Originally published in Willow Springs 80

From the author

Notes on “Six Poems”

The six poems published in Willow Springs can be read in pairs. The most obvious duo is “Self-Portrait with Seaweed and Mica” and “Self-Portrait as Fresco,” which are two poems from a series I worked on last summer. I think these two are the most successful and I want to use those and maybe any others I may still write as a motif of sorts in my new manuscript. I like the idea of pairing images together and then using them as a way to examine the self, like seaweed and mica, and I am also fascinated with how visual art can influence writing.

Another pairing is “Girlie Girl” and “Proof for My Side,” two poems about experiences I’ve had as a parent.

And the final pairing, “The Spell We Cast” and “Neither Bride Nor Daughter,” is perhaps the most significant in terms of the manuscript I’m working on now. I have a book coming out in the fall of 2018 called Dresses from the Old Country, whose title implies that it is about how the past is always with us, and I guess that is my theme, because these poems in my newer manuscript, The Hundred Other Things, are also about the past returning. This pair is specifically about reconnecting with someone I hadn’t seen in thirty years and the kind of time travel that made possible. Actually, I think time travel is why I write poetry! I also think these six poems are about feminism and the body; topics, like time, that I am always writing about. 


Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

Well, I have to be honest: this question made me feel boring! I listen to old music from the 70s and 80s (time travel again!), I eat the same spinach salad every day for lunch (for which I am constantly mocked!), I can only drink half a beer before I get too tired, I have no tattoos, and I’m frightened of cats! I do have a dog named Henry who is very good-looking but poorly behaved, which we are hoping is a product of his youth (he’s only two) and not his personality! And I can offer this as a defense for my dull response: Gustave Flaubert (not boring!) commanded us to “be regular and orderly in [our] lives so that [we] may be violent and original in [our] work.”  While it could be argued that I am actually just boring and only accidentally following Flaubert’s advice, let’s go with that I’m doing it for his noble reason. I do have a student who got a tattoo of this line from Kate Chopin’s The Awakening: “the exterior life that conforms, the interior life that questions.” That is the tattoo I would get, but she already took it! 


About Laura Read

Laura Read’s chapbook, The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You, was the 2010 winner of the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award, and her collection, Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral, was the 2011 winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was published in 2012 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her second collection, Dresses from the Old Country, will be published by BOA in fall of 2018. She teaches English at Spokane Falls Community College and currently serves as the poet laureate of Spokane.