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Chapbook Q&A with CL Young // Overhead Projector

Read CL Young’s chapbook OVERHEAD PROJECTOR here!


What is poetry? 

Poetry is anything that pulls me out of whatever surface-level reality is occupying me at a given moment. It’s anything that returns me to a feeling of rawness where I am reminded that my capacity for complicated emotional and cognitive responses is most important.

Part 2: why do you write it?

I write with the hope that I might be able to return another person to that space. Poems in particular are good for this because they create feeling worlds with such economy. Selfishly, I write so I don’t lose my life—it’s a way to participate in time. The only way I’ve found that feels like it’s nearing enough.  

What makes this a chapbook & not just a pile of poems?

This grouping of poems is a little odd because it spans a relatively large timeframe and what feel like very different lives. Some were written in Boise early in 2014, some in Portland and Seattle a year later, several in Colorado just a few months ago. I suppose they are united by a kind of loneliness. Or an aloneness/singularness. The feeling of aloneness that comes with being a woman, a writer, the youngest in a family, of being a human at all, really. Aloneness in groups. Even the poems I think of as love poems often express feelings of isolation inside of relationships. They are also all single poems, which maybe speaks to that formally. I don’t write many “poem poems”—stand alone poems like these—or at least that doesn’t feel like a primary focus for me. So, perhaps it felt appropriate to arrange them this way, a bunch of islands floating next to each other.

Are there any particular pronounced influences / guiding lights for the poems in this chapbook, or is it just the usual jumble & tangle (also, if so: what IS your usual jumble & tangle)?

In addition to the above, I’d say all of these poems were written from a place of simultaneous wonder and disappointment with the world and with being alive. In both a day-to-day sense and a larger one. There is also a lot of grief in them. And humor. But maybe only I see that.

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