There are no markers for this video.
00:00:09>>From the Center for the Study and the Teaching of Writing
00:00:10at The Ohio State University, this is Writers Talk.
00:00:13I'm Doug Dangler.
00:00:15Maggie Smith was born in Columbus, Ohio, and earned degrees
00:00:17at Ohio Wesleyan University and The Ohio State University.
00:00:21Her poems have appeared in "The Paris Review," "The Gettysburg Review,"
00:00:24and "The Florida Review." She won the 2004 Pudding House National
00:00:29Poetry Chap Book Competition for "Nesting Dolls" and her collection
00:00:33"Lamp of the Body" won the Benjamin Saltzman Literary Award.
00:00:37She is a 2011 recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the
00:00:41National Endowment for the Arts for her most recent collection, the
00:00:45manuscript in preparation named "Hush Now."
00:00:48Welcome to Writers Talk, Maggie Smith.
00:00:50>>Thanks for having me.
00:00:51>>Well let's start off.
00:00:53How did you win the creative writing fellowship from the Nation
00:00:55Endowment for the Arts?
00:00:57>>That's a really good question.
00:00:58I wish I could answer it.
00:01:00I'm not sure exactly how this happened.
00:01:02It seems like a really sort of shocking and wonderful thing.
00:01:06Basically you submit ten pages of poems and some background information
00:01:12and you send it to the NEA and they have national panelists in poetry
00:01:17who read and rate the manuscripts, so it's just based on the quality of
00:01:22the work. They don't see a resume.
00:01:25They don't know if you've published a book before or haven't even
00:01:28published a poem in a magazine and it's anonymous.
00:01:31In that way it's kind of nice because it's a really objective process
00:01:36so that someone like me, who has one book and a couple of chap books,
00:01:39is competing against people who have ten collections of poetry and also
00:01:44people who have maybe published a couple of poems in journals.
00:01:48Actually, I think you've at least published one book or I think it's
00:01:52twenty poems in national journals so it helps weed out some really,
00:01:59really beginning writers, but that leaves a lot of room open for
00:02:02Pulitzer Prize winners and people like me who haven't
00:02:07quite gotten here yet.
00:02:08>>Well that's the next prize, is the Pulitzer.
00:02:10>>Oh, yes. That's next on my list.
00:02:12>>Next year.
00:02:13How did you chose the poems for that?
00:02:15How do you go through your selection and say these are the ones?
00:02:18>>You know, I really wanted to try sending my most recent work because
00:02:24it seems like, well, kind of test it out and a lot of them have been
00:02:28placed in journals that I really respected, so I thought if those
00:02:32editors thought that these poems were good,
00:02:35then maybe they've got half a chance.
00:02:37It be honest, it's really hard to pick ten poems out of your whole body
00:02:42of work and I just remember sort of crossing my fingers and choosing
00:02:45the ones that I liked best and that I thought kind of worked well
00:02:49together and sort of told a story rather than being just my ten best.
00:02:55I sent them off and crossed my fingers and kind of forgot all about it
00:02:59because when you apply for one of those, at least for me, I never
00:03:02expected to actually win it.
00:03:04It's just something that you do because it doesn't cost you anything
00:03:08and of course that's what's you're supposed to be doing.
00:03:10>>Not writing; you're supposed to be entering contests. That's it.
00:03:13>>You're supposed to be entering contests and it just seems like it's
00:03:16just what you do.
00:03:17I thought, let's just do it and see what happens and I got a call on my
00:03:22cell phone on election night from a D.C.
00:03:25area code and I thought, well, it's probably one of those recorded
00:03:28congressperson responses going to tell you to get out to the polls and
00:03:33I'd already voted.
00:03:34I didn't pick up my phone.
00:03:35Then it rang again and it ended up being someone from the NEA telling
00:03:38me that I had won this fellowship.
00:03:41>>That's a much better ending to the story than if you yelled at them
00:03:43to stop calling you.
00:03:44>>Right. It could have been worse.
00:03:50>>So you were one of forty-two from over one thousand applicants.
00:03:54>>That's right.
00:03:56>>Now you can go out and find these other people and lord it over them.
00:04:00Pulitzer Prize winners and that kind of stuff.
00:04:02Susanne Jaffey from the Thurber House in Columbus commented that, "Your
00:04:05remarkable talent assures you in the place in the literary Pantheon of
00:04:09memorable Ohio authors."
00:04:13>>So, who else is in this Pantheon and what does it look like, since
00:04:15you're there now?
00:04:17>>It's huge.
00:04:19My favorite Ohio writer is James Wright, a poet from Martins Ferry,
00:04:23and to think that anyone would put me in a category
00:04:27with the great Ohio writers.
00:04:29I mean, obviously James Thurber is the person who Susanne is promoting
00:04:34on a daily basis and it's just amazing to think.
00:04:38I mean, Rita Dove is from around here.
00:04:39There are so many amazing poets who are either from here or who live
00:04:43here now and call it home.
00:04:47I think Ohio has more colleges and universities per capita than any
00:04:51other place in the United States, so there are a lot of wonderful poets
00:04:56living and working in here and a lot of them teach here, so I think to
00:05:01be the poet from Ohio this year just floored me.
00:05:06It's amazing.
00:05:07>>Well let's go back to that.
00:05:08You went to two different schools in Ohio, both Ohio Wesleyan
00:05:12and The Ohio State University.
00:05:13The Ohio State is where you got your MFA.
00:05:15>>That's right.
00:05:16>>Tell me about what happened to you as you were going though college.
00:05:21If you're postulating that it's all the colleges and universities that
00:05:25are sort of helping to stoke the fires of poetry and writing in Ohio,
00:05:29what happened to you when you got your MFA?
00:05:31How did that change you?
00:05:32>>Well, I don't know that it changed me, although it gave me three
00:05:36years to really only have to focus on writing and editing and teaching,
00:05:42which for me was such a luxury because going through college you take a
00:05:46lot of different classes and a lot of different subjects and so while I
00:05:49was writing I was never really able to just focus on poetry.
00:05:53I took some time off after college to work and so then I was working
00:05:57and not really able to focus just on poetry.
00:06:00The MFA was wonderful because it really gave me a sort of three-year
00:06:03grace period to take a time out and sort of prove to myself that I
00:06:09could really do it and at that level because I wasn't sure.
00:06:14When I left college I really wanted to be a writer, but I wasn't really
00:06:17sure I could be a writer and while my professors were very supportive,
00:06:22a lot of them said look, it's really hard.
00:06:25The competition is tough and you know, apply to MFA programs, but
00:06:28there's a chance you won't get in and it doesn't mean
00:06:29that you can't be a writer.
00:06:31That's just one path, but just be repared for it.
00:06:35I was thrilled to be able to go.
00:06:37I was thrilled I was able to stay close to home.
00:06:41>>Because you'd also been accepted in Washington.
00:06:42>>Washington and Arizona and those were the two places that it was
00:06:46really tough and I was kind of narrowing it down, but in the end, I
00:06:50decided to stay close to home and I've never regretted the decision.
00:06:54It was great.
00:06:56Getting to work with people like Andrew Hudgins and Kathy Fagan and
00:06:59David Settino really helped my work because you need other people and
00:07:05also your fellow graduate students looking at your work and saying, OK,
00:07:09I see what you're doing here, but this I don't understand and that
00:07:12workshop process was really useful for me for three years.
00:07:16>>Do you still do engage in a workshop process?
00:07:19Are you with other people in a writing group?
00:07:21Is that something that you still do?
00:07:22>>I'm not.
00:07:23Not in a traditional way, but I do have three or four friends from
00:07:28graduate school that I email poems back and forth with.
00:07:32They'll send me a poem and say ok, this is as far as I can get it.
00:07:35What do you think? Is it done? Is it not done? Rearrange it.
00:07:38Tell me what you like.
00:07:39Tell me what you don't like and we'll just put on the track changes and
00:07:45rearrange each other's work and e-mail it back.
00:07:49>>So you rearrange each other's work? Really?
00:07:51>>We really do.
00:07:51I don't know that that's a typical process.
00:07:53I know a lot of people who have a more traditional workshop process
00:07:56where they just sort of write comments and suggestions.
00:08:00I think that most of the people I swap work with are working full time
00:08:04and some of the them have children and they are very busy and it's just
00:08:06we don't really have time for the phone conversations and the sort of
00:08:10back and forth email that would require.
00:08:13>>So it's abbreviated.
00:08:14>>It's an abbreviated version.
00:08:15It's here's what I would do with it if it were mine and when you get a
00:08:19few of those back from a few different people and they're all slightly
00:08:22different because they have different points of view, it's nice because
00:08:26I say well this doesn't really fit my vision for the poem, but I love
00:08:29what this person has done with this stanza, or I love that this person
00:08:33didn't think it didn't have to be in stanzas.
00:08:35It should actually just be one long chunk of text.
00:08:39That's been really useful, so I've continued to do that
00:08:42since leaving Ohio State.
00:08:44Just this week I was swapping poems with a former
00:08:47Ohio State colleague of mine.
00:08:50>>That's really interesting because it brings up the notion of
00:08:53collaborative authorship and where is it your poem and when does it
00:08:57become somebody else's?
00:08:59>>If they're just messing with the. Messing.
00:09:04>>Tinkering, changing the structure of it, is that then not sort of a
00:09:09co-authorship, but you, obviously not.
00:09:11It's your phrasing, it's your words and that's what' your keeping there
00:09:15even if they moved it or changed the form in some way.
00:09:18>>Right. Sometimes it'll be I don't think that's the last line.
00:09:20I actually like this line from the middle better as the last line and
00:09:24that can totally change a poem in a way that you never would have
00:09:27thought that it could happen, but it's still your words and it's still
00:09:31something that would have come out of a workshop conversation.
00:09:34It's just we tend to do the abbreviated version of it
00:09:38>>So you get really good at it in grad school and then you can
00:09:41just abbreviate it later on.
00:09:43>>Well I think, honestly, if we all lived in the same place we would
00:09:45probably have a workshop, but we've all sort of scattered to the wind
00:09:50and some of them are teaching at universities out of state and we're
00:09:53all in separate places, so it's just sort of easier
00:09:57to do it that way I guess.
00:09:58>>And you've said poetry tends to come third in your life after your
00:10:01family and editing textbooks for elementary school students.
00:10:06>>I was an editor for a little while and it's a very different kind of
00:10:10mindset than being a writer.
00:10:12>>You also write in short busts while doing other things and I'm
00:10:18interested in how you knit together these ideas that you write down in
00:10:20notebooks that apparently you carry with you everywhere.
00:10:23>>How does that come together for you?
00:10:25How do you say, here are a bunch of different things that I've written
00:10:27that for all I can tell may or may not be related?
00:10:32How do they become related when you write a poem?
00:10:34>>Well, I think for me I tend to obsess about the same kinds of themes
00:10:38and ideas for a long period of time so even if a bunch of fragments
00:10:43were written over six months, there's a good chance that over those six
00:10:46months I've still got the same issues percolating in my brain, so
00:10:50they're probably related thematically even if maybe the voice doesn't
00:10:54quite sound the same or the line length wouldn't quite be the same.
00:10:58That kind of helps.
00:10:59I really do tend to be sort of tenacious about ideas so once I get
00:11:03something in my head, like the fairytale project or what I'm working on
00:11:08right now, which is sort of based on disaster and sort of twenty-first
00:11:12century, what is the future going to be, especially really feel good,
00:11:17light-hearted verse.
00:11:20>>Those things kind of tend to stick in my mind, so anything I write
00:11:23down or see or think of, it's hard not to be through the lens of
00:11:27whatever sort of project I've got going on at the moment and then I'll
00:11:31sort of take some time, usually on the couch late at night in between
00:11:36loads of laundry, to drag out my notebooks and start copying all these
00:11:39different things onto a single sheet or sometimes keying it in on my
00:11:45laptop and just kind of seeing are
00:11:47any of the same images coming up here?
00:11:51What's the concern? What's the issue?
00:11:54What is the speaker worried about or afraid of
00:11:58or urgently trying to say?
00:12:00I find that more often than not, I'm able to combine maybe not
00:12:04everything into one potluck poem, but I'm able to take at least a few
00:12:10sections and recombine them maybe into three groups and then put those
00:12:13away and then I can come back
00:12:15and start shaping those into individual poems.
00:12:18>>Well I wondered about that.
00:12:19I had a question in your collection, Lamp of the Body, you seem to be.
00:12:24There's this reoccurring imagery of cigarette smoking
00:12:27and being in pajamas.
00:12:29It seems like you were dealing with the illness of a smoker or
00:12:34something along those lines.
00:12:36>>Yes. I was not smoking in pajamas while I was writing.
00:12:39I don't smoke.
00:12:41>>A number of these poems deal with it and there was one in particular
00:12:45that I wanted to ask you about,
00:12:47"Stella by Starlight."
00:12:49>>Oh, yeah.
00:12:50>>You say. Well I don't know if you would like to read it.
00:12:53>>I'll read it if you like.
00:12:54"Stella by Starlight.
00:12:58She's waiting for us inside.
00:13:00Someone's name is on the tip of her tongue.
00:13:04She calls my cousin the girl, and my cousin's son the baby.
00:13:08Today the girl brought the baby.
00:13:10Night comes on.
00:13:12A blue wash, cadet blue.
00:13:14The rain is nearly invisible.
00:13:16She's waiting inside, convinced the sofa has been reupholstered again
00:13:21in what proves to be the same, worn and blue.
00:13:24She's had thirty years.
00:13:27Lucid moments are cruelest.
00:13:29She asks me where I've been and then she's gone.
00:13:32Calling her cigarette knife, grinding out her knife in the pewter
00:13:36ashtray shaped like a seashell.
00:13:39Her blue house slippers are embroidered with pink roses, green leaves.
00:13:43Her hair is set.
00:13:45Her heart is an instrumental on the old radio.
00:13:48She hums the melody.
00:13:50It's a song and the name is."
00:13:53>>And then that's the end of the poem.
00:13:55>>Yeah, the name of the poem is "Stella by Starlight," but she doesn't
00:13:57know the title that she is humming.
00:13:59I mean, a lot of this book was written.
00:14:03This was basically my master's thesis.
00:14:04This was my MFA thesis that I spent a little bit of time after
00:14:07graduating revising and then I sent it out after that fall I graduated
00:14:12to process and Red Hen took it.
00:14:15This is pretty much what I spent three years of my life doing and
00:14:19during the first year of that process, my grandmother, my mom's mom,
00:14:26was very ill with both cancer and Alzheimer's at the same time.
00:14:30This poem is directly out of spending that much time with her,
00:14:34who was a smoker.
00:14:36With hospice being there and me having that flexible graduate student
00:14:40schedule, I was able to spend more time with her than I would have been
00:14:43working a full time job at that time.
00:14:46The issue of memory and seeing and trying to capture things and
00:14:50remember them and write them down and keep them out of fear of losing
00:14:54them someday, really permeates almost all of the poems
00:14:58I think in this book.
00:15:01>>It struck me as one of these really ambiguous moments because you
00:15:06say, "lucid moments are the cruelest," but you're writing things down.
00:15:09They're also fairly depressing.
00:15:12>>They're painful.
00:15:13>>They're painful.
00:15:14>>I mean, wanting to remember something is sort of a double-edged sword
00:15:18because it's not always the kind things that you remember, but you have
00:15:22to remember them anyway and in the case of that line, it also refers to
00:15:25the fact that when she was lucid, she knew she was sick and when she
00:15:30was out of it, she didn't know she was sick and dying.
00:15:35You want the person to be there and know you, but on the other hand
00:15:37it's almost better if they don't because the reality is not pretty.
00:15:43>>When you're workshopping something like this, it seems like it would
00:15:48be really difficult to separate the comments the people are saying from
00:15:52what you've got invested in the poetry.
00:15:54>>I think it is in general.
00:15:56I mean, it's probably like that with any genre, maybe more in poetry,
00:16:00probably not when you think about creative non-fiction and people are
00:16:02writing really personal things and you have to listen to people say I
00:16:06don't like the ending, or I don't understand what you're saying here.
00:16:09I think that can be rough, but when I taught creative writing and in my
00:16:13experiences teaching, my approach was always to remind the students
00:16:17that you're not being graded or your students
00:16:20are not commenting on your feelings.
00:16:22So if I gave this poem a B, it's not because I think your feelings are
00:16:25a B and I'm not in any way diminishing the importance
00:16:29of this moment in your life.
00:16:31What I'm saying is the technique you're using and the way you're
00:16:34communicating or expressing it, isn't quite excellent yet
00:16:38and it can be better.
00:16:40I think it's important in a creative writing workshop, or if you're
00:16:44just emailing it to a friend and getting feedback, to sort of divorce
00:16:47that personal feeling and just remember that it's a piece of work that
00:16:52has to go out into the world and you can't follow it, so you can't be
00:16:55there when someone reading the "Paris Review" to say,
00:16:57no, no, no that's not what I meant.
00:16:59This is what I meant.
00:17:01It needs to be able to be self-contained and if it's not,
00:17:04then it's your job to fix it.
00:17:06>>Tell me more about being both a poet and a creative writing teacher.
00:17:12I know you did that for like a year.
00:17:15>>That's a common thing.
00:17:16Like you said, most people do teach.
00:17:19>>Most people do teach, yeah.
00:17:20>>How does that work for you?
00:17:21What is your approach when you're teaching creative writing?
00:17:24>>Well, I think my approach was always to get them working as much as
00:17:27possible and to get as much down as possible and then to really sort of
00:17:33moderate the workshop process because again, especially at the
00:17:37undergraduate level, you are, I think, more sensitive to criticism
00:17:40because you haven't necessarily established your voice yet and so if
00:17:45fifteen people come and have different feedback about a poem, you have
00:17:49to learn how to weed through those comments.
00:17:53Maybe five people say I love the first line, do not change it and five
00:17:57more people say, I like everything about this poem but the first line
00:18:02and you obviously can't make both changes
00:18:04and maybe you should make neither.
00:18:06Maybe you need to stick with your gut and be prepared to defend your
00:18:10choice, but a lot of what I focused on when I was teaching was
00:18:14navigating that process because it can be really hairy.
00:18:18I mean it's one thing to spend time with a blank page and try to get
00:18:21the work down, but it's another thing to sit in a room full of people
00:18:25that you care about their opinions and know socially
00:18:29and it can be kind of awkward.
00:18:31A lot of my job was sort of moderating that process.
00:18:35>>That seems like a particular.
00:18:37When I've taught, I've taught more business writing because I sort of
00:18:41strayed away from the idea of I didn't want to be involved in the
00:18:44emotional lives necessarily of the students because a lot of times it
00:18:50is really painful and I felt a lot of times like they're writing about
00:18:53very painful things and I felt bad.
00:18:56You write something about the death of a parent and then I have to give
00:19:00it a B because their technique isn't good.
00:19:02>>And that opens up a can of worms.
00:19:05>>But I'm also curious about the workshop process always creates
00:19:10problems for me in the way that you're describing.
00:19:14You get all these different comments
00:19:16and then there's the teacher's comment.
00:19:17>>Right. Which tends to trump all of the students comments, right?
00:19:21>>And then you say to the student, go off and maybe you need to follow
00:19:24your gut and there have got to be times when you go, well you followed
00:19:27your gut, but your gut was wrong.
00:19:28>>Your gut was wrong.
00:19:29I mean, can your gut be wrong?
00:19:31Probably not.
00:19:33But is the poem that you came up with by following your gut the poem
00:19:36that I would have written about this topic?
00:19:39But I think that's the tricky thing, too.
00:19:41I write lyric, free verse poetry that does not rhyme, so if I get a
00:19:46student in class who's writing rhyming poems, I can't rewrite that poem
00:19:51or give them comments to make them write a Maggie Smith poem.
00:19:55I have to meet them half where they are and so part of that is just
00:20:00resigning yourself to the fact that your job is not to get all of your
00:20:03students poems to look like your versions of them when they leave class
00:20:07and letting them write narrative poems or rhyming poems or haiku,
00:20:13whatever the case may be.
00:20:14Your job is to teach them the tools, imagery, metaphor, assonance,
00:20:19whatever their toolbox maybe, to get them to write that poem the best
00:20:24that they can and just leaving it at that.
00:20:28>>Tell me about lyrical, free verse poetry.
00:20:32No rhyming.
00:20:33>>No rhyming.
00:20:34>>You've never rhymed. So why not?
00:20:37It's a very common kind of poetry now, but why?
00:20:41Have you written poetry that rhymes before and thought there's
00:20:45something about this I don't like?
00:20:46It feels artificial? Why?
00:20:48>>Well, I've written poems that rhymed when I had to.
00:20:52If I had an assignment and it had to rhyme I'm able to hear it, so I
00:20:58can actually write a poem that rhymes, but it's not naturally how I
00:21:02would express myself.
00:21:04It always kind of feels like I'm trying to shoe horn it into a
00:21:08different form.
00:21:11I do have a poem in Lamp of the Body that's in iambic pentameter, so I
00:21:15have tried meter and I actually enjoy writing in meter more than I
00:21:18enjoy writing in rhyme because I think
00:21:21that to me is a little but more natural.
00:21:24But rhyme. Honestly it just wouldn't have occurred to me.
00:21:28I don't read a lot of rhyming poetry.
00:21:31I'm sort of in awe of it and I admire it because I think when it's done
00:21:35well it's just amazing that people could chose words that seems that
00:21:39it's the only word that could have possibly gone there and yet it
00:21:42rhymes and when you had so many other choices that didn't,
00:21:46yet it never.
00:21:47Good rhyming poetry, I feel, whenever you get to the word that rhymes,
00:21:52you're not thinking well I would have rather had this word it was a
00:21:55better choice, but obviously they fell back on the one that rhymes.
00:21:58Good rhyming poetry it's as if it's the only choice.
00:22:02>>Well let's follow up on that.
00:22:04Who are the poets that you follow that you really admire,
00:22:08either rhyming or non-rhyming?
00:22:10>>So many.
00:22:11I mean, I have more books than I can count.
00:22:15If I think about the books that are usually on my bedside table that I
00:22:18like to read a couple poems from before I go to sleep at night, James
00:22:21Wright is one of them.
00:22:23Beckian Fritz Goldberg, amazing poet, contemporary poet.
00:22:28>>What do you find amazing about these two poets specifically?
00:22:31>>Mostly imagery between the two of them.
00:22:32I would say they share.
00:22:34Their work is very different, but both of them, imagery and metaphor.
00:22:38They're able to make me see things in a way
00:22:40that I wish I had thought of it.
00:22:44I think the best poems make you a little bit jealous, you know.
00:22:48I got a really amazing book.
00:22:50Mathew Zapruder's new book is called Come on All You Ghosts and I got
00:22:53it for Christmas this year and I remember sitting down that day and
00:22:56just reading it cover to cover and being a little sad almost when I
00:23:02finished it because I just thought that book was so amazing.
00:23:04It's not at all the style that I write in, but wow,
00:23:07I wish I could do that.
00:23:09>>So you got jealousy for Christmas.
00:23:10>>Jealousy for Christmas.
00:23:12I probably deserve that for some karmic reason.
00:23:16>>With living poets, if you had the opportunity to talk to them, what
00:23:20sort of things would you ask them as a poet?
00:23:24What are the kinds of things if you talked to that author?
00:23:28>>Well, selfishly I would want to show her some work
00:23:31and say this isn't working for me.
00:23:33What would you do to it?
00:23:35>>If only she would turn on track changes and just show me it with a
00:23:39couple of poems, an example of how she gets to where she's at.
00:23:43>>That's a surprisingly technological viewpoint
00:23:46from somebody who's into words.
00:23:53>>And I am. I don't actually type.
00:23:55I type with two fingers and I only type poems when I feel like they've
00:24:00already taken shape and there's not much more
00:24:02I can do with them on paper.
00:24:05When I really need to be able to test out line breaks and cut and
00:24:07paste, that's when I put things in the computer, but 99 percent of the
00:24:12process is on small sheets of notebook paper, or on legal pads.
00:24:19>>You don't worry about losing those all around the house?
00:24:21>>Sometimes I do and sometimes I'll actually come across a draft in my
00:24:25computer and I'll see a title of a file and I'll open it
00:24:29and it's a poem I never remember writing
00:24:31and I don't know how long it's been there.
00:24:34I don't remember typing it.
00:24:35>>Your husband or children aren't fooling you
00:24:37by just putting things in.
00:24:39>>I don't think so.
00:24:40I do sometimes misplace things and sometimes it's a joy to discover
00:24:43them a year later and say is this still worth pursuing or not.
00:24:48Maybe I should lose it for another year and see what happens.
00:24:51>>How many have you rescued like that that have show up?
00:24:56>>Not whole poems, but I rescue pieces all the time.
00:25:01I call them orphan lines and if I have a line to a poem that I don't
00:25:05know what to do with it, but I just hear the line in my head, I'll
00:25:07write it in a notebook and I'll just collect them there.
00:25:10If I'm working on something, I might just kind of go back to one of
00:25:13those notebooks and flip through and see if maybe there is a line or
00:25:16two that I've written down that just doesn't have a home yet
00:25:19that I can give a home to.
00:25:21>>Well with all the poetry that you've written, what's the literary
00:25:24form that you haven't tried that may be in your future?
00:25:28Is there a fiction book? Is there a memoir?
00:25:31>>Oh no.
00:25:33>>Nothing hiding?
00:25:34>>I joke that my stories are prose poems where
00:25:37people sort of think to themselves in italics.
00:25:41I have never been good with plot.
00:25:45I spend a lot of time if I try to write in other genres describing the
00:25:49scenery and internal conflicts without really having things happen, so
00:25:53I don't know that fiction will ever come naturally to me.
00:25:57Non-fiction, I don't know.
00:25:59Becoming a parent I feel like there are a lot of things I want to write
00:26:02down if only to remember what's going on, but I'm not sure that that
00:26:06really has a wider audience than maybe me and my child.
00:26:10>>Well, you wrote about your grandmother, so it maybe the next two
00:26:14books following your child.
00:26:16>>Yeah. I'm definitely finding I'm not writing motherhood poems,
00:26:20but I'm finding my daughter and sort of being a mom is working
00:26:23it's way into my poems now in a way, obviously, that it couldn't before.
00:26:29>>That may lead to more children, adoption, things along those lines.
00:26:32>>Maybe. Or maybe just more poems.
00:26:34>>I'm surprised there aren't more poems about laundry
00:26:37>>Since I do so much of it while I'm working.
00:26:39>>I do a lot of laundry.
00:26:42>>That should be something you should pass on to other poets.
00:26:46>>Yes. I do more laundry than I write poems,
00:26:49but I wish it were the other way around.
00:26:51>>Well, anyway, I thank you very much, Maggie Smith,
00:26:54for being here today.
00:26:55>>Thanks for having me.
00:26:56>>Again the books are, Lamp of the Body, and The List of Dangers.
00:26:59Also, the very difficult to get Nesting Dolls,
00:27:01which can be ordered online.
00:27:04From the Center from the Study and the Teaching of Writing
00:27:06at The Ohio State University, this is Doug Dangler.
00:27:08Keep writing.
Note : Transcripts are compiled from uncorrected captions