Farrah Field on Rage, Readings, and Roman


How did you start writing poetry? Have you ever considered writing different genres?

I guess I’ve always sort of written poetry. During undergrad at UC Denver, I took a fiction writing workshop with Jake Adam York. All semester he was cutting up and changing my short stories and I didn’t think much of it. Then I showed him some of my poems and I remember becoming so angry when he suggested changing a comma. He was the one who showed me that poetry is the thing I really care about. Having said that, lately I have been dabbling with a novel and working on some research-y, nonfiction type stuff.

What drives your writing?

Rage. Usually rage. When I write, I think of myself as the Incredible Hulk.

How do you prepare for poetry readings? How do you pick which poems to use? What was it like to have your first reading since your baby’s birth?

For a poetry reading, I pick ten poems. I set aside the poems I read at the previous reading and chose new ones. I change the order greatly from how the poems appear in the book, particularly because order is so important to Wolf and Pilot. Every reading for me is an opportunity for a new way to approach my book and I never tire of it and am always surprised and excited by my work.

Having Roman at readings is really great! The first one, he cried most of the time and that felt like trying to read while being stabbed in the stomach. A long time ago Alice Notley gave a solo reading at the Zinc Bar and I noticed she used “cunt” quite often. While listening to her, I wondered how her children reacted to hearing their mother say cunt or if they even cared or noticed. I really admired that she was up there doing her thing and being in her poetry and being herself without any apology. So I guess I often wonder how Roman will react to my poetry and hearing me read.

How do you think having a child will change your engagement with writing, if at all?

The biggest change for me has been writing poems on my phone versus writing them down on paper. I usually write on paper, but have a hard time doing that one handed, so as I’m going about my day I type lines and notes into my phone. Sometimes I dictate them to Siri. I’d rather write things out on paper, but I’m doing what I can for now. My new poems feel quilted and sort of hodge podge lodge-ish, but it’s a welcome shift.

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