Shira Dentz [photo credit: Ellen Maddick] is the author of three full-length books, black seeds on a white dish (Shearsman), door of thin skins (CavanKerry), and how do i net thee (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming, 2018), and two chapbooks, Leaf Weather (Shearsman), and FLOUNDERS (Essay Press). Her books have been reviewed in many venues including American Book Review, Rain Taxi, and Boston Review, and interviews with her have appeared in journals including Ploughshares, The Rumpus, and OmniVerse.
Her writing has appeared widely in journals including Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, New American Writing, Entropy, Brooklyn Rail, andWestern Humanities Review, and featured at The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, NPR, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Memorial Awards, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers‘ Workshop, she has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Utah. Shira was Drunken Boat‘s Reviews Editor from 2011-2016, and is now Special Features Editor at Tarpaulin Sky, and teaches creative writing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. More about her writing can be found at shiradentz.com.
1 – How did your first book or chapbook change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
I don’t know that the publication of my first book changed my life, except that I certainly was no longer eligible to submit to first book poetry contests. As Francis Picabia wrote, “our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction.”
2 – How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
I’m not sure that I came to poetry first, or even that it came to me first. When I was seven, I made a pact to try to be a writer, and when I became a teenager, I decided it was time to start work on this (even in my imagination there was a felt time for initiation?). My first piece happened to be a poem in response to a poem that I felt angry at in Seventeen magazine. This being said, most of my life I referred to myself as a writer, not a poet, as I didn’t really differentiate // there’s poetry in all genres. In fact, I practiced as a visual artist too and “artist” is a term that I still go back and forth with. Now that I write a lot of hybrid stuff, I say that I’m “mostly a poet”—go figure. [Read more…]