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Hillary Leftwich


Author of "Ghost Ship" and "Letter" in ISSUE 03 and her thoughts about the lyric essay form, writers she's reading, and the game of submissions.

What are you reading these days? Do you love/hate/feel neutral about it, and why?


Brandon Shimoda, Jennifer Clement, John Keene, and Sean Avery. If I feel neutral about something, I won’t continue to read it. 

Could you provide for us a passage of writing that deeply shifts something inside you? 


Murakami always stays with me: “If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets.”― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


When you are working on a piece, what inspirations do you draw from?


The news, politics, other poets.


What craft elements are you most interested in/attached to within your writing?


I really am only into the lyric essay form and experimental forms. As writers, we’re always kind of evolving or exploring or just dipping our toes into other waters and seeing what it feels like. The lyric essay and all its sub genres feels right to me. 


Who (or what) are some of your writing obsessions, and why?


I’m obsessed with Maryse Meijers and Ai Ogawa. I can’t get enough of their writing.

What are some ways in which you remain productive/find time to be a writer? 


I guilt trip myself into writing until there’s something urgent I want to write about; then, it’s all motivation.

How do you navigate the experience of submissions/rejections/acceptances?

It’s all part of the game. One minute you’re getting rejection after rejection (I even got a rejection on my birthday a few years back, not that the editors would have any clue), and the next minute you get an acceptance and forget all about the other rejections. It’s a crap shoot, but we must keep submitting to get published.


Regarding your pieces in Issue 02, what do they mean for/to you?

My brother is an addict, and right before the pandemic hit, he almost didn’t make it. The importance of the pieces I have published can’t be explained. It means the world to me to be able to write about and share the impact of addiction with others.

Do you have any recent publications or projects?

"Good Girls" published by Santa Fe Writers Project (SFWP):


Is there anything else you would like to share with other writers?

There’s always room and a need for your voice. Never give up.

Hillary Leftwich is the author of Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock (CCM Press, 2019 and Agape Editions, 2023 new edition), Aura (Future Tense Books and Blackstone Audio Publishing, 2022), and Saint Dymphna’s Playbook (TBA). She has published in or has work forthcoming in The Sun, Santa Fe Writers Project, The Rumpus, Denver Quarterly, and other publications and has written reviews for High Country News, Heavy Feather Review, and others. She teaches creative writing at The University of Denver, Colorado College, Unity College, and Lighthouse Writers, and teaches youth for Lighthouse Youth. She is an active judge for the Colorado Book Awards and has served as a judge for the James Yaffe Prize in fiction and The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in poetry. She has been awarded scholarships for The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and the Margaret Randall scholarship for Naropa University. She teaches Tarot and Tarot writing workshops focusing on strengthening divination abilities and writing.


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