Tag: writing


interview: david wright

28th October

{ in this interview, poet david wright discusses craft, inspiration, and revision }

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

Two things come to mind. First, how the hell do I know? I mean, I hope that a person who reads the poems comes to them with a generous spirit and that the poem rewards that generosity in such a way that she’ll want to return to the poem (or another one) again. But you can’t (and shouldn’t) control that. It’s a reader’s freedom to come to a poem with whatever needs and hopes he carries around all the time. If the poem meets the reader there, … Read More »



“the devil you know: rough drafts” by elizabeth jarrett andrew

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, experiment, rumination, writing. No Comments

7th August

Poor revision, unfairly maligned due to a quirk of human nature! We beasts prefer prowling on familiar territory, rooting up the same soil with the same scratching of our forelegs. We know the terrain of a first draft: the blank page, the tentative start, the discomfort of seeing our brilliant thoughts so diminished in print, the splash of joy when the words come, the adrenaline rush of stumbling onto insights or memories or characters we didn’t know we had, the satisfaction of completion. We know that landscape and we’re quite attached to it, for good reason—it’s borne much fruit. The gifts of a first draft are worth cherishing. And while we may admit the draft is rough, we also know it sparkles in places, and we’re unwilling to diminish that sparkle with the insult of revision.

Lest I discredit the rare genius, there are those … Read More »



interview: aaron belz

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, poetry, poets, vocation, writing. 1 Comment

24th July

{an interview with poet and essayist aaron belz, who recently released his third collection of poetry, GLITTER BOMB}

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

I don’t picture anyone reading my poetry. I have no basis for what happens in that mental picture other than seeing people reading things and, hopefully, enjoying them. Whom I write for is the discouraged person. I just want them to know I’m here for them if they need me. I also write to make myself laugh. It’s the old “you crack yourself up” thing. If I’m my own worst critic, am I not also my own best audience? Live readings are a … Read More »



interview: shane mccrae

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, poetry, poets, vocation, writing. No Comments

11th July

{an interview with poet shane mccrae, whose newest collection, FORGIVENESS FORGIVENESS, will be published by factory hollow press next month. pre-order it here}

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

I don’t know that I have an ideal reader—which, I know, isn’t an answer to the question, but is maybe parallel to an answer, maybe a way into answering. I’ve always felt a little disingenuous saying that I write for myself, although I do—the problem, I think, is in the word for. It suggests the giving of a gift. I write because I can’t not write, because I wouldn’t know how to be if I didn’t write, and … Read More »



a collaboration of grace and work

Posted by Sarah Schock in poetry, poets, review, rumination, writing. No Comments

26th June

In his extended essay Living the Sabbath, philosopher Norman Wirzba writes, “Though God’s resurrection power has been unleashed in the person of Jesus Christ, we still await the time when God’s ‘new creation’ is fully realized.” That time of full realization the church fathers Basil and Augustine referred to as the “eighth day,” the day in Wirzba’s words that “stands beyond creation as its final summation or conclusion.” William Carlos Williams is not often thought of as an eschatological poet, and I’ve no doubt it would be wrong to make a claim that he is, yet his little poem “The Red Wheelbarrow,” when approached with an eschatological imagination, is surprisingly supple and giving.

Unlike much poetry, the pattern of Williams’s poem is visual, not rhythmic.

Read out loud, the single sentence is starkly prosaic. But its appearance on the page—four … Read More »



interview: renee emerson

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, poetry, poets, writing. No Comments

12th June

{an interview with pushcart prize-nominated poet renee emerson, whose first book, KEEPING ME STILL, is now available for purchase}

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

I picture my great-great-great granddaughter coming upon my dusty, well-worn poetry book in a box in the attic. Taking it down and thumbing through it while the babies are napping. Smudging it with greasy fingers because she’s reading while cooking dinner. Reading it as she would a diary or a long letter. I know it is a little romantic for this to be my ideal reader, her hair in a loose ponytail and wearing yesterday’s T-shirt, but she’s there behind every poem … Read More »



a worker’s prayer: van gogh: on work and everyday courage

15th May

In an effort to understand life as a writer, I often read artists’ and poets’ letters. This was suggested by my professors in grad school, who thought that Keats could help me complete my MFA in the allotted three years. They were right; without Keats’ elegant descriptions of his own ambition and despair, and the ways he wrote and loved through them, I may have taken five years to write sixty poems, or despaired of finishing altogether.

It seems strange, perhaps, to turn to Keats, an impoverished poet who died of tuberculosis at twenty-six, and Van Gogh, an impoverished painter who committed suicide at thirty-seven, for advice on how to live. I look to them mainly because of their courage. They were both considered failures, but they continued to work with the hope of creating something beautiful. Van Gogh, struggling with … Read More »



interview: micha boyett

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, memior/cnf, writing. No Comments

8th May

{an interview with author micha boyett, whose spiritual memoir, FOUND: A STORY OF QUESTIONS, GRACE, AND EVERYDAY PRAYER, was released last month}

when you picture someone reading your book, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

When I began writing Found, I was thinking about other mothers in my stage of life. I was asking, Why is no one writing about the spiritual dryness of motherhood? But what I’ve discovered over the process of writing (and learning how to be a mom at the same time–my oldest son was eighteen months old when I started this book; now he’s almost six) is that the themes of identity and weakness in faith belong to everyone. The intensity of motherhood revealed … Read More »



crow delivers the goods

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, poetry, poets, writing. No Comments

10th April

Just as meaning in a conversation rises out of an exchange of ideas originating in shared experience, meaning in a poem rises out of collaboration between a poet and a reader. Each brings a history to the occasion of the poem: the poet to its composition, the reader to its text.

One implication of this is that every reading of a poem is subtly different from every other reading of it. This is true for a reader returning to a favorite poem or for two readers discussing the same poem. Another implication is that no reading of a poem can be definitive. The meaning of a poem evolving through multiple readings by multiple readers escapes the control of the poet. Nevertheless, the poet sets the limits of that meaning.

I suspect Robert Frost had something like this idea in mind when, in … Read More »



interview: matthew lippman

Posted by Sarah Schock in creativity, interview, poetry, poets, writing. No Comments

3rd April

{an interview with poet matthew lippman upon the release of his third collection of poetry, AMERICAN CHEW, which won the burnside review book prize in 2013}

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them? what do they think about, wear, and do? or, maybe a better way to say it: who do you write for? and how do you see your writing nourishing others?

I want my poems to be generous creatures, and so the audience in my mind is everyone—high school students, teachers, attorneys, other poets, bus drivers, mechanics. If my mechanic, Tony, picks up my book, gets into one of my poems, and is entertained and moved by it, I’m doing my job. It’s not so much a case of nourishment as it is a case of having fun. By fun I mean this, being moved, in any way, … Read More »




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interview: sheldon lee compton

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interview: karen swallow prior

{ in this interview, karen swallow prior discuss her process and the challenges of writing toward truth }

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interview: david wright

{ in this interview, poet david wright discusses craft, inspiration, and revision }

when you picture someone reading your poetry, how do you see them?...