Sam Regal in the Spotlight

Regal_HeadshotSam Regal, whose piece ‘Valentine’ is published in the third issue of Lucent Dreaming, is a poet, performer and recent transplant from Brooklyn to Athens, Georgia. Her translation of Yao Feng’s One Love Only Until Death was published in 2017 by Vagabond Press, and she has performed most notably with Jennifer Vanilla at MoMA PS1, Le Poisson Rouge, and Brooklyn Bazaar. A former resident at TENT within the Yiddish Book Center, Sam was awarded the Colie Hoffman Prize in Poetry in 2017. She earned her MFA from Hunter College and now studies within the Creative Writing PhD Program at the University of Georgia.

What inspired your piece, ‘Valentine’ and how did it find its way to Lucent Dreaming?

Love poems about love have never resonated with me. Much more interesting are the mechanisms of pining, the theatrical and celebratory self-abasement tied to romantic obsession. I also find the natural world too limiting, or (more likely) too intimate. Lucent Dreaming, in its embrace of the representational capacity of surreality, seemed a wonderful home for my sly and wriggly little poem.

What does creating art mean to you?

Little exorcisms? Forgetting the body? A privilege of the privileged? It depends on the day. Teaching artmaking to young people in America over the last few years has transformed the way I’ve consider this question. It’s critical (politically and otherwise) that new, diverse voices are supported and empowered, within and without the academy.

What writing/creative projects are you currently working on?

My first play, Want: An Odyssey of Interview, is soon to be published, and I’ve been working with actors to stage it and record it for the radio. I’m also writing new poems, mainly about all the new insects I’ve met in Georgia.

What are you most excited about right now and for the future?

I’m excited about the results of our midterm elections. The films Vox Lux and The Favourite. Continuing my scholarly research into modernism and detective fiction. Karaoke on Thursday nights.

How and where do you find inspiration to do your craft?

As I tell my students, writing is reading. I subscribe to the cliché that you must know the rules before you hazard to break them. There are countless writers and artists that inspire me, but I’ll list a few: Ottessa Moshfegh, Kara Walker, Patricia Lockwood, Morgan Parker, Cindy Sherman, Carolee Schmeemann, Hannah Höch, etcetera, etcetera…

What advice would you give those who want to do what you do?

Do it. Anyone can. Know that whatever your medium, your work will be inexpert for a long time; it’s a matter of commitment, resilience, and receptiveness to criticism. I’d also encourage beginning writers to keep a living “Why I Write” document, as understanding those motivations can be integral to the success of the work, itself.

Where can people see more of you and your work?

A smattering of work is on view at my website:

Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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