Limestone first published Angie Macri's poetry, "Least Tern," in 2011. Since then, Angie has continued to publish widely in journals such as Alaska Quarterly Review, Bayou Magazine, Crazyhorse, cream city review, CutBank, and Iron Horse Literary Review, and her recent work is forthcoming in several journals, including Ecotone, New Madrid, The Southern Review, and Water~Stone Review. Her chapbook Fear Nothing of the Future or the Past, which works with H.D.’s Helen in Egypt, the mounds around Helena, Arkansas, and the paintings of Carroll Cloar, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Her first full-length manuscript Underwater Panther won the Cowles Poetry Book Prize and will be released by Southeast Missouri State University Press later this year.
Limestone is delighted to have Angie as the Featured Contributor for Spring 2015. We caught up with her and asked her a few relevant (and some utterly irrelevant) questions.
LJ: Do you have a writing routine, or ritual? When, where, and how do you do your best work?
AM: As soon as I develop a routine, I find myself in a rut. It’s important for writing to be fluid—not undisciplined, but not forced. I can say that I do my best writing when feeling happy. When I’m upset, I can’t enter the writing process at all.
LJ: Share with us three things from your bucket list.
AM: Spend time in Roccella Jonica and Longobucco in Calabria, where my grandparents are from; own a silk dress; endow a scholarship.
LJ: What piece of advice do you wish you had been given as a fledgling poet
AM: That ambition should never come before friendship.
LJ: Who inspires and influences your work?
AM: Everything and anything. There is no limit on this.
LJ: What’s your favorite piece of your own work? Why?
AM: When my youngest was a baby, I went back to southern Illinois where I grew up, a farm outside of Ellis Grove, and visited with my neighbor Randall Schopfer. I hadn’t been to see him there on his farm since I moved away when I was 15, and he’d been my neighbor since I moved there when I was 4. When I was leaving, he said, “Now that you’ve found your way back, maybe you’ll come back home more often.” He was killed the next spring in a farm accident before I could visit him again. The piece I’d pick as my favorite right now is what I wish that I could give him, my first book, Underwater Panther. It’s a collection of poems but really one long poem about identity. After being a finalist in other contests, it was chosen as the winner of the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and Susan Swartwout and Southeast Missouri State University are working on production of it with me now. It seems a perfect fit, really, for this book to come from a press back home, and I am thankful for the chance to come back home in new ways.
LJ: Give us the title of three books currently on your bookshelf. Have you read them? What did you think?
AM: Looking to the left, I see ten shelves, and books stacked on the floor, too. The first books to catch my eye are Dylan Thomas’s collected poems, H.D.’s Trilogy, and George David Clark’s Reveille. I started Trilogy some years ago but need to return to it; I like her work for its quiet intensity. Reveille is on my list to spend time with soon, but I can already tell from what I’ve read that the cover is a perfect match for what’s inside. Thomas, I haven’t touched for a long time. A number of my composition students last semester chose to analyze his writing for their final project. That they enjoyed him so much, students who didn’t think they liked writing and especially not poetry, has called me to him again. What did he offer them? Can he offer it to me?
LJ: Do you have a guilty pleasure? Will you share it with us?
AM: I feel guilty spending money on myself and won’t buy clothes or shoes unless my husband is there to encourage me, and even then half the time I won’t buy anything. But it gives me pleasure to wear nice things.
LJ: Is there one subject that you would never write about? What is it?
AM: As soon as someone says you can’t write about X, then I want to write about X. Art that takes some kind of chance, that experiments with crossing some kind of line and through talent and grace and work does it well, results in new music with a meaningful vision. Those are the pieces that have lasted and have advanced our world. Limits are, well, limiting. They can be conducive at times but must be left behind as you grow. And so there are subjects that I haven’t written about, and would never write about now, but the time may come.
Angie's first chapbook, Fear Nothing of the Future or the Past, published by Finishing Line Press, is available to buy through amazon.