VIDA Count will achieve?

I hope that more journals/presses/awards programs will begin to not just acknowledge the data but also to reflect on how to make more spaces for women and underrepresented voices in the literary world.

Have you witnessed any of the effects of the VIDA Count in the literary world?

Yes, Barrelhouse has (or had at one point?) an acknowledgement on their website that the VIDA work opened their eyes. I also see the conversations on social media regarding VIDA’s work. It’s encouraging to hear a dialogue happening. It also seemed that AWP is making efforts as well to provide more inclusive panels.


Ellie Tipton is a writer in Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the North American Review, Zone3, The Bennington Review, Best New Poets, Pleiades, and Drunken Boat among other places. You can read more of her poetry and find out more about her at