If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
I would invite Anna Akmatova and Osip Mandelstam, who continued to write even when threatened with exile and death. On the menu, I would serve them Southwestern food—chili, guacamole, and jalapeño cole slaw—to fill their bellies and warm them up; and to drink, we’d have Moscow Mules (made with Tito’s Vodka), which might be new to them.
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
If I am in the throes of making bad poetry, I calm my fears by convincing myself that it is just a phase, that I have to get the bad stuff out of my system to be able to write better.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
The late Seamus Heaney.
What books are on your nightstand?
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, The Stories of John Cheever, and The Carrying by Ada Limón
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
Most often an image will inspire me to write. At other times, someone says a word or phrase that takes me on an imaginative detour.
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
The dash is my favorite punctuation mark because there’s usually a surprise after a dash.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
Any history textbook (although I love to read history now).
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
My coffee cup.
Why do you write? The first 5 words that come to mind. Go.
Desire, beauty, catching the echoes
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
Whatever your obsessions are, lean into those and find the poetry in them.
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