This month, Write On is pleased to welcome our first international resident, Agnes Marton. Agnes is a Hungarian-born poet based in Luxembourg. While at Write On, she will lead a workshop on writing metaphor as one of our Wild Words creative labs on Tuesday, March 19. I had the opportunity to email with Agnes about her upcoming residency.
Jerod Santek (JS): You’re coming a long way to take part in the residency program at Write On. How did you discover Write On and what inspired you to apply for a residency?
Agnes Marton (AM): I heard about this opportunity in Washington, DC, during the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) 2017 annual conference.
I do most of my writing during residencies all over the world. I enjoy the uninterrupted time when I can focus on my poems and fiction, far from everyday routines. But I also love exploring different countries and meeting new people. I do a lot of research during the residencies and take notes.
After my Arctic Circle science and art residency (a field trip to Svalbard) I edited an Arctic-related magazine issue and also published work in Connotation Press (USA), Ink, Sweat and Tears, and Spontaneity (UK). A poetry film of mine was showcased during the 7th International Video Poetry Festival in Athens, and I also wrote a poetry sequence (‘Ask the Glacier’) for my second full collection (the manuscript was a finalist at the Munster Literature Centre competition in Ireland).
During a residency in Orkney I started to collaborate with the Greek composer Vasiliki Legaki. So far we have finished and have had performed an opera and three choral pieces.
JS: You serve as the Reviews Editor at Ofi Press Magazine, an international journal of poetry and literature. Recently you were guest-editor of another international literary magazine, Pratik, and have won awards for ekphrastic anthologies you edited. Next month, during our Paths to Publication conference, we will have a panel of editors from a variety of magazines and journals talking about what they are looking for among their submissions. In your role, what do you look for in new writing? What excites you or inspires you among the submissions?
AM: What impresses me is strong voice, rich language, playfulness, clear vision, taking risks.
JS: You’ll be leading a free workshop on writing metaphor while in residence. What can participants in your workshop expect?
AM: Learning how to create multi-layered expressions – playfully, without breaking a sweat.
JS: What is the literary scene like in Luxembourg? What European writers do you think American audiences need to discover?
For years I travelled to London for readings and festivals. Nowadays there are English-language events in Luxembourg as well, even a publisher specializing in work written in English, Black Fountain Press.
European writers? I would highly recommend György Dragomán and Angela Readman.
JS: What will you be working on while at Write On?
AM: I have a novel in progress. I will do a lot of editing there.
JS: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
AM: Read and learn. Be curious. Don’t be afraid of your voice.