Friday, July 15, 2011

Somerville Poet Julia Story: A Writer with 'Moxie'

Somerville Poet Julia Story: A Writer with "Moxie”

By Doug Holder

Somerville poet Julia Story walked into the Sherman Café to meet with yours truly on a hot July morning. She looked like a poet. Tall and willowy, long, blondish hair with the requisite tattoo on her naked shoulder—she had all the trappings. One could imagine her burning the midnight oil in some Somerville garret, or playing the role of the hip teacher leading a seminar at some MFA program. I say Story has “Moxie” because her first collection of poetry is titled “Post Moxie,” and because she also has courage. It takes guts to live the life of a writer: all the uncertainty, the hustling for jobs, publishing or perishing, and all that sort of rot.

Story, like many Somerville artists, poets, etc… I have interviewed is a transplant. She hails from Indiana, and later got her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Hampshire. Her adviser was the much lauded poet Charles Simic.

Story is a friend of the former Somerville Poet Heather Madden (Who defected to Providence, RI), who I had the pleasure to interview a few years back. Story heard about the artistic vibe in Somerville from Madden as well as others. She now lives in the Winter Hill Section of the city.

Like many a poet and writer of my acquaintance she works and has worked at a number of jobs to pay the bills. She has been employed by a non-profit, taught high school, tutored, and was a reader for the prestigious Emerson College–based lit mag “Ploughshares.” She loves teaching creative writing—but most of all she likes to have time for her own work.

I asked Story about her first publication credits. She recalled being published by the “Painted Bride" lit mag in 2000, which at the time was solely online. Online was not in vogue 10 years or so ago—-so her excitement was a bit dampened by that. Story said "Today there would be no problem with an online magazine; they are well-accepted in the literary community. My first published work (In print) was in the “Iowa Review” which I was really thrilled with.”

Story’s first collection of poetry “Post Moxie” was the recipient of Sarabande Books 2009 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the 2010 John C. Zacharis First Book Award. Her work has appeared in “Ploughshares,” “The Paris Review,” “Octopus,” “Salt Hill” and others.

Story conceives her poems within the context of a series. She never has a preconceived plan when she writes a poem—the ideas seem to come to her, and she goes with the flow. Story retains a good measure of childhood innocence in her work despite being in her late 30’s. She feels it is necessary for a poet view the world with fresh eyes.

Story told me her next collection in progress is titled “Red Town.” She is using the concept of a town as an organizing principle for her work ,and perhaps one day she will use “Our Town” (Excuse me Mr. Wilder) for new inspiration for a new book.


Its Plastic Light"

I make the travel plans. When two ghosts
cross each other, a sky is born. Two
skies try to exist together, one in the
background while the other takes the
credit. Or one underneath the other,
coiled like the furnace in a pretend
hideout, waiting until it can be something
else. The birds honking or in silent lines.
This sound steadfast as a face.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Story All rights reserved
from Post Moxie
Sarabande Books

No comments:

Post a Comment