Q&A and Reading with Miranda Field of Uptown Poets

Miranda Field was born and raised in the UK, but has lived on the Upper West Side for many years.  Her first collection, Swallow, won a Katherine Bakeless Nason Literary publication Award. Her second collection is forthcoming from Four Way Books.  She teaches in the creative Writing programs at Eugene Lang, NYU, and Barnard College.

How did you come to write Swallow?

Where to begin?  I’d say having a baby helped me turn random poems and poem-urges into my first book.  I poured myself into being mama, then when baby nodded off, I’d run home— literally run, anxious, as if running for my life— and jam on writing.  I couldn’t believe I’d wasted so much time when I’d had so much!  A huge sea change happens when you have a baby, and I’m really turned on by sea changes.  Being pregnant, giving birth, falling in love with a little alien being from nowhere.…  Everything feels more beautiful, terrifying, lonely, valuable, enriched, acute, overwhelming, and at risk of disappearing.  So this sea change capsized my boat, rearranged my senses, etc., and my writing got done in these intensely productive little slivers of time.  That’s how Swallow came about.  As for my new book, it’s a longer story, painfully long— but, it turns out, with an ecstatically happy ending for me.  

What are you currently reading?

In my bedside heap:  Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Trilogy. Also Zachary Schomburg’s The Man Suit; Simone Weil’s Gravity & Grace; Takashi Hiraide’s For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut; and Koko Yamase’s Cut-Up-Couture, a sewing book on refashioning thriftshop clothing.  And The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. And Samuel Beckett’s Stirring.  I’m an omnivorous reader.

Do you have a personal favorite book or work of all time? If so, can you share it and tell us why?  

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.  Just kidding.  I love Beckett’s Molloy.  Maybe that’s my all-time favorite.  And Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.  The writing, the moment by moment word-alchemy.  

Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to the publication of?

A bit egocentric of me, but yes, my own book.  It will have been fifteen years between first and second….
Also, I’m a big fan of poetic peer and fellow po-mom Suzanne Buffam—  can’t wait for her to come out with a new collection of poems. Also, I’m always excited to read a new Murakami novel, also any new Ian McEwan novel.  And more Ferrante! 

What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?

I’m writing poems. They are very small poems, tiny, weird, and I feel very much inside them right now, so it’s hard to say what might be going on if one were to look at them from the outside.  I feel very, very connected to them, which is a good sign, I think.