SR72 Contributor Interviews: Magdalena Zurawski

unnamedWhat is it about the genre or cross-genre you write in that interests you/draws you in?

The way that words have heft and feel and how such heft and feel can be arranged into a little world through a mouth.

How does this published piece fit in with the larger thematic concerns that you see in your overall work?

The Apocalypse is coming and sometimes all I can bear to do is mow the lawn. I have written other poems while not mowing the lawn, too, but they weren’t about mowing the lawn. There are animals in lots of my poems.

What are you influenced by?  

Other words. Other people’s words. I always write in and out of and through other writing. The piece in this issue I wrote after getting excited by the work in Daniel Bouchard’s chapbook, “Art and Nature.”

What does your typical writing schedule look like? What aspects of working do you look forward to? What aspects frustrate you?

I am working on developing a habit of writing at 7am-9am every morning, but I am bad at keeping habits, so I put notes up on the bathroom mirror to remind me that I have a habit of getting up at 7am to write for two hours. The thing is this Trump-Russia thing is terrible for my poetry. My family is Polish, so I’ve grown up listening to stories about the Russians and what I know about the Russians from having the last name that I do is that if someone says the Russians did something, then they did, and they did it even worse than we first thought. If there is a new Russia-Trump story breaking, I have a hard time not looking online to read about it, because I know the Russia thing is true and if Mueller gets it right, Trump is gone and isn’t that a nice thought? I didn’t know I was so interested in preserving the integrity of the nation-state until Trump became President. Or maybe I just want a different president as long as we have to have presidents. Anyhow, it interferes with my writing much in the same way it has interfered with me answering this question. That’s why I often begin writing on my typewriter. It has trouble getting online to check the news. Mostly, I like it when I finally stop being scared of writing and let myself just sit down and do it. I get frustrated with my time-management skills.  

For fun, if you could pick one meal that matches the piece we published, what would it be and why? 

A tomato cucumber salad with fresh basil and thyme and oregano because that’s what I was growing in the yard when I wrote this poem. The lemon tree is still alive, btw.

MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI’s poetry collection, Companion Animalwas published in 2015 by Litmus Press and won the 2016 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her novel, The Bruise (FC2 2008) won both the Ronald Sukenick Prize for innovative fiction and a LAMBDA Award. Zurawski teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Georgia. She is currently finishing a second poetry collection called “The Tiniest Muzzle Sings Songs of Freedom.”

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