Trials & Tribulations of the Creative Life


Biographical Statement

Brianne Manning is a New Hampshire native, poet, and professional copywriter. She holds a BA in creative writing and an MFA in poetry from the University of Central Florida, where her thesis collection was advised by award-winning poet, Terry Thaxton. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Blue Monday Review, The Galway Review, Yellow Chair Review, Crab Fat Magazine, After Happy Hour Review, Change Seven, Absinthe Poetry Review, Sweet Tree Review, Quail Bell Magazine, The Sandy River Review, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, she preserves her passion for photography, with self-portraits published in The Sun magazine’s Issue 489 (September 2016) and by Knopf’s Vintage Books for use as the paperback cover of Keith Scribner’s novel, The Oregon Experiment. Manning is a compulsive pen collector, musician, and antique enthusiast currently living in North Carolina with her fiancé, their two cats and dog, and multitudes of dust bunnies. You can find some of her other portfolio projects here!


Note from the Author

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an avid participator in the sport of conversation. I’ve been talking and asking questions since I was a tiny towhead. When you sincerely ask questions, people will sincerely answer. Often enough, their answers and recollections will amaze you. So this is a space where we can talk about people: those that amuse us, aggravate us, inspire us, shock us, and affect us in every other way possible. Chances are that their experiences will help you cope with your own. As Gustave Flaubert once said, “An overwhelming curiosity makes me ask myself what their lives might be like. I want to know what they do, where they’re from, their names, what they’re thinking about at that moment, what they regret, what they hope for, their past loves, their current dreams …”

The Gasoline Tree Abstract

In exploration of Millennial anxieties and the power of dreaming, The Gasoline Tree imagines a soundtrack for the revelations, defeats, and curiosities of leaving childhood behind. This is a collection of more than 40 poems that examines eating disorders, gender roles, physical abuse, sex, infidelity, loneliness, and the fear of losing one’s parents. This collection also contemplates the brutalities and muted delights of what drives us all: love, in all of its forms. “The Gasoline Tree,” “Wolf of Chocorua,” and many other poems construct New England landscapes that pay homage to the pastoral uniqueness of Maxine Kumin and Galway Kinnell, while poems in the latter half of the collection, such as “Home Alone” and “Little Big Econ,” rouse depictions of southern environments and intensify the narrator’s budding sense of displacement. There are many voices within, but there are three particular voices that can be heard above the rest: the child struggles with the complexities of divorce and identity; the young woman struggles with the complexities of remorse and relationships; the woman struggles with reminiscence and loss. Yet, each voice works toward expressions of awareness and acceptance of the enduring captivation with impermanence and consequence in a disposition influenced by W.S. Merwin, Anne Sexton, Kay Ryan, and Louise Glück. Whether driving by a homeless man, staring at the ceiling fan, or lying awake late into the night, this collection examines the transient nature of everyday occurrences and the buried meanings that might govern them all.


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