Interview: Charlotte Hamrick

This week, I got to speak with Charlotte Hamrick about emotion in the creative process, her love of poetry, and more! Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in The Rumpus, Literary Orphans, Connotation Press, Eunoia Review, and numerous other journals. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a Finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize for her Creative Non-Fiction. Currently, she serves as the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Barren Magazine. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets.

What is your favorite creative medium?

Poetry

What do you love about poetry?

It just comes naturally. It’s the form my daydreaming, anxiety, or rage takes when I write. I love free form poetry because the only “rules” are ones you impose on yourself. It’s truly the most liberating and creative process for me.

Are there any themes or emotions that you find yourself consistently returning to in your work?

I write a lot about my relationships with people I love or people who have made an imprint on my life. I think that’s why I also write and love Creative Nonfiction. I think a lot about my life and experiences, what I’ve done wrong and why, what I’ve done right. What I hope to do. 
I like writing about the natural world and how it’s often a kind of medicine when I’m soul-sick or just tired of living in a frenzied world. On my blog I’ve written a series off and on for years called “Morning Meditation” that focuses on the natural world. Maybe one day I’ll put together a chapbook. 

How do you begin your creative process?

I rarely have deliberate writing sessions. When inspiration hits I write. When I’m pissed off I write. When a phrase or idea comes to me I write it down and I’ll visit this list when I’m composing a poem. Sometimes something will happen, sometimes not. I never force it since I realized that doesn’t work for me. So I guess my process is haphazard and spontaneous.

Where is your favorite place to create and why?

In my bedroom on my bed because I’m surrounded by my favorite things, the bed is comfy, and it’s quiet.

What is your favorite music to create to and why?

I rarely have music on because I find it distracting. When I listen to music I really listen, so it takes my mind away from the writing.

What piece of literature (i.e. CNF, poetry, short story, novel, collection, etc.) set you on fire most recently and why?

Jericho Brown’s The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2015) because it has such honesty, fire, and grace. Because it taught me so much about opening up in your writing and that’s something I need to do more. Because he’s a Southern writer and I love the Southern references and nuances. Finally, because he’s a human being unafraid of showing his human-ness.

I know you recently interviewed Jericho Brown for Barren Magazine. What was the most important thing that you learned from that experience?

That sometimes you get a “yes” when you least expect it. Sometimes we assume that people with his level of recognition won’t be receptive if you reach out. I fully expected not to hear back from him but I was wrong. Jericho was very open and giving, making me admire him more. And, of course, I loved hearing his take on poetry.  

What literature or art magazines get you excited and why?

Well, of course I’m going to say Barren Magazine, lol. Because Barren has opened a new facet of literature and writing for me. I love reading the diverse writers who send their babies to us and I love working with the writers. Other zines I read most regularly are SWWIM, Foliate Oak, Bitter Southerner, The Oxford American, Milk Candy Review, Literary Orphans, Pidgeonholes because they always have stellar writing.

Where is one place that every person who considers themselves a “creative type” needs to travel to and why?

New Orleans because it’s one of the world’s most unique cities with a diversity of people, ideas, cultures, and creativity. It steps to its own beat.

Is there any nook in New Orleans that you would recommend to fellow writers in particular?

Well, it’s not exactly a nook but I’d recommend coming to The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival which is actually happening right now. It’s so interesting with readings, panels, history walks, plays, music, and a Stella and Stanley Shouting Contest on the last day. So many cool things to see and do. You can learn about it at TennesseeWilliams.net. 

What advice would you give to your younger self about the creative process?

Don’t place expectations on yourself. Just let your creativity flow naturally.

What are you currently working on? This is a space for you to brag a little– what are your most recent pubs, etc.

I’m looking forward to NaPoWriMo in which I participate every year. It’s a great way to practice and connect with other poets, and it gives me a little structure. I write on my WordPress blog and I most often use the prompts from napowrimo.net. Besides that, right now I’m looking through my work, editing existing poems. My most recent poems can be found in Burning House Press, Nine Muses Poetry, and Nightingale and Sparrow. I have poetry coming soon in Foliate Oak, Muddy River Poetry Review, and MORIA.

What is your blog URL? 

https://zouxzoux.wordpress.com/

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