Carrie George is the author and artist behind Curtains, “Apophatic,” and the award-winning “Raspberry Pie.” From the quiet town of Bel Air, Maryland, she now attends Kent State University in Ohio, where she works on several literature magazines. She also teaches poetry with the Wick Poetry Center and hopes to continue teaching poetry in her community. Below is a brief interview with Carrie George, where she explains her experience as an honors student, her role in Kent State University’s literature magazines, her inspiration behind her pieces published in Scribendi 2019, and the role of poetry in the modern world.
Why did you choose to join the honors college at Kent State University?
Overall, I joined for the smaller classes and scholarship opportunities. Kent State University is in such a small, quiet college town so it’s nice to have classes where I can interact with my classmates and the professor.
What was your process behind Curtains?
[Curtains] is actually from a larger photo essay about sexual assault. Sexual assault survivors have a feeling of being watched and seen even in private settings. They can’t feel safe even in their own homes, and that’s what the curtains are supposed to represent. She’s pulling them over herself in a place that’s supposed to be private– the bathroom.
I have to ask– who’s in the tub and what do the colors represent in Curtains?
It’s my roommate in the tub, and the blues in the image are for visual interest — a pop of color.
Do you have any tips for the aspiring photographer?
I don’t know… experimenting would be the biggest thing. Play around with different styles, and don’t restrict yourself to one genre. Photography can influence your life and can be influenced by many things. Go out and see what you can find!
Poetry is a huge part of your life and we loved “Raspberry Pie” and “Apophatic”. What was your inspiration behind the “Raspberry Pie” which won the Editor’s Choice for literature?
I write about real things that happen, and “Raspberry Pie” is just such a poem. I wrote it after my mom called me one day and asked when I was going to be home. I realized that my mother missed me and I missed my mother. The poem was supposed to be a quiet moment between mother and daughter.
What is “Apophatic” about?
“Apophatic” is similar to “Raspberry Pie” in that it’s about a real event. I wrote it right after my grandfather’s death. He was from Pennsylvania, and I was able to say goodbye before he died, but I wasn’t able to go to the funeral. Apophatic is basically describing something based on what it isn’t, so I used it to describe how I was feeling about not being there.
What are some of your favorite poems and why?
Oh, I don’t think I could ever narrow down a list of my favorite poems… I have a few favorite poets, though. I met Mahogany L. Browne at a AWP conference last year and was totally shook. she has a book called “Kissing Caskets” which you should definitely check out. Also Lynn Melnick has a book called “Landscape with Sex and Violence.” It’s about processing sexual assault and is truly excellent.
You teach poetry at the Wick Poetry Center. What is a normal “lesson” like?
So, I’m an intern at the Wick Poetry Center in Ohio, and we use the “Wick method.” Basically, we start with a poem which is easily replicated, introduce, and talk about the poem. And it’s important to not say what the poem means because it takes away the fun of poetry. Instead, we ask them what they think and how the poem made them feel. After that, we have a group writing exercise called “charging the air,” where everyone writes a poem together. It’s collaborative, and everyone gets a feel for it. Then, everyone writes their own poem. It’s really rewarding, and everyone learns something new about themselves.
Could you tell me a bit about Brainchild and Luna Negra?
Brainchild is the Undergrad Honors Lit Magazine for the Mid-East region of the US. We print annually, once every spring, and is very similar to Scribendi.
Luna Negra is a literary magazine just for Kent State. We accept work from undergrads, graduates, faculty and staff from Kent State University. We mostly receive from undergraduate and graduates, though. We publish annually in the spring.
What is a special skill that you have?
Gosh… I used to be able to juggle!
What is a lasting lesson you would like to give to the literature and art community today?
In teaching, I’ve learned that everyone is already a poet. Some people like to gate-keep poetry by saying that to be a poet you have to study the greats, go to school for poetry, be published… but really, poetry is intuitive. It’s natural and rhythmic and feeling and words. Everyone is capable of doing that. By working with 4th grade up to college and everyone in between, you can see that anyone is capable of being a poet, and you just need to foster that.