Tuesday, September 24, 2013

5 Questions with Claudia Burbank

Claudia will read a selection of her poems on October 3, 2013 at 7:30pm as part of the NJ Literary Artists Fellowship Showcase.

The reading will take place at
in the Chase Room
of the Madison Public Library
39 Keep Street
Madison, NJ 07940

Click here for directions

There is a suggested donation of $10. All tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the readings. No advanced ticket sales.

Claudia Burbank was born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Chester Township, New Jersey. She is a graduate of Vassar College and pursued her MBA at New York University. After retiring from AT&T she took up writing poetry. She studied for some years with Lucie Brock-Broido, director of Columbia's MFA program in Poetry, as well as Ellen Bryant Voigt, Kimiko Hahn, and Brenda Shaughnessy among others. In recent years her focus has shifted to fiction where she is represented by Jenni Ferrari-Adler at Union Literary Agency.

Claudia's honors include the Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award, Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Jentel Artist Residency, the Inkwell Prize (judged by Alice Quinn, then Poetry Editor at The New Yorker), and several Pushcart Prize nominations. She is the author of The Pleasant Grove Home for Men, Finalist for the the Brittingham Prize, the Kinereth Gensler Award and the Center for Book Arts competition. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily, Best American Poetry, and Poets & Writers websites, and was selected by Matthew Dickman for Best New Poets. Her poetry and fiction appear widely in such journals as The Antioch Review, Washington Square Review, Prairie Schooner, upstreet, Subtropics, and Cream City Review.

1. After you retired from AT&T, you decide to write poetry. What made you decide to write in this form?
I had written poetry as a child and had always wanted to return to it to see where it might take me. I've always loved the music, sound, and rhythm of poetry, and the challenge of distilling raw emotion and energy into a few lines that, if done well, bring you to your knees. 

2. In recent years, you have shifted your focus to fiction. Why the change? There are things I'd like to explore which require a different form than poetry. Being able to expand into character, dialogue, plot, and action has been exhilarating..

You described your poetry as seeming to come from an alternate universe, one that's both familiar and strange at the same time. At times fantastical, at times apocalyptic, they often convey a sense of
loss, of something un-nameable that can't be recovered. What do you think drives you to write from this perspective?
That's just how things occur to me--it's not a conscious choice. Like being permanently baffled and constantly trying to make sense of things.

4. Do you see yourself exploring other avenues of writing in the future? For instance, playwriting or screenwriting?
Yes! But I tend to be single-minded. Different forms require different sets of skills which require time and hard work to develop. At least for me.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?
Right where I am. My priority, especially as I've gotten older, is to be close to family and friends. And make new ones, of course.
To learn more about Claudia, visit our website.

You can also find additional information on our website about the Literary Artist Fellowship program.

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