Catching Up With Laura Creste

Where can we read some of your recent work?

Thanks for asking! Last year the Poetry Society of America published my chapbook, You Should Feel Bad, which includes a slightly revised version of a poem that first appeared in Tinderbox issue 3:1. More recently, my poem “Controlled Burn” was featured as The Yale Review’s Poem of the Week.

What are you reading right now?

I’ve been reading a ton since starting a writing fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. A lot of it about weather. The Book of Clouds by John A. Day is exactly as it promises: noctilucent clouds that shine brightly at night, nacreous clouds with that mother-of-pearl iridescent quality. The photos are gorgeous. This reading trajectory started off as a desire to understand hurricanes, but like anyone I also enjoy collecting unusual words and reading about whatever makes the world feel beautiful and surprising. Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World by Lisa Wells, is another book I keep thinking about. Structured as a sort of travelogue, Wells interviews people trying in small ways to mitigate some of the effects of climate change, usually without institutional support. It’s far less bleak than most other climate books I’ve read, say The Sixth Extinction or even fiction like Joy Williams’s Harrow. Which are great, of course, but do leave me in despair. 

Poetry, obviously, too. I’ve been loving about:blank by Tracy Fuad, another one of the fellows here in Provincetown. Her book is funny and formally wild, and takes seriously issues of identity and existing on the internet and in society. In one of my favorite poems in the book, “Object Project” she writes: “I believe that recreation is dangerous / As evidence: The Oregon Trail, developed as an educational computer game / As evidence: my childhood home in Indian Hills / As evidence: my faithful daily pop-up, telling me to update to macOS Mojave / As evidence: in 4th grade I made mastaw for Heritage Day and watched as everyone spit it out.” She juxtaposes personal history, history-history, and the weird, intrusive aspects of living closely with technology.

I also keep rereading Headwaters by Ellen Bryant Voigt, trying to study her syntax and figure out how she creates multiple meanings in certain lines by omitting punctuation. And Devin Kelly’s newsletter introduced me to Keith S. Wilson’s Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love. Kelly highlights Wilson’s excellent “I Find Myself Defending Pigeons,” but the whole book is excellent. 

What’s next for you?

I have a poem forthcoming in Bennington Review, and another in Poetry Northwest. The big goal is to finish a full-length collection, but I’d also like to improve at shucking oysters.

Laura Cresté is the author of You Should Feel Bad, winner of a 2019 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. She holds an MFA from New York University, and is currently a 2021-2022 writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @lauracreste.