News: Interview with Lucy Snyder, Issue 2: "Subtlety"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lucy Snyder* Where did "Subtlety" come from, what were you thinking?

"Subtlety" happened because I was annoyed by a couple of poetry workshops I was taking last year.  Actually, a lot of the poems I've written came about because I was irritated -- apparently my power animal is the oyster.
Anyhow, one of the workshop instructors was very anti-narrative, and anti-clarity.  Anytime I felt I was properly conveying an image or idea, she'd mark me down for not being subtle enough.  I started feeling that if I rewrote my poems the way she wanted me to, they'd be almost completely inaccessible to casual poetry readers.  It'd be card tricks in the dark time for sure.
I was feeling the frustration that I expect a lot of genre poets feel: if you write something that's considered "good" by dedicated lit poets, it's likely to get a great big "Whut?" from most fiction readers who happen to check out the occasional poem.


* What was the process of its creation like, and how does that compare to your norm?  Do you tend to schedule your writing time, have specific daily goals, etc?

I'm sort of a spree writer when it comes to poetry.  I have to get into a very specific headspace to write poems, so I'll write a bunch for a couple of weeks, and then go back to writing prose.  I'm hopelessly unable to write technical nonfiction the same day I write poetry and vice versa, and lately I've been called upon to do more tech writing.


* Has it been rejected much, and if so what sort of criticism did it engender?

Actually, GUD was the first place I sent "Subtlety", so unlike all my other poems it's not been rejected at all.  However, poet Christopher Conlon read it and advised me to change my enjambment.  I think my anti-narrative workshop instructor made a slight "Hmph" noise.  Possibly that was also a signal to change my enjambment.


* What made you think of sending "Subtlety" to GUD, and what are some of your other favorite markets for poetry?

Well, my first submission attempts revealed that GUD's editors are a tough sell when it comes to poetry. I finished "Subtlety" and thought it might be the sort of thing you were looking for, and lo and behold it was.
My favorite market for science fiction poetry is Strange Horizons; my other favorite market is Full Unit Hookup, but sadly it's folding after the next issue.


Installing Linux on a Dead Badger* What makes you think you can write?

People keep paying me to do it!  That's a crass answer, but when you come down to it, it's the best one I've got.


* What's the strongest reaction "Subtlety" has gotten to date, from friend, enemy, workshop, editor, or busboy?

The poem hasn't been seen by many people, so GUD's accepting it for publication is by far the strongest reaction it's gotten.  Aside from the "Hmph."  In retrospect that might've been gas.


* Do you read poetry, in general?  Short fiction?

Yes, I read both short fiction and poetry, but in the past couple of years I've been reading more poetry as part of my cunning plan to become a better writer.  If I had a nickel for every college "poet" I've run into who won't actually read any poetry, or will only read Bukowski ... well, I'd be able to treat my coworkers to an unending supply of Faygo.


* How do you plan to spend your advance from GUD; and if royalties eventually meant GUD was cutting you a million dollars for "Subtlety", how would you spend those?

I spent my advance on barbecued unagi.
A million-dollar royalty from poetry?
I'd sprout wings and fly to Tahiti.


* If you could change GUD's website in any one way, what would it be?

I find the light-on-dark text a tad hard on the eyes.  It's certainly not enough to make me avoid the site, and I'm sure that for every person like me who prefers dark-on-light you'll find another who likes it the way it is.  So, maybe make the site skinnable with different themes available?  That might be more trouble than it's worth, though.


Installing Linux on a Dead Badger* Do you have a favorite website, besides your own (which, I have to say, is one of the cleanest and most interesting author sites I've seen)?

Thanks! I visit a lot of websites, and so it's hard to choose favorites. I have a warm spot in my heart for, although the user interface isn't exactly intuitive. For Flash-based sites, I enjoy As far as other author sites go, I like my husband's website (; Deena Warner does attractive design work.


* To wrap up, what else do you have going on?

CGP recently released my humor collection Installing Linux on a Dead Badger; so far it's been getting pretty good reviews.  And I just signed with a literary agent who's representing my first novel, an urban fantasy entitled Spellbent.


* And really, where should people go to find out more about you and your projects?

All that and more is available at


- reddit, digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc... please! ;)
posted by kaolin

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