To talk about myself is to talk about the ghosts who inhabit me: Stevens, Šalamun, Plath, Pizarnik, a whole host of Surrealists; and the living ghosts: Prado, Kocot, Brock-Broido, Bly. The small I that remains is of little consequence, loves cats, communes with trees, may once have been a tree, performs food alchemy, writes poems with or without the help of ghosts (though better with the ghosts).
My poetic obsession is the universal obsession—death—the biggest Unknown in the vault of unknowns. Death is the foil against which we design our lives, what drives us to do what we do. If not for death I do not know that I would write poetry. There would not be so much urgency to do so. Writing does not grant you immortality, but it allows you to converse intimately with both the living and the dead, to speak in a way that is natural to oneself, not in the way we are instructed to speak.
The most important thing that being a poet has brought me, aside from mental solace, is a community of Others who understand exactly what I mean when I say poetry is magic, and need no further explanation.
Julie Howd is a Massachusetts native and holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Texas at Austin. She won the 2015 Roy Crane Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Creative Arts, and has received fellowships from the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and the James A. Michener Center for Writers. Currently, she lives and writes in Austin, teaching community classes through the public library. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Texas’s Best Emerging Poets, Sixth Finch,Inter|rupture, Forklift, Ohio, and elsewhere
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