Amy Lawless is the author of the poetry collections My Dead and Broadax, both from Octopus Books. With Chris Cheney, she is the author of the hybrid book I Cry: The Desire to Be Rejected from Pioneer Works Press’ Groundworks Series (2016). A chapbook A Woman Alone was published by Sixth Finch in 2017. Poems have been anthologized in Best American Poetry (a collaboration with Angela Veronica Wong), Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion, and the Brooklyn Poets Anthology. Poems are widely available online and in print. Look for new work coming soon in Action, Spectacle and Gramma. She received a poetry fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2011, and has taught writing workshops at Pioneer Works, Bowery Poetry Club, Poets House, Rutgers University, and other institutions.
Here’s Quick Temper with Amy Lawless—
Why do you write?
I have no other choice.
Who do you hope reads your work?
I hope everyone reads my work. I hope my friends read my work, and I hope people who occasionally like to laugh read my work. I hope writers read my work. I tell my students to read in concert with and against their own taste in order to develop their own aesthetic. If we only read work that is like our own, we will create boring work.
Where does the anger in your work come from? How does it manifest?
To give you a short answer, I think it manifests from the often embarrassing experience of being a woman with a body. Or to live right now. I feel connected to the ways that I feel my own pain.
Angry book recommendations for angry readers?
Futureless Languages by Cynthia Arrieu-King, Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart, King of Pain by Christine Kanownik, The Lawn Is a Social Construction by Ali Power, and Human Achievements by Lauren Hunter.