Julie Joosten, an upcoming IFOA participant, answered our five questions! She is the author of Light Light, which was recently announced as a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry.
Julie Joosten: My interest in nature emerged out of fascination with thought and modes of attention. I found myself absorbed in the thinking of writers, scientists, artists and philosophers who, however obliquely, were exploring forms of attending to various objects, affects, processes and perceptions, and I discovered that the modes I was most excited by—self-forgetful, meditative modes that also supported rigorous thinking—often engaged with the natural world. My own thinking has been deeply influenced by the distinct and simultaneous temporalities and rhythms of the non-human world.
IFOA: What has been your most unlikely or unusual source of inspiration?
Joosten: Perhaps my most unusual source of inspiration is also one of my most mundane—it’s the rhythm I’ve established with my dogs. They get me out and walking twice a day for long stretches of time in all weather. Repetition, duration, variation. They also attend to different forms outside than I do, and occasionally our perceptions overlap, though we regularly have opposite responses to the objects of our attentions (especially squirrels and cats); this awareness of various “worlds” existing through distinct perceptual abilities and practices has been exciting and confounding and pleasurable to think and write about.
Joosten: I write at home at a desk I picked out when I was ten. It’s monstrous and offers a large gathering space for books and papers.
IFOA: What are you working on now?
Joosten: I’m working on some poems and essays. And reading.
IFOA: Do you have any advice for aspiring poets?
Joosten: Read. Reread. Repeat.
Julie Joosten has an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from Cornell University. She presents her first book of poetry, Light Light, alongside other poets for the Festival’s Poet Summit.