One week out from our next event, we bring you a brief interlude with another fantastic author:
Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung and the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Of Wake, Siren, Kelly Link said, “Old myths translated into bright and glorious colors. I loved this.”
Come see Nina on February 27th at Trident Books! RSVP here.
Do you write with a specific audience in mind?
I write first for myself. Then, usually I have one person in mind that I’m writing to, one person who I’m imagining myself in conversation with, who I’m talking to directly, or indirectly. Sometimes it’s a friend, an editor, a love; it varies. I tend not to think about an “audience” in part because of a superstitious reluctance to assume that anyone beyond myself and maybe this one other person will lay eyes on whatever it is I’m working on, and in part because, for me, to have too big of an awareness, particularly at first, of other people, jails my mind and introduces self-consciousness which is a great enemy to writing.
What book do you wish more people knew about?
The book I can’t stop talking about is the poetry collection it by Danish poet Inger Christensen and translated by Susanna Nied (New Directions) . It came out in 1969 and it’s the type of poetry collection that’s less about dipping in to a poem here and there, and more starting from the start and getting swept up into Christensen’s earthy, sensual, spinning ideas on language, time, death, all the biggest best stuff.
What appeals to you about the genre you work in? (or a genre you work in?)
I write true stuff and made-up stuff, critical stuff, sometimes poem stuff. Each genre has its unique challenges and charms—the imaginative flights fiction allows; the precision non-fiction demands; the pushing of the boundaries of what language can do which is what poetry offers. But all of them have elements of the others, and maybe what appeals to me most is swinging between the forms and letting them inform and play off each other.
Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung, a re-telling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses told from the perspective of the female figures transformed, published by FSG/FSG Originals in November, 2019. Her first book was the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she worked for nine years as a carpenter, and is now a books columnist for the Boston Globe. Her work has appeared on or in The Paris Review Daily, The Believer, American Short Fiction, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, Meatpaper, and elsewhere. She carves spoons and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.