Interview With Moira Egan

I thought I would do a little something different today as part of FreeVerse over at Ooh…Books.

Bar Napkin Sonnet #17
We pause in conversation and the air
around us stills. It feels as if a globe
of yellow light’s enveloped us, alone,
and everyone around has disappeared.
His callused hand is gentle in my hair.
He’s only twenty-five, yet somehow knows
to kiss me now: “It feels like we’re alone.”
(I halfway fall in love with him right there.)
He’s never been to Europe, so we drink
sangria made of white wine, brandy, pears
and apples. “It’s the sugar in the fruit
that gets you gone,” I tell him, as I think
tonight he’s going to travel. Then we share
an eau-de-vie, ephemeral as youth.

Here’s part of my interview with Moira Egan at 32 Poems Blog.

How would you introduce yourself to a crowded room eager to hang on your every word? Are you just a poet, what else should people know about you?
My father was a poet, so I guess I can say I was infused with the Muse through nature and nurture both. That didn’t make it any easier, and there have been years-long stretches when I didn’t even consider myself a poet, didn’t want to be a poet. But here I am.

And here means Rome, where I live with my husband, Damiano Abeni, who, when he is not being an epidemiologist, is (if I may say so) a very well respected translator of American poetry into Italian. He’s done books of poems by Mark Strand, Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Simic, C.K Williams, and many others, and now I am happy to say that he translates my work as well. In fact, now he and I also work as a team on translations, going in both directions, but mostly from English into Italian. Together we worked on Un mondo che non può essere migliore: Poesie scelte 1956-2007, a substantial selection of poems by John Ashbery, which just won a Special Prize from the Premio Napoli. We have several translation projects on the front and back burners, and next summer we will spend a month at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, translating the “Italian” poems of Charles Wright.

Do you have any obsessions that you would like to share?

They’re there in the poems.

How do you stay fit and healthy as a writer?

Living in the land of pasta, that’s a constant, uphill battle. I try to take a good long walk every day, and it’s true enough that crossing the street in Rome is an Extreme Sport: very aerobic, even if you didn’t mean it to be. I also enjoy yoga.

What current projects are you working on and would you like to share some details with the readers? 

I am a very superstitious poet, so I am not going to say what I am working on right now, but I can happily say that my chapbook, Bar Napkin Sonnets, has just been published by The Ledge (where it won the 2008 Chapbook Competition) and that SPIN, another full-length collection will be coming out from Entasis Press in spring 2010.

To find out her favorite foods, about her writing space, and more, read the full interview.

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on title links or images will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page; No purchase necessary.


  1. http://Anna says

    I don't think I could live in Rome and turn down pasta! I really liked the poem you included, and I'm going to read the rest of the interview now.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  2. http://Valerie says

    I keep wondering how this 25 year old had such callused hands. Seems like two different people with a strong attraction for each other!

    I'll have to read the interview in full now!

  3. http://bermudaonion says

    What a great interview! I'd love to live in "the land of pasta."

  4. http://Serena says

    Janel: I love that she lives in such a lush region of the world…and you can clearly tell she loves wine…which is one of my favorite things.

  5. http://Janel says

    Moira sounds like she has a very interesting life. I'm heading over to read the full interview right now!
    I couldn't resist the mention of food 🙂

  6. http://Serena says

    Thanks Petty!

  7. http://....Petty%20Witter says

    Hi Serena, discovered your blog on Cara's Ooh Books and thought I'd stop by. A great poem, it had me remembering holidys past. Thanks for sharing.