Sunday, October 11, 2015

Aesthetic Conversation with Poet Terri Witek

The 2015 Other Words Literary Conference is less than a month away and as always, we're excited to bring talented writers to St. Augustine. Our workshop faculty are not only recognized in their fields, but are passionate about their craft. We are interested in creating a dialogue with our writers-- to learn more about their personal writing approaches and creative methods. Our first interview was with poet and Stetson English professor Terri Witek. We inquired about her favorite themes and how art (and other visual elements) impacts her poetry and artistic expression. Her meditations are below:

"I believe in the poem as a way of simultaneously seeing and moving. What are the limits of language? Can we, by writing things down, make them vanish? These may be the deeper subjects—what I’m probably usually writing about is love and its overlaps, lapses and betrayals. Though perhaps this is for readers to say---I was astonished to be called  a “water poet” recently, for example (seems right, though I never would have said this).  Poems don’t start with a theme for me—it’s more often a situation--a piece of language plus something I see-- that gets me going.  And  I only seem to be interested in things I don’t quite understand.  

Other art forms offer different mysteries for writers to walk with. I love to workshop in museums for the instant challenge of cross-arts vitality--at the Crisp-Ellert, the whole workshop is set alight by Julie Dickover’s well-curated contemporary shows. A pleasure to watch writers catch and burn there during Other Words. This kind of magic I don’t examine too closely. But believe in so strongly I continue to return. And in January it becomes official, as my university (Stetson) begins a new low-residency MFA of the Americas, where I’ll team teach Poetry in the Expanded Field with visual artist Cyriaco Lopes."

Witek's poetry workshop will be held from 11:45-1pm on Saturday, November 7th in the Crisp-Ellert Museum. It's not too late to sign up! Check out FLAC registration for more information.

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