2020 Fischer Prize finalist, A. Kaiser, of Brooklyn, NY was recently interviewed by the Detroit Writing Room for their “Writer Wednesday” series:
(Inaugural Detroit Writing Room Awards Open here.)
This week’s Writer Wednesday features poet, translator, scholar and curator A. Kaiser of Brooklyn, New York.
A. Kaiser is the Pushcart Prize-nominated author of “glint,” co-winner of the inaugural Milk and Cake Book Prize and an activist who seeks to connect and collaborate toward shared rights and responsibilities. She has been a talented presence at our monthly open mic nights and member of the DWR community!
A. Kaiser discusses some of her latest projects, what inspires her poetry and her variety of workspaces in lockdown!
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I love every part of the process — feeling, thinking, reading, talking about, noting, scribbling, drafting, editing, sharing, feeling, thinking, reading, talking about, noting…
What does your writing workspace look like?
Having always been a gypsy (even a nickname my oldest aunt had for me) inside and outside worlds are my writing spaces. My current office is full of books, papers, photos, objects gathered in living abroad & travels, color. Funny enough, as my son pointed out, even in lockdown, I remained true to my mobile nature and transformed our apartment into a small varied work universe — spending a few hours in my office, then at my great-grandmother’s sewing machine in another room, then at the kitchen table, then couch, and sometimes, when that same son would go out for a bike ride — even at his desk. I also composed a series of outside poems, “urban trances,” masked and socially distanced, at our local park.
What inspires you and your poetry?
Life — human, flora & fauna, with a special spot for bodies of water, their scapes and creatures and cultures; travel; injustices; working towards ending them; herstory and her stories; struggle.s; light; play; music; poets, translators & artists from across time. Finally, the inimitable Detroit Writing Room, including its safe space & lively Open Mics. Thank you, DWR!
What is your favorite non-writing hobby?
It all flows together to weave into my writing, but I think I can safely say I am addicted to road trips, near and far.
What is your favorite piece of writing advice?
As someone who came to a dedicated writing practice later in life, as well as having gone back to school to change my “ABD” to “PhD,” I can only agree with the adage that you will never be younger than you are today. At the same time, I take Layli Long Soldier’s words to heart when she says patience. I think sometimes time is the best collaborator.
What writing projects are you currently working on?
Applying for fellowships & residencies! Finding a publisher for my second manuscript, trace and for three chapbooks, one of which is dedicated to shell life and another, translations of my poem, Horse Behavior, included in my first collection, glint (Milk and Cake Press, 2019). Recent translation-co-labs include Gĩkũyũ, translated by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Rumantsch, translated by Walter Rosselli Genetelli and Italian & Latin, both translated by Simona Mancini. I also have an essay-constantly-evolving on this constantly evolving co-lab. I am ready with my translation of Catalan poet Anna Gual’s Unnameable. I have a first CNF piece I am editing and hope to contribute to Women in Translation Month (August). As I place my bets on being (well) out of covid stupor by September, not to mention my son’s junior year, I hope to take up again my third collection, tongue.s, my biography of urbanista, city-garden advocate and U.S. utopian, Cebrià Montoliu, and my (re)translation of André Breton’s Nadja. A co-lab with the musician Emma Zakine, A Song for Women, originally released on International Women’s Day 2018, has been enriched and will be available later this year on Emma’s album, Deux (“Two”).
Article link here.