Sarah Wetzel
December 2012

 

Sarah Wetzel, poet and engineer, is the author of Bathsheba Transatlantic, which won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and was published in 2010. After job-hopping across Europe and the Americas, Sarah currently divides time between Manhattan and Tel Aviv, Israel. Sarah holds an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and a MBA from Berkeley. More importantly for her poetry, Sarah completed a MFA in Creative Writing at Bennington College in January 2009. Recent publications can be found in Nimrod, ilanot Journal, Valparaiso, Superstition Review, Rattle, and Calyx.

Sarah Wetzel

Statement of Poetics

Richard Hugo wrote, “Writing is a slow accumulative way of accepting one’s life as valid,” which is a statement that affirms not only the individual putting thought to word but also the act of writing itself. I’d extend Hugo’s statement to say that, in my case, writing is also a way of accepting other lives as valid. For the past eight years, I’ve lived between two places—Tel Aviv, Israel and Manhattan, New York. For me, an American-Israeli who has lived much of her life outside the US, it is this that animates my poetry, and much of my work concerns itself with cultural and political estrangement, about coming to terms with life as outsider. I value experimentation and my writing currently travels among free verse, formal poetic structures, and prose. I am interested in the tension created by juxtaposing poetry written using line breaks and the discursive style allowed through prose. I consider this process to be as significant for me as its end result, and believe that the relationship between the process of researching and writing these disparate pieces, and the finished product provides opportunities to overlay the objective political and religious circumstances of living as a foreigner in the Middle East with subjective personal experience. My hope is that the play between lyric and narrative, poetry and prose, will create entryways for the reader and allow him or her to engage more closely with my work.

 

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