Widener University had the pleasure of hosting local poet Sadie Dupuis as our visiting writer earlier this semester. Not only is Dupuis a passionate poet, she is also the self-described “frontdemon” for the popular indie rock band Speedy Ortiz, serving as the band’s lyricist, guitarist, and lead vocalist. She also released a solo musical project in 2016 named SAD13. In her most recent collection of poetry, Mouthguard, Dupuis expresses a consuming desire to understand the world around her and the place she occupies within it. Referred to in an interview with Rolling Stone as “a sly cycle of loss and renewal” and in Marie Claire as “nostalgic and familiar,” Mouthguard seems to be the meeting point of humor and self-exploration. Dupuis uses imagery that stretches the boundaries of language. Her poem “Move in with Me” opens with the lines: “And my underwater sculptures / made out of brain / the cold of the blue ocean.” The startling truths featured in her poems comprise just a fraction of the wealth of perspective available to Dupuis. In the titular poem “Mouthguard,” Dupuis writes: “I am very qualified / to discuss myself / in my wrongness / if personal mythology / is interesting to anyone.” In that, Dupuis harnesses the root of why all writers should write: because perspective is subjective and unique, and there is always someone who benefits from hearing it. Her poem “This Message Is for Sadie,” opens on the line: “Who is looking slash feeling / And never remotely understands / Messages she leaves herself.” To me, this perfectly summarizes the hopefulness that pairs with self-doubt, and reflects the courage Dupuis puts into her poems and subsequently, into her readers.
If you’d like to learn more about this Philadelphia-based artist, check her out on social media @sad13, or at her website sadthirteen.com. Her most recent publications can be found in Blush Lit.