Our Spotlight series introduces you to the people behind Perennial Press. In this post, we hear from force / fields contributor and incredible poet Alex Howe. Howe talks to us about Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger, creativity during quarantine, a favorite writing prompt, and their most recent literary rejection.
What book are you reading right now?
Right now, I’m reading Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger, and I’m already absolutely in love with it. It was a requested birthday present from my parents on the recommendation of Leena Norms, a YouTuber whose book opinions have yet to steer me wrong. It’s part recipe book, and part memoir/self-help, and most importantly, it’s perfectly unpretentious. It feels odd sometimes to sit and read through a recipe book, but this is more than that, and it gives me hope.
How do you stay creative during quarantine?
Stop trying so much! Lockdown was the worst for me when I was focusing on all of the impressive feats I should be achieving in the time I’d been given, instead of cutting myself some slack. Quarantine has been a hell of a ride, and I definitely needed to know to start with the basic admin of life, look after yourself and the creativity will come. It always does.
What is a writing prompt that works for you?
A few years ago now, I was the VP of my university’s Creative Writing Society, so regularly found myself in piles of prompts from different workshops, which is an element I definitely miss. One of my favourites has always been taking a gendered myth, fabled character, or trope and spinning it on its head. Think a benevolent Father Nature, a female Zeus or Bigfoot, the ‘man of the house’ or ‘housewife’ in a queer home that contains neither, a gender-less ‘boyband’. The possibilities are almost endless.
When was your most recent rejection? What was it for?
My most recent rejection was for a few poems I sent into a literary magazine last summer. I was hoping the delay in reply was a good sign, but seeing as they rejected them all last week, it’s safe to say I was wrong! I can’t pretend I’m not just glad to have got an eventual reply.
Leave us with your favorite poem.
There are far too many, of course, but it’s got to be In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver. Gets me every time.
Keep up with Alex on their Instagram, @alexhowewrites.