"So if I am a tender writer... then my poems should be everything that I am."
Leah Johnson interviews poet and classes instructor Angel Nafis on community, process, and writing in and outside of an MFA. (Even though advice is whack.)
Wow. I don’t know that I do. What does “cultivating community in writing” mean?
People who are like “This is all I fucking think about.”
And I think that kind of turned me out in some ways. And it was very rigorous. In my mind, when you reach a certain level of rigor, it’s sort of hard to turn that off. It’s hard to unring that bell. It’s like anytime someone gets me talking a little, it’s like I turn to finals week insanity. It’s like a shark smelling blood. And I think that’s what the program did. I smell blood in the water when someone brings up—
Leah Johnson is a writer, editor and eternal Midwesterner, currently moonlighting as a New Yorker. Leah is a 2021 Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow whose work has been published in BuzzFeed, Autostraddle, Catapult, and Electric Literature among others. Her debut YA novel, YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN was an Indies Introduce and Junior Library Guild selection. Her sophomore novel, RISE TO THE SUN is forthcoming from Scholastic in 2021.
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I’ve found an unavoidable kinship with the Ducks. It could be, at least in my estimation, a quintessentially black American story.