Author’s Bio: Matilda Young (she/they) is a poet with an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Maryland. She has been published in several journals, including Anatolios Magazine, Angel City Review, and Entropy Magazine’s Blackcackle. She enjoys Edgar Allan Poe jokes, not being in her apartment, and being obnoxious about the benefits of stovetop popcorn.

Deliah Lawrence: What inspired you to write your book?

Matilda Young: This spring, I was selected as one of Yellow Arrow’s 2022 Writers in Residence. I had the privilege of collaborating with three amazing writers and the great team at Yellow Arrow. The chapbook came together around the theme of Catrice Greer’s fabulous poem “I Want to Love You, Baltimore.” I think of our book as a complicated love letter to a complicated, lovely city. I’ve learned so much from Catrice, Arao, and Amy. It was such a joy to be part of this true fellowship of writers, and I am so grateful to Yellow Arrow for the opportunity. 

DL: How do you handle writer’s block?

MY: I have a couple of tactics. One of my favorites is to do a poetry marathon. Inspired by Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project, I write a poem a day in April. Since 2020, I’ve been inviting other poets and writers to join me. I encourage folks to share the opportunity with their friends, so I’ve gotten to write alongside poets and writers I’ve never met before. I share a brief prompt for each day, and we all share what we write each day in a giant, sprawling series of google docs. The time pressure helps me be generative, and I get so inspired and fired up by my collaborators

DL: What was the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

MY: My favorite writing advice comes from one of my favorite poems,“Berryman,” by W.S. Merwin. The young poet asks how you can know if anything you write is ever good. And Berryman responds, “you can’t you can never be sure / you die without knowing / whether anything you wrote was any good if you have to be sure don’t write.” I find this ultimately really liberating. It reminds me to focus on the process and the joy I find in writing and letting go of expectations – mine and other people’s. 

DL: If you were hosting a dinner party which three authors would be your dream guests and why?

MY: I’d love to sit down with Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil. I admire them both as individual writers, and they wrote a wonderful collaborative chapbook about their gardens. I want to hear about their process, what they’re writing now, and what they’re growing. I will cheat and say I’d invite two other poets I know to join us, Sara Burnett and Rachel Carstens, who are my first readers, my writing cheerleaders, and wonderful gardener poets themselves. 

DL: What tips would you give to aspiring writers?

MY: Don’t get discouraged by rejection when you start sending stuff out. It will likely happen a lot. I like the “try to get 100 rejections in a year” goal which some brilliant person on the Internet suggested. If you need to take a break from sending stuff out for a bit, that’s totally fine! But don’t get daunted or deterred. Just keep doing great work and sharing it with the world.  

DL: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

MY: I love rock climbing, going on walks with friends, baking, and dancing. I love seeing people perform, and I love performing as well. What keeps me going is the connections I have with friends and family and my broader communities. 

DL: What are three things you can’t live without?

MY: Good company, good books, and good cheese. 

DL: Would you like to share an excerpt from I (want) to love you, Baltimore?

MY: Sure, here you go: 

Kintsugi 

At an exhibit on Kyoto at the Met, 

My young friend Alice told me

how artists will take broken

shards of porcelain, misfired,

fractured by table corners

and wrong footedness, and make

them whole again with lacquer

mixed with heated lines of gold. 


Who am I then – in the story where 

I stayed, commuting nowhere, 

Baltimore with a window that opens 

in grudging inches, aches that never go 

away in that bad ankle on a cold hard 

Tuesday at 3 am. Across from a parking 

lot where the tow truck’s lights gleam

in steady patterns, ambulances’ 

visitations, still unfixed, cypresses

baring themselves to December, 

cartilage clacking in the cold. 

 

At the Met, the gleaming stag stood 

before us at the heart of the exhibit,

transformed into a messenger

whose element was mirrors, rows 

of ornaments impossibly lit within.

I wanted to run my hands 

over the glass. I wanted to be 

the person who believed in repair, 

clean breakages.  

DL: What new projects are you currently working on? 

MY: I’m currently working on a chapbook called Women and Other Monsters. I love writing persona poems, and I’ve written a lot from the perspective of women monsters, villains, and anti-heroes. In these poems, I get to be someone else for a bit. And I get to explore ideas around myth, gender, queerness, history and more. 

DL: Where can readers learn more about you and purchase your book(s)?

MY: Readers can get more information here:

Website: https://www.yellowarrowpublishing.com/store/love-you-baltimore-wir-2022-paperback 

DL: Thanks so much for being here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

MY: Thanks so much! Greatly appreciate the opportunity!


 

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Originally Published on https://vocalexpressions.blogspot.com

Deliah Lawrence Attorney, Author, Blogger, Workshop Facilitator

Deliah Lawrence is a Maryland-based attorney and award-winning author of two romantic suspense novels (Gotta Let It Go and Gotta Get It Back) set in Baltimore. She’s also a blogger and workshop facilitator who writes poetry and short stories.

When Deliah isn’t writing, you can find her reading a book, indulging in her addiction to investigation discovery shows; or painting her yet-to-be exhibited oil artworks of landscapes, portraits or whatever else comes to her creative mind. Constantly on the go, she is also a member of the Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland and Sisters in Crime.

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