Category: interviews

Women Writers We Love: Erin Wilson

Did you read Sex With You is a Strange Violin? Then meet the woman behind the poem— Erin Wilson! We wanted to find out what makes her tick, what inspires her, who she reads and more. Read our latest interview with the talented Erin Wilson.

What inspires me most?

Nature, art, language, the body, strange correlations. Language. Did I say language?

Who are your favorite women writers?

This has been an interesting question to consider. I have a deep attraction to male poets with what could be deemed a feminine spirit (a willingness to express themselves vulnerably) like Rilke, Kenneth Rexroth, Jack Gilbert or César Vallejo in his Human Poems. It took me a moment to recognize the female poets I admire, but once I recalled the first name, the rest came through in a rush, Sharon Olds, Margaret Atwood, Pat Lowther, Alix Cléo Roubaud, Wisława Szymborska and Marina Tsvetaeva, to name a few. And while Sarah Moon is primarily a photographer, her narrations of film are agitated poetic sessions which leave one breathless. (Which calls to mind the writer Clarice Lispector. See how this goes? Once the list begins, there is little stopping. And isn’t Francesca Woodman a poet with her camera?) What is interesting to me about these female writers is that they are writers with extreme courage. And so I begin to recognize just now that it is this synthesis that is most attractive and powerful for me, a merging of vulnerability with steadfastness.

What does your writing process look like?

Every morning I wake to read. And I read in order to become awake. Really, there could be no writing without reading. I write every day or I am not myself; a sadness descends upon me. Reading and writing, this is home for me. And so I carry books with me everywhere I go. And if not books, paper and pen. And also, birdseed. (But that is for the birds.)

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Advice. I can’t imagine I have advice to give. Write!

What are you currently working on?

I write whatever it is that occurs to me to write in the moment. I don’t organize to write in terms of projects. However, I have a number of projects I am working on simultaneously. Perhaps some hard work, in conjunction with an editor who appreciates what it is that I would like to accomplish, might see the publication of a book of poems regarding the indomitable nature of woman, a second volume in praise of the natural world, and a third concerning the glint, gleam, glom and glimmering of being. Once again, a synthesis.

 

Check out Erin’s latest published pieces on her website here!

 

Women Writers We Love – Allison Thorpe

We got a chance to catch up with past contributor Allison Thorpe! (You can read her poems “The Last Time My Mother Baked Bread” and “Resolution” in our Winter 2017 collection ebook, available for purchase here.)  Her latest book The Shepherds of Tenth Avenue is available for preorder through Finishing Line Press.  Find out what inspires Allison, her advice for women writers, and more!

What inspires you the most? 

I lived in rural Kentucky for many years, and nature was my constant inspiration.  When I moved to Lexington, I found motivation in the tremendous creative energy all around me:  the artists at the museum across the street, two bookstores (Brier Books and The Wild Fig) who continually hold readings and workshops, the woman who draws mandalas on the sidewalk, the colorful book benches from the Carnegie Center, the Buddha Babes, and all my writing groups. Lexington is a dynamic center of literary pursuits and encouragement.

PICWho are your favorite women writers?

I’m all over the board, and my catalog of women writers grows every day.  I do tend to gravitate toward Kentucky/Appalachian writers like Crystal Wilkerson, Ada Limon, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Jan Sparkman, and so many others.  I’m involved with the Kentucky Women Writers Conference (the longest running literary festival of women in the nation and held in Lexington each September) which offers amazing women authors in a variety of genres.  I come away with armloads of books and more new favorites.  Currently, I am reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh which is beautifully disturbing.  I support women writers and am heartened by the variety of voices and stories.

What does your writing process look like? 

Being retired, I have the joy of writing every day.  I often have several projects going and see where my keyboard takes me when I sit down.  I’m someone who gets ideas when I should be sleeping, so I always have pen and paper close at hand.  That drowsy state just before or upon waking is a gold mine for me.  I can’t tell you how many poems have been born in those moments.  June is Lexington Poetry Month, and Accents Publishing challenges writers to post a poem a day.  It’s fun and exciting to read and respond to the work of others.  I love the chain reactions that arise. 

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Support each other!  Go to readings. Buy books.  Open those doors that allow women a voice.  I am a great believer in finding a writing partner or a writing group that will support and critique work.  Even joining a book club can be insightful to one’s own poetry. Feedback is vital and necessary.  I am also a great believer in revision, something I preached to my students over the decades. Revision is a good place to experiment with voice, with point of view, with language.

What are you currently working on?
At present, I am developing poems about Rosalind Franklin, a chemist who played a major role in the discovery of DNA.  I received a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to research and write about her.  She is a fascinating woman who did not receive the recognition she deserved.  But who knows what other inspiration may come along?

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You can preorder Allison Thorpe’s book The Shepherds of Tenth Avenue here!

Women Writers We Love – Miss Macross

In this week’s interview, we are featuring the super awesome Miss Macross (AKA Sheena Carroll).  Her poem “False Cognates” was featured in June on DDR. Her book Miss Macross Vs. Batman was published recently by the CWP Collective Press. 

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What inspires you the most?

I find inspiration through connecting the alien to the deeply personal. Everyone finds their own ways to cope with trauma, mental health problems, and hard-to-process emotions. One of my coping mechanisms is to immerse myself in the strange and the unexplained (I’m especially influenced by unsolved mysteries). When I experience intense feelings (be it abuse flashbacks, grief, or crushing unrequited feelings), it best manifests in writing as a reflection of something bizarre with which I share no concrete connection. It reveals those feelings in a more novel way.

I also like looking for connections to the personal with nature and ritual; in particular, through tarot. I take a lot of inspiration from the imagery of the tarot (which more or less follow the tropes of the Hero’s Journey).

Who are your favorite women writers?

My favorite writers include Anna Akhmatova, Nnedi Okorafor, Banana Yoshimoto, Roxane Gay, Sylvia Plath, Shirley Jackson, Han Kang, and Kim Yideum.

I especially love and am influenced by women graphic novelists and manga-ka. Hagio Moto, Marjorie Liu, Rumiko Takahashi, and Riyoko Ikeda regularly inspire my poetry and writing with their engaging storytelling and beautiful art.

What does your writing process look like?

I write a little bit every day; I keep a daily poem journal on Google Docs so I can access it anywhere. I’d say maybe 10% of that writing goes into poems that I submit for publication. Most of the time it is incomprehensible rambles about my day, but sometimes there’s a gem of a line that I pull out and turn into something else.

I also write fiction, and am in the middle of developing a new routine of writing 3,000 words per week. That has been much more challenging and unpredictable.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

It’s normal to feel self-conscious about your work. Submit it to that lit mag you really like, anyway. As a creative writing workshop facilitator, I’ve worked with writers of many genders and the majority have shared similar levels of self-consciousness about their work. But I feel that women writers can be less likely to submit their work because of those feelings. I’ve certainly dealt with that block – it took me almost ten years to start submitting my poems and stories to magazines.

What are you currently working on?

Because I like to torture myself, I’m working on three separate projects. One is another short poetry collection, which I’m almost finished editing. I also have a short story collection. I’ve already submitted it to some presses that I love, but have recently considered expanding it from a chapbook to a full-length collection. The biggest goal I have the remainder of 2018 is completing the initial draft of my first novella, which combines my loves of sci-fi and unsolved mysteries.

Be sure to check out her book Miss Macross Vs. Batman! and follow her on Twitter @MissMacross.

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.

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