Meredith Trede is a poet and editor.
Meredith’s new book, Tenement Threnody, can be ordered at Main Street Rag Bookstore.
As its title suggests, this is a book of laments but it is also a wonderful, unique book of great celebration. The poems and their speakers are so alive, so human, and their voices are captured perfectly in sonnet-sized forms. These are portraits and voices from a gone world. Sometimes, to go forward, we must go back. This is a terrific book.
With Tenement Threnody Meredith Trede reminds us what poetry does: it saves. Trede saves for us a time when “[t]he higher the floor/the lower the rent,” when one would “[p]ut another nickel in, in the nickelodeon” and dance the “[p]eabody, polka, /stack o’barley.” From a vanished world both raucous and heart-breaking, the people in these poems speak as if for all time: “That we may come to/ some truth. To not just be our troubles.”
Suzanne Cleary, author of Beauty Mark
In Trede’s wonderfully evocative persona poems of Irish-American tenement life, high school can erase the street from a voice, and if someone’s lucky, she puts on a suit and goes downtown to work in a big office. The unlucky fall from windows, through skylights, or succumb to Spanish Flu or weak lungs. And when parents die, what can you do…there are times you just do what God sends you, knowing, Slim hips don’t last.
Susana H. Case, author of 4 Rms w Vu
Her collection, Field Theory, was published by SFA Press, Stephen F. Austin State University.
“Trede’s tough-minded poems are about many kinds of satisfaction—energy, diligence, persistence—but their delight is afforded by the words chosen. That is the secret of (her) poetry.”
“Field Theory is a moving, fierce collection of poems: sometimes playful, always hard-headed, these are sharply observed meditations, across space and time, on village, nation, gender, and class. Sometimes witty, sometimes tender, Trede’s poems are direct, faithful, sometimes joyful, sometimes grieving, and always courageous: this is the work and play of a wide-awake conscience.”
Meredith Trede’s poetry in Field Theory is thick with lives; when you open the book it’s as if you’ve walked into a crowded room. She makes portraits with great musicality and tenderness, sometimes in laughter, often in grief. Her poems distill experience; her wry sense of humor keeps simplification at bay. She invites readers into her story, not through a linear and detailed retelling, but with glimpses that encourage them to recall or imagine their own parallel stories, and to draw their own conclusions. These are poems of ironic detachment and passionate engagement.
Meredith has lived and worked in major U.S. cities, small rural towns, and in the suburbs. She draws on all these experiences with poems that see the “small town” embedded in lives in the towering city, the common experiences of life regardless of the setting.
Her chapbook, Out of the Book, appeared in Desire Path, the inaugural volume of The Quartet Series. She was awarded the James J. Nicholson Political Poetry Prize.
Meredith is a founder of Toadlily Press which published perfect bound books, featuring four poets’ chapbooks, for 10 years. Each book featured a diverse group of poets, geographically from Qatar to Washington State, aesthetically from formal to experimental, and demographically from their 20’s through their 70’s. Toadlily poets won Pushcart Prizes, NEA Grants, residency fellowships, and state and regional awards, including the Washington State Poet Laureateship.