Contributor Interview: Lucia Galloway

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.


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.

“At the Music Conservatory” was inspired by my childhood piano lessons at Illinois Wesleyan’s conservatory program for children. The presence of our mothers at these music classes gave an added dimension of social consciousness to these weekly gatherings. Adult feelings of competition and social status colored the way I saw my peers. I wanted to explore these tensions in Part I of the poem, then show in Part II how the conflicts evaporated when we seven little girls were all onstage together making music, having wrested control from the mothers. My feelings of inadequacy or social inferiority disappeared when it was my turn to wield the baton for our practice concert sessions. There’s a clear change of style and tone in Part II that underscores the sense of mastery and power.

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

I do. It occurs in Part II in the extended image of the sailboat, the shape the baton traces in the air with four-four time. “I draw the stick through the air, / fill the sail, keep us afloat. / I am skipper of the sloop.” The narrator speaks of her turn at the podium as being in on a sense of “wonder.”

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

There is material for poetry in anything that moves you. Write about it, and keep working on the piece until you’ve found the form and the voice it should take.

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

Though my first name is Italian, all I can claim of Italy is days spent writing poems at a castle in Tuscany and evenings before dinner playing bocce ball on the castle lawns. Weekend trips to Siena and Assisi, where I got lost in both.

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

My second full-length collection of poems will be published in 2019 by FutureCycle Press. At present I’m thinking about ways to frame a new poetry project—poems that may one day be the core of another book or chapbook.

Lucia Galloway has published three collections of poetry, Playing Outside, Venus and Other Losses, and The Garlic Peelers, which won the 2014 QuillsEdge Press chapbook competition. She was a winner of Rhyme Zone’s 2014–15 Poetry Prize and has poems in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Mid-American Review, Tar River, New Verse News, and Wide-Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Galloway co-hosts “Fourth Sundays,” a reading series in Claremont, California.

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