What is your most recent writing project / what is a piece you’ve had published recently?
My most recently published poem is "Self Study as a Snow Globe."
What’s your favorite thing someone else has said about your writing?
My father heard me read over the summer and said that when I read "Incantation on the Eve of 2017" it's like I’m trying to start a riot. This pleases me.
What is one craft or writing book you love?
The craft book I’ve read several times and is covered in marginalia is Stephen Dobyns’ Best Words, Best Order: Essays on Poetry.
Who is one other writer you’re excited about right now?
I just finished reading Tommy Pico’s Nature Poem, which I thought was incredible. It forced me to go back and listen to all my old Hole albums.
What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten? What’s the best?
In graduate school, a professor said that “just because it happens to you, doesn’t make it interesting.” I found that rather cruel and not particularly useful. But my favorite piece of advice is from Nikki Giovanni. She said, “there is no such thing as writer’s block, you just haven’t read enough."
Do you have a dedicated work space? Do you write in your home or do you prefer to write elsewhere?
I don’t have a dedicated workspace, but I prefer to write at home, often at my kitchen table or on my bed where I can spread out all my books and papers. It’s quiet except for the birds, which I enjoy.
What are some of your writing habits?
I write in the morning. I like coffee. I don’t write every day but I definitely am always thinking about how to fix my poems. Many of my ideas are scribbled alongside my grocery lists.
When you are sitting down to write, what is the first thing you do?
The first thing I do is put my glasses on and set a timer. I have presbyopia (an eye focusing problem) which makes typing and reading on a computer rather annoying.
When in your life have you felt your work/life balance to be most in sync? When in your life have you felt the most out of sync?
I like working and have worked in kitchens, retail, and currently in an English Department. Sometimes my work schedule gets frustrating, but it keeps me honest and out of trouble. I like having something else to do because poetry is pretty thankless work.
What are the most pressing demands for your time, energy, labor (including emotional labor)? What has worked best for you in terms of balancing those demands with writing?
I cook. No matter what is happening, I cook a good meal. This is the only thing that gives my life order, meaning, and constant pleasure.
What are the ideal conditions for your creativity?
Honestly, time. I take a long time to write a poem and I can’t force this process along. I have to walk around with it, sometimes for years.
Do you have any writing rituals? Or any non-writing rituals that feed your writing life?
Every year I do a series of erasure poems from a particular text on my website. I enjoy the challenge of trying to create something out of a very limited context.
What self-care practices do you have and what, if any, routines do you have surrounding them? How does self-care relate to your writing life?
I like change. So, I try different things like living on a Peterson 34 sailboat for five months. I exercise. I listen to the Paris Review podcast. I walk around Schuler Books with my sister Nicole; which, if I had a zen state, that would be it.
Contact: @slowdowneat (Twitter) & @molcajetebows (Instagram)