Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Emma: I always enjoyed writing, but I started really focusing on poetry in high school. Some favorites from that era were Chelsea Martin’s Even Though I Don’t Miss You from Short Flight/Long Drive Books, Richard Siken’s Crush from Yale University Press, and Robert Creeley’s Selected Poems from University of California Press.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Emma: Lydia Davis, Ann Carson, Joshua Bennett, Ross Gay, Alicia Mountain. There are others, but those are the biggies. There’s a particular blend of clarity and inventiveness with language that I adore about all of them and that I’m still trying to capture.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Emma: College workshops were really instrumental in that decision. I was in a lot of lectures and discussion groups in other fields–chemistry, architecture, political science, psychology–where I didn’t feel connected to anyone else in the class, but when I had my first session with a workshop cohort, it immediately felt like those were my people.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Emma: My college thesis advisor, Cody Walker (a brilliant and very funny formal poet), pushed me in a direction where I was embracing the things that made my poetry my own but also getting comfortable letting go of the parts that weren’t as strong. Learning how to be up for totally restructuring / rethinking a piece changed my whole approach.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?
Emma: I grew up mostly in Southeast Michigan and the suburbs of Boston; both environments are packed with smart, frank, no-nonsense people, which I think helped remove a lot of the sentimentality and fluff from my work. There’s a specific brand of midwestern rumination, also, that seems to be surfacing for me via poems that try to distill / dwell on particular moments in time.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Emma: I have a love poem I’ve been holding on to that’s based on some of Margaret Atwood’s “Variations on the Word Sleep” — I consider myself a pretty pragmatic person who borders on cynical, so the poems where I can be vulnerable are really important to me.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Emma: As with most people, tea and books are cozy and perfect, but I also have had a lot of success sketching and painting. Focusing on detail work helps me turn off the parts of my brain that worry.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Emma: From Joshua Bennett’s “Love Poem Ending in Typewriters” on the habits of ‘functioning adults’ — “They lie awake // on their side, eyes ajar / lover dreaming of cormorants / right next to them, / counting the minutes // until this, even this bows / to the sovereignty of rot.”
the close of Alicia Mountain’s “Drive Thru”, “All your desires are sacred. / All you need is to speak them aloud.”
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Emma: I’ve recently had a hyper-short poem in FEED Mag called “Lungfull” and two poems in Miniskirt Mag that I’m very proud of. “Ann Arbor, Spring” was nominated for Best of the Net, and I couldn’t be more pleased and grateful about that.
– Social Media info: twitter & instagram –> @emma_mcglashen