"This book is unlike any that I know of in American poetry, past or present. Written from deep inside the world of fashion and corporate power, it is full of ‘news that stays news.’ Utterly personal, fabulously expressive, desperately witty, it plays for keeps on a field few of us have any knowledge of, even as we dress ourselves each day in clothes designed and marketed to make us feel like us. I’m sold on all of it. Candice Reffe is the real thing, a poet of the swiftest music and feeling, alive in this moment that is ours. Like they say, it’s to die for." –David Rivard.
"Candice Reffe’s Live from the Mood Board is animal and alive. Each poem arrives on the page like a Tasmanian devil, lines spinning and voice reaching into a poet’s vocabulary that’s itself more expansive, various, and strange than any I’ve seen in a long time. The poet has a good story – she’s been a successful New York fashion executive for years (read: secret anthropologist)..."Read more –Katie Peterson.
"Supple syntax and subtle variations in poetic form also add to this debut collection's complexity and polish. Readers across age ranges and geographical and economic situations are likely to resonate with the struggle toward psychic and professional liberation that builds momentum throughout this book—the sense of consciousness taking wing to escape the mundane, as the conflicted self 'becomes a hallelujah.'" –Kathleen Winter, Contest Judge. Read essay
The first ten years of my work life, I taught writing and taught teachers how to teach writing. I moved from New York City to Provincetown, MA, where I was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center. I followed deer paths through the woods to the sea, where I trespassed the property lines of summer houses tethered to the National Seashore, paralleling one purpose of a writer’s imagination: to thwart borders, using language as the medium. The land, the town’s economic contradictions, reminded me of Kenya, where I’d been a Peace Corps Volunteer. Like Kenya, Provincetown’s stark beauty had the radio frequency of a soul-home; for a dozen years I tuned in. I won a Mass Cultural Council Artists Fellowship and a second fellowship at the Work Center—I am still grateful for that early support.
An unexpected career as a retail entrepreneur in Provincetown led to an unexpected career as an executive at a fashion company in New York City. Poets are natural strategists, pattern-seers. Most clothes are derived from fossil-fuel crude oil (think polyester). To convert raw materials into the clothes we wear, to turn a profit, degrades the land, air, water, the human hands along its course. The business strategies I designed meant to reconcile truth with beauty.
Work is where we encounter other humans—strange and lovely others—so leadership became my craft and discipline. Mentoring, truth-telling, vulnerability, clarity coupled with decisive action. I worked with harmony and dissonance, freedom within constraint, to make purposeful music in concert with others.
Though I cannot claim to be wise, I will claim the wisdom of my experiences: I have seen many suns, flown too close to some, and I am still here. Currently living inland in Northampton, MA, where my husband and I raised our son.
Live from the Mood Board is available online from Amazon, Small Press Distribution; physically at Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, MA and East End Books in Provincetown, MA. I’m available to read, teach, think through ideas, websites. I entered a graduate coaching certificate program after the book was released and have opened a coaching practice. Coaching is a creative collaboration. Its medium is courageous conversation that precipitates action, aligning who you are with what you do and how you do it. For more on that work: linkedin.com/in/candicereffe.
Candice’s poems have also appeared in
Agni Review, Crazy Horse, Harvard Review, Poetry Daily, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review and elsewhere.
Antivenom Poetry Award from Elixir Press
Fine Arts Work Center First and Second Year Fellowships
Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship
2018 Finalist for Circular Economy Multinational Award from Davos.
2012 Launch Innovator Award sponsored by NASA, Nike and USAID.
Candice led the collaborative work at EILEEN FISHER, granted these awards.
Arts at the Armory, Sommerville, MA. October 10, 2019. 7 PM
Poetry Night in Davis, Davis, CA.
November 21, 2019. 8 PM
Gallery of Readers, Northampton, MA.
December 15, 2019. 4 PM Smith College
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.
March 26, 2020
London College of the Arts
Naropa University, Authentic Leadership Center
The New Yorker screening of True Cost
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Fashion & Design Accelerator
Textile Exchange Conference