Interview with Molly McArdle up at Brooklyn Magazine: "Skyping with Feminist Poet Caroline Crew"

Molly is a witch exceedingly dear to my heart and I'm so chuffed I got to talk to her about saints, witches and being a feminist poet over at Brooklyn Magazine. You can read it here! And here a lil bit about the space between nonfiction and poetry:

You also write a fair amount of nonfiction—you recently had an essay in Conjunctions. How did you come to write in this mode? What about nonfiction interesting about it to you?
I came to nonfiction through poems. It was a natural move—so many of my favorite essays seem so close to poems. And so many of my favorite nonfiction writers are poets. For me it really came out of researching poems. I wrote a little chapbook about poems based on saints’ lives calledCAROLINE WHO WILL YOU PRAY TO NOW THAT YOU ARE DEAD and I’m kind of a nuts researcher. While I was working on that book, I’d make a lot of notes to myself. I’d write in the margins about Catherine of Sienna, “she did what?” Those little asides to myself in my research notes were essays. That’s how I first started getting into nonfiction.
I love poetry and I love political poetry, and I think it has a huge capacity to say important things. But so does nonfiction. There are things I need to grapple with in sentences. I know that the distinction between fiction and nonfiction and poetry are pretty arbitrary, but having the label of nonfiction for myself keeps me somewhat accountable. It gives me a different level of transparency. It prods me to think a lot more deeply. It’s not necessarily about honesty. I also really enjoy the collage element of nonfiction and being able to include other people’s ideas in a much more elegant way than I can achieve in poetry. That’s really appealing to me, to create a bigger space in which to put Kathy Acker and cage fighting together.

Review of PINK MUSEUM in American Microreviews & Interviews.

JoAnna Novak reviews PINK MUSEUM at American Microreviews & Interviews. You can read the whole review here. 

How fitting, then, that the rot and ruin of female expression concerns, somewhat obliquely, the speaker(s) in a book that’s title refers to a space where old and revered relics converge. In Crew’s hands, the conflation of motherhood and literature is framed and mounted, announced in a prefacing, untitled poem when the speaker observes: “I built for you this grand opening/how to give life is nothing/until I fetch it again in my mouth.” These lines suggest that a procreative act is simple, “nothing,”; what requires skill—and a sort of teachable skill—is the ability to convey, to “fetch.”

While throughout Pink Museum poems like “How Do I Love Thee?” bloom up and perish (I mean, only, that they sometimes end rather quickly), the book’s strength lies in its two long poems, sequences, really, that accomplish, in short, dense lines, tremendous work. I especially liked “Pink Museum,” where the aforementioned themes are grounded in an imaginary physical space. “Well-lacquered [shelves],” “the catalogue of selected silence,” “a new corridor”: in this poem, a group of girls wanders, “proceeding as expected just the same,” showing what it is to be complicit in history, “what it is to be surrounded by glass.”

 

Coconut Books

I’m so so thrilled that my chapbook of lady saint poems, CAROLINE WHO WILL YOU PRAY TO NOW THAT YOU ARE DEAD, arrived early for AWP and is now out from Coconut! (also forever in love with Christine Shan Shan Hou for the awesome cover)

Caroline Crew

30xlace:

Describe yourself as a poet in three words: lady fragment undone

What is your chief misery as a poet? too many birds and not enough language

What you appreciate the most in a poem: a swerve I don’t see coming

If not a poet, what would you be? geologist, chef or lawyer

Who is your poetry hero and why? Historically, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning– a hero so much I wrote my first book with her by re-writing Sonnets from the Portuguese. Contemporaneously, Alexis Pope, Morgan Parker and Carrie Lorig, for starters. There are some many amazing female poets right now trying to navigate being alive and they are heroes every day.

What is your idea of happiness? 

What is your present state of mind? Winter is melting, emergence from constantly being tired, craft clue marred nails, returning “home” and hunger.

Your favorite poem, ever: I don’t think I have one favourite poem, but Louise Glück’s “Mock Orange” always comes back to remind me it changed me: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/179759

Read Caroline’s poem “Plastic Sonnet #38″ at The Adroit Journal



I forgot happiness! Oh no!