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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Etter

All Change, An Update

After eighteen years of teaching at Bath Spa University, in September I began a new post at the University of Bristol. This term, much of my teaching is in individual tutorials, supervising undergraduate dissertation students, MA poets, and two PhD students. Some of my undergraduates are working on short stories, which has led me back to some of my favourite short story writers--Aimee Bender, Petina Gappah, and Katherine Mansfield, to name just three from a list that seems endless--as well as some of my favourite writings about the craft of fiction writing, including Charles Baxter's Burning Down the House. Usually after finishing a manuscript--in this case, Grief's Alphabet, which will be my fifth collection, I experience a lull, where I write quite miscellaneous pieces for some months, but I hope in this case to use this lull to shift focus to my own short story writing for a while.

This shift is also accommodated by where my critical work stands at the moment. I've completed much of the work on an essay on contemporary prose poetry in the UK and Ireland for a forthcoming two-volume set with Bloomsbury. One of the elements I've found most interesting is prosimetric work that combines lines and prose, as in Alice Oswald's Dart and Peter Reading's -273.15. In those works, the prose accommodates multiple speakers, while in some prose poems by Tom Pickard and Mick Imlah, the prose in the poetry takes its workaday roles: court report, deposition, letter, anecdote.

Another project that I've been working on off and on for a couple years and has now come to the fore is editing a book of Claire Crowther's critical prose alongside a series of interviews about each of her poetry collections. We now have a title--Sense and Nonsense: Critical Prose and Interviews--and hope to complete the work by the end of 2023. Right now I'm editing the oldest essay in the volume, on Lorine Niedecker, an important piece given Niedecker's influence on Crowther's poetics.

This is all to say, I suppose, that I'm thriving because at the moment I've found a good balance among teaching, reading, and writing. That's always thrown off during 'marking season', so I'll enjoy this period while it lasts--and then try to reestablish it as soon as reasonably possible.

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