Alumni Andy Young (poetry, ’11) and Sara Slaughter (poetry, ’11) interview each other at Press Street:
Sara Slaughter: Peter Cooley called All Night It Is Morning your “fearless addition to the poetry of disaster.” How do you feel about your work being described as “poetry of disaster”?
Andy Young: We must play the hand we are given—whether or not we write about our lives directly, it impacts the work. Disasters have been in my sphere of influence in different forms in major ways, especially for the last decade. Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill both changed the actual landscape of what I’ve called home for most of my adult life. Then, as part of an Egyptian-American family, we are profoundly impacted by what goes on in Egypt. I wouldn’t call the revolution a disaster, though the fallout of it, in terms of human rights and basic infrastructure of the country, could be described as disastrous. Then there is my Appalachian background riddled with stories of mining disasters. There’s the slow disaster of what has been happening to the land there in the years since I left it. This isn’t what you asked, exactly. I’m just pointing out that disaster has not been some abstract thing I’ve sought out as a locus of meditation, but something I’ve felt I had to address to process my world.
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