How did you get started as a poet?
I was a fiction writer for years, and then for years wasn't a writer at all. However, the 2016 presidential election acted as a kind of defibrillator: I was shocked, terrified, furious and wide awake. I hadn't written anything in so long I honestly didn't know what to do -- so I started setting a timer every morning when I got up. I found a list of prompts, and I'd sit and rant for 15 minutes. After awhile it occurred to me that some of the rants looked sort of like poems. And I thought, hmm. Never did anything like this before. Let's see what happens.
Do you show your work in progress to anyone?
I've taken a number of workshops since 2017. And I have a small group of friends who are derisive in a helpful way.
Who are three influential living poets?
Throw a dart! Seriously, this is hard because there are so many, but I'd like to honor 2 poets who have been present in my life for probably 45 years. I've checked, and as of this moment both are still with us: David Wagoner and Judy Grahn. The third, much younger, much less well known, Essy Stone. The language in her What It Done to Us (Lost Horse Press 2017) stood my hair right up.
How did you first get published?
I come from a long line of storytellers, and as soon as I could write, I started writing. When I was 12, I wrote a little piece about a foxhunt (I grew up in Virginia), and my mother sent it to a horse magazine. It was published and I was paid $25. Heady stuff!
I'm not a product of an MFA program. I did take some fiction workshops; instructors suggested I send stories here or there, some were published, I was approached by an agent, who sold my first novel to Knopf.
Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source)
"The Academy may lie, but literature tries to tell the truth." ~ Dorothy Allison
What would you say is your most interesting writing habit?
I don't think any of my writing habits are remotely interesting,
What book is currently on your bedside table?
Several books on my bedside table. Top of the pile, James McBride's The Good Lord Bird.