Laura Cronk is a poet and essayist and is the Associate Director of the Creative Writing Program at The New School. David Wilson is a teacher, writer, and the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of the band Miss Ohio. Both are alumni of the MFA Creative Writing Program.
1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature?
LC: I always love hating the “you” in a good hate poem. Julie Sheehan’s Hate Poem is a favorite. One thing the Trump era is giving us is a renaissance in excellent hate poetry.
As for a favorite protagonist, I’ll say that the “I” in Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds means a lot to me, as both a writer and a person.
DW: My favorite villain is Iago. He seems to view evil as his great creative act. I’ve read Othello dozens of times and I’m still horrified by him.
I first read James Agee’s novel A Death in the Family when I was in high school. I’m not sure I have a favorite protagonist, but the boy in that book is probably the character I think about the most.
2. When did you know you were a writer?
LC: I realized young that reading was a way of listening in on the best conversations. I’m not exactly sure when I realized that writing was a way of joining in.
DW: I love books and I view writing as a part of being a reader.
3. What are you currently working on?
LC: I just submitted a manuscript of poems and half of them, circle around adolescence and memory. I’m also working on several essays.
DW: I’m busy making a podcast where I interview musicians about their favorite writers. I’m also writing and recording music. I’ve never really written poetry before, but this past year I’ve been part of a writing group that forces me to write one poem a week.
LC: And now he has a whole manuscript of poems!
4. How has your writing process changed over the years?
LC: Writing used to accumulate mysteriously for me and it still does to an extent. The more demands I have on my time, though, the more conscious I am of making it happen. Right now I mostly write on the train. I love giving myself challenges, like writing for thirty minutes every day for a month, etc. A dear friend from grad school, Megin Jimenez, and I have done a number of writing challenges together and that is always really helpful.
DW: I used to have endless time to write things. Now I have a family and a job and several projects, so I tend to write shorter things in sustained bursts.
5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.
LC: I’ll say something about Dave’s writing. His style is precise and nuanced with a deep well of feeling running beneath. He’s also a really brilliant editor and manages multiple creative projects at once which is inspiring to see in action.
DW: What I love about Laura’s writing is that she’s able to explore the ways that the political and the personal intersect. I particularly admire how she can write emotionally without being sentimental, politically without being didactic, personally without being confessional.
Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA in Creative Writing Program office.