Interview with Annie Martin


What inspired or influenced you to write this piece?

I hope this doesn’t influence the way people interpret this piece- I think the lovely thing about poetry is that every interpretation is true-but it was, initially, written in the middle of a literal breakdown and the foyer of an emotional one. I was driving my car to Massachusetts with my mother when it died on the highway three hours from the Indiana border on I-70, a real ripe nowhere. I wrote parts of the first three sections there, literally on the side of the highway in my phone notes, while we waited for help. The rest of the words kinda foamed, like yeast, until the stench was too strong to ignore.

How would you describe your artistic style? What do you wish to accomplish with your art?

I hope my artistic style emulates the style of artists whose work has really impacted me. I’d love to be compared to writers such as Ocean Vuong, Sheila Heti, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, to name a few. I respect artists who fearlessly approach the messy parts of life, without the expectation of making sense of them. I want to make things that stick with people, but I think maintaining a sense of playfulness, even when exploring really dark and raw places, is essential. If someone who reads what I’ve written walks away with an image, question, or feeling that lingers, I consider it a success. Really good art, I think, makes you think about or see something in a new way.

Tell us a little bit about your current artistic projects.

I’m currently co-writing my first full length screenplay, which is totally out of my comfort zone, but something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m really excited about that. I’m still a student, so I’m also starting work on my senior thesis. It’s a critical and creative project exploring the question of what it means to embody a text. There’s a really cool movement in the literary theory world right now to bring the physical body back into conversation with the way our minds interact with language, and I’d love to be part of that. I think my writing style is currently evolving a lot, and honestly, I don’t know exactly where it’s taking me, but I am excited to find out!

You can read Annie’s second place winning poem, The Breakdown, here.