Saturday, March 17, 2012

12 or 20 questions (second series) with Emily Pettit

Emily Pettit is the author of two chapbooks, How (Octopus Books) and What Happened to Limbo (Pilot Books), and the trade collection GOAT IN THE SNOW (Birds/LLC). She is an editor for notnostrums and Factory Hollow Press, as well as the publisher of jubilat. She teaches at Flying Object.

1 - How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
I suppose one could say my first book changed my life, but I think I would say instead, my first book has been an enormous part of my life for a long time. I began writing it when I was 21 and it evolved a great deal over the last six years. As for my more recent work, it is work at work with the poems in GOAT IN THE SNOW.

2 - How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
I have been reading my poetry my whole life. On purpose. Not on purpose. I have a little bunny. He is a beanbag bunny and his name is Snuggle Bunny and I have had him forever. He was a poet. He is a poet. Then I didn't really write poetry again until college. And that happened by accident. A wonderful accident.

3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?
Copious notes and thoughts that bring them together. I rarely write drafts. I like to sit down and write a poem and not stop until it is done.

4 - Where does a poem usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a "book" from the very beginning?
I begin with the ending. Most of the time. I have an ending in mind and I try to make my way to that ending. Endings are always on my mind. Often to the detriment of my beginnings.

5 - Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process? Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings?
Public readings given by me are not a part of my creative process. Other peoples' readings certainly engage my mind creatively and are often inspiring. I'm afraid I'm too afraid of reading for my own readings to be something I enjoy. I give readings. I think it is an important part of sharing your work. Reading makes me nervous. Very very nervous. But I read! And I try to not seem nervous.

6 - Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?

I am very interested in questions. I want to ask questions. I cannot stop asking questions. Perhaps one of the things I love most about writing poems is the space they create for asking questions. 

7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?
I think different writers have different roles and some writers have more than one role.

8 - Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)?
I think my thoughts about the process would be specific to the work being worked on with the outside editor. I think the process of working with an outside editor is likely sometimes difficult and sometimes essential. I think both.

9 - What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?
Keep Calm and Carry On

10 - What kind of writing routine do you tend to keep, or do you even have one? How does a typical day (for you) begin?
Unfortunately, I do not have much of a writing routine. I write when I can or when I must. I don't write as much as I would like.

11 - When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration?
I think I most often to music. Turn on music.

12 - What fragrance reminds you of home?

13 - David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art?
O o all these things! Music. Music. Without music my mind would not work. I wouldn't want it to. And science, science is also so important to my life. All of our lives. Science is so about asking questions. It has me asking questions all the time. It has my poems asking questions. Film and television inform my work. Twin Peaks is a poem.

14 - What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work?
Gertrude Stein is very on my mind.

15 - What would you like to do that you haven't yet done?
I would like to go to Paris. This is not a joke. I've never been. I've always wanted to go.

16 - If you could pick any other occupation to attempt, what would it be? Or, alternately, what do you think you would have ended up doing had you not been a writer?
Perhaps I would have been a photographer? I would like to spend a serious amount of time with photography.

17 - What made you write, as opposed to doing something else?
I love writing poems. I don't think of it as doing something in opposition of something else. I think of it as something I want to do. Something I do. Something I hope to keep doing for as long as I can.

18 - What was the last great book you read? What was the last great film?
Recently I have read these great books - What Is Amazing by Heather Christle and The Black Forest by Christopher DeWeese and Experiments I Should Like Tried At My Own Death by Caryl Pagel and No, Not Today by Jordan Stempleman.

19 - What are you currently working on?
I'm now working on my second book of poems and it is titled I'M ASKING YOU TO LOOK AT ME TOUCH ME TALK TO ME.

12 or 20 (second series) questions;

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