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Interview with Tania Pryputniewicz by Casey Cromwell

Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in Author Interviews, Blog, Fresh Ink | Comments Off on Interview with Tania Pryputniewicz by Casey Cromwell

Tania Pryputniewicz is a master of many trades, and her diverse experience with poetry and blogging proves it! When she’s not blogging at sites like Feral Mom or Tarot for Two, Tania writes poetry that has been featured in multiple publications, such as Poetry Flash or her debut poetry collection, November Butterfly. Now, Tania’s spilling her secrets on creative inspiration, writing groups and much more!  [note: Tania’s next class for SDWI is 10/20 Poetry Play: A Tour of the Forms with Tania Pryputniewicz]


San Diego Writers, Ink: What is/was your favorite part about including famous females like Marilyn Monroe or Joan of Arc into your poetry, as you do in your first poetry collection, November Butterfly?

Tania Pryputniewicz: Including famous women gave me a chance to continue a conversation they started with our culture and with us about what it means to be female, powerful, charismatic and vulnerable. I could riff, for example, on Joan of Arc’s renegade relationship to her spirituality and call it part of a“disintegrate spin of ecstacy.” I could listen to Marilyn; might she have said from the “other side,” “No girl sets out to die?” I describe that kind of listening and imagining into the lives of others as a form of astral rubbernecking in a post I wrote before book tour last year.


SDWI: On your website, you mentioned how much help female companionship is. How does “female to female inquiry” help your writing in particular?

TP: As VIDA,Women in the Literary Arts, has made clear with the count they tally regarding male vs. female publications, women writers still have not achieved parity with their male counterparts. Long after I’d obtained my undergrad degree in English at UC Davis and an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, I discovered A Room of Her Own Foundation’s summer writing retreats for women. Held in the desert at Ghost Ranch (where Georgia O’Keeffe roamed, flourished, and painted), AROHO’s retreats bring together women writers and editors along a spectrum of professional development for a week of workshops, discussions and consults.

Within the larger retreat structure at AROHO, I found a smaller more intimate circle of women writers I rely on for support; we give feedback, share writing deadlines, successes, failures, and more. Together we take responsibility for our small part in shaping the publishing environment; we are all active across blogs and websites. For me that means soliciting guest posts for the blog I co-founded at Mother Writer Mentor, co-blogging at Tarot for Two, consulting, teaching, and editing while writing and sending my own work out for publication.


SDWI: What drew you to the image of a butterfly for your first book, November Butterfly?

TP: Ruth Thompson and Don Mitchell of Saddle Road Press and I chose the title of the book after a poem by the same name that turns on the image of a butterfly with a frayed / wing pinned living / to the windshield. I felt compelled to use the shrouded figure, reminscent of a cocoon image, for its likeness to the Hanged One archetype in the Tarot. Typically a circlet of light emanates from the crown of the Hanged One’s head indicating insight gained during a period of forced or prolonged stasis. We felt the image resonated with the book’s themes regarding the arresting nature of trauma and the illumination to be gained by revisiting the past to release the self more fully into the present.

I wrote in greater detail about the process of choosing the cover on my Tarot for Two blog: The High Priestess: The Tear in the Veil We Share.


SDWI: You also mention that you keep a journal, entries of which fuel the rest of your writing. Do you have any tips for other poets or writers on how to keep their own journals?

TP: Any form of regular writing fuels one’s life work. Especially journaling. Writing without censoring yourself is powerful. You can edit and prune later, but if you don’t ever let yourself go the distance, then how can you arrive somewhere you’ve never been? Or take readers somewhere they’ve never been?

I set aside time to fringe pages of past journals with post-its (mostly I use long strips of paper, bookmark size) that I’ve labeled with a word or image at the top of each passage I want to revise towards a poem or blog post. Because I’m also an artist, I use colored pencils to circle phrases or words. I think just like we get “blank page” anxiety, we can get “revising page” anxiety…so many words to rearrange and winnow! A little color keeps it playful.


SDWI: I have read of your love for writing groups – how do they help improve your writing?

TP: Writing groups hold you accountable to producing work. You get instant community and a place to brainstorm publishing venues. Ideally, you get objective input from a few readers you trust. I don’t always take the advice offered, but most of the time I do. I lean on my writing group to get over the inevitable rejection blues and we share the happy howls when something gets published.


SDWI: What is your favorite poem you’ve ever written – or, to mimic your words, a poem “worthy of haunting” yourself – and why?

TP: I’m pretty much always in love with the last poem I’ve just finished. I write poetry long hand arriving at the next “last line” at the end of copying the poem over and over so I can stay immersed in the sounds and images that hooked me to write. If I listen closely enough, the next line reveals itself.

The most recent poem I’m haunted by is one I wrote for the new manuscript based on an Illinois commune I lived on as a child. Titled “Noctiluca,” the poem inhabits the bodily sensation of flying in lucid dream where imagery of a bioluminescent ocean and late Midwest summer fireflies converge.


unnamed-2Tania Pryputniewicz’s poetry recently appeared in Extract(s), NonBinary Review, Patria Letteratura, and Poetry Flash. Her debut poetry collection, November Butterfly was published by Saddle Road Press in 2014. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Pryputniewicz teaches blogging, writing, and Tarot workshops for A Room of Her Own Foundation, Mother Writer Mentor, Story Circle Network, and San Diego Writers, Ink. She blogs at Feral Mom, Feral Writer (, Tarot for Two (, Mother Writer Mentor ( and her main website ( She lives in San Diego, California with her husband and three children.

Casey CromwellCasey Cromwell is a Writing Major and Women’s Studies minor at Point Loma Nazarene University. Her writing – ranging from poetry to short stories to creative non fiction – has appeared in several literary magazines. She also runs a successful blog called “Casey the College Celiac,” which shares her adventures while being a gluten free celiac at college. For more information about Casey, check out her blog at