Interview with the Poet: @lucysfootball and I chat poetry.

15 October 2012 by 16 Comments

Check out the first post here if you want to enter to win a copy of Out of True.

I wanted to interview Amy for this blog tour because I love Amy; any excuse to talk to Amy is a win in my book. I asked her some questions about writing poetry, reading poetry, words she likes, and the future of poetry–the topic I purposely didn’t cover was her poetry inspirations, as she’s been writing posts about them already! You can find those here, here, and here.

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How often do you read poetry? Read any good poems lately?

I read poetry much less often than I should. Time’s been short lately. I recently went on an e.e. cummings binge and absolutely devoured everything of his I could find online. I fell madly in love with “You are tired,” which somehow I hadn’t come across before, and have read it about once a day ever since. So, so beautiful.

What’s the process of writing a poem like? How long does it take to get one from rough draft to final draft?

It really depends on the poem. Some come to be almost fully-formed, like they wanted to be written and just need to get out; some, I get an idea or a line and then I have to fill in the work around that line (or flesh out that idea.) I have some that I’ve written from start to finish in only a couple of hours and some that have been languishing in my “poetry that needs editing” file for months and I don’t know if they’ll ever be quite right.

Do you have any habits or rituals that you absolutely must abide when writing?

No – I’m pretty laid-back when I’m writing. I can write on paper, I can write on my laptop, I can write at the kitchen table or on my couch while inane television is blasting. I’m lucky like that, I guess.

Do you have any opinions about modern poetry, or predictions about the fate of poetry in the modern era? Is it really fading, or are people being Chicken Littles?

I think there will always be room for poetry and always people to read it. I think it’s changing, and I think that’s what’s wonderful about poetry – as people evolve, so does the work. I think there will always be poets, and always be poetry. The world needs it. The world would be an empty place without it.

Poets obviously love words. What are some of your favorite words? words that crop up repeatedly in your work?

Ooh, I like this one. I notice a lot of themes coming up repeatedly, maybe, more so than words. Looking through my book, I seem to use “silver” often, and various iterations of fire – flames/flame/fire. But mostly it’s themes, I think. Some of my favorite words? So many. I don’t know if I can even choose. I like palimpsest a lot. And a lot of other words. So, so many. Words just elate me.

Does it make you nervous, putting your poetry out into the world for everyone to read, since poetry is such an intensely personal thing?

Absolutely. It petrifies me. It’s not as scary as it used to be – especially since the book came out and people have been so positive about it – but it’s so much more personal than a blog post or a tweet or a Facebook post or something like that. It’s your heart on a page, and people can judge that. It’s terrifying. But it’s also a powerful thing, and it makes me feel like I can conquer the world, so it’s a double-edged sword, I guess.

What is your favorite kind of cupcake?

Hmm. I don’t eat a lot of cake, unfortunately for me. So I’d have to say pretty much any cupcake’s ok with me. Except carrot cake. I’m not a fan of carrot cake. Oh, and I have nothing to do with that terrible frosting at the grocery store that’s really whipped cream. Whipped cream is NOT FROSTING. Buttercream is frosting and that is that.

(I agree: whipped cream is not frosting.)

Have any questions you might want to ask Amy? Leave them in the comments–she just might answer!

Susie

Susie is the Bitch-in-Chief at IB and is also a contributor at Book Riot. She's an ice cream connoisseur, an art fanatic, a cat-mommy of three, and a wife. She runs the @thebooksluts Twitter account and may be slightly addicted.

16 thoughts on “Interview with the Poet: @lucysfootball and I chat poetry.

  1. BUT I LOVED WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING! Buttercream is too sweet for me. TOO SWEET!

    [ahem]

    Still, great interview. I especially love this:

    It’s your heart on a page, and people can judge that. It’s terrifying. But it’s also a powerful thing, and it makes me feel like I can conquer the world, so it’s a double-edged sword, I guess.

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us, Amy. <3

    • A lot of people loved whipped cream frosting for that very reason, but I think it’s a trick. Because you’re expecting very very sweet, and then you take a bite and it tastes like air. No no.

      Aw, thank you! I’m glad people were so kind with my heart. It’s been battered a lot so who knows how it would have taken more battering? :)

  2. Seriously, carrot cake should be banned. Or renamed to take the delicious word “cake” out of the running, since carrot cake is never delicious. Carrot loaf sounds better (ahem grosser). I am also a fan of whipped cream icing, with the caveat that it’s homemade. But I wouldn’t kick buttercream out of bed either. Obviously there’s only one solution: three-way!

    But enough about cake! I love the word palimpsest, love love love. And you are so lucky to be able to write anywhere. I need some relative quiet or people not talking to me (like coffee shop noise).

    • If I’m writing something work-y, that I have to research/think about, I need quiet. But if it’s fun (poetry, a blog post, etc.) I can have all the things going on around me and be in my own little world and be fine. I think this is because I taught myself to zone out when I was a kid – I used to scribble away while my family was watching TV or driving or something and just learned to tune them down to zero. :)

  3. hi, i’m excited about amy’s book and about the giveaway! i just entered and i was having trouble with the interface. i do not wish to enter for the electronic version of this book, just the paper. thanks. :)

  4. I’ve never read You Are Tired either – it’s beautiful and kind of wrenching. But maybe that’s because I *am* so tired today.

    I can’t wait for the rest of your blog tour – your book is actually next on my “too read” pile, although I really out to just read a poem here and there instead of waiting for time to read the whole thing…. that’s one of the beauties of poetry anyway, the was that you can kind of dip your toe in here and there instead of deciding to read a whole book at once. Plus, I think that you don’t (or at least I don’t) really get a proper appreciation if you just read one poem after the other – poetry takes more time to digest for me than prose.

    • That’s what’s I love about having a book of poetry. Even if you read through the whole thing (I did with Amy’s), you go back and probe into the bits that caught your attention, skip some, roll around in others. Some days you’re in the mood for one poem, some days you’re in the mood for another.

    • Isn’t it beautiful? I saved the site and I’ve been reading it almost every day since I found it. It’s my new favorite poem.

      Oh, yay, thank you! I also love that about poetry, that you can either dive right in, or you can take a little here and a little there.

      • That’s a great poem by cummings. My wife has chronic fatigue, and I think she’ll really like cumming’s description. Perhaps I’ll read it to her on her birthday in a week, and then let her follow a trail of lit candles to a surprise at the end. If my toddler doesn’t ruin that whole thing. Toddlers and candles are a tricky mixture.

  5. I actually like carrot cake, but I agree that it isn’t really cake, exactly.

    I’ve liked reading about your inspiration and your process. I used to write poetry as a teenager, but I gave it up because I couldn’t get past that “heart on a page” thing. It made me feel too vulnerable, even without sharing it with anyone but my future self. (That and I’m pretty sure I sucked.)

    • I feel like carrot cake is a little muffiny, but I still do love it. I prefer it without raisins and walnuts.

      I think everyone sucks at poetry when they’re young, though :D I know I did. I wince at what I wrote before I hit my mid 20′s or so.. and even that stuff wasn’t great, but it was better.

      • Yes! Muffiny! I was trying to figure out what it is more like than cake and just couldn’t seem to pull it out of my head.

        Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had it with raisins, which I probably wouldn’t like. I may or may not have had it with nuts, but I definitely prefer without; I’m not a nut person. But most carrot cake I have is very plain, and I like it that way.

    • Oh, don’t worry. Wee Amy’s poetry was terrible. TERRIBLE. I find pages of it here and there and just wince. I just kept plugging away, though. I’m obstinate.

      I don’t like carrots, and also carrot cake often has raisins and nuts in it, and I hate both of those, so I just avoid it altogether. It’s safer.

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