Catching Up With Lisa Hartz

Where can we read your work?

In 2018, I published a collection of ekphrastic poems – written in response to the lives and work of visual artists: The Goldfish Window, Grayson Books. My second collection is out doing the rounds now. It’s an exploration of the life and work of Abstract Expressionist Lee Krasner – better known as the wife & widow of Jackson Pollock. She was his champion, and she’s responsible for our knowing him, but she was a fierce artist in her own right. You can read poems from that collection in the latest Gettysburg Review, and online here:

What are you reading now?

I absolutely loved every minute of Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark. I gave myself a sort of seminar, reading Plath and Ted Hughes alongside the biography. I just wish the class had a discussion section. Right now I’m re-reading the gorgeous Women in the Waiting Room by Kirun Kapur (Black Lawrence Press, 2020). Talk about a strong female voice. You know how, when the poems are just so fearless, so risky and yet so moving, it makes you want to write? Like it reawakens the need? My inner poet has been dozing of late. I needed this book, again. 

What’s next?

I’m slowly, slowly returning to the craft. Something about the pandemic, and having my children home – it sort of sapped all my creative energy. I’ve been focusing on visual artists who identify as women, especially those working now. By which I mean, still alive. Which is a bit scary. But I get to write about Karen LaMonte’s glass dresses, Yoko’s performance art, Sally Mann’s photographs, Kara Walker’s silhouettes. So much dynamic, resonant, work. And I get to look forward to what they have coming next. 


Lisa Beech Hartz directs Seven Cities Writers Project which brings cost-free writing workshops to underserved communities. She has guided workshops for incarcerated men and women in city jails, and memoir workshops at an LGBTQ community center and an African-American history museum. She also guides virtual micro memoir workshops. Lisa lives in the Tidewater Region of Virginia with her husband and sons.