Caits Meissner & Tishon, The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You, Well&Often Press, 2012.
"Caits Meissner and Tishon are two emerging writers living in New York City. The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You, this vibrant collection of poems, marks their first collaborative book. Though the writers speak different tongues, they’ve managed to put together a collection that’s resonant and harmonious, mingling classic themes of love and war with pointed ruminations on mixtapes and growing up with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air."
“Caits Meissner and Tishon have built an anthem to the present in strong, perceptive poems that remind us, in the face of all the news to the contrary, that we are alive, well, alert, and loving.” —Roger Mitchell
“After reading The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You I want to raise the window and scream I love you” —muMs
"Well&Often Press is an emerging publishing house in Brooklyn. The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You is their first published book,and it is a fantastic beginning. The Letter is a collaboration between two friends, partitioned into five sections with each poet taking turns in no particular order. For their thematic similarities, the writers retain very distinct voices: Meissner constructs ornate linguistic mosaics which perfectly complement Tishon’s poignant terseness. The poems swing between wistful, nostalgic musings on childhood rebellion (“For Lucille Clifton, In Thanks For The Lost Baby Poem”) to portraits of urban industrialism (“Roosevelt Island,” “Running”) to love letters written for unnamed lovers (“The Sinner Lady to the Black Saint,” “How I Learned to Trust the Water”), all contained within a beautifully designed trade-paperback. An exciting and enjoyable debut, and we are eagerly awaiting more." - Hey, Small Press
from How Mavis Staples Healed My Heart by Caits Meissner
Under headphones, Mavis Staples crawls into the hurting parts.
She is awkward, but persistent, squeezing her round maternal body
into the tiny cracks. Shimmies up the pipe of my heart.
Stomps her feet against the wound. Rolls her eyes.
Says, toughen up, mama, this ain’t the end of the story, yet.
She holds a kettle beneath my tear ducts.
Shakes her head and throws it on the stove.
Beans and rice, again.
She pulls out a chair from the table and wipes her hands
on her apron, how you feel, child, she asks.
What I Learned from Bill Bradley by Tishon
As a teenager,
I wanted desperately
to be in the NBA.
So I could be famous enough to
get a book deal,
leave basketball forever,
embark on a career
as a writer.
Basketball is hard.