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10 Questions for JC Andrews

I’m so in love with you all of a sudden, you
    machine angel. Angel machine. Because I am still learning
        your new smells. Plastic, salt, animal, finally and still

thinking plastic, salt, animal, finally. Because you are letting
    me stand you up in the shower and wash your hair like you are not
        my mother, like I am not your daughter.
—from "Momma, Refracted," Volume 64, Issue 1

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I don’t remember the first time I wrote a poem and took it seriously. I will say, though, that my grandmother used to write letters for me to her friend Rose Ella, and I think those might have been some of my first poems. She would sit down beside me on the floor and jot down whatever I decided to babble on about that day. She knew I was shy, so I think she thought it was good for me to try talking to a semi-stranger through her. She let me look at a few of the letters this past summer and one reads: “Do you like angels Rose Ella? Do you like yellow? I do too. Bye.”

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
All of the people I am lucky enough to write with here in Bloomington are constantly shaping my work, and those conversations seem to be the most generative and fruitful for me. Otherwise, I’d say I have been influenced mostly by the work of Yusef Komunyakaa and Cody-Rose Clevidence throughout the past year.

What other professions have you worked in?
I have done everything from catching chickens to washing dishes to managing social media accounts, but I am currently uncovering a love for teaching that I believe will last a long time.

What did you want to be when you were young?
I don’t want to lie to you and tell you I remember, but I will say that I know I loved animals and so I can imagine my younger self wanting to work with animals someday.

What inspired you to write this piece?
You know those weird rainbows the windows make on the wall? Well, my grandmother always told me those were angels. I’ve been a little obsessed with that story for a while, and it became even more important to me when one of those rainbows showed up in the corner of my mother’s hospital room.

Is there a city or place, real or imagined, that influences your writing?
My work focuses on the un-ing and re-ing I have done and continue to do as a queer writer from the South. It also aims to hold the question as a form of caretaking. I like to think of the relationship between the language I work with in my poems and the spaces in which I have built those poems as a permeable one in that the language becomes material and the place becomes something you can almost but not quite touch.

Is there any specific music that aids you through the writing or editing process?
I love to listen to piano sounds while I write as well as Rachika Nayar.

If you could work in another art form what would it be?
Without question, music. That form of expression seems like it gets closer to touching the emotion than words.

What are you working on currently?
I am finishing up my second year in the MFA program at Indiana University, so I am currently working on my thesis with Adrian Matejka, Ross Gay, and Constance Furey.

What are you reading right now?
I am always reading C.D. Wright and Yusef Komunyakaa, but I have recently been spending time with Ross’s book, Inciting Joy.


JC ANDREWS is a poet from Springfield, AR, with an interest in poems that work as an un-ing, poems that hold questions as a form of caretaking. She is the author of the chapbook Sweetwork, and her writing can be found in The Red Wheelbarrow, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. She was a semifinalist for the 2021 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize, a finalist for the 2021 New Millenium Writing Award, a finalist for the 2023 NORward prize, and a top ten applicant of the Mountain Words Writer-in-Residence program. She currently serves as an associate editor of Indiana Review.

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