This spring Sycamore Review will publish interviews with two poets, Eleanor Wilner and Ted Kooser, in addition to nonfiction writer and novelist Benjamin Percy. I, for one, am chomping at the bit.
Editing interviews is in some ways the most exhilarating part of my job as Nonfiction Editor at SR, because it means getting first glance at the raw thoughts of writing giants. I’ve just finished a first round of edits on the Kooser interview, with abundant help from Sycamore Review’s old Poetry Editor, David Blomenberg, who caught up with the former-Poet Laureate way out in Seward, Nebraska. (Dave would say, “it’s a long story, folks”).
Here’s a taste of their honest chat:
DB: Many writers—maybe you’ve run into this with students in your program—are terrified of getting out in the working world and trying to juggle where the writing goes: not wanting to get into a job that sucks the soul right out of you.
Ted Kooser: You know what I think is the bigger fear? I think it’s the fear of losing elite status.
There’s something about being in the academic world that has an elitism to it. I say that because I’ve been closely observing one of my former graduate students, a talented woman—talented with social skills and management skills (likely she’ll be the president of a college one day)—when she got her PhD with a creative writing emphasis but did not get the kind of job she wanted, she was thinking of going back into business, where she’d been before. What I think kept her at the university was the fact that people in the academic world think of themselves as a cut above ordinary people…
Wow….well, there’s something to think about.
Stay tuned for more highlights. Full interviews will appear online or in SR’s upcoming issue (22.2). Should get interesting!