Austin Anderson, Poetry, Class of 2015

“Men are trading their bullets for worms.” —Kate Greenstreet
AWP Intro Journals Winner: Poetry, 2015

Austin AndersonIf you could pick any two pop culture icons to blurb your first book, who would they be and why?

Matthew McConaughey—The movie "Interstellar" moved me quite literally to tears, and I owe much of that to his character’s role as a father. And Jimmy Page—Then I could say that Jimmy Page read my poetry.

If you could pick any artist to do the cover of your first book, who and why?

Banksy. Because. Banksy. (But also because graffiti has a primal, beating power and his work in particular pounds and pounds and pounds.)

If you could open (as a poet, yo!) for any musician/band, who and why?

Fleet Foxes playing in a magical concert alongside Sufjan Stevens. Both play music that very much speaks to me as an eco-spiritual poet. And because they’re both currently in lunch break squatting playlist.

Who do you dream of collaborating with and why?

Martin Buber for the excerpts I’ve read of his work "I and Thou," Edward Abbey for the love of red rock we both share, Shane McCrae for his work "Blood," Meg Day for her poem "Last Psalm at Sea Level,” and Christopher Moore, co-host of a strength podcast I listen to while driving, for his insights into the physical and spiritual essence of human muscle¬ and wisdom: like, don’t ever fight a bear—their muscles are just better than ours.

What does work-life balance mean to you? How has that changed since entering the MFA?

While doing research for work, I came across an idea floating around the Internet that I haven’t thought of until now. That work-life balance shouldn’t be a balance at all, but rather everything we do should fill our hunger to live fuller. Of course, I can’t (and won’t) work ten or twelve hour days because I need more time with my daughter and wife to keep me young and wholly in love with and in awe of the world. But that hunger isn’t something I should set aside while at work or at home. The hunger to write, to draw, to sing, to dance. So I take note all day. I keep my eyes open so that the five minutes I have every night after reading are five minutes I can engage meaningfully and deeply with the little bit of creativity bursting somewhere among ribs and lungs and heart.

And I found that whatever balance or perspective I plan on having I must always be patient. The poem that begins today does not need to end today, but that as time stretches, it too might stretch.

Using Twitter guidelines (140 characters or less), describe a moment of connection with another student in our program, with one of our Core Faculty, or with a Distinguished Visiting Writer.

Dancing on cedar planks, we all are singing & our voices suspend, the harmonies of bodies lying & ankles of one us standing on her head.

How can you get PoetFit with Austin?

Read a few of Austin’s thoughts on mind and body health on the OSU-Cascades MFA blog.

Austin was a winner of the Association for Writers and Writing Programs Intro Journals Competition in 2015. The winning poem—“When Asked How Many, I Didn’t Know”— is forthcoming in Iron Horse Review (17.6). Austin gets PoetFit on the OSU-Cascades MFA Blog. He writes: "I drive to work and sing to myself or clap or make faces or just yell. I am the only who hears me. During my last MFA residency I shouted and sang and whistled a lot one morning. I was heard as I heard a community of so many noises. And I learned that poetry isn't just the words—there is a guttural bellow in it all."