Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Anna Press : part one

Anna Press is a queer writer and high school English teacher. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband (also a writer) and their errant dachshunds. Her work appears in Perhappened, Porcupine Literary, The Hellebore, Daily Drunk Mag, and Emerge Lit Mag, and elsewhere. Talk to her on Twitter @annaepress.

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

I feel like poetry is the genre of possibility. Often when I sit down to write (that makes it sound like I have a structured writing routine, which I certainly do not!), poems begin with a “what if?” kind of thought. I think many people feel freer experimenting with language in poetry than they do in prose. I do. Poetry feels like the most compelling manifestations and variations of language, almost a kind of ekphrasis of life at times. Poems “do” a lot in a relatively short space; that fills me with wonder, and there is no better feeling than being awed by words. Poetry does transformative things with language. Grammar and syntax become tools more so than rules. A teacher I had in high school warned us that poetry isn’t necessarily “about” anything, which I found bewildering at the time, but I think it was an invitation to experiment. What can you do, what can you make, what can you give, when you’re not limited to anything? I think for me personally, right now, those verbs, “do,” “make,” and “give,” get at what I am trying to accomplish with poetry, especially if you allow them to be synonyms for “explore.”

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