The Devil’s Workshop: Poetry by Tracy Mishkin

Hi, I’m Tracy Mishkin, a call center veteran with a PhD and a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Butler University. My first chapbook, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Five Oaks Press published my second chapbook, The Night I Quit Flossing, in 2016. My third chapbook, This Is Still Life, came out in 2018 from Brain Mill Press.

Since my last chapbook was published, I’ve been working on a full-length manuscript. The current title is A Broken Rake Still Gathering Leaves.

Here is a list of my publications that can be viewed online as of April, 2021. It was really fun to go through and check the links. Seriously. I haven’t seen some of these poems in a while. Thank you for supporting my work and poetry in general.

“Safekeeping” was published in the Brain Mill Press Voices National Poetry Month feature in April 2021 at all the way down.

“Telling” was published in The Indianapolis Review.

“Triage” was published in Red-Headed Stepchild. (Follow link, then click title of poem.)

“One More Bad Day” was published in Unbroken.

“After Setbacks, We Go Sideways” was published in *82 Review.

“Crime of Passion” appeared in the Indiana Humanities National Poetry Month feature for 2017.

“Decision at the Buzzer,” “Summer Camp with Salvador Dali,” and “Cyrano at Large” were published in Jokes Review.

“Bar Mitzvah Road Trip” and “Swamp Rats” were published in On the Veranda.

“Walkabout” and “Alarum” were published in Poetry South.

“November” was published in concīs. Scroll all the way down.

“The Unexpected Painting” was published in Poetry City, USA.

“Bible Study” and “why I advise against plastic surgery” were published in Flying Island.

“Pole Position” won Honorable Mention in the Indy 500 Poetry Contest, an initiative of the Arts, Culture & Youth Committee of the 100th Running Host Committee. Read the top 33 poems at

“The Thaw” was published in Clementine (Unbound). Scroll all the way down.

“Donora, Pennsylvania” was published in Panoplyzine at  and “You Got Me Wanting You” appeared in the next issue.

“Traveler,” “ghost bicycle,” and “101st Homicide, 2015” were published in Lockjaw .

“Metastasis” was published in  The Quotable.

“Vision Problem” took third place in the Social Justice category of the Indiana Poetry Awards.

“Sorority” was published in pioneertown.

“Aubade” was published in A Quiet Courage.

“Arse Poetica” was published in Gutzine: A Zine about Bodily Functions.

“In This Economy, You Take What You Can Get” was published in Rat’s Ass Review.

California Dreaming” and “Memoir” were published in Postcard Poems and Prose.

“Judgment Call” was published in Amygdala.

“Self-Portrait with Pit Bull” was published in the Indiana Humanities National Poetry Month feature for 2015.

“The Gleaners” was published in Word Soup.

8 thoughts on “The Devil’s Workshop: Poetry by Tracy Mishkin

  1. “Rolling Stops at Ethical Intersections”

    Mishkin poetry I keep in my head all the time. I can’t count how many times I’ve applied this phrase to situations. My goal remains to spring it into popular consciousness…

  2. Tracy Mishkin draws from what is at hand, laying out poems that are contained, precisely crafted, and relentless. She examines the “rolling stop at ethical intersections” and “divorce among the blackberries.” Mishkin explores what it is to balance between calm and calamity. In one poem a couple begin an early marriage inauspiciously but succeed in crafting a life together. In another, life is splintered when a teenager learns the father he thought was dead is visiting his hometown. Lot’s wife can’t keep her eyes on life; a dying woman names a stray cat Zoe, Greek for life. This poet shows the reader pain and love—and why we should not turn away from either.

  3. Tracy Mishkin has mined a collection of gems, her tools an incisive intelligence, a well-honed moral sense, and keen humor. Mishkin’s vision is unflinching, her craft uncompromising.

  4. Meditating on marital to mortal concerns, God, teenagers, ovaries, and blackberries and all of their accompanying perplexity, pain, and joy, Tracy Mishkin’s tightly crafted poems in I Almost Didn’t Make it to McDonald’s pack a punch and deliver it with wit and poignancy. Mishkin’s mind is a map of the broken and the beautiful. “Hope,” she writes, “is a purple door,” suggesting that hope is rare but imminently possible and that it is up to the inhabitant of the house to choose hope, as this poet does.

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