Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Carrie Olivia Adams : part one

Carrie Olivia Adams lives in Chicago with her husband and two cats. She is the Promotions and Marketing Communications Director for the University of Chicago Press and the poetry editor for Black Ocean. Her books include Be a thing of memory (forthcoming from Tolsun Books in 2021), Operating Theater, Forty-One Jane Doe’s, and Intervening Absence in addition to the chapbooks “Proficiency Badges,” “Grapple,” “Overture in the Key of F,” and “A Useless Window.” When she’s not making poems, she’s making biscuits.

How does a poem begin?

I wish I knew. Then, I’d recreate it every time I feel lost or unsure of myself. I am a serial note taker. I have a notebook in my mind where I record words and phrases that roll around my thoughts and trip me up in dreams. And I have a notebook on my desk and numerous Google docs of half starts, half middles, half ends. But, in the end, I think I approach a poem similar to how a novelist might approach a story—with research. I am constantly drawn to found text, the work of the archivist, the archaeologist, and the translator.  I get curious about a subject or an idea—medicine, architecture, choreography, cave dwellers, girl scouts—and then I let myself go down the rabbit hole collecting scraps of language, facts, and points of view along the way. And then there’s a vibration or a slow burning fire, and I know the connection has been made between this other world of ideas and my own syntax. Then, I know, it’s beginning.

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