How did you first engage with poetry?
My mother, Anele Rubin is a poet too, so I was exposed to poetry in the womb. She had this book of poetry for children that she’d read to me, and I still remember certain lines from it. “Hummingbird” by D. H. Lawrence is one that really stuck with me, the image of a primordial world where giant, monstrous “Humming-birds raced down the avenue.” And “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost was an early (and persistent) favorite; “Spring is the mischief in me” comes to my mind every spring. I also loved Emily Dickinson and remember reciting “Dear March” for my first-grade class which surprisingly didn’t make me popular.
I always wrote little rhymes and verses in my diaries, but it wasn’t until high school that I took my first creative writing class and started thinking of it as a public thing. People liked my writing, and I felt like a stronger sense of self that I ever had before. I went to UNC-Chapel Hill for the creative writing program (and because of my angsty desire to get out of New York, and warmer weather, and basketball…). In college, I truly experienced the support and pleasure of a writing community, and the life I wanted became clear to me.