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As part of the Poetry and Literature Center’s 75th Anniversary, this new series features emerging and established literary writers in a dynamic and thought-provoking conversation.

Anne McLean

“We’re Rewriting a Work of Art”: An Interview with Anne McLean

Anne McLean studied history in London, Ontario and literary translation in London, England. After a decade and a half in the UK, she now lives in Toronto, where she translates Latin American and Spanish novels, short stories, memoirs and other writings by many authors including Héctor Abad, Isabel Allende, Julio Cortázar, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, and Enrique Vila-Matas. In 2004, the first of five books she’s translated by Javier Cercas, Soldiers of Salamis, was awarded both the Premio Valle Inclán and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. In 2009, two of her translations of Colombian novels – The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez and The Armies by Evelio Rosero – were short-listed for the latter prize, which Rosero’s book went on to win. She was awarded the Cruz de Oficial of the Order of Civil Merit in 2012 in recognition of her contribution to making Spanish literature known to a wider public. In June 2014, her translation of The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Read McLean's interview

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

“Room Enough to Say What I Mean”: An Interview with Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is the author of Open Interval, a 2009 National Book Award finalist, and Black Swan, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, a chapbook in collaboration with Elizabeth Alexander. Her work has appeared in such journals as African American Review, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, and Shenandoah, and in the anthologies Bum Rush the Page, Role Call, Common Wealth, Gathering Ground, and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. She is currently at work on a third collection, The Coal Tar Colors.

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Terrance Hayes

“Of Headspace and Fire”: An Interview with Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes is the author of four collections of poetry, including Lighthead (2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry. His many honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, three Best American Poetry selections, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Hayes is a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and lives in Pittsburgh with his family.

Read Hayes's interview

Cynthia Levinson

Author Cynthia Levinson on "The 1963 Birmingham Children's March"

Cynthia Y. Levinson is the author of several articles and short fiction pieces for young readers.  We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March is her first nonfiction book for young readers and has received many awards including the IRA Young Adult Nonfiction Award, a Parents' Choice Gold Medal, and was selected as an American Library Association Notable Book. It was also included in the children's bibliography for the "A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington" exhibit of the Library of Congress (8/28/13-3/1/14).  Levinsongraduated with her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Her nonfiction works for young people have been published in several children’s magazines, including “AppleSeeds,” “Calliope,” and “Cobblestone.”  Although she specializes in nonfiction, her short fiction has also been accepted by acclaimed children’s magazines and readers.  In 2002 Levinson’s picture book manuscript, “Mr. Bellow Lost His Cello,” won Byline Magazine’s national picture book competition. 

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Paisley Rekdel

“Of Perspective and Perception”: An Interview with Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal is the author of four books of poetry, including Animal Eye, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, Six Girls Without Pants, and A Crash of Rhinos. She is also the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee, and the hybrid memoir Intimate. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Fulbright Fellowship, and her poems have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, and Poetry. She is currently a Professor of English at the University of Utah. Photo credit: Tommy Chandler.

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Karen Russell

Karen Russell on the Fantastic World of Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Karen Russell is the author of two short story collections, Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, and one novel, Swamplandia!. She has been chosen by the National Book Award’s as one of 5 Under 35 and The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list, and Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. She lives in New York City and is currently writer-in-residence at Bard College. Photo by Michael Lionstar.

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Araceles Girmay

“How do you go about finding the heart?”: Aracelis Girmay on Poetry, Discovery, and Grief

Aracelis Girmay is the author of two collections of poetry including Kingdom Animalia and Teeth, as well as the collage-based picture book, changing, changing. Her honors include the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and a fellowship from Cave Canem. She has taught youth poetry workshops with Community~Word and DreamYard, and she currently teaches poetry at Hampshire College and in Drew University's low-residency MFA program.

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Justin Torres

“The Way You Tell the Story”: Justin Torres on Writing

Justin Torres’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Glimmer Train and other publications. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a recipient of the Rolón United States Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. He has worked as a farmhand, a dog-walker, a creative writing teacher and a bookseller. His debut novel We the Animals is a semiautobiographical story of three brothers, and was released in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Photo by Gregory Crowley.

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Walt Whitman

Poet Joshua Beckman on Walt Whitman and Influence

Joshua Beckman was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the author of ten books of poetry, three books of poems in translation, and two collaborative works with Mathew Rohrer. Beckman serves as an editor for Wave Press. His many honors include a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as a Pushcart Prize. His most recent work Porch Light, released in 2012, is a limited edition collaboration with Jon Beacham published by The Brother in Elysium Letterpress.

Read Beckman's essay and interview