Taylor Lorenzo is an undergrad at Missouri State University and currently serves as an Assistant Editor for Moon City Review. She has work featured in Wu-Wei Fashion Mag and Metatron’s OMEGA blog.
TCR: For me, “pink milk” challenges how our culture romanticizes breast cancer awareness. Were you consciously thinking about representations of cancer, particularly breast cancer, when drafting this poem?
Taylor Lorenzo: The image of the glass of pink milk didn’t start off as a representation of breast cancer. I was playing with images and colors in my head that I thought would stand out in a poem- green slime, an office cubicle filled with plants, a piece of eggshell stuck under a thumbnail- and then I tried to pull as much out of these images as possible until I found something that I felt worked. Pink milk had a lot I could play with, and there was so much beauty in the subtle connections I could make between milk, breasts, and the color pink. I’m also inspired by ads and commercials from the 80’s and 90’s because they have such a romantic aesthetic, and I wanted to incorporate this somehow. The “Got Milk?” ads were everywhere in the 90’s, the same way Breast Cancer Awareness ads are today, so fusing them together seemed fitting.
TCR: Why did you decide to “imagine he is a woman” rather than start with a female protagonist?
TL: I think the imagination does things like this all the time. Seeing one specific thing in real life can be spun by the imagination into neat little thoughts that we play with in our minds, but usually keep to ourselves. Starting off with a male brought a vessel of intimacy between the narrator, her thoughts, and the reader. I also wanted to portray that moment of falling into a daydream state- even if it’s just for a few seconds- when we let our minds play with reality, because a lot of times these thoughts are more important than we know or give credit for.
TCR: Can you talk about the formal choices of not using punctuation and using a lowercase i for the speaker?
TL: The lowercase “i” was a means to feel small, childlike, and comfortable/free rather than formal and uptight. The lack of punctuation was meant to portray one thought sifting through to the next, however complete/incomplete those thoughts may be.
TCR: Several of your poems I’ve read elsewhere also focus on bodily experience. Does that focus have a particular objective?
TL: Experiences of the body are so much fun to play with! They can be sexy, gross, heartbreaking, intimate, spiritual, etc. Playing with the way the body experiences things in relation to the mind always comes into my writing organically, whether I really want it to or not, but when it does, I take it and run.
TCR: How has editing for Moon City Review influenced your own writing?
TL: Working for Moon City Review has been so wonderful and inspiring to my own writing! Getting to read and sort through unpublished pieces has this great presence of what people find currently important to write about, and it’s always interesting when a word or an idea pops up in different authors’ submissions. In that way, my writing has evolved into delving into the world and playing with ideas that don’t directly effect me, rather than trying to stick with writing about myself, my past experiences, and what I know.
TCR: Who are you reading right now?
TL: A Pillow Book by Suzanne Buffman. It is just as witty, honest, and dreamy as it is hard to classify! It consists of lists, insights, and flash pieces that are unique, imaginative, and darkly funny.
Away Status by Shy Watson. Her poems are slyly comedic, sexy, dirty, and aware. She is fearless in her honesty. Her writing is sincerely real and refreshing. It’s definitely a great summer bummer read.
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. I am ALWAYS reading and rereading this collection. By far, Lydia Davis’ collection is the one that has inspired and influenced my writing the most. I remember when I stumbled upon it, someone had reviewed it by saying something along the lines of, “this book taught me how to tweet.” She’s definitely mastered the art of brevity. Some stories might be a few pages long, while others are just a few lines. I’ve bought that book so many times as gifts for people because I adore it so much.