Cover Photo: "So if I am a tender writer... then my poems should be everything that I am." by Leah Johnson
 

"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 an essayist, fiction writer and hopeless midwesterner currently moonlighting as a New Yorker. Leah received her MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College and is a 2018 Kimbilio Fiction Fellow. Her work—which can be found at Bustle, Electric Lit, Yes Poetry, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Establishment and elsewhere—is centered on the miracle and magic of black womanhood.