Meet the Editors: An Interview with Poetry Editor shelley feller

Feb 2, 2016Archive, Interviews

It’s a new year and a new staff here at BWR. We (the editors) interviewed each other so that you (the world) could get a sense of us as editors/readers/weirdos. We’re pleased to meet you!


Kayleb Candrilli: Tell us a bit about your writing process! Do you have any rituals or superstitions that help you tap into the ~flow~?

shelley feller: candles/crystals/coffee (or red wine); dance breaks when it’s not “working”; sometimes if i’m bored/hungry/have time to kill i’ll bring my notebook to the lunch buffet at Sitar (the Indian restaurant near me) & play little games: writing one word or phrase in between each bite, or writing nonstop while chewing slowly, deliberately. i usually need to give myself some sort of structure to stay focused.

KC: What types of media and art do you harness writing strength from? Can you give us a look into what makes you tick, inspires you to create your own art?

sf: figure skating, dance, & opera all inform my work. as for words, i honestly spend hours reading the OED sometimes, i just love it. i’m always reading Shakespeare— he’s so cheeky. & recently i’ve been super into middle english, even though i mostly don’t understand it…i think i like the drama of its orthography. as for other arts…i used to work at a blue-chip gallery in New York, so i’m very fond of the artists whose work filled my everyday life. i won’t name them here, but i’ll name some stuff that has always stuck with me:  when Rickie says into the girls’ bathroom mirror, “I just want to hang with girls,” on My So-Called Life; Quinn’s all black “existential” look on Daria; every Derek Jarman film; Kate Bush; Nina Simone; Björk.

KC: As the new poetry editor, can you tell us about the type of poetry that catches your eye, makes your heart flutter, makes you read and reread, maybe even read aloud?

sf: i try to read all poetry aloud…sound guides me more than anything else in “understanding” a poem. as for stuff that catches my eye…i always return to Emily Dickinson and Hannah Weiner, but I’m really excited by stuff like Arielle Greenberg and Lara Glenum’s Gurlesque anthology; Joyelle McSweeney’s Necropastoral (oh! & miss u, Montevidayo); Trace Peterson and TC Tolbert’s anthology, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics; Jennifer Bartlett’s anthology, Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability; absolutely everything from Ahsahta Press; and all the poets out there who are taking risks, collaborating, getting weird & wild.

KC: What animal do you most identify with, and why? Paint us a picture!

sf: this may be boring, but probably the human animal. i drew a stick figure of a human animal on my comcast bill 4 u. it looks like me (curly hair, doing the splits).

KC: Can we have a few recommendations? Books you love, songs you need, dances that speak to you? Anything you love!

sf: oh god. okay. i’ll just list a few things off the top of my head.

Movie: Muriel’s Wedding

Book: Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing. now all i’m thinking about is Australia.

Dance: Yvonne Rainer’s “Trio A (The Mind is a Muscle, Part 1),” and always always Swan Lake performed by the Kirov

Song: Björk’s 360-degree virtual reality video for “Stonemilker.” i have so many thoughts & feelings about that last one.