This week is Book Blogger Appreciation Week and I participated in the interview swap with another book blogger, Lu from Regular Rumination. She has a wonderful blog and we are fans of some of the same authors, including U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway.
Here’s more about Lu:
1: Why did you start blogging? What made you decide to focus on books?
I originally started blogging in the fall of 2008, with a craft blog that went absolutely no where, because I didn’t do any crafts. I was a college sophomore and when I was home for Christmas break, I found I didn’t have anything to read. So I got online to find something to check out from the library. That was when I discovered my first book blog.
It was love at first sight! I knew immediately that the reason my blog was floundering was because I desperately wanted a space of my own on the internet, but I was focusing on the wrong thing. Clearly, book bloggers were my people. I focused on books because books were, and are, my life. The written word is what keeps me going.
2: I noticed a couple of long-term projects on your blog, particularly the Poetry Project. Would you tell me more about the Poetry Project and why you’re participating?
I co-founded The Poetry Project with another blogger, Kelly from The Written World. Kelly was interested in reading more poetry and I was interested in blogging more about poetry. The goal of the Project is really up to the participant: you can make it about reading more poetry, blogging about more poetry, or just finding other poetry-readers to connect with. I think the Project has been successful on all three fronts. Kelly and I are blogging about poetry up to 5 or 6 times a month now and I myself have been reading more and more to keep up. I think what really made this an interesting partnership for Kelly and I is that we are approaching this from two very different places. Kelly doesn’t have much experience with poetry and wants to read as much as she can. I have a lot of experience both with writing, reading and reviewing poetry, but I wanted to make it a more important part of my blog and my life. Because of this, I think anyone can feel comfortable joining the project, whether you’ve never written about poetry or you write about poetry on your blog every day.
At the end of the month, Kelly and I are committed to including a round up of every single link people have sent in. That way, even if you’re not participating, you can visit the blogs and see what people are reading and writing about. It’s also really simple to join in: the only requirement is one post a month. You can join along with our monthly theme, or you can totally do your own thing. It’s very flexible, and that was important to me. I know that I don’t tend to participate in challenges, events or projects if they aren’t flexible. We’ve really found a small community of poetry readers and it’s been an amazing experience. I hope to continue the Poetry Project for a long time.
(If you want to include this in the post, here’s the link to the first Poetry Project post: http://regularrumination.com/2012/07/04/announcing-the-poetry-project/, and also a link to all the posts on my blog tagged Poetry Project: http://regularrumination.com/tag/poetry-project/)
3: Since 2008 when you started your blog, what has been the biggest motivator for you to continue?
The biggest motivator for me to continue blogging are the people I have met. I consider so many of my fellow bloggers to be my friends and I have even met a few in real life. On some level, I suppose blogging would be good writing practice without the conversation, but it would be a very solitary experience. The people I have met have helped me when life was hard, they have motivated me, they have made me laugh, and made me feel less alone when it comes to my nerdy passions.
4: If you could achieve one big accomplishment on or through your blog by the end of 2013, what would it be?
I would really like to be more consistent with posting, but I would just be very proud and happy if the Poetry Project continues to grow throughout 2013.
5: I noticed on your About page that you work for a publishing company. How does your blogging influence your understanding of the industry or the converse; how does your work in publishing affect your blog?
That’s an interesting question, and I’m afraid, I have a very long-winded answer.
First, I wouldn’t be working in publishing if it weren’t for my blog. I was supposed to finish graduate school and get a PhD and become a professor in Spanish Literature, but during my second year of my MA, I got a publishing internship with FridayReads. That lead to another publishing internship and then, when my boyfriend and I moved to NY, that lead to a job. But I don’t do very much in publishing that is in any way related to blogging or social media. It is really important to me to keep the blog entirely separate from my job. I don’t review any of the books that we publish or any books that we are affiliated with, even though I would like to. It’s hard, because we publish some of my favorite books. They were my favorites before I even started working here, but ethically I don’t feel comfortable publishing reviews of books I’m also actively trying to sell.
I have also found that I don’t really want to spend a lot of time talking about the actual publishing process on my blog. It’s not that it doesn’t interest me, it does, and there are book blogs that successfully incorporate that kind of post on their blog, but I spend so much time “in the industry” so to speak that my blog is really just a place for me to talk about the books and poems that I love and the ones that I don’t. My blog has never been solely focused on books, either. It’s been a combination of a personal blog and a crafting blog and a book site. I don’t even review books as much anymore, because sometimes that feels too much like work. I just want to talk about words and reading and life.
I think if you take a look at my blog and you trace back to when I got my job in publishing, you’ll see a very subtle shift. My blog changed slightly and I’m very happy with the changes. It wasn’t deliberate and it was very gradual, but I think my blog more accurately reflects who I am and what I want my blog to look like. It’s no longer just review after review, but post after post that really reflect what I care about.
6: Who is your favorite poet? How is your favorite living novelist?
I have a few favorite poets that I always list: Natasha Trethewey, Yusef Komunyakaa, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ted Kooser, Derek Walcott and Naomi Shihab Nye. I apologize for that lengthy list, but I can never just pick one and my favorite seems to change every day. As for my favorite living novelist… that question is difficult! This is one that has changed dramatically over the years. At one point I would have said Stephen King, another Audrey Niffenegger, another Haruki Murakami, but now, I’m not so sure. I rarely read books by the same author twice. It’s strange, I know, but there are few authors that I have read multiple books by. I guess, let’s go with Tim O’Brien, because I have seen him speak and he brought tears to my eyes and The Things They Carried is one of my favorite books.