SAGES chose Meg Johnson, a NEOMFA candidate in her second year, for the Student in the Spotlight because of her excellent achievements in the area of creative writing. Meg has a forthcoming full-length poetry book from the National Poetry Review Press (expected before 2014), Meg has been published in Slipstream Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, Stone Highway Review, Word Riot, SOFTBLOW, New Pages, Wicked Alice, Rufous City Review, Smoking Glue Gun, The Destroyer, Underground Voices and more, Meg also publishes her own blog, megjohnsonmegjohnson.blogspot.com
Meg says she approaches the craft of writing with the mindset of dancer by being competitive and by viewing writing “like performing on a page.” However, Meg was not always as dedicated to writing as she was to dancing. She says she has “always loved writing” and “wrote on her own secretly” before she formally began her training to be a writer by taking college-level creative writing courses at age 25. Many of the lessons that she learned from competitive dancing helped her with her creative writing career. Meg says that when she first began dancing she had to learn about competition, acceptance, and rejection. Referring to her poetry, Meg says, “I got acceptances, which were flattering, but the rejections weren’t crippling.” Meg’s determination and ability to take criticism has taken her a long way with her poetry career.
When asked about her writing process, Meg says writing is not always “a party…sometimes it’s organic, sometimes you feel like it’s extremely hard.” The beginning processes for each poem varies for Meg as well. She says, “It is hard to pinpoint how every poem starts.” Its origin could be “an odd sentence rolling around in your brain, a memorable moment, or an event from the past that jumps out.”
Meg says that Gurlesque poets like Chelsey Minnis inspire her and have changed her thoughts on “relationships and relationships with art…and form and how things fit on the page.” Meg cites Mary Biddinger as an influence as well saying, “It is important for me to have a mentor…Mary understood me the most.”
SAGES thanks Meg for participating in the interview and sharing her exciting accomplishments with the blog.