Dr. Becca Klaver, Tennessee Tech’s newest creative writing professor and poet, joined us at Wake-Up Wednesday on September 20. In addition to a poetry reading, Dr. Klaver answered a few questions about her writing journey.
As with most writers, Klaver said that she doesn’t remember choosing to write--”words just started pouring out of me”. As a young child, she filled notebooks with stories only realizing that poetry was a thing in middle school.
Dr. Klaver’s main focus of work in on the poetics of everyday, and for her, this means the interaction between the physical world and the virtual world. She got the idea to put the internet into her poetry from the New York School of poets. The New York School, including Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery, constantly included pop culture references in their poetry. These poets felt that is was important to name and celebrate reality. The reality of 2017 turns out to be virtual reality.
Before Klaver became a poet she, studied screenwriting at USC LA. She told us that she wanted to be more experimental, and, as the poems came to her without beckoning them, she needed to escape from the formula of screenwriting. However, just as with the internet, film still plays a role in her poetry.
We asked Dr. Klaver what her writing process was like. She said sometimes she takes found texts such as tweets and creates a poem. Often, a piece of language will inspire her and a poem will spin out from that. One such piece emerged from various Facebook posts on the day Osama Bin Laden died, including a found text within the found texts, an all-too appropriate quote from Allen Ginberg’s “America.”
Dr. Klaver read to us from her book Empire Wasted which focuses on New York and the American Empire. Later, we asked if she would write about her newest home Cookeville. She said that the movement in Cookeville is of interest to her, so maybe something will come out of that. Coming from a large city where everyone walks, she’s interested in our need to drive everywhere here. We hope she grows to love our little city and university because we are so excited to have her join our TTU family.