Srikanth Reddy Recommends...

“My advice to anyone suffering from writer’s block is, ‘don’t write.’ It may sound perverse, but that’s how I manage to survive those dry spells that afflict us all; it’s often difficult enough to make it through the day’s news cycle without the added ordeal of hammering away at your laptop only to delete everything as it’s written. Better to read, ideally something as far away as possible—stylistically, thematically, historically—from what you’re trying to write yourself. That is, if you’re trying to write a poem, read anything except contemporary poetry; if you’re working on a novel, maybe it’s time to leaf through an old encyclopedia or medical textbook or some obscure religious tract. There’s something about the tonalities of non-literary documents that, for me at least, opens new avenues into writing. If I hear a particular formality of phrasing in, say, an outdated English translation of a Chinese political pamphlet from the nineteenth century, that might offer a new way of thinking about voice in a poem. Or the idiosyncratic grammar employed by the authors of specialized texts, like astronomical atlases or philological studies, can help you find new shapes and dimensions for the sentence itself. The important thing is to look away from the wall that’s blocking you; when you look back, you might find it’s not there anymore.”
—Srikanth Reddy, author of Underworld Lit (Wave Books, 2020)