My first experience with Amy Watkins’ poetry was the Milk and Water preview “Never Never.” I try to approach every poem I read with a distant objectivity, but there was something about the experiences of the I in this poem that rang out as fact to me. The more I read, the more connected I felt to the poet and her real life beyond the page. Every word felt true.
This is not a common interpretation for me. I’ve studied both nonfiction and poetry extensively, and something that has stuck with me over the years is the rigid objectivity I mentioned previously. I work hard to not impose my own idea of the author speaking each word. I couldn’t avoid it with this poem, though, because of the connection between the speaker (the I), her mother, her daughter, and the rich undercurrent of fear. I came away from each read tenser than the last.
After completing Milk & Water, I had the privilege of asking Amy Watkins about the possible nonfiction elements in her writing directly. She confirmed my original suspicions, but her own words represent her work much better than I ever could. I’m not sure which one of us suggested the idea of recording our interview rather than relying on traditional distant Q & A, but I feel that hearing Amy speak about her poetry in her own voice is its own work of art. I hope that you excuse my nervous laughter and “ums,” and enjoy listening to our conversation about family, locality, and feminist rants.
Amy Watkins grew up with the alligators and armadillos in the Central Florida scrub, the oldest child of a nurse and a carpenter. As a kid, she wanted to be an artist, a doctor, a teacher and a contestant on Star Search; she became a writer instead. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Small Poems, BloodLotus, and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives in Orlando with her husband and only child, Alice.
This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.