From a Newtown Literary contributor: Carrie Conners
When you think of Queens, what first comes to mind?
Community. I feel lucky to have so many friends, colleagues, fellow writers, and students in the borough.
How does Queens influence your writing?
Like many writers, my surroundings influence the topics that I choose to write about and the way that I write about them. The sights and sounds of Queens, including bits of overheard speech from people in the neighborhood, find their way into my poetry.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar?
This question is too tough for me! I can't choose one. I adore animals, frequently write about them, and have poems about sharks, whales, dogs, insects, and even cryptids.
What is the last piece of writing you read that made you laugh or cry?
I laughed out loud when I read Carmen Maria Machado's "Especially Heinous" in Her Body and Other Parties.
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by so many things, including other writers. I love reading poetry journals (I'm a poetry reader for Epiphany, and I'm a fan of many other print and online journals). I also attend readings, such as the wonderful Queens Writers Resist reading series, to hear the amazing work that others are producing. Since I have the privilege of teaching creative writing at LaGuardia Community College-CUNY, I am continually inspired by the incredible writing that my students produce. Many of my fellow English professors at LaGuardia are phenomenal writers, and I am in awe of their work. I'm also inspired by my family, friends, and my home state of West Virginia, which are frequent topics in my writing.
What does your writing process/routine look like?
I scrawl out drafts of poems in a paper notebook. It's messy and formless. A few days later I'll revisit the mess and type it up, revising as I go. I usually workshop new work with writer friends of mine, which is an invaluable process. After revision based on their suggestions, I start to send pieces out to journals.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
I love to read, cook, and bake (especially desserts!). I follow tennis, spend time with my husband, hang out with friends, sample the many delicious restaurants in the city, exercise (to balance out all of that food), travel, and visit museums and art displays (I just went to the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria).
What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
My first book of poetry, Luscious Struggle, is under contract with BrickHouse Books. I'm working on a second poetry manuscript that features poems about humans and animals. I also study and write about recent American poetry and have been working on projects focused on working-class women poets and humor in poetry.