This week, we’re interviewing Morgan Christie, whose newest book of poems, Sterling, came out in May.
Thanks for agreeing to an interview, Morgan. Can you share with us what the heart of Sterling is about for you?
Thanks for having me, Sarah. Simply put, at its heart, Sterling is a love letter to an unborn child. It’s a reason, a choice, a truth, and a reality so many face but don’t discuss.
What inspired this collection of poems? Was there one poem specifically that sparked the rest of the book or did you always imagine it as a set?
The title poem, Sterling, sparked the collection – I wasn’t aware it’d become a set. In the poem, a narrative slant begins where the poet is listening to another poet discuss their soon to be born son. The concept sparked both an intrigue and outrage, a beauty and ugliness in the concept of bringing life into the world and how it stirred such different emotions from both women.
Race, politics and cultural issues play a significant role in your writing. Do you find that these heavy themes naturally appear or are they something you incorporate intentionally?
None of these theme feel heavy. They simply exist as all themes do. So I suppose they appear as naturally as anything in the writing process does, which also means they’re intentional. Just existing is a racial, political, and cultural statement, that’s reflected in the writing as all things are.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Far too many things to name, Sarah… A good book, show/movie, long walk or workout, the list goes on. If you mean ‘literal’ writing kryptonite, probably the overwrite.
Which poem in the collection was the most difficult for you, and why?
‘almost uncle’ – because of the personal nature of the piece. Where I wasn’t just sharing my history, but that of linage and people I deeply care for. In writing almost uncle I shared multiple people’s layering, and it added a lot more weight.
What are your favorite literary journals?
I find it nearly impossible to choose favorites, but I have been reading (and thoroughly enjoying) Kweli, Room, and the Hawaiʻi Review!
What was the first book that made you cry?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull – which was also the first novel I read cover to cover as a kid.
Your book was published through a small press, CW Books. What brought you to the decision to seek a small press and would you recommend it to other poets and writers?
It was more about seeking a press, not a small indie or large commercial, just the right home for the collection. I believe that concept should be adopted by all of us in the field. It’s about the poetry and the hands they’ll end up in after they’re out of yours. Whether it’s a big or small press, just being sure your editors care about what you’ve created and want to see it in the world, like you do.
What other advice do you have for poets, and other writers, who are aspiring to become published?
Just keep at it, it’s a long, tediously grueling process. Keeping writing, keep honing, and keep sending out.
What is your favorite book to recommend to others?
Sarah, there are too many! I can’t name anything specific, but will say, if a book blurb or summary resonates with you in anyway, or lingers, even for a second. Read it. There’s too much tangibility in literature to wonder, so don’t.
Again, thanks for having me!