Women Writers We Love: Dina S. Paulson-McEwen

interview

This week we are featuring the talented Dina S. Paulson-McEwen. Her poem “Verboten” was featured on Dying Dahlia in August 2016. Her first book, Parts of Love, will be out in March but is available for preorder until January 19.

Author Photo - Dina Paulson-McEwenWhat inspires you the most?

The interstices/cruxes of love and loving. As Parts of love developed, it went from uplifting/making memoiristic a celestial/romantic love to incorporating those exigencies with scratched love. The book’s mind spread to different actors–fractured and connected love not only between lover and lover, but between bodies relating as family and friend, bodies close through intention and chance, bodies who can hold worlds (and can be worlds themselves) inside of themselves.

Who are your favorite women writers?

So many! Favorites include Rebecca Lindenberg, Nikki Giovanni, Franny Choi, Sappho, Joy Harjo, Anne Carson, Ada Limón, and Gillian Flynn.

What does your writing process look like?

Recently, I have been starting my day with an autowrite about five times a week. In general, I tend to write in the afternoon or evening. An autowrite (taught by a Winter Tangerine workshop at Poets House!) is writing for thirty minutes–keep the pen moving, don’t stop to analyze, just get it (something) out. Some of my autowrites have made their way into a current project. I get inspired by science, animals, walking fast, being outside, watching, being close with other bodies, listening, feeling. Sometimes I edit and send revised stuff late at night to my editor, and I am lucky she is a night owl!

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

I think the idea of being (or deciding) you are a woman writer is powerful to begin with. I didn’t really start out seeing myself like this, but I do now because I think how I make up my womanhood is a central force in the way I see and put words together. Every woman’s version of what being a woman means to herself/themselves is unique. I think the most important thing is to feel where you feel yourself fit with yourself. Women writers have a lot of power not only because women and writers are powerful as individual identities but because women writers can tell certain stories that perhaps only women writers can tell.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a full-length poetry manuscript. The concept keeps growing into itself so I keep adding words to its title in Google Docs in caps, so it’s like it’s yelling, but it helps me focus.

Book Cover - Parts of love

To find out how you can preorder Parts of Love, visit the website here.
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Women Writers We Love: Jessica Mehta

interview

We are super excited to present our newest feature on Dying Dahlia where we talk to some amazing women writers and get a peak at what they are up to, what inspires them and more!  This week we are happy to present Jessica Mehta, author of ORYGUN: Poems, What Makes An Always, Last Exotic Petting Zoo, Secret-Telling Bones and The Wrong Kind of IndianShe also has two books that will be released in 2018 and 2019.  Jessica’s poems “Recipe for an Indian” and “Look at All that Beautiful” were featured on Dying Dahlia in February of 2017.

Headshot Mehta 2

What inspires you the most?

My husband. (How cliched is that?). All eight of my books are dedicated to him, and my one (and only) novel explores our story. I didn’t start writing fervently until that particular relationship, and it continues to feed and inform all of my collections. However, another major source of inspiration is the woods. As a native Oregonian, I NEED at least one session of hiking and forest bathing a week to unclog my thoughts. My collection Orygun is an homage to how the wild feeds us.

Who are your favorite women writers?

Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison will always top the list. However, I fell deeply in love with Alissa Nutting’s first book, Tampa.

What does your writing process look like?

I simply write when I feel like I need to. With eight books published in less than eight years, it seems like that’s pretty often! It’s common to come up with the first line of a poem while on a hike or in the middle of the night. I agree with the idea that 4 a.m. is the “writer’s hour.”

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

The good stuff comes when you let all your shame and guilt hang out. You don’t need to be a likable voice. You don’t have to strive to be a relatable one. Don’t pull the punches, and submit, submit, submit at a feverish pace. Define your own lines (for me, self-publishing will never be an option. Cheers to those who found their groove in it). Work towards always having at least one manuscript in the wings. Finally, don’t pay for reading fees simply for regular submissions (book contests are different). It’s not worth it.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on my two books that will be released in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Constellations of My Body is being published by Musehick Publications. In 2019, Savagery will be released by Airlie Press, a unique publisher collective based out of Oregon. I also have a prequel to my first novel and a collection of essays based on Native American mythology tucked away and slowly looking for a home.