Let Go With The Lights On
Q&A with Lexi Pelle
What is the most difficult part of completing a book?
Seeing my work as a “whole” as opposed to separate, individual poems that live all on their own. Some days it’s daunting and others it's inspiring, usually it’s a mix of both.
Are you inspired by other poets? Who?
This is a non-exhaustive list, but the poets that have had a notable impact on my writing are Jessica Abughattas, Marie Howe, Sara Jean Woods, Jeremy Radin, Rax King, Megan Falley, Jen Campbell, Brendan Constantine, Shira Erlichman, Kim Addonizio, Rita Dove, Alejandra Pizarnik and Mindy Nettifee. All of their work has been permission-giving in some way. Abughattas's collection Strip really challenged the way I thought about blank space and transitions, it also gave me permission to be sarcastic and incorporate humor into my work. Sara Jean Woods gave me permission to explore the surreal as a device that can be as cutting as it is whimsical. Marie Howe taught me how to let a moment speak for itself.
What was your hardest poem to write and why?
There’s a poem I’m currently working on tentatively titled, “She of Theseus”. I’ve been working on it on and off for months now. It’s a narrative poem, but I’ve added some magical / horror elements to it as well. It’s challenging me to write in a way I’m not familiar with, but I’m excited to see what happens with it.
What inspires you outside of poetry?
I’ve recently taken up sculpting which I love, but I’m awful at. It’s fun being a beginner at a craft; it gives me a chance to laugh at myself. I also like that it gets my hands dirty (literally) so I never pick up my phone while I’m doing it.
Any tips for hopeful first-time authors?
Reread! Rereading has its own, unique kind of magic that's often overlooked. There’s an intimacy to rereading that’s essential to engaging with a book more deeply. Once the element of surprise is stripped away, what happens? What did I miss the first time around and why?
Also, annotate! If you are a writer and you think writing in your books makes them less– less pristine or less holy– yikes! You are allowed to love books with your whole messy heart. I have so much love for 2019-Lexi who wrote in Birthday Girl With Possum, “I have no idea what this means, but I love it!”