Creative Lives: In Conversation with Julie L. Moore at Ruminate Magazine

clem-onojeghuo-205193-unsplashLast fall, I received the enormous gift of an extended conversation with poet Julie L. Moore, facilitated by Ruminate Magazine.

Here is Part 1 of the series “Creative Lives,” a slightly edited version of our email exchange in which we discuss the highs and lows of pursuing a life in poetry.

In Part 2, we discuss writing community and the poets and writers who have shaped us. And in Parts 3 and 4, we talk about the process of building a collection of poems, and how we respond as poets to the aching, changing world around us.

I hope you enjoy this conversation on poetry and the creative process.

Photo via Unsplash

On Anxiety, Prayer, and Mothering at Hip Mama

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I forgot to post that I have an article up at Hip Mama! In September, I participated in the Literary Kitchen Personal Essay Intensive, and wrote the rough drafts of five new essays in under two weeks. This is one of them. (This was an incredible workshop I highly recommend for both new and experienced writers! Go, go, go sign up for one right now.)

This essay is a chronicle of my relationship with worry and faith, both of which have been challenged and intensified during new motherhood. Since writing and sharing this essay, I’ve learned from so many other women that this anxiety thing is very, very common– and that fact alone has been helpful.

The first few months of motherhood can be especially dark for new moms, and it’s a slightly cruel corollary that they’re also months when it’s extremely hard to get out of the house. So not only are you sleep-poor and anxiety-rich, but you are fairly convinced you’re alone in both. Not true! We moved into a new neighborhood just after our daughter was born, and I had a hard time getting together with friends across the city– even and sometimes especially with other new moms. Changing nap schedules and frequent colds inevitably led to canceled and postponed playdates.

Some new neighbor mom friends and I got together last night. We shared a bottle of wine, some chocolate and popcorn, and lots of good, cathartic laughter about the relentlessness of mothering toddlers. We told stories about new words and potty-training successes, and swapped frustrations over neighborhood issues and tantrums and skipped naps.

I am buoyed by this possibility of new friendships developing. It’s what I’ve been missing in this last year– the chance to be real with other moms and in doing so to realize I’m not alone. In the overwhelm AND the joy. That being a mom can be all of this– gratitude, absurdity, irritation, fierce love, fear, sadness, pride, happiness, and yes, worry.

Writing and sharing this essay on anxiety, prayer, and mothering has been a meaningful experience and I hope it helps other moms feel a little less alone.

Image via Hip Mama

My Poem “An Incomplete Alphabet” at Ekphrastic Review

3909-babynursingmodotti-1219117192_2_origHere’s a poem I wrote in response to Tina Modotti’s “Baby Nursing, Mexico City,” a 1926 photograph posted as part of Ekphrastic Review‘s 20 day poetry challenge in September.

An ekphrastic poem (from the Greek ekphrasis: ek “out” and phrasis “speak”is a poem inspired by a work of art.

It was definitely a challenge, stretching my writing muscles to respond in verse to a different work of visual art each weekday. I am grateful to editor Lorette Luzajic for hosting this annual challenge, for publishing my poem, and for so joyfully bringing together the worlds of visual and literary art in a way that feels accessible and welcoming to both reader and writer. It’s really a stunning journal! You should check it out.

This image in particular spoke to me because I began weaning my toddler in early August.

The morning Modotti’s photograph was posted, I was feeling a little sadness about this transition in our lives as mother and daughter. Simultaneously, the photo filled me with gratitude for the 16 months of nursing we’ve had, and grief for the gradual shift toward independence that weaning marks and initiates.

Read my poem “An Incomplete Alphabet” at Ekphrastic Review.

Photo via Ekphrastic Review, under public domain.

Janet McCabe Poetry Prize

 

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In late June, I learned that my poem “Yellow” won the 2016 Janet McCabe Poetry Prize at Ruminate Magazine. The poem will be published in the September 2016 issue.

Ruminate is one of my favorite publications, and its arrival in my mailbox is one of the small but great pleasures in my life.

It’s beautiful. It’s print. It still comes in the mail. And it’s quarterly, which means several months of anticipation between issues– a novelty in an age when it seems we hardly have to wait to read anything anymore.

I love how each issue takes shape around themes in a life of faith that sometimes go under-explored. I love the visual art it has brought into my life. Though my sister is a talented visual artist, and I always feel enriched on a different level when I make space for it in my life, I confess that I just don’t make that space on my own. So the magazine is a good reminder to make the time.

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