Sarah J. Sloat has lived in Germany for many years, where she works as an editor for a news organization. She is usually found at her desk at home or her desk at work; otherwise she is stuck on the subway between them. Sarah’s poems and prose have appeared in The Offing, Beloit Poetry Journal, Verse Daily, and many other journals and anthologies. She blogs occasionally at The Rain in My Purse.
DS: Why do you write poetry?
SS: Because I love language, mostly, and the phrases, juxtapositions and sounds that ask to be made more of. There are words that need fondling, and poor lost little ideas that need a parade. Also, as someone who’s lived in a foreign country for more than two decades, poetry is a way for me to be at home. I come as much from English as from America, but in the case of the former I still dwell there every day.
And also, what is there to do? When you’re charged with making a life and meaning for yourself, what’s better than making art with what confronts you every day? Keeping up with the new TV shows?
DS: What do you hope to find in poems written by other people?
SS: My favorite poems articulate something I know or feel but never found the words for, like Cesar Vallejo’s “Prayer on the Road,” which begins with the arresting ... “I don’t even know who this bitterness is for!”
I like energy and daring and surprise, like the wild red-white-and-blue laughter in Colleen O’Brien’s “In the Democracy.”
I like poems that show me some truth I vaguely sensed but never pursued, whether in thought or articulation, like Marie Howe’s “My Dead Friends.”
“I have begun,
when I’m weary and can’t decide an answer to a bewildering question
to ask my dead friends for their opinion”
I am also in love with funny poems. They do so much work and are difficult to do well. Like Jessy Randall’s “Forgetting Simon Perchik.”
DS: Describe your works in progress.
SS: Like everypoet I could tell you about my manuscript-in-progress. With five chapbooks, I’ve got the poems. But that’s boring.
Poem-wise, I’m working on what I call sentence and fragment poems, some of which have been published recently, like “Inebriate of Air” and “Deluxe Moments.” I’ve always loved aphorisms so such poems satisfy my inner pithiness.
DS: What are your hopes for the future of poetry?
SS: I wish more people would read it. It’s not hard. It’s kind of wonderful. It doesn’t take long.
Or did you mean the future of my poetry? I hope it becomes wildly successful! I hope it lands a multimillion-dollar deal!
Sarah's Work Online:
Heiress to a Small Ruin (Dancing Girl Press)
Inksuite (Dancing Girl Press)
Homebodies (Hyacinth Girl Press)
Excuse me while I wring this long swim out of my hair (Dancing Girl Press)
In the Voice of a Minor Saint (Doubleback Books)