Pine Row Issue No. 3 Spring 2021 - Featured Poet
Cutting My Father's Hair
I take the orange-handled scissors
to his dusty sunroom, where he is waiting
on a kitchen chair pulled into the light.
I see how his gray hair falls in a jagged line,
and I can tell he has tried to do this for himself.
Six months of careful distance and
I break, letting my fingers brush his neck.
Interview with Sara Rosenberg
by Kathleen Fields, Pine Row Editorial Board
What inspired Cutting My Father's Hair ?
This poem came out of a prompt issued by poet Carrie Fountain in a writing workshop I attended last year. She instructed us to create a very short poem, which had to have three sentences or less. Settling into this one small moment helped me acutely enter the grief I felt in witnessing my father’s loneliness during this pandemic. There have been so many heartaches for so many over the past year, but for me, what has been most profound is seeing how this forced isolation that we wrap around our most vulnerable, to protect them from the disease, in turn causes its own devastation.
How has reading impacted your own writing?
There are so many contemporary writers who continuously inspire me, in and out of my writing life. I read for story and discovery, but also because I genuinely enjoy language and absorbing beautifully written sentences. From an early age, I was taken with the cadence of storytelling. My father read The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to me from my bedroom floor as I fell asleep, and I internalized the rhythm of those sentences.
During the Pandemic, has your writing process/routine/experience changed? How?
I am very lucky to have a quiet space, security, and the time and freedom during this pandemic to be more introspective, which has fueled my writing practice. My habits have shifted as the COVID era drags on. At first, the abrupt rift in my everyday routine gave me new perspective. I paid more attention to small details, to the shrinking universe of the world I inhabited daily--my house and the two-mile radius in which I walked the dogs each afternoon. Eventually, I grew restless for a tactile hobby and took up quilting. It feeds my need to be creative while also offering a physical product as a reward for my labor. Both writing and quilting are such solitary hobbies, but in this time of being bound to home, they also feed my need to feel connected to an artform.
To what extent are your poems inspired by your own life?
Writing is very personal for me. The writing process helps me find meaning in my own life events and draw connections. As a writer, I am constantly documenting my life experiences.
What book is currently on your nightstand?
I have recently been reading the work of Ada Limón and am especially taken with her book The Carrying.
Sara Rosenberg attended Hollins University and holds a master’s in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College. She has published poems in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review.