Community, creation, and consciousness: our year of conversations with writers

Every week here on the Seattle Review of Books, we run an interview with a new author, bookseller, or some other noteworthy literary figure. What follows are some of our favorite quotes from the past year. We look forward to another 52 weeks of discovery and conversation.

"I really like the ambiguity of poetry and I also hate to be told what to do, ever. So poetry is really appealing to me." — Laura Da'

"I wrote all the letters of the alphabet and I erased portions of it." — Levert Banks

"Has book reviewing ever had a future?" — David Ulin

“For whatever reason, each side of [Washington state] has their own opinions of each other, but I felt very lucky to have a home in both...I think the more we can combine our scenes, the better.” — Kim Kent

"Who you are will come through." — Calvin Gimpelevich

"I decided for myself that I want to be a writer who helps writers." — Paulette Perhach

"I’m very purposefully trying to set up situations where something will arise that is beyond my conscious control." — Elizabeth Austen

"I would rather just have a dedicated handful of people that care about what I write, I suppose." — Kate Berwanger

"A lot of folks are looking for answers and new ways of thinking, and they’re turning to art to kind of grab onto those new worlds and try to expand our view of what could be. Intense times equals intense poetry.” — Troy Osaki

"Every time I translate a poem, I learn something new.” – Eleanor Goodman

"The specificity of language is important to me. There are some things that really work better in words, that wind up being cumbersome if you try to do them in pictures or in words and pictures." — Ellen Forney

"Whenever I’m working on any kind of character, I’m always looking for that zone where their hopes and fears intersect, and the weird patches where they’re not actually sure about their own moral standing or certainty — where they’re not just charging in with this very, very clear sense of what is right and wrong. I’m much, much more interested in the nuance in the middle." – Eliot Peper

"Without poetry, I would not be.” – Jeanine Walker

“I prefer to stay in my little universe and help the characters grow old...I’m getting older, you know, and I just want to see what happens with my characters. And so I concentrate on them as real people and try to figure out, ‘okay, what are you going to be at 60?’” – Jaime Hernandez

"What I’ve learned for myself is that I can’t write poetry alone. I’m always absorbing what other people have taught me, and I think that’s how we all work as poets: absorbing and is being influenced by each other.” — Azura Tyabji