As we’re excitedly waiting for Partial Genius to drop, I’m happy to share the two items below.
Much gratitude to Tom Simpson for interviewing me about Partial Genius, the writing life, and balancing various hats over at American Microreviews and Interviews.
Here’s a sneak peek:
TS: How do you balance your writing life with your work as an editor and professor? Do you have particular routines and practices that have sustained you?
MB: I have taught college English for over twenty years, and have been an editor for almost as long, and yet I am still struggling with balance. What has helped is learning how I function best, forgiving myself for that, and then finding a way to work with my tendencies instead of against them. I am motivated by deadlines. During the academic year I have little, if any, time for creative writing, so those are fallow spells and I’ve come to terms with them. Over winter and summer breaks I write obsessively. Ideally during the academic year I will revise poems and send them out, but often that task falls to summer.
My work flow is one of constant triage. I jokingly tell friends that I am not a good custodian of my own writing, and it’s true. Helping other people with their poems and manuscripts is often top priority, and more enjoyable than working with my own poems. Perhaps someday I will no longer be scrambling, but for now it’s the scramble that keeps me moving.
I am thrilled that Partial Genius was one of the Must-Read Poetry Books for August 2019 over at The Millions. Thank you to Nick Ripatrazone for thoughts like these:
Biddinger’s prose poems are eccentric, meandering, and surprising. The first poem of the collection, “Historical Achievements,” ends: “One year I wrote ‘mouth’ across my knuckles for Halloween and exited the pep rally before the microphone was switched on, flocks of balloons still humping the plastic bags designated to contain them.” The sentence is pure Biddinger: funny, dizzying yet specific, and grounded in a pleasantly wistful storytelling (her poems don’t often feel melancholy, but they do contain absences—incomplete stories—which offer pauses of sentiment within her play). Partial Genius is unlike any book of poetry that you’ll read this year; a credit to Biddinger’s voice, and the range of her interests.
The countdown to Partial Genius continues!