Lyric Essentials: Sarah Kain Gutowski reads “The Armadillo” by Elizabeth Bishop
an interview with Christopher Petruccelli on The Sundress Blog
"I love reading Lowell’s poem ['Skunk Hour'] (which he dedicated to Bishop) and seeing the parallel structure, how 'The Armadillo' is in conversation with Lowell’s poem but also entirely its own creature. The little rabbit with its 'ignited eyes' appears in the penultimate stanza as do Lowell’s small army of skunks marching up Main Street with their 'moonstruck eyes’ red fire'"
"I have a spectacularly terrible memory, and yet I can remember the moment I conceived the sow image, which tells me that even if no one else were to identify with these poems, this character was the right one for me: It was at night, and everyone else in my household was in bed, and I decided to take my notebook out on the deck, and sit in the dark, and actually think about a character. My first thought was to choose an animal – something physically very different from myself – and my next thought was of a pig. And then she was a female pig, and then she was waking up in the dark, and then she was there, outside with me.
I’m not sure about special perceptions, but the sow character allowed me to write at a distance from myself. Or, really, it allowed me to believe I was writing about something other than myself, even though it’s obvious, after reading the collection, that the opposite is true."
by Amelia Martens, Associate Editor and Review Editor at Exit 7
"the talent of Gutowski is demonstrated in her ability to transform storytelling from an exterior to an interior phenomena. We learn about ourselves in these poems, we experience our pain, our silencing, our occupation by others."
"Here, in the language of the final poem, even as the mother assumes human shape and cares for a human child, a son, she remains in 'this other female’s' body. The mother is not a woman who was briefly transformed into a sow. The mother is the sow who occasionally becomes human. How long will she be locked in a strange new skin? Forever, Gutowski suggests. Mothering is forever, and the mists that shroud it are inescapable."
an interview with Maura Conley and Haele Wolfe at the Handful of Wheel podcast
"We road tripped out to Long Island for our interview with writer, professor and great lady, Sarah Kain Gutowski. Included in this episode: Maura’s favorite Taco Bell, 7/11 coffee, and a full exploration of the ups and downs of writing while teaching while parenting. Buckle up, kiddos!"
"There’s an adrenaline rush that comes from the act of creation, when you generate work – a poem, a couple of lines to a poem – and you know it could turn into something good eventually. That’s exciting – in a secret-only-I-know kind of way. Revision generally gives a more long-term, lasting satisfaction – it’s like going for a daily run, and exercising muscles that like to be used and expect to be used."