Scranton native Amye Baresse Archer has been on the writing scene in a variety of capacities: Scranton StorySlam winner (the very first!), Prose in Pubs host, blogger, adjunct English instructor, and now, University of Scranton Writing Center coordinator. Her book of poetry, entitled Bangs, has just been released by Big Table Publishing. Amye writes the sort of poems that make you laugh through your tears. She’s honest, she hits hard, and she doesn’t back down from anything confrontational or uncomfortable. In other words, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of Amye’s kitchen, folks.
Of course! Although, I had nothing on my sister whose bangs were envied by many.
I know you’ve been working on a memoir as well. What was it like, as a writer, to transition from one genre to another? Or did you sort of toggle back and forth?
It’s actually worked really well. I’m allowed to expand upon certain moments in the memoir, give them a context I cannot afford in the economy of words that is poetry. However, I’m allowed to freeze time and tease out the beauty of a moment by moving it into a poem. That being said, it’s pretty easy for me to change genres because I tend to write in the same voice for everything. It’s my voice, I am all of my characters. I guess you can say I am the Liam Neesen of writers.
Tell us something about the writing of this book that may surprise your readers.
I went into Bangs with the idea that I would spend 50 poems in a small time frame, 1988-1992 or so. As I wrote, however, I realized that almost every event in my life — good or bad- could be traced back to ideas or choices made during that time. It amazes me how strong the echo of adolescence can be.
With a job, building a house with your husband and raising twins, what is your writing process like? Do you ever sleep?
I actually write in seasons, not hours. So, I might write like crazy for ten weeks and then nothing for ten weeks. It’s a bipolar process, but I fit it in when I can. Also, it’s weird but I cannot write to music, despite music being one of my major influences. I need dead silence.
Where can we get our hands on the book?
You can buy the book from me directly by visiting my website, amyearcher.com
Who would you name as your authorial inspirations?
I have so many. I would say that Abigail Thomas and Joan Didion are my biggest influences in terms of memoir. I’ve also been influenced by a lot of musicians. John Lennon has been a huge influence in my life from about the age of 10 until now. I’m also a huge fan of Julia Alvarez. And I can’t forget Eugene O’Neill. My inspirations are all over the place.
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