Contributor Interview: Sheila Sanderson

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. 

Like most of my work, “Just as I begin to imagine eternity” was inspired by my experience of place.  Near the end of my third summer of backpacking in Denali National Park, conscious of having had once again, the privilege of walking every day in this expansive landscape among flowers and creatures, of doing what makes me feel particularly alive, I was grateful. Watching this moose allowed me to gather some threads about appreciating the natural world, defining the creature I am in it, and wanting it all to go on.

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

I like the flow of the opening with the title leading straight into the feeding moose, the moose moving down, the mist rising up. I am also fond of the word choices apparatus and eyeballs.

 What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Revise. Rejection letters revealed that this poem was almost accepted a couple of times. I trimmed a few lines each time, and now I’m proud to have it in this form and in Nimrod.

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

I want to make it to Iran, Mongolia, and Antarctica, and several other places, while I can still walk around with a backpack.

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

I’m writing prose as well as poetry these days. I hope to finish a collection of creative nonfiction pieces in the near future.

Sheila Sanderson’s work has appeared in journals such as Alaska Quarterly Review, Crazyhorse, Miramar Magazine, North American Review, and Spillway as well as in anthologies such as Language Lessons(Third Man Press) and One for the Money(Lynx House Press). She is the author of Keeping Even and Ok by Me(SFA Press). She teaches at Prescott College and edits Alligator Juniper.

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