Niyousha writes: We’re interviewing some of the contributors of our most recent title, Studying Creative Writing – Successfully (ed. Stephanie Vanderslice) to celebrate the new publication. We kicked off the interview series with Garry Craig Powell. Our second interviewee is Anna Leahy, who contributed the chapter, “Beyond Graduation: Sustaining Yourself as a Writer.” In the first part of our interview, Anna Leahy shared her creative writing advice with us; this is the second part.
Anna Leahy’s poetry collection Aperture is forthcoming from Shearsman, and the nonfiction book she co-wrote with Douglas R. Dechow, Generation Space: A Love Story, is forthcoming from Stillhouse. What We Talk about When We Talk about Creative Writing, the book about pedagogy and the profession that she edited and co-wrote, is available from Multilingual Matters. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at Chapman University.
How has your approach to the practice of writing changed over time?
I faced a long lag between my first and second full-length poetry books. In the last several years, I started writing creative nonfiction as well as poetry, probably in part to help me get past worrying about whether I’d ever publish another poetry book. Also, I’ve become more conscious of submitting poetry and nonfiction regularly. I keep busier than I used to, I took some risks, and I sensed steady progress. My writing life feels somehow bigger to me now.
What’s made studying creative writing worthwhile for you?
In my new book about creative writing, Mary Cantrell reminds me that Sue Lorch said in an essay, “I do not like to write; it is an always slow, frequently difficult, sometimes painful process. Few things, however, offer the satisfaction of having written.”
I like to write; I enjoyed holding pen to paper even before I knew the alphabet; I like the challenge and having written. Studying creative writing as a discipline and as a practice is worthwhile to me because it’s made me a better teacher, conscious of creating an environment in which others can feel that deep satisfaction of having written.