"About the Work" with Mag Gabbert
In our "About the Work" series, Savannah Trent asks recent contributors for insight into their writing or for current sources of inspiration. Read Gabbert's poem, "Pink" in SER vol. 38.2.
Recently I enjoyed watching The Great Pottery Throw Down—in many ways a clear spinoff of The Great British Baking Show—on HBO Max. And, when I say I "enjoyed" it, I mean I watched all three available seasons in less than 48 hours. Some of the things that particularly appeal to me would include: the combo of picturesque, meadowy nature and industrial architecture; the male judge who weeps anytime someone builds a nice pot; large campfires; charming old windows with lots of little square window panes; giant chimneys!; yellow flowers growing on the giant chimneys!; a general appreciation for amateur arts and crafts; magnificent, handmade toilets; and, of course, decorative urns. Beyond these things, though, I think what I enjoy most about these kinds of shows is that they give me an opportunity to examine what it means to make art through different lenses. In ceramics, for example, there's a firing technique called "raku" (originally developed in 16th century Japan) that is more chaotic and risky than other forms of kiln firing—but, when it's done well, it yields ethereal, iridescent results. What would that process look like when it comes to drafting my poems? Or, in poetic terms, how might I learn to throw on a wheel that spins backwards? Is there a way to translate the faint, translucent glow of a chandelier made from bone china onto my pages? I'm not sure yet, but I guess that's what I'm going for.
MAG GABBERT holds a PhD in creative writing from Texas Tech University and an MFA from The University of California at Riverside. Her essays and poems have been published in 32 Poems, Stirring, The Rumpus, Thrush, Hobart, Phoebe, Birmingham Poetry Review, and many other journals. Mag teaches creative writing at Southern Methodist University and for Writing Workshops Dallas; she serves as the interviews editor for Underblong Journal. For more information, please visit maggabbert.com.