Goucher Welcomes Maggie Millner’s Couplets


On February 22, Goucher College began the Spring semester’s Blue Reading Series with poet and lecturer, Maggie Millner. Millner is the author of the book Couplets, which includes a collection of couplet poems that express the development of sexuality. Her poems show excellent representation of queer romance and self-discovery, and became known in news media, such as The New Yorker and The Paris Review. She is also known for being a lecturer at Yale focusing on writing. 

During her presentation at Goucher, she discussed different formations and clarity of poems while lecturing about how clarification can affect the reader’s view of the context. Students had an excellent experience as they participated in a group reading with Millner, while having a Q&A where they got to ask interesting questions to get to know her. It was a thrilling night getting to know the art of poetry. After the Q&A session, students were given physical copies of Couplets, gifted with autographs from Millner.

After the reading event, I had a special and personal interview with Millner. We talked about her experience as a writer and how her poems create an impact on her identity and sexuality. It was an honor and a privilege to talk to Millner, who really showed her passion about her book and loved sharing her knowledge with the rest of the audience. Three questions were asked to Millner, and they are with her responses below:

Kristen (Q): “How does writing poems that were about sexual identity affect your way of self-reflection?”

Millner (A): “Well, I was writing this book as I was coming out. So, the processes for me are really intertwined. The poetry is about my sexuality, but also how I relate to the concept of sexuality itself, which I think is a less stable kind of category than maybe what we think of it as. The poems give me a way to linger with my complexities of erotic desire, memory, fear, and deeper identity questions about true selfhood.”

Kristen (Q): “I noticed that there were a lot of poems that look like paragraphs, where there’s not that much of stanzas. Why did you decide to write those kinds of poems? Is organizing them any different than writing them in traditional forms?”

Millner (A): “I felt like asking readers to read a hundred pages of rhyming couplets was a lot to ask! I also think of this book as a work that stages dialectical conversations, that shows ideas in binary relationships with each other. I felt like I have a secondary mode, or some kind of secondary part of a conversation that compliments the rhyming couplets. Give them some air.”

Kristen (Q): “What advice would you give to future writers or poets?” 

Millner (A): “Remember that pleasure and play are the most important qualities of writing. They’re the most important things to pay attention to when you start out. Find the forms and the modes of writing that bring you pleasure and that allow you to be playful. Also, don’t worry about publishing. Don’t worry about people reading or responding to your work, just cultivate a relationship to poetry that belongs to you and share your poems when you’re ready.”

It was an interesting and powerful experience to talk to a writer who is relatable and down to earth, not just for their writing, but to people around them. It was truly an honor being in a room full of inspired people that felt attached to Millner’s poems. Her collection of poems are filled with comedic, relatable, passionate, and sexy themes. Maggie Millner’s poems represent queer romance and sex by using artistic descriptions that show imagery and emotion, which has the power to grab the reader’s attention. Her book can interest anyone, whether they are a Writing Major or not. Assistant Creative Writing Professor Edgar Kunz, who helped organize and host Millner, highly recommended giving Millner’s book a read. 

“I think it is a book of poems, and the poems are largely informed in writing couplets,” Edgar explained, “But you’ll forget in the course of reading the book that it is more than a book of poems. It’s a book that’s trying to tell a story and the way that it tells that story is so compelling and so engrossing that I think even readers that don’t typically turn to poetry will be really moved and excited by this book.” 
A collection of couplet poems that are about sexual orientation and sexual pleasures is truly an unforgettable experience for every kind of reader. This romantic book carries a great reputation of sex positivity and LGBTQ+ identification. Goucher students thanked Millner for the fantastic lecture and group reading. Couplets is a great book for poem fanatics and lovers of romance and sex. You can find Millner’s Couplets on Amazon, ThriftBooks, Ebooks, or any other website to read poems that reflect on a journey of self-discovery, confidence, and sexual satisfaction.

Copies of Couplets from Millner’s event, courtesy of Kristen Wheeler. Feature Image of Millner courtesy of Maggie Millner.

Kristen (she/her) is a staff writer for The Quindecim. She is a sophomore transfer student and a Professional and Creative Writing Major. Kristen is from Parkville, Maryland and a graduate of Parkville High School, after which she earned her Associates of Arts degree from the Community College of Baltimore County. She enjoys writing poetry and short fiction within the gothic and horror genres. Outside of writing, she likes listening to metal music, with some of her favorite bands being Gwar, Avatar, Rammstein, and Korn. Kristen's favorite activities include playing video games on her PC and Nintendo Switch, reading books, and hanging out with friends and her boyfriend. She has previously submitted poems to the Community College of Baltimore County's Fine Print literary magazine. She is known by peers as creative, hardworking, and smart.

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