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Five Questions with Poetry Instructor, Cheryl Wilder

1.) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When Mr. Langford, my high school English teacher, pulled me aside a month before I graduated, a stack of my creative assignments in his hand, and said, “If you enjoy doing this, keep doing it.”

2.) What do you love most about the writing process?

I love the quiet monastic work of deep revision.

3.) What do you love most about teaching writing?

I love being in conversation about writing, and I love holding space for others to question, wonder, and surprise themselves. I also love the feeling at the end of the workshop when everyone, including me, is buzzing with new ideas and hungry to apply them to their work.

4.) What are you reading right now?

Since I am actively working on my next collection, I’m juggling three books:

Malena Morling’s Ocean Avenue as my poetry homework, Stephen Dobyns’ Best Words, Best Order for craft, and Archbishop Desmund Tutu and Mpho Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving to inform my theme.

5.) What's your favorite writing quote?

My favorite quote, “Every building is a palimpsest on which are written countless poems of space,” is from the essay “Architecture and the Poetry of Space” by architect Louis Hammer. Years ago, I worked for an architect as a writer and researcher, and this quote summed up the new perspective I gained on (white) space in poetry. It also reminds me to remain open to the “countless poems of space” I occupy. I love the idea that everyone is living inside a poem.

*Cheryl Wilder is teaching Summer Slow Down, Poetry Workshop (remotely) on Thursday evenings this summer beginning June 29th.

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