Tabs open on your screen right now:
To-Do Lists, A running document where I type up student poem feedback, Blind Pilot performing “Umpqua Rushing” Live at Bear Creek Studio (YouTube); The World’s First Thesaurus of Color Shades (The Independent); Submittable; Gmail; and this shade gif that gives me new life every morning (enjoy).
If you had to brag about yourself:
My eyeliner game is pretty on point.
Your writer crush: Bianca Stone
“I was young enough, I still believed in war” (Bright Eyes, “Poison Oak”)
Any place in the world:
Portovenere, Italy. Megan Peak (my best friend, who happens to be an amazing poet whose work you should look up immediately) and I traveled there in graduate school and I’m maybe always dreaming of that coast.
If bacon & black coffee are involved, I’m happy.
Favorite online places right now:
Winter Tangerine, The Offing, The Adroit Journal, Boston Review, Divedapper, & I’m pretty excited for the debut issue of The Shade Journal, too.
Waking up next to my dog & partner every morning. Yes, I am a sap.
Your rituals (writing or not):
Writing: while I’m reading I keep my notebook open and write down anything that sticks with me or that I admire. Much of it doesn’t get used, but reading for me is ritualistic that way. Even when I’m “reading for fun,” I’m transcribing obsessively.
Not-writing: at least once a month, I go to this diner by campus & order black coffee & an egg sandwich & listen to a couple hours’ worth of podcasts in a booth. I try to not write or check my phone during that time, to just set time aside to learn things about the world, or listen to poems, or laugh by myself. The older I get, the harder it becomes for me to carve out time for productive solitude in my day–but I find that those moments are the ones where I feel most human, most myself.
Least impressive thing about you:
I have terrible memory. Short term, long term–doesn’t matter. If it happened, I’m not sure whether or not it happened.
Favorite space to write:
What should we know:
My first collection of poems will be out close to the new year! Keep checking onwww.yesyesbooks.com for information regarding pre-ordering, & also find me at the YesYes table at AWP so I can give you a hug or sign things or take a shot with you or whatever.
Guilty literary pleasure:
I have very few pleasures I actually feel guilty about, but I feel pretty strongly aboutGone Girl and regularly reread it. Maybe it’s the rereading that holds the guilt.
Best book nobody talks about:
Morocco by Matthew Savoca and Kendra Grant Malone
Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with:
Joel Barish (Jim Carrey’s character) in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Last time you lied:
Oh, I lie all the time. Let’s say today.
Hmm. It’s only 11am. Okay, so I lied. The last time I lied was yesterday. But yesterday I definitely told someone at the restaurant where I work nights that I just moved to Charleston and am not originally from here. I did it to avoid an awkward conversation about “how we might know each other,” though, so I had everyone’s best interests in mind. Promise.
Question you secretly want to be asked:
What pop song are you crushin’ on right now?
“Indecision” by Shura
Indian American poet and educator Raena Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017). Her work has appeared in Boston Review, Ninth Letter, Tupelo Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, and many more. Her honors include a 2016 Pushcart Prize and the 2014 Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, among others. She will be Bucknell University’s Philip Roth Resident this spring at the Stadler Center for Poetry. You can find more of her work atwww.raenashirali.com