Sarah Key–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I work anywhere and everywhere: on the subway, on the bus, at my desk in my bedroom, at the college where I work, on my boyfriend’s boat, and especially on my daily runs where sometimes words or lines come to me, and I stop and text them to myself.

What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

I almost always draft my poems by hand first, in a journal or a lined pad. I write with whatever pen is nearby.

What is your routine for writing?

I write when I can, no routine, but often early in the morning and late at night.

How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

As long as I can remember.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

First, I write for myself, some subject I want to learn more about, some question I want to ponder, or I am overcome by a feeling that I have to express, ranging from love to rage. I hope that whatever I write for myself will connect with others as well.

What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

Everything inspires me, from listening to bits of conversation on the street, to watching a hawk swoop down to catch a fish, to marveling at an octopus change shape and color, to caring for a family member in trouble, to following the history of the name Big Bang, to admiring a sculpture I love, to being mesmerized by the Zamboni at my son’s hockey game, to helping my daughter shave for the first time. I am not blocked usually, but I would go for a walk outside around the Harlem Meer. I often find there is too much not too little to write about.

What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I tutor at a community college in the South Bronx. I run and dance and swim and snorkel and paddleboard.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

My favorite part is editing and revising. I started out as an editor at an art book publisher, and I love playing with words like they are blocks. I have some poems that I started over ten years ago that keep evolving. One just got accepted to an anthology called Nasty Women Poets!

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Practice. Read lots of different genres and model the stuff you like. Find a writing group or take a class to get some constructive feedback.

Check out Sarah’s work in Volume 3, Issue 2.

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