Writeliving Interview – Laura Kasischke

I am excited to introduce the next writer in our interview series – Laura Kasischke. She is talented and prolific in the forms I love most (poetry and novels). She also calls the mitten state, where I grew up, home. Laura was also kind enough to recently provide a blurb to John F. Buckley and myself for our upcoming book Poets Guide to America.

– Martin Ott

Who has been a major influence on your writing?

There have been so many influences, it’s pretty difficult to single something out. Even the poems/stories/novels I’ve read and disliked have influenced me. That’s the great thing about calling yourself a writer:  everyone else is just wasting time reading trash and lying on the couch, but I’m studying my craft! I think every poem I read as a child, or had read to me, was a factor in my wanting to write poet. I was so jealous of anything and everything that made its way into print. But when I was in college, I fell in love with Yeats and Plath and Dylan Thomas; Virginia Woolf and Edith Wharton. Those writers, of course, have influenced us all.

Can you give us insight into your creative process?

Before I begin a poem, I usually have some idea what it will concern, but it’s during the writing process that I figure out its form, so I guess you could say my process is associative. If I sit down to write a poem, and the associative process doesn’t work for me, no amount of revision will ever help it.  I don’t, of course, write a great first draft–I need to revise a lot–but if I don’t figure out, in that first draft, what the poem *is*, I never will. With novel writing, I just sit down and write every day, and every novel I’ve written has been written differently–Some have been plotted;  some have been intuited;  some worked out, loosely, in a first draft, and others too a hundred grueling revisions.

Can you share an example of overcoming adversity to keep your writing dream alive?

My first novel is under the bed. No. Actually, it’s long lost. I worked on that novel for years, and finally had to admit that it wasn’t going to be read by anyone but me.  I started a new novel, and called that one my ‘first.’

What is something about you that writers and readers may not know?

I’m a conspiracy theorist. I’m one of those people reading those websites you hear about and listening to those radio stations. If I ever talked about my actual opinions to anyone sane, well….Let’s just say, I don’t, except with a pseudonym….If you and I sat down to talk about politics, I would spare you my thoughts…

About the Author:  

Laura Kasischke has published eight collections of poetry and eight novels.  She received the National Book Critics Award for her collection, Space, in Chains.  She teaches at the University of Michigan.

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