For this installment of Lyric Essentials, we talk with Denver writer Chris Moore. She reads poems from fellow Denver writer and artist Sommer Browning, and talks about the interconnection of written genres, art, and the experience of hearing poetry aloud. Thank you for reading!
Erica Hoffmeister: Why did you choose to read these two poems from Browning’s second collection Backup Singers for Lyric Essentials?
Chris Moore: I remember the first time I saw Sommer Browning read her work at BookBar in the Highlands area of Denver. She stunned me, shook me, and opened some timeless part of my heart that had been long closed off. I chose to read these two poems because of the way they touch such infinite parts of the human experience—loss, death, connection.
EH: Has Sommer Browning’s poetry impacted you as a nonfiction writer, or writer in general? What is your relationship with her poetry, specifically?
CM: Sommer has absolutely impacted me as a nonfiction writer. Her poetry, like her personality, is deeply philosophical to me and pushes me to take artistic risks in my own work. I think her mind and her work are truly one-of-a-kind, though I’m sure she would argue with me on that. When I want to get a little bit weird or tricky with my work, I look to hers for inspiration.
EH: In your podcast, The Situation and the Story, you discuss process and purpose with writers and poets. How does keeping writing in conversation play into your own writing?
CM: To me, writing is conversation. We are conversing with one another as writers in the current canon, we are conversing with history, with society, with norms and status quo, and either perpetuating that, challenging it, or something else in the middle. In my one-on-one conversations with writers about their processes and their lives, I have gained more insight into my own process and growth as a writer than I ever could in an MFA program or at a writing conference, for example. Though so much of writing is done in isolation, as my recent guest Adrianne Kalfopoulou said, it really is an act of community.
EH: Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to share with readers?
For the past 2.5 years I have been working on my first full-length memoir manuscript, which has consumed most of my writing time. Chunks of it have been published in small indie journals, such as the essays This Is Not a Test in Chapman University’s Anastamos literary journal, On Tuscany’s Operatic Magic in Allegory Ridge Magazine (online), and Peregrination to the Antithetical Sound of a Bird Smashing Into a Window in Hairstreak Butterfly Review. I imagine that’s all anyone will see of it for a long time. The first draft is done and the next couple years will likely be invested in a rewrite.
Sommer Browning is a poet and artist out of Denver, Colorado. She is the author of two poetry collections: Backup Singers (2014) and Either Way I’m Celebrating (2011) both from Birds LLC Publishing, as well as three chapbooks. As an artist, she draws comics and directs and curates the popup art space GEORGIA. Her poems and drawings have appeared in The New York Quarterly, Typo, Octopus, The Stranger, and more.
Chris Moore is an elementary school teacher and poet-turned-essayist residing in downtown Denver. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Mile-High MFA Program at Regis University. Her work has been featured in the 2018 Punch Drunk Press Anthology, South Broadway Ghost Society, Hairstreak Butterfly Review, and Allegory Ridge Magazine, among others. She is host of the feminist literary podcast THE SITUATION & the STORY. She is currently writing and traveling whenever possible.
Listen to Moore’s podcast “The Situation & The Story.“
Read Moore’s genre-defying piece “hungry ghosts” from South Broadway Ghost Society.
Stay up to date with Chris Moore by following her Instagram: @operaticmagic.
Erica Hoffmeister is originally from Southern California and earned an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English from Chapman University. Currently in Denver, she teaches college writing and is an editor for the Denver-based literary journal South Broadway Ghost Society. She is the author of two poetry collections: Lived in Bars (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), and the prize-winning chapbook, Roots Grew Wild (Kingdoms in the Wild Press, 2019). A cross-genre writer, she has several works of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, articles and critical essays published in various outlets. Learn more about her at http://ericahoffmeister.com/