Lisa López Smith
Pine Row Issue No. 5 Summer 2022 - Featured Poet
Interview with Lisa López Smith
by Pine Row Editorial Board
How did you get started as a poet?
When I started to write poetry, it felt like a home-coming. It was as if I had always been a poet but didn’t realize it as I was so busy being distracted and learning and experimenting with other genres, and then suddenly remembering that when I was young, I always gravitated towards the poetry sections of the library.
Keep me away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy that does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children.
What would you say is your most interesting writing habit?
I doubt any of my habits are particularly interesting, but for me, creativity works better when writing first by hand and only later moving the work to the computer.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
A friend recently sent me a box of literary journals that I ordinarily don’t have access to, so now I have some old copies of THE KENYON REVIEW and HUIZACHE and THE SUN, as well as a huge stack of books including: WILD MERCY by Mirabai Starr, SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN by Thomas Merton, a Lucy Rees book on horses in the wild, on the work of a death doula by Fersko-Weiss, and the novel THE LAST BUS TO WISDOM by Ivan Doig.
Advice to someone just starting to write poetry?
Find some teachers who encourage you to keep on writing, and also, make it a practice to be like a duck in a rainstorm by letting those rejections roll off your back like water.
What inspires you to write?
Life in rural Mexico, farming and shepherding which keeps me outdoors a lot, and my children
What challenges have you had to overcome?
I am an English writing island in an ocean of Spanish in rural Mexico, in a town with no libraries or bookstores, so I don’t have too much access to literary communities or classes or books, which can be kind of lonely. But, I also feel so blessed to live where I do, in a mutually life-giving relationship with this place that fills me with its special magic.
Anything else you'd like us to know? (personal website, upcoming reading or new work, etc.)
I have poems forthcoming with HUIZACHE and THE SUNLIGHT PRESS, and recently had work published with LIVE ENCOUNTERS and THE NORMAL SCHOOL.