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The Writing Life: An Interview with Katie Sisneros

2013 September 18
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The Writing Lifesme_MG_3295Editor’s Note: Katie Sisneros is one of our featured readers for tonight’s third Words at WAM (co-presented with our favorite U of M student group, WAM Collective). We can’t wait to hear what this hilarious writer will read for us, and we’re sure you can’t either. Experience the local greatness that the Twin Cities has in Sisneros, her fellow featured reader Dobby Gibson (who we interviewed last week here), and all of YOU gorgeous folks who are going to get up in front of that mic, too, right?!?!?! Social hour and open mic sign-up begins at 6 pm, and the open mic itself starts at 7 pm at the Weisman Art Museum. 

Hazel & Wren: Who is an author that continuously surprises you?

Katie Sisneros: I hate to be that guy, but I’ll have to say Christopher Marlowe. I’ve read, like, a lot of Marlowe (occupational hazard), and no matter how many plays I read or how many times I read them, I’m pretty floored by the wit, the variety, the pain, the beauty. I’ve read Tamburlaine at least half a dozen times and my breath never fails to catch in my throat at some of the absolutely gut-wrenching lines. He takes the English language and just smacks you in the face with it. “The god of war resigns his room to me, / Meaning to make me general of the world. / Jove, viewing me in arms, looks pale and wan, / Fearing my power should pull him from his throne.” Marlowe has a whole arsenal of hated, amoral, power-hungry, unsympathetic main characters and almost no discernible protagonists. He was the crazy uncle of English Renaissance drama, was probably a spy for Queen Elizabeth, and died in a goddamned barroom brawl. AWESOME.

H&W: E-reader or book?

KS: Although there’s something to be said for the tangibility of a thick book, I am not a nostalgic person. I do, truly, like both forms for disparate reasons. Anybody who denies the sheer convenience of being able to put hundreds of books on an e-reader versus lugging around physical books is deliberately deluding themselves. Oh what’s that? Books don’t require batteries, you say? Oh ok, I didn’t realize I was talking to Henry David Thoreau. Plug the damn thing in and stop being such a tech curmudgeon. I’ve read books in books, on e-readers, on my phone, on my laptop…if you can read it, read it. Words-to-brain transmission! Cool! That being said, the immediacy of interacting with a physical text is undeniably useful in my academic life. Lemme sum up: if I’m reading for funsies, e-reader is great. If I’m reading for school/dissertation, hard copies are best for underlining and marginalia (sorry guys, I doodle all over the pages of my books).

H&W: What books are stacked by your bedside table (or your equivalent) right now, waiting to be read?

KS: I’m simul-reading Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and White Mythologies by Robert J. C. Young. Patiently awaiting me on the ol’ bedside TV tray is Liberty Against the Law and The World Turned Upside Down by Christopher Hill, and Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things.

H&W: Which authors and/or teachers have most influenced your writing? How so?

KS: Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Douglas Adams. In more ways than I can probably enumerate here. I first read The Hitchhiker’s Guide series when I was 15, impressionable, and wanted so badly to be a writer. He gave me the vocabulary and concepts I needed to figure out my atheism showed me the joys of inconsequentiality. He and Dave Barry are my writing inspirations, and I think you can see that in almost everything I do, to the point where I should probably find a new shtick because absurdity is less a trope for me as it is a crutch. I know it sounds affected and overly sentimental, but Adams absolutely reformatted the way I think about, interact with, and observe the universe. Which is why I got some of his words tattooed on my person.

H&W: Most productive place for you to write (physically and/or mentally)? 

KS: My writing productivity is so haphazard and unpredictable that I’m not sure I can even answer this question. Although I will say I almost always do my creative writing after midnight and with at least one whiskey in me. It’s like having social anxiety, but instead of people they’re words. I guess I like to write when I can have some distracting outside stimuli to look at while I’m thinking; if I don’t, I’ll get anxious and bored and just give up on writing and go watch TV or something.


Help! Hazel & Wren Needs More Staff!

2013 September 13
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by Hazel



We’re looking for some additional help here at Hazel & Wren. Our work has outgrown our current capacity, so we are in need of some additional staff members to join the Hazel & Wren team. 

Looking for a way to get more involved in the literary community? Well, by golly, we’re looking for help from someone like you!


First things first: Hazel & Wren is an all-volunteer organization, so these are all unpaid positions. Depending on the position, a member of the Hazel & Wren team could spend an average of five hours per week on H&W stuff, although sometimes events and other projects push it to more. Click the links below to see the details for each available position. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at

Current open positions:

Communications Associate  (1 position available)

Editorial Contributor  (2 positions available)


We’ll currently be reviewing applications until Monday, September 23rd, and will contact potential candidates for interviews (in-person if local, by phone if not) shortly thereafter. Spread the word!