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Q&A: March 2019 Poem-a-Day Guest Editor Maggie Smith

Posted

March 01, 2019

Type

Interviews
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The Academy of American Poets invited twelve new guest editors to each curate a month of poems in 2019. In this short Q&A, Maggie Smith, the Poem-a-Day guest editor for March 2019, discusses her curating approach and her own creative work.


Poets.org: How did you approach curating Poem-a-Day for March?

Maggie Smith: I started by soliciting poets whose work excites me, some of whom have one book and some of whom have many. Even though I approached writers I already know and admire, writers whose books are on my shelves, I was not prepared for the poems I’d receive—formally varied, challenging, resonant, and deeply human. I can’t wait for readers to receive them.

Poets.org: If you could direct readers to one poem in our collection at Poets.org that you haven’t curated, what would it be and why?

MS: Readers should spend some time with “OBIT” by Victoria Chang, a poem from her current project inspired by the death of her mother. In this poem, as in the others—all titled “OBIT”—what’s mourned isn’t only a person, but the trappings of the life of the speaker. I love how these poems show how when a person dies, they take a whole world with them. I can’t wait to read them all together in book form.

Poets.org: What are you working on now in your writing, teaching, or publishing life?

MS: I’m pulling together a collection of poetry—what will be my fourth book. I’m also working on a new nonfiction project that I’m too superstitious to talk about just yet.

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