Interview With Poet Natalie Shapero

Poet Natalie Shapero

This week at the Poetry Blog of 32 Poems Magazine my interview with poet Natalie Shapero was posted. She’s a contributor to the magazine and was a delight to interview.  You’ll have to check out the videos and songs that inspire her writing.

First, let me tantalize you with a bit from the interview, and then you can go on over and check the rest out for yourself.

Without further ado, here’s the interview.

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?

I used to be more of a full-time poetry person than I am now – I wandered away somewhat to go to law school and spend summers at some great organizations that work on civil rights and poverty issues. I also make music occasionally, insofar as jumping and yelling may be, by some, considered singing.

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

When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, I was really taken with Open Line with Fred Andrle, this amazing call-in show on the local NPR affiliate, but Fred is retired now. This has allowed for the head-rearing of various other fascinations, including Wallace Shawn, trends in Wikipedia vandalism, and pocket Constitutions. I am also pretty interested in fashion – much to be obsessed with there, from eastern European street style as documented by college students in Krakow to the alarmist tabloid coverage of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt’s tomboy aesthetic.

When writing poetry, prose, essays, and other works do you listen to music, do you have a particular playlist for each genre you work in or does the playlist stay the same? What are the top 5 songs on that playlist? If you don’t listen to music while writing, do you have any other routines or habits?

Music, yes! Usually it is sad music I know well enough that I’m not distracted by the lyrics, because they’re already sufficiently ingrained in me to sound more like low noise than words. Here are five good dorky songs:

She also included a poem for readers to check out:

Implausible Travel Plans

He said, the water down there, it’s so clear

you can’t see jellyfish. That indicates

nothing, I said, and he said, I don’t care

is the hardest line to deliver in all of acting,

as though he knew of an acting laboratory

where researchers developed hardness scales

and spattered across them devastating fragments.

show me the steep and thorny way to heaven.

I liked to rehearse my Ophelia during blackouts,

the traditional time to make the worst mistakes

and, later, soften the story. Nothing working

but the gas stove. God, I felt so bad

that time we used the crock instead of the kettle

and watched it smoke and shatter. I was the one.

I was the one who wanted stupid tea.

–First appeared in FIELD.

About the Poet:

Natalie Shapero’s poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Conduit, Poetry Northwest, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago.

Please check out the rest of the interview on 32 Poems Blog.


  1. She sounds like a very interesting person. Loved her response to the obsessions question!
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  2. Great interview and beautiful poem! Thanks Serena.
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