"I Approached the Writing of this [Memoir] Like a Poet..."
An interview with poet and memoirist Maggie Smith.
This is the fifth in a series of behind the scenes video interviews with authors, editors, and others in the field about aspects of publishing personal essays, essay collections, and memoirs. Previously, I’ve interviewed author Abigail Thomas about her latest memoir with tiny Golden Notebook Press; Chloe Caldwell about acting as her own agent, Tajja Isen about the limited value of critical acclaim, publicist Lauren Cerand about aspects of book publicity you can handle yourself.
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For this installment, I’ve interviewed poet and memoiristabout her new memoir, You Could Make this Place Beautiful, which I adored, and could not put down. It’s out this week, and I recommend it highly!
I think of this book as a sort of meta-memoir: At every turn, Smith interrogates her intentions, the way she portrays herself and her ex-husband, and also memoir as a form.
It’s written in fragments, very much like Abigail Thomas’s memoirs, but also with a sort of rhythmic repetition of particular themes, which lends a poetic quality that’s not surprising, given that Smith’s prior books are poetry collections.
You can read an excerpt of the book on The Cut.
Okay, here’s the interview. Hope you enjoy it! - Sari