Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When I was nine years old, I was given a book of poems. I was immediately taken with them, and began to memorize them, and then to write. The first poem I loved was by Robert Frost. I also wrote stories from a young age, and always enjoyed reading. I think one reason I gravitated toward books and writing was that I was looking for a source of solitude and quiet. I was searching for answers to questions I could not approach in any other way.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know if I have a specific style, but I do have writerly concerns that inform all of my work. I’m interested in the medium of language, in constructing new meaning, in language as a raw material, like paint or sound. I am interested in studying perception, and the language we use seems intimately connected to a study of thought, vantage, and the invisible. I am interested in writing as a devotional practice. Language reformulates how we see the world. How do we want to formulate our world?
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing is always challenging, and that is one reason I enjoy it so much. One paradox I struggle with is that the time required to write in some ways takes me out of interaction with the world. And I want my work always to be in relationship to the world. For instance, I want to write about love. Love is a constant subject. So then I must be alone, away from those I love, in order to write. I am lonely for the page, or I am lonely for persons. Or I am lonely for persons who are writers who also understand the distances we must both cultivate and eliminate. How to get closer to time within language? How to write oneself into being? How to embrace you in words? How to be other than oneself or, more accurately, how to perceive beyond one’s singular limitations? This is another way to write about love.
I have continued to expand the types of projects I do. I began with poetry. Now I’ve also written novels, plays, short fiction, and criticism. I’ve also dedicated myself more to editorial work in recent years. I have been fascinated by poetic form for a long time. I have written books of sonnets, tales, and letters. My most recent book is a book of psalm poems, titled Lost Parkour Ps(alms). In this book I was interested in answering the question, “What is the psalm now, as a poetic form?”
Is there a specific “achievement” a person must “unlock” before she can call herself a writer?
Not necessarily. However, calling oneself a writer does not make one a writer. The only action that makes one a writer is writing. For myself, I never felt that I had a choice but to be a writer. Therefore, I took on the attitude that practice, writing, was the best way ahead, the best way to improve.
Do you feel it’s important that the meaning of your work be accessible to the reader?
Yes and no. Once I’ve completed writing a text it takes on a life of its own. Whatever my intent was, it may be grasped by a reader, or a reader may have other ideas. I consider my writing to be an independent entity. How to define accessible? I’m more interested in my work being resonant to a reader. I have no interest in dictating meaning. I always hope that the process of reading, especially reading poetry, will be interactive.