Pigeon Pages Interview
with Lisa Marie Basile

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Do you have a bird story or favorite feathered friend?

In Miami a day ago, a crow stole a bag of chips and flew off to a nearby cabana rooftop. He and his friends devoured the bag, and I watched them all fly and circle and swoop down, one by one, to partake. I swam in the pool and watched them circle overhead, their huge black wings on either side. It was beautiful and hilarious.

What is your most memorable reading experience?

Probably reading in Green-Wood Cemetery as part of Atlas Obscura's Into the Veil immersive experience. We sat on the grass in the dark, next to a small vault, illuminated by dozens of candles, and we recited a poetic ritual asking people to let go of and say goodbye to what they didn't want to hold onto any longer. You can hear the poem here: https://vimeo.com/240538487

What makes you most excited about Light Magic for Dark Times?

Light Magic for Dark Times is a book of self-reflection and shadow work. A way for anyone, with any belief set, to embrace ritual and the archetype of the witch, and to get to know themselves—free of judgment or shame. I am expanding a chapter from it into my next book, Wordcraft Witchery. It explores writing as a tool for autonomy and healing and ritual, and is filled with prompts and exercises and can be used by writers or non-writers alike.

To tweet or not to tweet?

Always tweet. The more vulnerable, the better.

What books do you have in your bag right now?

I'm reading Ascend, Ascend by Janaka Stucky and Papi Doesn't Love Me No More by Anna Suarez. I'm always reading Duras as well—Practicalities now.

Can you tell us your favorite rejection story?

I was rejected from a literary journal for being 'too baroque.' I knew then that I was writing authentically and not diluting myself.

What literary journals do you love?

I love Apogee, Atlas Review, Yes Poetry, Spork, Grimoire, and The Volta.

What shakes your tail feathers?

Fully inhabiting and knowing your light and dark. That is wholeness.

What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

Oh, just write and write and write. And read and read and listen. You will be rejected a lot (we all were). But you will be embraced, too. As long as you write for yourself and with your true voice—unmanipulated by the pressures of what is "popular"—you will create good work. I have a column at Luna Luna called “WILDWORDS.” It's all about publishing and writing advice: http://www.lunalunamagazine.com/blog/category/Wild+Words

What other eggs do you have in your basket right now?

I just released Nympholepsy, a poetry book, in November. It'll be in Best American Experimental Writing next year. Yay! I'm also working on a novella for Clash Books. It's all about grief and sexuality and New Orleans. On top of that, I'm handing in Wordcraft Witchery on July 1. I cannot wait for its release next year. After July, I'm going to just spend some time living and not writing constantly.


Lisa Marie Basile is most recently the author of Nympholepsy, a poetry collection, and Light Magic for Dark Times, a collection of practices and rituals for self-care. She is the founder and editor of Luna Luna Magazine, and her work can be found in The New York Times, Catapult, Entropy, Bustle, Bust, Best American Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, The Atlas Review, and more. She focuses her work on trauma recovery, foster care, self-care, the shadow self, chronic illness, and ritual. She received an MFA in Writing from the New School and is working on her forthcoming book, Wordcraft, which explores writing as ritual act.