How does your work first enter the world? Do you have a social group or writers group that you work ideas and poems with?
I think it depends on the book. For the Buffy poems, I have been sharing them with some people who I trust, and who know the show well, because I am interested in seeing how well the source material is working in the poem. Since I am also working in a more narrative mode than I am normally comfortable with, having other people’s opinions on clarity and structure is helpful. At the moment, it feels safer to be able to choose the people who read these poems, rather than being in a workshop environment, since they do feel a little bit raw right now.
My book not human enough for the census was born in my MFA workshops and I owe a lot to the feedback I receive there. Workshops really help me find new ways of thinking through what my work is capable of. I don’t think not human enough would have looked quite the same if it wasn’t developed alongside a group of people who helped push me toward the strange, which is what the book was always kind of gravitating toward naturally but didn’t completely have the language for yet.
Alongside the above communities, my partner, Kim, is always my beta and final reader. She has helped shape, organize, and finalize nearly all of my poems. It is because of her close proximity to my work that her and I were able to develop collaborations with one another. Both not human enough and in which I take myself hostage feature full-color paintings by Kim that engage in visual dialogue with my work.