Contributor Interview: Scott Chalupa

As part of the launch of our Spring/Summer 2018 issue, Let Us Gather: Diversity and the Arts, we sat down with contributors to talk about their work in the issue and more. The following interview is part of this series. Please visit our website to see the complete list of contributors to Let Us Gather, to purchase the issue, or to subscribe.

Chalupa, Scott

Tell us a little about your work in Let Us Gather: Diversity and the Arts. What inspired it, how you came to write it, etc.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working on reading queer histories into the paintings of Caravaggio. His process of using real-life people as models for figures in religious history is a huge inspiration. There’s also been a big cultural moment these past couple of years of remembering the history of AIDS, and Caravaggio’s devotional artwork seemed a fantastic way to recreate moments from the plague years of HIV/AIDS.

Do you have a favorite line, image, or scene from this work?

My favorite line/image is “an exemplary Assisi / ecstatic with Kaposi’s stigmata” from the poem “The Ecstasy of St. Francis.”

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Write. Fail. Write. Fail. Write. Write. Write. (And between those . . . Submit. Submit. Submit . . . regardless of success or failure).

Tell us something fun, strange, or interesting about yourself. It can have to do with writing—or not!

Baking is a passion that’s just as sustaining/healing for me as writing. Both of them require a heady mix of process and magic that rhyme for me on a fundamental level.

What’s on the writing horizon for you/what are you working on now?

I just recently sent off a final book draft to my publisher, so . . . Right now I’m just trying to fail at poems/ideas again and looking forward to what’s lurking amidst all that failure.

Scott Chalupa writes and teaches in Columbia, South Carolina, where he earned an M.F.A. at the University of South Carolina. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Indianapolis Review, South Atlantic Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and other venues. 

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