The art of writing #23 : Sarah Mangold

How did you first come to poetry?

I was always interested in writing of all kinds throughout school, but eventually came to love the condensed language in poems.

How does a poem begin?

My poems are usually in conversation with whatever I am reading. I like to collect language and phrases from non-fiction texts or articles to build something new.

How did publishing your first book change your writing?

After Household Mechanics was published, I became hyper aware of the standard printed page size. I had not published many poems, so it was a shock to have to reformat my wide composition by field (8 1/2 x 11)  poems into a standard  6x9 print size. This had an effect on the way I wrote for many years, it still does. I always have in the back of my mind how could this poem be reproduced if it was published. In my early writing I wasn’t really thinking about a future for the poem beyond the original page.

Have you a daily schedule by which you work, or are you working to fit this in between other activities?

I write every morning for an hour before work, and on the weekends. I commute into Seattle with my husband, his work day starts an hour earlier than mine so I take advantage of the early drop-off time to write. Having a daily routine helps me feel like I’m getting something done rather than waiting for the elusive perfect moment to write. 

What are your favourite print or online literary journals?

Chicago Review, Bone Bouquet, Jacket2, Conjunctions, Touch the Donkey, La Vague, not exclusively literary but also Bomb and Hyperallergic. 

Who are some of the writers you are reading lately that most excite you?

I am reading Meredith Stricker’s book Our Animal, plus continually dipping in and out of the Waldrop’s, Keeping / the window open: interviews, statements, alarms, excursions,  Lucy Ives, Impossible Views of the World and Cristina Rivera Garza’s The Taiga Syndrome.

Sarah Mangold was born in Nebraska and raised there and in Kansas, and Oklahoma. She is the author of the poetry collections Household Mechanics (New Issues), Electrical Theories of Femininity (Black Radish Books) and Giraffes of Devotion (Kore), as well as many chapbooks, most recently, Birds I Recall (above/ground). She is the founder and editor of the print literary journal Bird Dog: a journal of innovative writing and art (2000-2009), and a recipient of a 2013 NEA Poetry Fellowship. She lives near Seattle where she is a program manager for online courses at the University of Washington.

A selection of her poems appeared in the second issue.