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A Writer's Tale — The English Podcast

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Soon-to-be M.F.A. student and graduating senior creative writing major, Grace Hamilton Turner, sat down with Department of English Words & Pictures correspondent Christeana Williams to talk poetry. In this inaugural episode of the Virginia Tech English Podcast, Turner discusses her poem "Foragers." 
Welcome to my new segment called a writer's tale, where I speak with young writers and poets about their journey into establish authors. Hi, I'm your host, Christeana Williams. Today we have with us Grace Turner, a senior studying creative writing. Graces is here to talk to us about her new poem called foragers. Welcome Grace. It's so good to have you. Thank you for having me. It's great to be here. Of course. First, I wanted to start things off by saying, tell us about foragers and what inspired the story. My parents are chiropractors and they're self-employed. So they always have really bad health care and no retirement funds, stuff like that. So they would flip houses to rent them out and then eventually sell them when they retired, That was their retirement fund, but the house that they bought were like super rundown all the time and then really, really weird locations so far away, And so my dad would go on the weekends to work on them. He's like a big handyman, so he would do everything himself and he would sometimes take me to help out with the manual labor and the cleanup and stuff like that. So this poem is about one of these houses in particular. And it uses the story of this house to talk about hoarding and the hereditary aspect of it. Because it often is passed down or you get it from your parents and stuff because you see them doing it. So it talks about the house and collecting junk, and I think that people refer to hoarding as excessive and compulsive acquisition. So it deals with that. Because in the poem, both me and my dad are picking up junk and taking things home that we don't need, or that's trash and stuff like that. So the... I was inspired to write this poem because I still have one of the artifacts from this particular house, the wasp nest that we broke down. and that I brought home with me. I still have it. It's an a mason jar on my dresser. And so I was just looking at that one day and I was like, there's something there. I feel like I should write about that. Christeana: Wow. I really wanted to know when did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer? Grace: So kind of early when I was in fifth grade, we were assigned to write a story. And I wrote mine about this girl who lived in Florida who's really depressed that there wasn't any snow in the winter. So she built a snowman out of mud and then ran away. I got a lot of positive feedback from it, from my parents and my teacher. And I just really enjoyed it. So I kept writing stories. Christeana: That's amazing. Yeah, that's amazing. So what is one thing you can say that you've learned throughout this process, as well as becoming a writer and also what does that mean for you for the future? Grace: Yeah. I guess it is that silliness. That's really important to me. I think a lot of writers take their writing really seriously. And it can be really restrictive because you can be talking about something serious, but that doesn't mean that they're not also silly elements to it because life is just silly sometimes and there are funny things that happen in really terrible moments. But I think it's important to include those things and let yourself be free with it because it's a more accurate depiction of life. And that's what poetry is, is like telling the truth about life. Christeana: Well, beautifully said. Well, I really want to thank you for joining us and sharing your story with us and actually your journey with us. And I really can't wait to see what you do in the future. Grace: Thank you for having me It was such a pleasure. Of course, of course, Well that's all the time we have on a Writer's Tale. And remember, as Neil Gaiman once said, a book is a dream. you. hold in your hand. Have a great day, everyone.