Alexa Doran recently completed her PhD in Poetry at Florida State University. Her full-length collection DM Me, Mother Darling won the 2020 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize and was published in April 2021 (Bauhan). She is also the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019). You can look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Pleiades, Literary Mama, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Salt Hill Journal, and Gigantic Sequins, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at alexadoran.com. Tip her on Venmo at @Alexa-Doran-1.
Click here to read Alexa’s poem “Dear Casey Kasem. In the decant of Thursday nothing comes early” from our summer 2022 issue!
What words of kindness, support, or advice can you offer to writers who are just starting out or seeking their stride?
Malena Morling used to tell me “Publication is inevitable.” If you are writing, if you are submitting, someone will see your work. I felt such a release when operating under that guidance, maybe other readers could use that confidence too.
Does your writing ever surprise you? In what ways?
Honestly, if I’m not surprised then something in the writing went wonky. The excitement for me in the writing process lies in the fact that it’s a process of discovery. We are endless, and writing helps me honor that.
Where do you write? Do you have any rituals you follow before turning to the page?
I write in bed. No rituals. I just try to pay attention when a line pops into my head and follow it if I can.
Any good news you’d like us to include with this interview? This is the space to let us know where else our readers can connect with you and celebrate/support your creative work.
You can look for poems in upcoming issues of the Pleiades, Drunk Monkeys, Witness, and Gigantic Sequins. My website is the best place to keep up with my work: alexadoran.com.
Do you have a specific revision process?
Time for me is the best revision tool. What feels magical on a Monday usually feels more like mush by Sunday, so as long as I give myself some space from the work I can usually approach the work with the freshness necessary to re-engage and bloom it.
Writing is most often a labor of love, where gratification is self-defined and can sometimes be delayed or subdued. What motivates you to keep coming back to the page?
Vision. The world suffers a terrible opacity when the page isn’t there to help me put it into focus.
Rest is arguably as important as getting the words down, especially when we can give our brains a true break and let them wander as they wish. What do you do to embrace this time and use it as a space for regeneration, imagination, and possibility?
My experience thus far in life is that if I’m always writing and not doing anything else the writing is probably getting worse, not better. There has to be a balance.
What are three things you’ve lost that you wish you could find?
An opportunity to buy a silky blue skirt I saw at Hollister 17 years ago, my dignity, “Rob’s Mixes” a sleeve of CDs I found, loved, and lost
Which writer or book do you find yourself returning to, either to study craft or simply for pleasure?
Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Billy-Ray Belcourt
Tell us a little about your path to becoming a writer.
I think storytelling is a trauma response. You live in a world that crushes you, so you try to build a world that snowglobes you out of there. That drive to heal still motivates me.