Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Writer: Julia Spicher Kasdorf


Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania State University.

What is your go-to pen(cil)? Pen:  For journaling, hand-writing drafts, notes: Waterman fountain pen, gold nib medium, black ink. I have a couple of them—ones made about 20 years ago are best. Pencil: For marking student poems: Any cheap plastic pencil with retractable graphite.

Most beautiful word in all the world: Berm.

Alter ego: New wave dance club girl from the 1980s, see the film “Liquid Sky.”

What’s for dinner? Tonight: sea scallops seared in bacon fat with lemon, baked delicata squash, Swiss chard sautéed with onion and garlic.

What’re you reading? Ruth Oseki: A Tale for the Time Being.

Who is your most-recent writer crush? Ann Pancake.

Song lyrics stuck in your head, go: “In the rifted rock I’m resting. Safely sheltered I abide.”

You’re a new edition to the Crayola box. Congratulations. What is your new name? Dawn.

What are you putting off? Writing a conference paper on poet Jane Rohrer.

What was the last gift you gave someone? I gave my father the book Rebel Mother for his birthday; he’s trying to write a memoir.

What were you like as a college or graduate student? Silent.

Here’s your free ticket. Where are we going? Turkish coast.


Julia Spicher Kasdorf has published three collections of poetry with the University of Pittsburgh Press, most recently Poetry in America.  Among the previous collections, Eve’s Striptease was named one of Library Journal‘s Top 20 Best Poetry Books of 1998, and Sleeping Preacher won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and the Great Lakes College’s Association Award for New Writing. She currently teaches at the Pennsylvania State University, and has a book, Shale Play, forthcoming in fall 2018.


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