Q&A with Sandra Marchetti

Delve deeply into the mind and life of sports poet Sandra Marchetti in this never-before-seen Q&A…

Really, we just send Sandra a bunch of questions and asked her to answer a handful or so of them. This is what she sent us back.

How do you deal with writers’ block and/or the urge to do anything else but sit down and write?

I am not prolific, writing a few handfuls of poems and essays in a year. Last year I wrote a short story! 

The way I get the work done despite a packed life is through anticipation. It’s like planning a future vacation. 

I usually sit down early in the week and figure out when I’ll have time to write—usually on Friday or the weekend. Then, I think about that space and time occasionally throughout the week. I get excited for the coffee I’ll savor, the treat I’ll have, the walk or swim I’ll take on that day…just the alone time I’ll get to experience! When I need to begin, I’m usually ready.

How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired as a literary professional?

To be frank, making money as a freelance writer and editor helped. 

I’ve had good luck selling articles about sports and motion to outlets like Fansided, FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus, and others. I’ve helped writers craft their books through manuscript critiques. 

The great thing about these opportunities is that you know you are connecting to an audience. When you write for a large site, folks send you emails responding to your articles (not all good, but all entertaining!). When you work with other writers as an editor, you’re trusted with an author’s most meaningful ideas and art. It’s inspiring.

 Can you share an example of how your experience shapes the way you teach?

Sure. When I was in grad school, and taking a workshop critique of my poem personally, I said to a friend that I “shouldn’t be so sensitive.” 

She replied, “At this point you probably aren’t going to change.” 

At first it felt harsh, but it has really informed my pedagogy. Workshop isn’t for everyone. Large group critique is not for everyone. Sometimes just basking in the joy of drafting together is more useful. Sometimes reading together or listening to music is more useful…finding the pleasure is what it’s all about.

Who are you trying to connect with by teaching this class? 

The unique thing about this class is that it’s truly for everyone. The sensation of the body in motion is something most of us can connect with deeply. 

This course isn’t just for athletes, former athletes, or sports fans. It’s for distance walkers, yoga moms, and folks with different physical abilities.

 The “writing-curious” and published authors alike will find a new vocabulary to describe the body in this course. 

Additionally, I really want prose writers to feel comfortable joining the class. Whether you have more of a journalistic bent, want to write memoir, or are looking to create a great short story—I want to work with you (and poets too)! 

What kind of support or resources do you provide your students?

In the class, we’ll be looking at some of your current work and ideas and helping you create new work. You’ll receive a curated list of markets to query that publish sports and body-centric literature. You’ll also receive additional exercises to try out on your own to polish and develop your work.

Can you share a piece of advice that has helped you as a writer or literature professional?

You’re a writer because you write, not because someone else bestows upon you the title. 

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2nd Thursdays, 7-9 pm | Share your words at our monthly open mic emceed by spoken word poet Jorah LaFleur

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