6 Things With... Rachael Crosbie author of "Self-Portrait as Poems about Bad Poetry"
"Self-Portrait as Poems about Bad Poetry" is an ars poetica/meta poetry chapbook that dives into early 2000s nostalgia and young trauma.
Rachael Crosbie (they/them) is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of the winnow magazine. They have a BA in English Literature and an MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media. Rachael has two poetry chapbooks with ELJ Editions, Ltd.: swerve and MIXTAPES. Their next work of poetry, Trick Mirror or Your Computer Screen, is forthcoming with fifth wheel press.
Rachael, thank you for chatting to us today! Can you tell us some more about your chapbook? For example, what are six things that went into the writing of this book?
Early 2000s nostalgia such as mood rings, Webkinz, Disney movies, early
internet stranger danger, and more; replaying through Neopets; a lot of
late nights with my cat, Peanut, who encouraged me to give her treats instead
of focusing on the manuscript; a lot of frankensteined old drafts I had lying
around; lots of inspiration from Gaia Rajan’s poetry; and perseverance.
What are five things you need to get some writing done?
The illusion of focus is an absolute must. If I’m not convinced I have nothing else
to do but write, I won’t be able to write at all. Music--usually. When I wrote BAD
POEMS, I listened to a lot of late 90s and early 2000’s hits, such as Everytime by Britney Spears and Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid’s soundtrack, but I only listened to music to get me into the writing zone. Once I was there, the music became a distraction. As for a third thing, I need my resources open and available, such as old drafts, word lists, and internet resources such as a thesaurus and rhyming generator. Those materials at my disposal helped a lot with BAD POEMS, which is very much a DIY poetry chapbook since so many poems were drafts from when I was a teenager. Like a Sim, my needs must be met or else I cannot complete a hobby-like task. So, if I’m tired, I need to sleep first. All meters must be full! (While there isn’t a poem dedicated to The Sims in this chapbook, there will be one in Trick Mirror or Your Computer Screen….) Finally, the last thing I need for a good BAD POEMS writing day is lowlight. I wrote everything at night, and I preferred the coziness of a darkish room to write in as opposed to sunlight or a bunch of fluorescents.
Can you identify four types of readers who will enjoy this book?
Those who enjoy meta works; those who enjoy themes of depersonalization, projection, introspection through the other, trauma, and bad relationships; those who seek out nostalgia in poetry, specifically the late 90s and early 2000s; and those who poetry accompanied with designs.
Three challenges you faced in the writing of this book?
This chapbook was originally 9 poems--or three sections--in length. I was
convinced it needed to be confined to a structure as well (couplet stanzas), so
my stubbornness was a big challenge. Yes, I’m a Taurus sun and a Leo moon.
Another challenge was finding the time to write because I started writing this while I was working on my master’s thesis. I finished the chapbook rather quickly, too, which was around May 2021 (soon after I graduated), and I was working on another chapbook around the same time. A third challenge I faced was self-doubt.
Two poets that have influenced this particular collection?
This chapbook’s conception was completely inspired by Gaia Rajan because I
read a meta (ars poetica) poem of hers. Before I read it, I really didn’t like ars
poetica poems. I thought they were often trite and banal. But reading Rajan’s
poetry made me realize that there are so many more ways to consider writing in
that style and genre. Other than that, an individual poem (“In Which You Wrote
These Poems in Mood Ring Orange”) was inspired by Shyla Jones.
And, lastly, one word to describe this collection?
It’s so hard to pick just one word! However, I’d go with haunting.
"Self-Portrait as Poems about Bad Poetry" is available for preorder from Rachael's website. You can find them on Twitter @rachaelapoet posting about squishmallows, She-Ra and The Princesses of Power, and their cats.
Disclaimer: "EMC's 6 things" interview series seeks to promote the artist and their featured writing and is in no way an endorsement of any of said artist's services, opinions or other work outside of this feature.