Going “Above Your Nerve”: An Interview with Persona Poet Susan J. Erickson

I am always a bit in awe of Sue Erickson and feel humbled every time I sit at her kitchen table.

Jennifer Bullis

Susan J. Erickson

Reading Bellingham poet Susan Erickson’s poem titled “Confession of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, also known as Private Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, Union Army” in the current issue of The Museum of Americana: A Literary Review, I was curious to ask Susan about the whole series of persona poems she’s been working on. I’ve greatly enjoy her poems, several of which have been published in the last couple of years, written in the voices of Frida Kahlo, Emily Dickinson, and Georgia O’Keeffe. As someone also obsessed with persona poems, I asked Susan to describe her project and elaborate on her process. She generously allowed me to share her responses.

Susan, why do you write persona poems–what initially drew you to them?

Maybe for the same reason we like to dress up for Halloween to try on being someone else for a while. Or, perhaps because…

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Readings During National Poetry Month

Bravo, Jennifer! !!

Jennifer Bullis

Hello! I get to join two amazing lineups of poets for April readings in the Seattle area. I plan to read some bird and horse poems, some Amanda Bubble poems, some mythological persona poems, and possibly a new prose poem about a goat named Derrick. Please come if you can!

April 6, I’ll be part of a Floating Bridge Press reading at the Fremont Library featuring Dennis Caswell and Michael Schmeltzer. Their manuscripts were among the finalists for last year’s Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, and somehow my manuscript, Amanda Bubble Is Nearly on Fire, was also one of them. Dennis Caswell’s 2012 collection Phlogistonwas published by Floating Bridge, and Michael Schmeltzer’s poetry manuscripts have had near brushes with winning a number of highly competitive awards. I’ve had the pleasure of reading with Michael twice this past year, and this month, I’ll get to read twice with Dennis!

…because on April 16, when I read…

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