What's the deal with the Seattle Poet Populist contest ? It's where you, the viewer/listener/reader, get to choose who you want to represent Seattle in


Amy Mahoney for Poet Populist

Our "meet the candidates" series begins!

What's the deal with the Seattle Poet Populist contest? It's where you, the viewer/listener/reader, get to choose who you want to represent Seattle in the world of verse for the year to come. For those who can't make the readings but want to vote in a learned, discerning manner, our primer--in which each candidate is asked the same grueling set of questions--begins.

Candidate #1: Amy Mahoney, 30, a full time student at Antioch University.



What is your biggest notable oddball talent?
I used to be able to make balloon animals. It has been a while though so I don’t know if I could still pull it off anymore, but I used to be able to do them all- even bird in swing. I am also really good at the Molly Ringwald dance.

(Full interview after the jump.)

What organization nominated you, and what is your role in it?
I was nominated by KNOCK journal. I have worked on the KNOCK editorial staff.

Who is your favorite poet?
A few of my favorites are Eileen Myles, Nicole Blackman, Eli Coppola, & “Tennessee” Mary Fons.
What’s your favorite poem right now?
"Ghazal of Body" by Janet McAdams

What would your campaign slogan be for running for Seattle Poet Populist?
“Vote Amy for Poet Populist and all you’re wildest dreams will come true”
What movie character do you most identify with?
Well since I am just finishing up with school and changing careers I can really identify with Winona Ryder in Reality Bites. I am in a different age bracket than that character but I get the stress of wondering what you are going to do and knowing your student loans will start coming due in a few months- I don’t want to work at the Burger Barn either.
If you couldn’t write any more, how would you spend that excess time?
I don’t know what could ever stop me from writing, but if for whatever reason I couldn’t it I would just put more time into my other pursuits like visual art and volunteer work. I would also do some of the things I have always meant to do but never gotten around to like learning to sew and tap dancing lessons.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing as long as I can remember. My first book was titled The Gnome and the Magical Herbs. I wrote it in the third grade and stapled it together and everything.

What poem has made you feel most uncomfortable?

I feel different kinds of discomfort with a lot of poetic works. That’s good though, when I feel uncomfortable with work, someone else’s or my own, I know there is something powerful there. Justin Chin is a poet that I love and his work often makes me nervous. The physicality of some of his work makes me uncomfortable. He writes with all his senses and it is frequently unsettling the way the reader can feel the body in all its beauty and wretchedness in Chin’s work.

What's the most irritating aspect of the poetry scene?
Overall I think the literary scene in Seattle is really great. I have worked with great people and had a lot of support. I feel really inspired when I go to shows and readings.  Audiences here are really great and enthusiastic. I’ve done a fair amount of booking work for other writers and many of them have commented on what a great scene it is in Seattle and how embraced they feel by writers and audiences here. I feel pretty lucky to be in the Seattle scene.

What was the last good book you read and fell in love with?
Right now I’m reading Diary by Chuck Palahniuk. I spent four hours last night reading it and that was about two hours longer than I was planning on staying up so I guess I like it ok. Some of my favorite books include A Prayer for Owen Meany, Middlesex, and The Cereus Blooms at Night.

Why should you win?
I feel very relatable and I think that is something the people’s poet should be. I believe the personal nature of my work creates a very universal kind of understanding and in this way I model a way of connecting your emotional world and narrative history to the world around you. I believe in educating with art and in social justice. I believe in an inclusive and dynamic arts community that plays a strong role in the larger community. I think these are important concerns for Poet Populist.
If elected Poet Populist, what would be your first order of business?
Its funny, this question makes me feel a little like a Miss America contestant. There isn’t a swimsuit portion to this contest is there?

To vote for Amy, go here. 

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