Episode 32: Erica Dawson

 Author photo by Kevin Kelii.

Author photo by Kevin Kelii.

Episode 32

Erica Dawson is the author of When Rap Spoke Straight to God, a book-length poem out September 18 from Tin House Books, as well as the collections The Small Blades Hurt and Big-Eyed Afraid. Her work has appeared in three editions of Best American PoetryThe Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals and anthologies.  She is an associate professor of English and Writing at University of Tampa, where she directs the low-residency MFA program.

Discussed In This Episode

Disquiet Literary Program. Realizing you have more to say (with an assist from Eileen Myles). “How did we get here?” Women are more than Biblical plot devices. Lil’ Kim and the verve of female rappers. “Ain’t that some crap?” Poetic form as liberation. Reacting to the evil of the world without letting the evil take over the narrative. “It was by far the most fun and the most difficult work I’ve ever done.” Keeping yourself at the page. Taking control of your narrative. Exorcising the male gaze: “This body isn’t out here for your enjoyment and approval.” Waiting until you want to write. Allowing your brain to wander. Lucille Clifton: “I don’t write out of what I know; I write out of what I wonder.” Learning something from—and about—yourself in writing.  

Recommended Reading

When Rap Spoke Straight to God, Erica Dawson
The Small Blades Hurt, Erica Dawson
Big-Eyed Afraid, Erica Dawson

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Thank you to WMFA patrons Jack Cheng, Jonathan Cottrell, André Gallant, Donna Hidock, Katie Karlson and Grace Pickering for supporting this episode. Become a patron. 

Courtney