Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Malisa Garlieb

Today’s Q&A is with Malisa Garlieb, a contributor of poetry to the second issue of Sugared Water.

Malisa Garlieb is a Waldorf teacher living and working in Shelburne, Vermont. Her poems have appeared in Calyx, So to Speak, Off the Coast, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Lines + Stars, among other journals and anthologies.  Her first book, Handing Out Apples in Eden, is available from Sunridge Poetry.

a little taste of “Blueberry Seasonfrom SW#002:

If I get enough to cook and sugar
the jam can shine
on the crusts of winter, when light
and memory are shorter and more needed.
Last January our touch couldn’t
catch though my body cheated it
and ripened by routine.
I kept checking the pantry of our marriage.
Had enough been put away, is there enough to last?
Twelve lids sealed to glass, all the rims twisted tight.

SW: What are you currently reading?
MG: A lot!  In poetry I’m reading Stephen Cramer’s Tongue & Groove, Mary Szybist’s Incarnadine, and everything I can find by Karin Gottshall.  In fiction, it’s The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.  Mary Cassatt: A Life by Nancy Mowll Mathews is at the top of the pile for non-fiction.

SW: What are you working on now?
MG: I’ve begun a suite of poems about Impressionist paintings owned by and exhibited at The Shelburne Musuem.  Mary Cassatt’s life, as well as her portraits, particularly intrique me.  She’s often thought of sentimentally for her mother and child paintings, but she was a modern feminist who painted women in all stages of their lives.  The psychological complexities of womanhood and femininity can be found in her works, and this is what I most hope to capture in poetry.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
MG: Jane Hirshfield and Jesse Lee Kercheval are two major influences.  Deborah Digges, Sandra Alcosser, Kim Addonizio, Li-Young Lee, Sharon Olds, Wendell Berry, and Ted Kooser are other favorites.  I could go on…

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
MG: Other artists inspire me.  Relationships, as well.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
MG: It comes in waves–some weeks I’m writing everyday, other times a month goes by without a word.  But I’m always on the lookout for a surprising image, a play on words, or musicality in a phrase.  I begin poems in my journal, switching to a screen only when I have something substantial, something strong enough for the transfer.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
MG: I’m currently obsessed with Norse mythology, green smoothies, and my eight-year-old son’s advancing vocabulary (he used the word “ostracized” today).

 

Bibliography

Handing Out Apples in Eden

 

Malisa Garlieb | SW#002

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