Category: interviews

Women Artists We Love: Savannah Loebig

We are switching it up this week. Instead of a writer, we have the very talented artist, Savannah Loebig.  We featured her art back in January 2017.  We got a chance to catch up with her and ask her a few questions about her process and what she’s working on now.  

What inspires you the most? 
 
There are a lot of things that inspire me. I can be inspired by how nice the day is or how well my plants are growing, but I can also be inspired by things I hear in the news and stories of other women. When I hear about other peoples struggles I’m reminded of my own and I’m able to use that in order to think about myself from a different perspective. 
 
savWho are your favorite women artists?
 
Oh my god there are so many. I love Sally Hewett, Stephanie Law, Caledonia Curry (Swoon), Soey Milk, Bunnie Reiss, Jaw Cooper, Lauren Brevner, Kelsey Beckett, Paloma Smith, the list could go on forever. 
 
What does your process look like? 
 
I’m constantly looking at art and getting inspiration on a daily basis. I have a folder with thousands of pictures of things that I find interesting. I wish I could say that I create every day but I don’t. I have a million different interests and things I want to do but I just have to take it one day at a time.
 
What advice do you have for fellow women artists? 
 
My advice would be to work as much as you can and to be involved in the local art scene. Also be aware what other artists are doing so that you can be as informed as possible when making your own work. Have a thick skin and apply to all the shows around you that fit with your work and go to gallery openings to meet people.
 
What are you currently working on?
 
I’m currently working on developing a body of work having to do with the female body and constraints surrounding it.
 

For more info about Savannah visit savannahloebig.com or check her out on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

Women Writers We Love – Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Time for another interview with the lovely Sneha Subramanian Kanta! Her poem “Recovery” was featured on Dying Dahlia in January 2016.  Read about what inspires her, her excellent advice for fellow women writers and more.  Also, find out how you can read Sneha’s micro-chapbook, Synecdoche. It’s a must read!

Sneha-AuthorPhotoWhat inspires you the most? 

Narratives that have been long ignored by the world at large are of major interest to me as an academician and someone that engages with the written word. What moves me is the organic constitution of oral literature and the manner in which it has prevailed for decades. I’m interested in literature as being an alternate form of history. I’m very influenced by my maternal grandmother and mother. They were two strong women in my life and their lives have been nothing short of an inspiration to me. The legacy of kindness they’ve left behind continues to be an influence, as does everything they did for society. Their contributions to my life remain magnanimous.

Who are your favorite women writers?

There are many. A few names would be Akka Mahadevi, Rassundari Devi, Savitribai Phule, Amrita Pritam, Imtiaz Dharker, Arundhati Roy, Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, Tarfia Faizullah, Tracy Smith, Sharon Olds, Patricia Smith, Fatima Asghar, Chelsea Dingman, Kelli Russell Agodon. At this juncture, I must also recommend the books Women Writing in India—Part I and II. It is seminal in the sense of its extensive scope and research. The practice of this project is central in the recovery of voices from the South East Asian continent. It speaks to us from across centuries: from the voices of Buddhist nuns, or theris, and their songs, recorded as terigathas in the 6th century BC to more modern selections. The book is also important in the narratives it carries: Rassundari Devi, for instance, learned the alphabet by tearing pages from the notebooks of her children. She practiced writing them with charcoal inside a dimly lit kitchen, over walls. She later wrote her autobiography, titled ‘Amar Jiban’ in Bengali. These narratives speak to me of resilience and a certain detachment from the world.

What does your writing process look like? 

I’m quite disciplined about writing. I make sure to write, edit and spend some time with drafts regularly. I engage with reading extensively as I believe it is vital to read for as much time as one may accommodate for the practice in the day.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Mostly— it is indispensable to be kind to each other. I love when women support one another as it is my belief that one rises only by raising another’s voice. We have incredible journeys, each one of us, and I am filled with admiration every time I encounter stories where women have been enablers of beautiful things for each other.

What are you currently working on? 

I’m working on my next collection at the moment alongside research. I’m also very interested in culinary skills and have been practicing the intersection of newer vegetarian recipes with good health. I’ve also been a mountaineering enthusiast and after a major hiking trail in 2015, I plan to undertake another in 2019.

Synecdoche - covers (1)
For more information and to download Synecdoche (for free!) visit here.  And be sure to visit her Goodreads page here and leave some love.

Women Writers We Love: Ehlayna Napolitano

We have a very special interview this week with our own associate editor, Ehlayna Napolitano!  Her chapbook, penelope in the morning, was released earlier this year.  Find out a little more about Ehlayna including what inspires her, what she’s been reading lately and more!

E.Napolitano Headshot

What inspires you the most? 

What inspires me the most is the experience of personhood and the vulnerability that is necessarily attached to it. I am fortunate to have a group of friends who are joyously, beautifully, generously open and vulnerable with their emotions, their experiences, and their love. They have been a huge source of inspiration for me. Trying to figure out what being a person means, and how to do it, for myself, and attempting to give language to feelings that are not simply categorized, is what inspires me to keep going. Mostly because it’s weird! It’s weird to be a person, and sometimes I can only navigate that in poetry.

Who are your favorite women writers?

At the moment, I’ve been reading Maggie Nelson’s work, which has quickly become some of my favorite work I’ve ever read. I also really enjoyed Liz Bowen’s, “Sugarblood.” It’s hard to pick just one or two favorites, though! These are just the ones I’ve read most recently.

What does your writing process look like?  

I don’t write every day. I usually try to write at least once a week, but there are times I’ll sit down and immediately have three poems down on paper, and some days I’ll feel something start to take shape in my mind, but won’t be able to get more than a few words down. I try to let the writing come out in its own time.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

I don’t feel like I’m in a position to give anyone advice, so this is a tough question. I’m still figuring out what my own process is, what my voice is, what art I want to make. I’m still new to the game!

So, I suppose my advice to them would be the reminder I try to give myself when I’m writing: don’t be afraid to give all your ideas to a single piece of work. There will be more ideas, and your drive to write won’t disappear. You can lay it all out on the table and still come back to it the next day.

What are you currently working on? 

Right now, I’m trying to focus on creating more and submitting more frequently. I have a few larger project ideas that are long-term goals, but in the short-term, I’m just trying to write more and focus on improvement over anything else.

Women Writers We Love – Alarie Tennille

This week we catch up with Alarie Tennille, author of Waking on the Moon.  Her poem Still With Me was featured on Dying Dahlia in October 2016.

Tennille

What inspires you the most? 

I’m inspired by many things, from family memories to quirky news, but looking at art is my surest cure for writer’s block. I’ve learned that art without a strong narrative works best for me, even abstract works I don’t understand. It’s easier to create something new when I’m not rehashing a Bible story or Greek myth that the painter has already told. Reading is also a great inspiration.

Since I retired five years ago, I honor my biorhythm and stay up to the wee hours when the house is quiet. My cats and I commune with the moon. My latest poetry collection, Waking on the Moon (Kelsay Books, April 2017) pays homage to Luna for her help, even though it also contains my usual art and family poems.

Who is your favorite woman writer?

I adore so many women writers. A few of my favorite poets are Jo McDougall, Jane Kenyon, Andrea Hollander, Maryfrances Wagner, Margaret Atwood, Lucille Clifton, and my critique group, Tina Hacker and Teresa Leggard.

What does your writing process look like? 

Because I’m a night owl, I write mostly after 10:00 p.m. I don’t pressure myself to write every day since I did that for almost 30 years on the job. Retirement gives me more leisure. (Leisure means reading.) I do look for ideas every day. If I go more than a week without writing a poem, I force myself to sit down with paper and at least try. That rarely fails me. My critique group tells me I’m prolific. They wouldn’t be happy if I brought in 30 poems each month.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

My advice to all writers is the same. READ. Too many people fancy themselves as poets when they don’t read good poetry. By reading, you learn a lot about the craft and what you may be doing wrong. When you discover poets who write the way you want to write, cultivate them. Often the journals where they publish will also like you.

My second piece of advice is to join or start a CRITIQUE GROUP or at least find a couple of readers willing to tell you when a poem goes astray. It’s important that you find a group that suits you. They should be honest and offer helpful suggestions without making you give up hope. My group has only three writers, which is the ideal number for me. Too many poets can cause more confusion than help.

Women are more likely to feel all the family organizing and nurturing falls on their shoulders, so they often have trouble carving out time to write. Set aside some time twice a week if every day is too difficult. The good news is that most writing happens in your head. You can plan what you want to say between errands. If I think about a poem for a few days before I get to paper, the writing goes more smoothly.

What are you currently working on? 

My next poetry collection started before the last one was published. Each new book begins with poems published too late to go into the previous book. Once I collect 20 or so, I inspect them for common themes to see how to direct more writing to the project. I’m also going to try publishing some poetry reviews in 2018.

wakingonthemoon

For more information on Alarie, visit her website at AlariePoet.com.

Women Writers We Love: Catherine Moore

And here we go – another interview! This week we are catching up with the talented Catherine Moore!   Her latest collection Ulla! Ulla! was released in November 2017 and includes two poems that were featured on Dying Dahlia – “Venus Without Nipples” and “The Broken”.  Learn more about this amazing writer and her latest collection.

What inspires you the most?

That one red spot in a lush field of green. The kids who sit by themselves at lunch. A candy tablet in a box of Good & Plenty that didn’t get completely coated. Every moment in the midst of holiday fun where I want to cry.

CvrUlla_bookstore

Who are your favorite women writers?

This feels like a difficult question, because there are too many. Seriously. So, I’ll choose the less traveled answer and say, myself. Shouldn’t we favor our own writing? And for that matter, I like the women writers in my critique groups. There is nothing more inspiring than being along for the journey as we create art.

What does your writing process look like?

I generally have a genre-free approach to writing. Creating unidentified writing objects (UWO’s) that fill my journals. Yes, most of my writing is done with pen and paper. When I have a block of time to “write” then I dive into my journals and see what sparks my interest. Often, I don’t decide on genre or style until I have a first draft. Then, whatever is on page informs the revision.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Applaud your fellow women writers. Like their stuff and share it. Promote their work with no expectations. The best way for women’s art to be recognized is to spotlight it ourselves. And positive energy has a way of finding its way back.

What are you currently working on?

I am focused on small fictions and short stories at the moment. Along the lines of “Burnt Springs, Alabama,” which The Tishman Review graciously nominated to the VERA awards and the Best Small Fictions anthology. I do have poems leak out every now and again, so I’m certain to have another collection, someday.

About Ulla! Ulla!
Ulla! Ulla! is a collection exploring themes of suppression— social and domestic, earthly and human, self-censoring and oppressive. The collection gets its title from The War of The Worlds’ Martian death noise, “Ulla!,” which was censored since the alien cries were deemed too frightening.
For more information on how you can get yourself a copy of Catherine’s book Ulla! Ulla! visit the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.