Wanda Coleman Interview (The Writer’s Chronicle, March/April 2014)

Self read this interview with Wanda Coleman in the latest issue of The Writer’s Chronicle (March/April 2014).  The interviewer was Natasha Sajé, whose latest collection is Vivarium (Tupelo, 2014)

Sajé:  What can’t you do as a writer?

Coleman:  I can do anything.

Sajé:  That’s my sense.  But do you have something you’ve never tried because of some reason?

Coleman:  I’ve never had the time to do everything that I want.  My yearning.

Sajé:  Life gets in the way.

Coleman:  That’s the bullet.

Sajé:  So if someone gave you a MacArthur, more than $500,000 and time.

Coleman:  I’d head straight to Vegas!  I would get a room of my own and live in it and work.  I had a residency at Djerassi Institute in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains — oh, I would highly recommend it.  It was a culture shock because I was coming from an urban environment.  There were all these redwoods.  I’m driving a huge Crown Vic up narrow roads, creeping along terrified.  I burned my brakes out trying to get in there, and I ended up on Neil Young’s ranch by mistake.  I made a wrong turn and had to go around.  I commend writers’ colonies.  And so I would probably structure my life very similarly.  Where I have someone else who’s doing the cooking for a change, doing the dusting and the rearranging.  I would need an assistant to do all this.  I’m terrible as my own secretary.  Secretarial work is competitive with the writing.

Sajé:  But you’re not a flake.

Coleman:  No.  So then I would fulfill a few dreams I have kicking around.  Such as spending more time in Paris — I’d like to go back there.  I’d like to go back to Sydney, Australia — I have some unfinished business there.  Australia’s the last frontier in the western world.  It’s really something.  If you ever get a chance to at least visit, go there.  I like Berlin.  I’d like to go back and actually live there.  My husband speaks German, and I speak some German.  I would like to be there for a while.

Wanda Coleman published more than twenty books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction.  This interview was recorded on Oct. 23, 2008 at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.  Coleman passed away after a long illness on Nov. 22, 2013.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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