Mostly I write poems, arrange them into chapbooks, and assemble other poets’ poems into chapbooks, too—the latter through my own one-woman indie press called Blood Pudding Press, which publishes occasional single-author collections, collaborations, and multi-writer projects. Since I have limited resources and can’t afford to publish as much as I’d like to in print, I also edit an online blog-style literary magazine called Thirteen Myna Birds so that I can publish more stuff. The best consolidated source of information about my personal creative projects and publishing endeavors is http://www.JulietCook.weebly.com.
My favorite part of the process is reading and writing poetry (especially contemporary, experimental female poetry) and for me, the reading and writing gorgeously feed off each other. I don’t enjoy editing and publishing as much as reading and writing, so I guess I prefer the little idiosyncrasies and nuances of my own personal creative process, but I like the concepts of collaboration and collectivity and I do think it’s important to contribute to the creative community beyond just one’s own personal writings. My own poetry can be pretty solipsistic, so I like to extend beyond that with some of my editing/publishing efforts. My favorite part of the editing/publishing process is presenting provocative content in the form of an aesthetically pleasing artifact, almost like a special little gift for deserving poets. As far as the kind of space in which I work best, I rather obsessively structure my own time, but I like to have sizable expanses of time to structure. Really limited/limiting time frames tend to make me feel immobilized; but unstructured expanses of free time make me feel unproductive.
Overall, I’m not terribly fearful about the creative process or my creations, but I know they won’t resonate for everyone. For the most part, this doesn’t really bother me, but every once in a while, I get in a mode in which I start thinking about the possible pointlessness of it all or maybe even the frivolousness of it all or maybe even the self-indulgence involved with investing so much time and energy into creating these little art projects that probably mostly just matter to me. However, we all have to find our sense of special meaning and significance somewhere—for some, it’s in the camaraderie surrounding sports, for some it’s through religious beliefs, for some it’s political activism, for some it’s careerism, etc.. For me, it’s poetry. I feel that this realm is where my voice truly belongs and can most authentically express itself, whether or not my expressions resonate for others. Mainly, for me, it’s important to make my need for others’ approval secondary and stay focused on being myself and being expressive.
This will be a semi-random list based on materials I’ve enjoyed recently, rather than pressuring myself to narrow it down to five life-long favorites. I just read a little poetry chapbook called ‘The Sad Epistles’ by Emma Bolden, published by Dancing Girl Press that I thought was beautifully poignant. The cover of my own next poetry chapbook (‘FONDANT PIG ANGST’ to be published in December 2009 by Slash Pine Press) will feature disturbingly wonderful art by Marnie Weber, whose body of artwork is well worth an investigation. I hope it’s not uncouth to recommend my own poetry book, ‘Horrific Confection’, published by BlazeVOX in 2008; I only have eight copies left of this first full-length collection and am not sure when I’ll put out another, as I seem to be pretty immersed in my love affair with chapbooks these days; it’s available though my etsy shop at http://www.BloodPuddingPress.etsy.com. My fourth recommendation will be etsy in general, for anyone who hasn’t discovered it’s multifaceted delectability yet; it’s a wondrous online resource for buying and selling all kinds of handmade art and goodies. Finally, I’ll recommend a movie, the Swedish vampire film, ‘Let the Right One In’, which is far more artistic and passionate than some silly zombie flick.