AAVA.V. Christie is the author of “Nine Skies“, which won the National Poetry Series, and “The Housing,” winner of the McGovern Prize. Her poems have appeared in “Poetry”, “Commonweal“, “The Iowa Review“, “Crazyhorse“, and “Ploughshares“, among other journals. Christie has received grants from the National Endowment of Arts and from the Pennsylvania and Maryland State Arts Councils, and has been a visiting writer locally at Villanova, LaSalle, Bryn Mawr College, and Penn State Abington. She teaches private workshops and is Associate Director at the Chester County Art Association.  Her newest chapbook: The Wonders (Seven Kitchens Press) will be coming out as part of the Editor’s Selection Series in the Summer of 2014.

A.V. will be leading a dedicated Master Class called “Poetry as a Field of Action” in which she will be teaching the concept of William Carlos Williams’ idea of the poem in action.  The class will look and listen carefully to drafts of classmates’ poetry and find that they are already telling about the poem’s driving force and momentum. The poem is always giving hints about how it wants to be written, hints about how it wants to move. Using published examples as well as student work, A.V. will attempt to apprehend each poem’s action and leanings and explore ways to heighten the energy, whether by using provocative fragments, compelling juxtapositions, form, or dynamic and disparate imagery.  Ultimately, the class will learn the ways in which the poem so often is telling you how it wants to behave.

We asked A.V. to share her feelings on inspiration and the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference.  Read what she had to say after the break!

PWC:   Where do you draw your inspiration?

AVC:   I am very visual, so I keep notes of what I see: often at museums or out and about on walks. I also note down interesting phrases I’ve seen written or overheard spoken. I particularly like to read the American Transcendentalist poets and American Modernist poets, and poetry in translation. Elizabeth Bishop and Emily Dickinson and Whitman, Wallace Stevens, have been inspirational, Robert Hass, Larry Levis, Kay Ryan. Poems in translation are a short-cut to thinking about poems in new ways which I find inspirational.


PWC:   How important are conferences and conventions to a writer?

AVC:   Any conference or workshop led by a writer one hasn’t worked with is a compelling opportunity. The ideas, preoccupations, new styles and idiosyncracies can send one’s writing in whole new directions. New workshop leaders at a conference can place in front of you assignments that prompt the beginnings of a handful of new poems.


PWC:   What are some hints for getting your butt in the seat and your hands on the keyboard (or notepad)?

AVC:   I am not one to write everyday. Perhaps my technique would be better if I did–which might make me more able to bring about what I envision with my material. I have to be struck to get started on a poem. When I am struck by an idea, I work almost everyday on the draft before putting it away for a time. My momentum and motivation to return to the poem are strong at this point–I’m led to my seat. I always spend time reading published poems before getting started writing–a beautifully crafted phrase, a word, an approach can pretty immediately whet my desire to get my butt back in the seat and started back to the draft. I work on more than one poem and/or revision at a time and often start in longhand.


PWC:   What are you most looking forward to at the 2014 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference

AVC:   Any time I teach, I look forward to the range of vantage points brought to the workshop. Every one of the writers in my PWC Master Class is a writer new to me. That means 10 different favorite poets/poems and 10 different approaches to the writing/making of poems that I can learn from.

Find out more about A.V. Christie by visiting her website avchristie.com.

A.V.’s Poetry Class is full at the moment, but you can still register for the conference HERE!