Tabs open on your screen right now:
My email inbox, a Google doc of a new piece, which is a meditation on mountains. And Zappos.com, I’m looking for boots and I’m super picky. At this rate, I’ll buy a new pair of boots by 2020.
If you had to brag about yourself:
I have the best laugh.
Your writer crush:
Once the actor Joe Manganello said in an interview that his crush was Sofia Vergara and boom, now they’re married. I wonder if I name all the writers, I can find a husband. This idea paralyzes as much as it inspires.
& obviously the brilliant Elena Ferrante.
Y’all ready for this
(This isn’t really my favorite lyric. I just couldn’t think of anything else. I feel the music I listen to lately passes through me and does not live inside me; therefore, specific lyrics aren’t sticking to me.)
Any place in the world:
There’s this little part in the Arnold Arboretum that reaches from Jamaica Plain to West Roxbury/Roslindale on the way to Peters Hill. There’s a tiny entrance nearby my parents’ house that has a handful of gravestones.
Three cups of coffee slowly over the course of three hours. Some yogurt or an egg.
Favorite online places right now:
Instagram for the endless images. Twitter for the resistance to our so-called president.
My smart & cute nephews Freddie and Otis.
Your rituals (writing or not):
I flush the toilet every time.
Least impressive thing about you:
I have moderate to severe asthma… and I’m a single woman who adjuncts for $. I don’t think these are unimpressive things, but it is what it is.
Favorite space to write:
I can write anywhere. Space doesn’t matter. Time is the problem. It is a problem I would like to solve.
What should we know:
Is this the self promotion zone? Ok?:
My chapbook A Woman Alone just came out on Sixth Finch. You can buy it here. My next full length book Broadax will be out this summer from Octopus Books. I’m so excited about both of these!!!
Additionally, I was part of a group that letterpressed Stacey Tran’s amazing chapbook Fake Haiku at Wendy’s Subway. You can buy it here. It’s a great book and it’s so pretty to hold.
Also last year, the amazing center for research and education in contemporary culture, Pioneer Works published a collaborative book I wrote with Chris Cheney called I Cry: The Desire to Be Rejected as part of their Groundworks series. Get the book here. They also published this inspiring pedagogy book by the writer Jesse Ball called “Notes from My Dunce Cap.”
Guilty literary pleasure:
I love page turning thrillers. They alleviate the pain of existence.
Best book nobody talks about:
I feel like everyone who is reading this interview probably reads more than I do. I’ll just name a recent one I loved Ghost Machines by Ben Mirov (Slope Editions).
Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with:
Right now I relate to the abject single female characters of which there are so many in literature and TV: anyone in a Jane Austen novel, Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, etc. Being a woman is humiliating enough. But being a SINGLE WOMAN who would rather not be single is even more humiliating. To be in a state in which our culture deems as undesirable: to always be in a state that is to be exited is exhausting as it is unnecessary. No one wants to be a hangnail or to feel extraneous.
Last time you lied:
Sometimes I lie when I’m protecting someone’s feelings or if the truth is a can of worms and I don’t have time to get into it otherwise, or don’t trust the space to tell the truth.
When I lied about being paralyzed by naming my literary crush. I just thought that my answer was more interesting than just saying I admired Elena Ferrante’s writing.
Question you secretly want to be asked:
Would you go to Mars?
I think about going to Mars all the time. I think about starting over elsewhere. However, I would rather stay on Earth. I imagine living on Mars as one long, unbearably atonal and confusing Skrillex song. Do we really have to fuck up another planet via colonization? No. That said, I follow all the various missions to colonize Mars in the news with rapt attention. It terrifies me, and therefore I must face it.
Amy Lawless is the author of two books of poems including My Dead (Octopus Books). Her third poetry collection Broadax is forthcoming from Octopus Books in 2017. A chapbook A Woman Alone is just out from Sixth Finch. With Chris Cheney she is the author of the hybrid book I Cry: The Desire to Be Rejected from Pioneer Works Press’ Groundworks Series (2016). Her poems have recently or are forthcoming in jubilat, Reality Beach, The Volta, Washington Square Review, Best American Poetry 2013, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion, and the Brooklyn Poets Anthology (Brooklyn Arts Press). She received a poetry fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2011. She lives in Brooklyn.