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The People Who Write Questionnaire: Megan Gannon

Megan Gannon is the author of Cumberland: A Novel and two collections of poems, White Nightgown and
Witch’s Index: Spells • Incantations • Poems

If your life (so far) were a book, what would the title be?
You Think You Know How This Story Goes, But SURPRISE!

What is the greatest story ever told?
Gosh. This is hard. The book that most haunts me is Native Son.

Who is the greatest literary character ever created?
I think the Judge in Blood Meridian has got to be up there.

Which living or dead writer would you most like to share a meal with?
Probably Virginia Woolf. I think people don’t realize that she was a funny, funny lady.

What is your favorite word right now?
Wisteria. I’m convinced it’s an emotional condition I suffer from.

What word has always looked or sounded strange to you?
I can’t pronounce “penitentiary.” Maybe there’s a mental block from living in the Western nation with the highest incarceration rate.

How many words have you written today?
Alas, probably only 200? And all on Facebook? But it’s only 8:30.

Where have you had your most exhilarating writing experience?
Probably just sitting on the bed in my guest room, which is my best writing space, when a poem or a scene just gushes out in finished form and surprises me and seems like it’s better than anything I thought I could write. That happens so rarely, but there is no better feeling.

What is the thing about writing that you most deplore?
Sending out my work.

What is the thing about writing that you most love?
Surprising myself.

What stereotype about writers have you found to be true?
Most of us are crazy fetishists about books. When I really love a book, I have to go out and find a pristine hardback copy of it to house on my bookshelf. If I loan someone a book and it comes back with a broken spine, our friendship is null and void. I think I’m not alone in these sentiments.

What’s the biggest misconception about writers/writing?
That we write. Sometimes we don’t for long stretches, but as a student of mine said recently, “Everything is research for writing. People watching–that’s research! Taking a nap–that’s research!”

What’s the one thing no one would ever guess about you from reading your writing?
I’m a big goofball. I think a lot of my writing is pretty lyrical and leans towards the esoteric, but I giggle at scatological jokes like I’m ten.

Poet and novelist Megan Gannon was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and is a graduate of Vassar College (BA), the University of Montana (MFA) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (PhD). She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia,West Africa from 1998-2000.

Her work has appeared in venues such as Ploughshares, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, Third Coast, The Notre Dame Review, Verse Daily, Poetry Daily, and The Best American Poetry 2006.

She teaches at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin.

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