July 16, 2018

Oriana, you're currently a student at Yale who has received quite a few notable distinctions—U.S. Presidential Scholar, National YoungArts Finalist, Foyle Young Poet, and others! Why do you think writing is so important in this day and age?

I think writing (and art more generally) has always been important for the insight it gives us into other ways of being.  To me this seems to happen on two levels. One is the macro, what I think people usually mean when they say that writing is a window into other lives—we can read a story about a person o...

October 7, 2017

Was music journalism a long-time dream for you, or did the job find you? (And, same question about being a poet; was it something that always interested you, or recently?)

Yeah, so I think that I found a way to transfer my natural skill of rambling somewhat excitedly and sometimes incoherently about music, and I have been lucky to have venues and places that let me do that in print. I really believe in pop culture criticism as a way to lend an importance to that which is sometimes dismissed by larger establishments and academia and generation...

September 17, 2017

Things are gorgeous if they’re yours, dull if they aren’t. Home isn’t the boxes in it, nor even the people. It’s the place that grew with you, that formed before you formed it.

                                                                       — Christina  Qiu, Home

The first time I visited New York’s Chinatown, it was because I had seen a cheap dumpling place on...

August 26, 2017

The wonderful poem you're republishing with us, "Why We Don't Have Children," was originally in Rattle. Could you talk a little bit about your decision to take it off?

Rattle has a mixed history. On the one hand, it does publish some absolutely amazing poems by amazing poets — right now I'm thinking specifically about Tiana Clark, Jennifer Givhan, and Zeina Hashem Beck, but there are plenty others. On the other hand, they've been supportive of poets who I can only describe as problematic and when questioned or critiqued about this support, th...

August 5, 2017

First of all, I just wanted to say congratulations on all of your achievements so far: you're a Kundiman fellow, have had a wide variety of publications, and your book When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was the recipient of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize!

Why do you think writing is so important in this day and age?


Thank you for the kind words and for this (magnificent!) question. Here goes. . .Writing
is important because without writing—and I mean strange writing, tender-hearted
writing, writing that as...

July 30, 2017

I never really understood where I was, or where I was going.

I was that dot, the you are here. I was that arrow on Maps. I bobbed every step I took. I was my town in Silicon Valley, bright and shining and aggressive. I was several thousand miles away from that town in Michigan. I wrote a lot there. Sometimes I’d be in Paris, or London, or Tokyo. Other times I’d be Google Earth, in several different places at once.

I watched Lion (starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, & Rooney Mara) on the way to New York, and I couldn’t help but feel homesick eve...

July 16, 2017

I'm really curious about your background as a child of Polish and Cuban parents, which is just such a unique perspective to bring into writing. My own parents are Russian immigrants, and their stories and experiences have been a central part of my writing. How did your parents come to America? Were they immigrants or the children of immigrants?

So my dad left via Cubana de Aviació, a small propeller jet that looked like it might not make the very short journey to Miami, as he tells me today. He & his sister, mother, & father left from Havana,...

July 1, 2017

Eloisa, you're an accomplished writer — three chapbooks, various fellowships, and many, many

poems. Why do you think writing is so important in this day and age?

Writing, or rather storytelling, is and has been important in all days and ages. I think it begins in a very personal, individual place of wanting to be heard, to be remembered. But right now, it feels like there’s a collective energy, an urgency to fight the historical silencing of our stories and to push back against an alternative narrative that has been and is being written for us...

June 17, 2017

Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.  — Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

The first time I ever truly understood plants, about stems and leaves and the flow of nutrients, was when I was younger. I came to know plants just as I knew myself; I charted the growth methodically. I made close observations on how sometimes leaves would shrivel and wither, but then there would be a spot of green, and that would be enough. I planted...

May 27, 2017

While America surely transformed some of these impoverished emigres into wealthy returnees, it turned many more into something else—hyphenated Americans, Americans who would always remember their homelands as a treasured past but find in America their future.

                                                                                                   — Iris Chang,...

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