Catching Up with Ashley Roach Freiman

Where can we read some of your recent work?

I was honored to publish my first chapbook, Bright Along the Body, in 2017 with Dancing Girl Press. In the last year, I’ve been lucky to publish poems from a new manuscript in (“On the Whole” in Fugue and “Reflection on When I Heard You Were Sober” and “Judith Beheading Holofernes” in The Boiler, but my favorite projects have been making a playlist to go with my poem “Dear Sam (beginning with a phrase from Simone Weil)” in Scalawag and a collaboration (“Woman Found Chained in Metal Container“) with (the magnificent) Emma Bolden that I’m super proud of in Ghost Proposal.

What are you reading right now?

Oh wow. I feel like it is the worst time for me to talk about reading, but you can get a sense of my life right now when I tell you I’m reading Emily Oster’s Expecting Better and the Sears Baby Book. I always thought when I got pregnant, I would fountain into this creative energy flow, that I’d channel Beth Ann Fennelly and write about the whole experience, but I have to admit: it’s the practical side that has bloomed. So many lists I have made! As an academic librarian, I also read a *lot* about information literacy and academic libraries.

I am out of the loop with recent poetry publications but have found it comforting and inspiring to return to favorite poets like C.D. Wright and Ross Gay and Sylvia Plath. I heard Kendra DeColo has a new book coming out (I looked, from BOA Press in 2021, so quite a wait!) and I’m excited about that. I read out loud a poem or two every day or so and relish the sounds I make and wonder what it sounds like to my pre-language fetus. I’m also slowly reading the first volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle and am simultaneously compelled and repelled, which makes for an immersive read that is fun to talk about.

What’s next for you?

I’ve got some poems due to come out in Poet Lore and Dialogist, which is cool. I’ve finished a book of poems that I have submitted to a ton of contests and publishers and am hoping that 2020 is the year of birth – my first baby, my first book, the next burst of creative energy that will fuel new writing. In the meantime, I’m allowing myself to cook a lot, watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. read about perfume, and daydream.


Ashley Roach-Freiman is a librarian and poet with work appearing or forthcoming in Dialogist, Bone Bouquet, Fugue, THRUSH Poetry Journal, The Literary Review, Ghost Proposal, and Nightjar Review. The chapbook Bright Along the Body is available from dancing girl press. Find out more at ashleyroachfreiman.com.