Big Slutty Bears and Old Familiar Faces
We have a special soft spot in our hearts around here for former Chronicle proofreaders (indeed, I'm one), but no sentimentality is required to enjoy the hell out of S.E. Smith's I Live in a Hut (Cleveland State University, 2012).
After earning a bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a master's of fine arts in poetry from the University of Texas' own Michener Center for Writers, Smith spent a little while on our copyediting panel before moseying northward to pursue an MFA in fiction from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her first book, I Live in a Hut won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize, and includes such fantastical characters as a big slutty bear and the pony of darkness.
On Poetry and Procrustean Beds
"That's what happens when you put the words on the paper: They leave you. They make friends with people you don't like. They say things you didn't intend them to. … Putting the words on paper gives you, always, a measure of loss, and you have to deal with it.
On Hopping Between Genres
"It's a great productivity trick, really: When I'm frustrated with the mechanics and blocking of short stories, I can pull the rip cord and work in poetry land. And when poetry land begins to stifle and nag … I can instead devote my time to narrative, the magical force that 'what happens next?' exerts on readers."
On Coping With Iowa Winters After Years in Texas
"I look like an over prepared girl scout when I go outside."
For much, much more from Smith, check out the full interview.