Sara Lupita Olivares Recommends...

“Recently I read a poem by Leslie Marmon Silko in which she states, ‘the struggle is the ritual.’ I’ve continued to think of this line in regards to my process of writing—what comes before I begin a poem and what helps me gauge that it has worked in some way. When I feel stuck, it often means that I’m in a moment of transition and that I need to give myself space to explore whichever internal landscape may be shifting and what new focus I’m finding. In these instances, it’s important for me to remove pressure from myself and my process, which often involves turning to quiet natural spaces around me or looking to other forms of art. Typically I’m drawn to paintings by impressionists—Bonnard’s The Bath or Monet’s Agapanthus—as their work helps me to distance myself from my subjects and to see other dimensions within and around them. Texts with more technical language also allow me to remove myself from my own language for a bit and to jar myself from my way of seeing. Although these moments when I’m unable to write can be uncomfortable, I see them as part of the process. Maintaining points of contact with art and being observant helps me to be ready when something appears.”
—Sara Lupita Olivares, author of Migratory Sound (University of Arkansas Press, 2020)