“Having recently completed a full-length poetry collection, I knew I needed a lot of uninterrupted time immersed in nature – and silence – in order to see what might be next. I spent hours each day walking the dirt tracks that wind through almond orchards, hiking up to the peaks of the surrounding sierra, gathering objects and making sound recordings. As part of my creative practice I make artefacts – using paper, objects from the land, photographs, found language, handmade books, text from a manual typewriter – as a way of unearthing my most elusive material. While these tactile artefacts have long been an important part of my composition and revision processes, I am beginning to understand them as thought-objects in their own right.
One of these artefacts is a book-length erasure poem. What started over a year ago as a distraction from those moments when I couldn’t seem to write eventually took on a life of its own. Something about the process of erasing text one page at a time, leaving only whatever felt resonant as poetry, demanded a certain intuitive focus due to the particular limitations of erasure – namely, once you erase text, the field of possibilities changes, and condenses, instantly. The uninterrupted ´ – and the long hikes – allowed me to finish the last remaining, and difficult, pages of the project.
I am grateful for such a restorative two weeks – Simon and Donna’s hospitality, the beautifully simple accommodations, the quiet, the delicious meals, and the enlivening conversations with other artists and interns (Lucy and Maddie)”.
Andrea Read’s poems have appeared most recently, or are forthcoming, in Barrow Street, Black Rabbit Quarterly, Copper Nickel, FIELD, Ilanot Review, Lily Poetry Review, Plume, The Missouri Review (online Poem-of-the-Week feature), and Tupelo Quarterly (winner of TQ11’s ‘Call & Response’ contest). Her poetry manuscript was a finalist for the Berkshire Poetry Prize.
She was a co-founder of Newforest Institute (2006-2012), an art+permaculture non-profit, where she developed forest-based conceptual artworks including The Women’s Earth Project, a community-based forest management initiative for local women; and Home Again, a handmade broom and sweeping project between Maine and New Jersey.
Andrea earned her PhD from the University of Chicago in Romance Languages and Literatures (specialising in Spanish and Latin American poetry and drama) and an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. A recipient of a National Resource Fellowship, a Tinker Foundation Grant, and an Artist’s Fellowship from the Somerville Arts Council, Andrea has taught creative writing, literature, and language at Stanford University, The University of Chicago, and elsewhere. Currently, she facilitates a weekly poetry workshop at the Jeanne Jugen Residence in Somerville. Andrea divides her time between Massachusetts and Brooks, Maine, where she and her family tend 500 acres of forest.