Meet Heidi Czerwiec.
She is a poet, essayist, translator, and critic who teaches at the University of North Dakota, where she is the poetry editor of North Dakota Quarterly. She is the author of two recent poetry collections – Self-Portrait as Bettie Page and A Is For A-ké, The Chinese Monster – and the forthcoming lyric essay sequence Sweet/Crude: A Bakken Boom Cycle, and the editor of North Dakota Is Everywhere: An Anthology of Contemporary North Dakota Poets.
She graciously shared some writing insights with the Red River Valley Writing Project.
Why do you write?
To figure out what I think about something. It’s how I try to make sense of the world, to create some momentary sense of order. And because it gives me pleasure!
Who currently inspires you?
The work of Maggie Nelson – the writing in Bluets is gorgeous, but the ideas she pursues in The Argonauts blew my mind every few pages. Also how Lee Ann Roripaugh manages to constantly reinvent her work, pushing new boundaries – her Dandarians is exquisite.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Mothers, Tell Your Daughters – she writes such perfect short stories, but in this collection, she includes some great flash fiction. I keep rereading Sara Eliza Johnson’s debut poetry book Teratology. And I have a stack of poetry chapbooks and books by women that I’m reviewing.
What advice do you have for writing teachers?
I think that, in addition to teaching good writing, we need to teach good writing habits – getting your butt in the seat and writing regularly, creating and supporting a writing community by attending readings, buying books, and sharing your own writing.
What genres do you write? Which is your favorite? Why?
I write poetry and nonfiction and all the hybrids on the spectrum between the two. My favorite is whatever I’m not writing at the moment!
Thank you Heidi for sharing a part of your writing world with us!