J. Bailey Hutchinson


J. Bailey Hutchinson is a poet, editor, and educator. She is originally from Memphis, Tennessee, where she obtained her BA in English literature from Rhodes College. While earning her MFA in poetry at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, she taught a wide range of writing courses, including Composition, Creative Nonfiction, and Creative Writing. She has also participated in several community-facing teaching initiatives, including WITS, the Open Mouth Literary Center, and the Brown Chair in Literacy’s outreach workshop program. Hutchinson is currently employed as an editorial assistant and bookseller at Milkweed Editions. 

Hutchinson’s work has been published by Salamander, Beloit, Muzzle, BOAAT, and more. She was the 2016 recipient of the James T. Whitehead Creative Writing Endowment and the 2018 recipient of both the Felix Christopher McKean Memorial Award for Poetry and the Lily Peter Fellowship in Poetry, awarded by the University of Arkansas’ department of English in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences. Hutchinson was a finalist for Black Warrior Review’s 2017 Poetry Contest and Nimrod’s 2018 Writing Contest. She won First Prize in the 2018 New South Writing Contest. She is also the recipient of an arts grant from Artists 360. Source


for Mary Oliver


What I want to say is what 

I want to say. I ran the water 


poach-hot, watched my shoulder 

rose like a struck cheek. Because 


something there. Unwinds. In the 

way water slucks. In the seventh grade, 


the first-chair trumpet never 

looked at me and I loved him. 


I put my foot through a wall. I didn’t 

want anyone. To know. Me, peach-


softening in the bleachers. Me, lush, 

as a honey-sick ermine. I nearly 


bit my mom in half. How’d I get me 

into this? Saying palm-puddled


daisyleaf in place of sorry. It’s not

like shattered drywall is some easier 


words—because I had to caulk it all back 

myself. It’s maybe that I won’t believe 


words lack feet. And fur. I’m not in this 

to be misunderstood, though I was. 


Before. Distracting with a wrecked beanfield, 

or gargled-up okra stuff–but now 


I mean it when I say I’m willful 

as yogurt in the sunshine. How it’s 


made slow cheese. Look, I wrote a poem 

to tell you something genuine. Though. 


It doesn’t always seem that way. I still 

believe folding a fisheye in lardo and salt 


is the best way for you to feel the dream 

that sucked sleep out of me. So. I sit down 


with the green of many slick frogs. The sharp 

and insufficient air of a mountainside. 


The eatable gouda rind. What I think 

was buck last night, groaning like a ship. 





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age

Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”