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.