author profile13 Jun 2011 05:23 pm

After all the poems I have bought from Polu Texni favorite Alexa Seidel, I wanted to learn more about her. You can read more about her at her blog, or follow her on Twitter at @Alexa_Seidel

1) Do you consider yourself primarily a fantasist or a poet?
If by fantasist you mean someone who spends way too much time daydreaming, then yes, that’s me. Of course, without all that rampant imagination, I wouldn’t be worth much as a poet. If by fantasist you mean a writer of fantasy, then I’d say I’m both. I started writing stories before I ever wrote poetry because poetry
seemed like something difficult and involved to me, something that I didn’t have the skill to accomplish. At some point, I just gave it a shot, and my first poems were really, totally, devastatingly awful. I decided to see it as a challenge rather than a failure though and just kept on trying. I got better. I got published. I came to love writing poems and the more I did it, the more it became natural and even necessary like breath or sleep. By the way, without inspiration from other poets, I could not have done any of this! A few of my most loved poets, alive and dead, include Yeats, Blake (The Tiger is very possibly one of my all-time favorites), El-Mohtar, Valente. So, to wrap this up, I consider myself a writer of fiction who has become
seriously sidetracked by her lyrical exploits.

2) Do you read much in the SF/fantasy genre? What are your favorites?
Oh yes! Reading is a long time passion. Right now, I read more fantasy than SF, though that was different when I was younger. I loved Star Wars when I was a kid, so I was already pretty much on a fast track to nerd-dom back then. I’m not really sure which work of fantasy changed my reading preferences, guess that just happened. I do remember reading Anne Rice, and her way with language impressed me. Today I am incredibly picky about what I read. I want no clichés unless there’s some sort of spin or new aspect to them; I want three dimensional characters I can care about; I want beautiful writing; if a book can make me cry or laugh, then I feel I got my money’s worth.
Let me give you a list: Neverwhere, The Girl Who Played Go (not fantasy, but still great), American Gods, Palimpsest, The Book With No Name, The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Name of the Wind, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Also, I am happily reading through the slush for Rhonda Parrish at Niteblade Magazine. Reading other writers’ works has its very own charm, like sharing secrets by candlelight. Craftwise, it helps you to see your own writing more clearly.

3) What are you reading right now?
Oh, that’s an easy one! Wise Man’s Fear by Pat Rothfuss, who is on my list of genius authors.

4) Do you have other creative pursuits (music, visual arts?)

I like to listen to music and I love to look at art, but I’m not such a great artist myself. Sometimes I will draw something, but the result always tells me that I am not good at this and that I would have to invest a lot of time to become better, time that, right now, I choose to invest in writing.

5) Tell us about your current writing projects?
Aah. Well, I always have more loose ends in that department than I can count without getting myself down. I am currently working on two short stories and there is a longer tale that I would like to tell (I’m reluctant to call it a novel, but with any luck, that’s what it will be). In the poetry department, well, I guess I have a couple of ideas that I haven’t worked into poems yet, but luckily poems have become a natural thing for me to write, so there are none that really trouble me for long. I think, on average, I write about one poem a day.

6) What is the latest big discovery in your life (art, books, food, music, lifestyle, etc…)?
Coffee is still drinkable, even with a few drops of milk in it and traditional handwritten snail mail letters have a distinct charm to them that almost feels like magic.

7) How about some bio details, like what you do for a living, or family stuff?
I make my living as a teacher: languages (English and German) and martial arts (Karate and Taiji or Tai Chi Quan) and I sometimes do translations. Also, I’m floating around the local university, attempting to broaden my horizon and pursuing a degree with varying tenacity.

As far as family is concerned, I’m one of these types who have trouble putting down roots and yes, I’m a complicated person which you may translate to I’m single. I wish to note that, so far, I have never lived with an animal companion like many of my writer colleagues, and I have the feeling that I am not a cat person. To give you even more insight in my character, I’m an only child, and my grandmother was (and is) very present in my life. I’m sure that she is in no small part responsible for my interest in stories and
poems concerning strange and magical things. When I was in third grade, she helped me write a poem that, how shall I put this? lacked in some of the finer points of the art.

8) I see you live in Germany but judging from your English I imagine you’re an American? If so, how did you come to live in Germany? If you are German, how did your English get so good?
Right. Well, I am actually German, born and bred as it were. This surprises a lot of people when they first meet me. They usually think I’m an American and I’m told I sound like a Texan though I swear I
don’t have a real Texan’s sweet lilt. Concerning my English, I started learning it at school and then I went
to the US as an exchange student for a short while. Until about two years ago I had a job where I spoke English most of the time. At one point when I was in my teens I started reading most of the fiction and
fantasy books that interested me in their English original. Strangely, if I read for fun now, I do it in English because as I realized a while back, reading German is no longer fun, it takes an effort. I think and read and write and dream in English, and why not blame this on globalization? Globalization doesn’t talk back and it’s used to being a scapegoat. But if you feel that you must, you may of course label me weird (although I would prefer idiosyncratic). Where my writing is concerned, I never wrote anything in German (apart from that one poem I wrote with my grandmother and one short story about a ghost cat I wrote as a school assignment). People have called me un-German on the basis that I failed to develop a taste for beer (although whiskey, tequila and good wine are fine) and could not be less interested in soccer. The evidence is overwhelming of course, and I do suppose I really am un-German; however, why not stick with


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