#AWP17 Featured Presenter Q&A with Tim Seibles

AWP | December 2016

Event Title: A Reading & Conversation with Aracelis Girmay, Tim Seibles, and Danez Smith, Sponsored by BOA Editions and Split This Rock
Description: Split This Rock and BOA Editions are proud to present three of the most vital poets writing and publishing in the US today. Representing three generations and writing in a stunning variety of poetic styles, the poets presented here take on the big questions with verve, power, and beauty: race and identity, our bloody history and its unrelenting legacy, the erotic as liberation and muse.
Participants: Sarah Browning, Aracelis Girmay, Tim Seibles, Danez Smith
Location: Ballroom C, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Three
Date & Time: Saturday, February 11, 1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong and Olio by Tyehimba Jess.

Q: Has public funding for the arts made a difference in your life and career as a writer?
A: Yes, I received an NEA grant early in my career, and it was a huge financial help and affirmation for my work.

Q: When AWP was founded in 1967, there were a dozen creative writing programs. Now there are approximately 1,800 undergraduate and graduate programs. What do you think has changed for readers and writers since creative writing became ascendant as an academic discipline?
A: I believe MFA programs not only produce a wide variety of writers but also increase the population of excellent readers!

Q: What advice can you offer to writers who must navigate between the solitude of artistic work and our nation’s politics and culture at this moment?
A: Don’t be afraid to write what you see. Part of a writer’s obligation is to be articulate in difficult socio-political circumstances.

Q: If you’ve been to Washington, DC, what places do you recommend our attendees visit? 
A: By all means, visit the Museum of African Art, the Women’s Museum, and the Smithsonian.

Q: If you could run into any author, contemporary or historical, at #AWP17, who would it be and what would you talk about?
A: I would like to sit down with Frederick Douglass and/or Pablo Neruda. I would ask them about their lives as writers under extremely trying socio-political circumstances.


Tim Seibles Tim Seibles is the author of several collections of poetry, including Hammerlock, Buffalo Head Solos, and most recently, Fast Animal, which was nominated for a National Book Award in 2012. He is a professor of English at Old Dominion University and visiting faculty for the Stonecoast MFA program.

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