Yael Massen is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her work can be found in Ilanot Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and DIALOGIST. Her poem, “The Cartographer’s Daughter,” appears in MAR 35.1.
What can you share about this piece prior to its MAR publication?
“The Cartographer’s Daughter” is actually an ekphrastic poem, based on an origami dress made from an old map. The artist, Elisabeth Lecourt, has a series of origami maps in her collection, “Les robes géographiques.” The map-dress that serves as inspiration for this poem is titled, “Le Chateau deu Map of the World.”
What was your reaction upon receiving your MAR acceptance?
I was very excited for MAR to be my first print publication. My mentor, Cori Winrock, was chosen as Editor’s Choice for the James Wright Poetry Award several years ago. It was pretty special to celebrate a shared journal-milestone in our writing lives.
You’re at a family reunion and some long-lost relative asks about your writing. What do you say?
I usually tell people I write about love, in all forms. Love between friends, love between family, self-love, love for one’s country, etc. I am also interested in the consequences of love, the pain of betrayal, questioning the authenticity of our feelings of admiration or disappointment, and the magnitude to which we feel strong emotions.
Your biggest writing-related regret?
I tend to feel anxious before and after a writer gives a reading. I am never quite sure what to do or say before an author reads, and I don’t feel authentic when making small talk. I usually leave shortly after a reading ends. I wish I would spend more time talking to writers whose work really affects me, and it’s something I’ve decided to work on in the future.
Tell us one strange thing about yourself that does involve writing.
I don’t like people to know that I am writing, and I don’t like to be asked what I am working on. When I would return home during summer breaks from college, I’d sneak into the kitchen at 3 A.M. and write by the light of my refrigerator’s ice dispenser.
Laura Maylene Walter, Fiction Editor