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Poetry Cure: Elemental by Kate Braid
Kate Braid’s fifteen-year-career as a carpenter informs much of her new collection Elemental (Caitlin Press), both an ode to nature and a feminist nod to blue-collar tradeswork. Below Kate tells us about a knee surgery that was the impetus for this collection and the most surprising part of being a writer.
An Interview with KateAll Lit Up: Tell us about your collection.Kate Braid: Two years ago I had knee replacement surgery which laid me up—happily, it turned out, as I was on heavy drugs. Walking was difficult, even to get to my office, and sitting was even harder, so after a while lying on the couch, I got bored and thought I might use this time to put together my next poetry book. I credit the drugs with this crazy idea. But it turned out I had a lot of unpublished work—both new, and that hadn’t fit into previous books—and it came together surprisingly easily into a book about the elements. (Was this the drugs?) So the chapters are Fire, Sky, Earth, Water and of course, as an ex-carpenter, Wood. I’d been thinking this book was utterly unlike anything I’d written before and it was only when I was telling the publisher about it that I realized how closely it echoed my work experience; I’d come to know these elements intimately in my 15 years as a carpenter.ALU: Do you have any steadfast writing rituals?KB: I wish!ALU: What’s the most surprising thing about being a writer?KB: How it has taken me over. Not that I object. But I’m amazed—and deeply grateful—at how important it’s become to me to write, to say what’s on my mind. No—to explore for myself (and perhaps, eventually, a reader) what’s on my mind. Only problem is that now when I don’t write for a while, I get crabby.
The PoemThe Birds