A Chat with Sara Adams

Sara Adams is the author of four poetry chapbooks: Western Diseases (dancing girl press), We All Have to Keep Our Heads (Ghost City Press), Poems for Ivan (Porkbelly Press) and Think Like a B (Stale Objects dePress). She is an assistant editor at Rivet Journal, and her work appears in journals such as DIAGRAM, Shampoo Poetry, New Orleans Review, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse. Sara lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at www.kartoshkaaaaa.com / @kartoshkaaaaaa.



Crab Fat: To start off – are you more of a sporadic writer or do you have dedicated, scheduled writing time?
Sara: I’m definitely sporadic. I’m a middle school teacher so writing usually happens in small, stolen moments. I also love taking on a 30/30 (poem-a-day) challenge every April. In the past, I’ve participated in those organized by the Found Poetry Review and ELJ publications. Once it’s a challenge, it’s on; I’m not going to not do it. That said, if I ever tried to set a writing schedule for myself, I would probably get rebellious and blow it off in favor of… pretty much anything else.


CF: How does inspiration come to you? Are there any experiences which have greatly influenced your work?
S: Inspiration usually comes to me long after I’ve seen something or known someone. I realize that something was significant, or why it was significant, and want to explore that. I also do a lot of found and experimental poetry, so inspiration comes from language itself and the possibilities that arise when twisting, re-shaping, collaging, and, sometimes, defacing words that originally came from another source, whether that source is a book or an overheard conversation.

CF: How did you begin writing?
S: I started writing poetry in college because I realized it was extremely fun. I ran an underground lit mag with some friends and it was the perfect combo of writing, collaborating, and sharing. I could literally write whatever I wanted, and someone would publish it because someone was me and my friends. Poetry was a form of play, a way to explore joy and pain, mostly pain, and also confusion, and connect with people about how interesting it is to be alive. Poetry continues to play this role for me, though now my rejection rates are wayyyy higher.

CF: Is there anything that might get in the way of your writing? And conversely, is there anything that facilitates it?

S: I need a fair amount of structure and stimulus in my life in order to create. I need to interact with a variety of people in a meaningful way every day. For better or for worse, I need distinct tasks and some degree of external pressure in order to get up and get productive each day. The idea of going out to the woods, having all my bills paid somehow, living just me and my desk and nature, sounds extremely anxiety-inducing, and not just because a lot of horror movies have this exact premise.

CF: And finally, talk to us about Poems for Ivan, your new micro-chapbook from Porkbelly Press.
S: This collection, of only nine poems, is a project I’ve been working on for about six years. Process-wise, it represents to me that it’s okay for things to take forever–it takes time to understand what I really want to say about something and how I want to say it. The poems are about a man I knew when I briefly lived in Ukraine, about dog gangs, meat on a stick, and not being alone. Porkbelly Press did an absolutely beautiful job with the cover, design, and assembly. I recommend buying it ASAP 😉

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