poetry / Uncategorized / writing

A stop on the writers’ blog tour

Thank you to Lacy Arnett and  A. Anupama for inviting me to join this tour.

Lacy’s a friend I made a few months ago thanks to the virtual world of Twitter. She writes fiction and nonfiction and you can read her story “Sacred Ground” at Better Magazine. I’m so happy she lives in El Paso! 

I had the pleasure of meeting A. this winter in snowy Vermont and have since had the pleasure of reading some of her inspiring work and translations. A couple of weeks ago, I shared her essay on translating Tirukkal which is up at Numéro Cinq.

And now for the blog tour:

What are you working on?

I’m trying to “practice being patient with what is.” I’m revising a batch of prose poems that largely revolve around conceptions of desire. I’m trying to finish up a chapbook that I’ve been working on for a couple of years now. It’s never felt finished, but this time around, I feel the collection is telling me that it’s all together now. (I hope this is what it’s telling me.) Also, I’ve been translating a couple of stories written by a favorite Spanish visual artist.

How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?

I think my answer to this would differ from anyone else’s who’s read my work. As a writer, I can only hope that readers return to my work because there is something different about it. In Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Jane Hirshfield writes, “A poem is a detour we willingly subject ourselves to, a trick surprising us into the deepened vulnerability we both desire and fear. Its strategies of beauty, delay, and deception smuggle us past the border of our own hesitation. There is reason to fear: a great poem, like a great love, challenges our solitude, our conceptions, the very ground of being.” I hope my work accomplishes this.

Why do you write what you do?

As Cecilia Vicuña says in her interview for The Conversant: “I think our power is in the question. Asking opens the doors. And the art is learning to work with the forces that move of their own accord.”

How does your writing process work?

As hard as I try to write every day, it just doesn’t happen. My goal is to write a minimum of three lines or sentences per day in my journal. Some days make up for others. I’ve noticed that I most feel compelled to write when I’m deeply engaged with a text. Most recently, it was Ron Padgett’s Collected PoemsI usually spend a week out of the month working solely on revisions. I find I’m more productive if I focus on the same activity for a certain block of time, but if I feel the impulse to detour from this activity, I heed.

I’d like to tag Evelyn N. Alfred and Michael Schmeltzer for this blog tour. They may or may not want to participate, but either way, I recommend visiting their blogs.

Evelyn is chronicling her journey to become a librarian. She’s also a writer. From time to time, she also hosts #TwitterBookClub and selects a book for the group to read and discuss via Twitter. There’s one happening in mid-July. Evelyn’s book selections are always rewarding. I’d read anything she recommends.

Michael is a triple threat: he’s a writer, poetry editor, and spirit-lifter with his endearing wit. If you haven’t read his poignant essay “In Every Word a Wardrobe” recently up at Superstition Review’s blog, I encourage you to do so. Here’s an excerpt:

“But today there is a stretch of sky like blue fabric unrolled, the sun like the crash of a cymbal, loud and absolute in its understanding of light. For a moment all I want is to tailor words with the proper attire. I want to match the heat of this world.”

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