Sweet Connections: Renée E. D’Aoust

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Renée E. D’Aoust
Title of Pieces Published in Sweet: “Gratitude is my Terrain: Maybe” and “Bark Wing”
Issues: 8.2 and 9.3

DAOUST_annualDachshundparadeKrakow Poland

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Renée lives in Switzerland with her rescue dachshund Tootsie and her husband. Last year, Renée had book reviews, interviews, and dog essays appear in Big Other, Fourth Genre, Rain Taxi, and The Rupture. Renée teaches online at Casper College and North Idaho College. You can learn more about Renée by visiting her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I’m most proud of my dedicated daily reading and writing practice. Since my Sweet publications, I’ve focused on reading as the foundation of writing. This grew out of intense problems with a memoir that made me physically ill to write, and which I finally set aside after too many years of wrangling it to smithereens, feeling like a loser, and failing to make art out of my brother’s suicide. It made me sick trying to make art out of that loss. I felt intense relief when I stopped trying to write that memoir. My health improved. I’ve thought a lot about a professor with whom I studied during undergrad who insisted we had to write our deepest darkest secrets if we wanted to be fearless writers; otherwise, don’t bother, we couldn’t, wouldn’t, cut it. This dude ate oranges during workshop and had his wife deliver our stories to class because every week he forgot our stories at home. That’s what he thought of our stories: forgettable. As a man over forty, he was perhaps unaware of how writing your darkest secrets might be actually physically unsafe for some of us, and how it might retrigger trauma. There was no discussion of how to care for one’s self while writing the darkness, just the sense if you couldn’t hack it, you shouldn’t write at all. I thought his damaging dictum were pathetic, but it was shocking to realize recently how much of his bullshit I had consumed as part of my beliefs about writing—and how many of his words lived on in me as dude-gremlins. Lately, when I show up at the page, fully present, well, that’s sweet success.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I took an online course last year from one of your editors—Katie Riegel—that really jump-started my excitement about dog writing because Katie is such a supportive, insightful editor and teacher. (If you’ve been wounded by workshops, study with Katie; she’s a healer!) I finished several dachshund essays in her course. My super-senior tube of fur Tootsie is my writing muse. I am currently obsessed with dogs in literature.

But, again, lately what I find most thrilling about writing is the way close reading great books makes one a more fully realized writer. A few recent reads: Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Alyson Hagy’s Scribe. Hagy is a consummate artist. Every word, a choice. Same with Jo Scott-Coe and her nonfiction book Mass: A Sniper, A Father, and a Priest.

I’m also incredibly excited that my former mentee Sophia (and now colleague!) through AWP’s Writer-to-Writer program has a memoir: Sophia Kouidou-Giles, Return to Thessaloniki—published by Tyrfi Press in Greek and forthcoming in English from She Writes Press in 2021. It’s inspiring to see the fruition of Sophia’s intense labor.

Who is your favorite author?

Two current favorites: Holly M. Wendt and Masha Gessen. I want everyone to read Circe by Madeline Miller. I always return to Tolstoy’s War & Peace and Homer’s The Iliad. My favorite work of dog literature is Tibor Déry’s Niki: The Story of a Dog, translated by Edward Hyams.

What inspires you to write?

The possibility of creating art brings me great joy. I lost four special writer friends in 2019: each was central to my writing life, and I feel their absence acutely.

My undergraduate literature professor Robert A. Ferguson, who assured me I had it in me to write books. And Michael Steinberg and Ned Stuckey-French, two incredibly generous and kind writer-teacher-editors. Mike’s and Ned’s dedication to creative nonfiction has definitely influenced and inspired my approach to writing and to teaching. Both were incredibly kind and generous to me and to my work, and that kind of dialogue feels essential. And my dear friend and poet Danna Ephland—like me, also a former dancer. When it was still my M.F.A. thesis, Danna edited my book Body of a Dancer. She edited it again prior to publication by Etruscan Press, and then after publication she set up readings and workshops. After my mum died (my mum was also a writer), Danna was one of the writers I would phone or email in desperation or excitement about a word choice or an image fail or a creative possibility. I’m indebted to her. I miss her.

These writers inform and inspire my current writing practice.

bodycover

What is your favorite sweet?

Since we live in Switzerland, I am devoted to Swiss chocolate: Sprüngli and Max Chocolatier and Chocolat Stella are my current favorites. Chocolat Stella makes fabulous vegan chocolate, and their Ticino stores are full of essentials for writing toolkits.

Thank you, Renée, for taking the time to reconnect with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Lisa Rhoades

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Lisa Rhoades
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: “The Words at Hand”
Issue: 10.1

1580216365775_lisa29116865196518663532.jpgFind Her:
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Lisa can be found either on Staten Island or in Manhattan. Her Staten Island days are her writing days. Though when Lisa’s in the middle of a new poem she can be found scribbling on several forms of transportation and through her lunch break. You can learn more about Lisa by visiting her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

Publishing at Sweet marked the happy start of a time period in which several individual poems found their literary homes online and in print and which culminated with the publication of my second full length collection, The Long Grass, at Saint Julian Press. (February, 2020). screenshot_20200128-075811_dropbox8184810032584443672.jpgCan you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

There was a long dry spell for me following my first collection, so I’m happy to say that the project I’m excited about right now is simply WRITING! The landscape of southern Missouri where my father grew up and where I spent most childhood summers, and of the north shore of Staten Island where I currently live are the site of several new poems, but it’s too early to tell if they will remain a focus.

Who is your favorite author?

I’m so in love with Ross Gay right now—The Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude and the Book of Delights. I love and aspire to the lyric, to the deep “yes” at the end of a poem that brings it all together.

What inspires you to write?

What inspires me to write is often another poem, which is another way of saying human relationships and the conversations between us in person and across time. And I suppose given how many of the poems in the second book are about mothering, I should also probably admit that the complicated work of parenthood gives me more ground than I can possibly cover.

What is your favorite sweet?

My favorite sweets are the ones I make for others and are seasonal in their delight: pecan pie at Thanksgiving; my grandmother’s white fruitcake and datebread every Christmas; King Cake during Mardi Gras season; and iced sugar cookies for spring and Easter. The cookie recipe is crazy simple, leaving you with plenty of energy for decorating.
Cut out cookies:
Cream one stick of butter with one cup of sugar. Beat in one egg, one tsp vanilla, ½ tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 2 cups all purpose flour. Form into a disc, double wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use. Roll out to desired thickness, cut with a favorite shape, and re-chill before baking until golden in a 350 degree oven. Baking on a silpat or parchment paper keeps them from sticking. Cool completely on a baking rack, store in an airtight container until decorated. Regarding decorating, buttercream is my favorite icing, but if you’re going for looks, you have to accept royal.

Thank you, Lisa, for taking the time to reconnect with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

 

 

 

Sweet Connections: Paul Haney

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Paul Haney
Title of Piece(s) Published in Sweet: “Downriver”
Issue(s): 8.3

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Paul lives in the Greater Boston area where he teaches writing, literature, and journalism at a few different colleges. His husband and I recently bought a fixer-upper in Salem—spooky! You can learn more about Paul by visiting his website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

Since “Downriver,” I’ve had work published in Slate, Boston Globe Magazine, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, and other such places, like the Potomac Review which nominated my essay, “Our Album Now” for a Pushcart Prize. I also earned my MFA in Nonfiction from Emerson College, along with the college’s Dean’s Award in part for editing Redivider. And I became both a research associate at the official Bob Dylan Archive and Co-Editor of the Dylan Review. So, a few things I guess.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

Yeah! I’m writing a work of narrative nonfiction titled Bob Dylan Approximately: Tales of a Next-Generation Dylanologist, and just recently signed with Willenfield Literary Agency. The book comprises a narrative journey toward a next-generation Dylanology, one that leaves behind biographical fandom for close reading along with social and environmental consciousness.

Who is your favorite author?

Does Bob Dylan count? Seriously though, check out Chronicles, Volume One.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

At the moment, Bob Dylan’s “Pay in Blood.” Brian Doyle’s “Joyas Voladoras” is pretty b.a. James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son”.

What inspires you to write?

Several things: language, its subtleties, complexities, and simplicities; community and the desire to converse with—to become literate to—other thoughtful people; history and its mandate to record and make sense of what’s going on.

What is your favorite sweet?

My husband, Peter, makes some great cakes. But I gotta say, a yellow bag of peanut M&M’s after a long day of teaching, purchased from the newsstand in North Station and gobbled on the commuter rail just before a public-transit powernap, really hits the spot.

Thank you, Paul, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Anna Leahy

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Anna Leahy
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: “My Grandmother’s Body”
Issue: 8.2

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Anna lives in Southern California, where she directs the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chapman University. You can learn more about Anna by visiting her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

When my poem appeared in Sweet, I was working on several book projects that panned out over the next few years—publications like Sweet contributed to my momentum. I’m especially happy to be publishing nonfiction regularly now in addition to poetry. My nonfiction book Tumor is part of the Object Lessons series from Bloomsbury, and my essays have won contests at the Los Angeles Review, Ninth Letter, and Dogwood—in the last few years. Plus, my second full-length poetry collection, Aperture, was published by Shearsman Books a couple of years ago. I’m now moving back and forth between poetry and nonfiction, and I feel as if each teaches me about the other mode of thinking and writing.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I continue to work on new essays, and I’m in the midst or revising—again—a poetry book manuscript. I’m also the editor of the international journal TAB, which focuses on poetry and poetics. The Creative Director is Claudine Jaenichen, an information designer who works on tsunami evacuation for coastal cities. We’re both interested in the ways medium and materiality shape the reading experience, so we make decisions about design and content in tandem, and we’re looking now especially at accessibility and design in poetry publications. I’m excited about the new website we’re developing, which uses an accessibility-ready design template and will have a set of more accessible, downloadable PDF files in the archives. For the 2020 print issue in January, we’ve given a lot of thought to readability and visual cues. It’s exciting to re-envision something I’ve built.

Who is your favorite author?

I’m hesitant about picking favorite poets, but I return to Lucille Clifton, Sylvia Plath, and Anna Swir. Anya Silver is becoming one of my return-to poets. I find the work of a lot of poets whose first books I’ve read in the last couple of years energizing too.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

I don’t think favorite is the right word for my reading habits. I consider poems, essays, books as inhabitants in my reading-writing life, and each has its own role, complementing, instead of competing with, others. As a writer, I appreciate poems and essays from perspectives and voices different than my own. Probably the first essay that really wowed me and made me think about how essays work was Richard Selzer’s “How to Build a  Balcony,” but I didn’t start writing essays until years and years after reading it. Some of my own early essays resulted from—were instigated by? inspired by? responses to?—reading specific pieces by Joan Didion (one about John Wayne, another about weddings in Las Vegas, a why-I-write essay). Her work made me want to write or pointed me toward something I had to say, but I don’t think my voice or experience is much like hers. Eula Biss, Anne Boyer, Beth Ann Fennelly, Sarah Manguso, and Paisley Rekdal are nonfiction writers—who are also poets—whose work I admire a lot, along with nonfiction writers like Jill Christman, Roxane Gay, Esmé Weijun Wang—I could go on.

What inspires you to write?

Reading. Writing. The words immersion and merge have the same ancestors, and I like the idea that immersing myself in reading and writing allows reading and writing to merge somehow. Really, I’m more about what invites writing than being inspired. Of course, all sorts of evidence points to habit and ritual—regular time at the writing desk—as good for the writing life. That’s not to say that I write every day but that writing fuels more writing and that regularity fosters connections. I’m off to a writing residency soon, and that kind of binge-writing feels amazing to me.

What is your favorite sweet?

Sugar can make me feel rundown, so I don’t indulge in sweets very often, but I admit that I like chocolate a lot. When I was a kid, my mom came across a recipe in a magazine for a ring puff pastry filled with thick chocolate mouse and topped with dark chocolate—she’d make it for holidays, and I’d have a piece for breakfast the next morning too. More recently, my sister introduced me to the chocolate cake at Smith & Wollensky—one piece is enough for the whole table, and it seems to be our new holiday tradition that’s reminiscent of my mom’s chocolate ring-thing.

Smith&Wollensky_cake

Thank you, Anna, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

 

Sweet Connections: Mary Julia Klimenko

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Mary Julia Klimenko
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: “This Fear”
Issue:  8.2

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Mary Julia can be found writing poetry, painting, and working as a Telehealth psychotherapist in a private practice two twelve-hour days a week. You can learn more about Mary Julia by visiting her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

FMSBW Press in San Francisco just released my newest book of poetry, Suspension of Mirrors.

Joan Brown, me in uniform and me in wedding

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’m currently writing a memoir about forty plus years in the studio modeling for and collaborating with sculptor, Manuel Neri.

Who is your favorite author?

Dom Domanski.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rilke

 What inspires you to write?

Reading other writers like Dom Domanski, Louise Gluck, Mark Strand, Rilke, Neruda, and others.

What is your favorite sweet?

Ice cream is my favorite sweet, anything with chocolate chunks and ribbons of caramel.

Thank you, Mary Julia, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Scott Loring Sanders

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Scott Loring Sanders
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: “Circus Prayer”
Issue:  7.1

Scott Sanders

 

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Scott lives in Cambridge, MA and teaches at Lesley University and Emerson College. You can learn more about Scott by visiting his website.

 

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

The essay first published in Sweet was included in a collection/memoir called Surviving Jersey: Danger & Insanity in the Garden State, which was a finalist for CLMP’s Firecracker Award 2018 for Best Book of Creative Nonfiction.  In addition, I’ve had three essays chosen as Notable by Best American Essays, and a Special Mention from the Pushcart Prize.  On the fiction side, where I generally write literary mystery/crime, I published a short story collection called Shooting Creek and Other Stories.  I’ve had two stories included in Best American Mystery Stories (both in the above collection) and one selected as Distinguished, as well as a story selected as a finalist for Best Short Story of 2018 by the ITW Thriller Awards.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

At the moment, I’m finishing up a crime novel set at Walden Pond.  Then I plan to start work on a new novel set at an iconic New England ski resort.   I’m taking a break from CNF right now.  I tend to go back and forth.

Who is your favorite author?

Ron Rash has always been a favorite of mine, who seamlessly blends beautiful prose with darkness and mystery.  Recently, I discovered a guy named Lou Berney, who I met at the above-mentioned Thriller Awards in NYC.  After talking with him, I went home and read a few of his books, which also combine crime/mystery with beautiful, literary writing.  It’s what I’d like to think (perhaps wishful thinking on my part, admittedly) I do in my own fiction.  I’ve never believed literary writing and crime writing have to be mutually exclusive.  At any rate, his book, November Road, in particular, was excellent.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

I can’t possibly answer that!

What inspires you to write?

Many of my ideas come to me while exercising.  Whether it’s cycling, running, or skiing, I often find myself working through ideas while being outdoors.  The natural world also greatly influences my detail to setting.  I like writing about places I’m familiar with and enjoy, then creating a dark spin.

What is your favorite sweet?

I’m a sucker for chocolate and nothing fancy.  Chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  I’m also hooked on Chocolove’s Orange Peel in Chocolate, which I guess is a little bit fancy.  And ice cream, of course, chocolate peanut butter being my Achilles.   For amazing homemade ice cream in Cambridge, you can’t beat Honeycomb Creamery (homemade waffle cones too!)

Thank you, Scott, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Amy Strauss Friedman

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Amy Strauss Friedman
Title of Pieces Published in Sweet: “Biopsy”
Issue: 10.2

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Amy lives in Denver, teaches college English courses here and there, and is working on her second full-length poetry collection. She also works for a state senator. In between those activities she writes book reviews, and she just edited her first book for another author. You can learn more about Amy by visiting her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

My first full-length poetry collection was released in 2018, The Eggshell Skull Rule (Kelsay Books). I’m now working on a book about the 88 constellations, and women’s place within their myths. Close to 20 of those poems have been picked up by literary journals/magazines out of the 30 or so that I’ve completed thus far. And I’ve read some truly great new books of poetry by other authors, many of which I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’ve already mentioned it, but my book on the constellations is the project that I’m currently immersed in.

Who is your favorite author?

I have to choose? I’ve long loved Aphra Behn, not just because her writing is enchanting, but because she was one of the very first women to make a living through writing in the 1600s. Rebecca Makkai is one of my favorite modern novelists. There are too many poets I admire to mention, but I’ll name just a few: Gwendolyn Brooks, Sharon Olds, Cortney Lamar Charleston, Jennifer Givhan, Tracy K. Smith, Jennifer Franklin, and Megan Merchant, just to name a few.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Again, too many to choose from, but I do come back again and again to Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things.”

What inspires you to write?

I like participating in the large and varied collective conversation that takes place within writing. Every new piece adds another layer to that conversation. Engaging with it inspires me.

What is your favorite sweet?

There’s a place in Denver called D Bar which makes, among many other yummy things, Nutella beignets. They are terrible for me, but they are also heaven!

Thank you, Amy, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Kathleen Kirk

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Kathleen Kirk
Title of Pieces Published in Sweet: “Winter Starlings,” “A Man’s World,” and “Harpoon”
Issue: 4.1, 6.2, and 8.3

Kathy & Tony, close up on wharf, 2018

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Kathleen can be found at the Normal Public Library in central Illinois most weekday mornings, behind the scenes, or in her home office, working on Escape Into Life, where she is the poetry editor. You can learn more about Kathleen by visiting her blog.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I have published several poetry chapbooks. The most recent is Spiritual Midwifery (Red Bird, 2019), and before that, The Towns (Unicorn Press, 2018). I did both release readings at Ryburn Place, a Route 66 shop in my hometown. Some of the towns in The Towns are on, or just off, old Route 66. The cover of Spiritual Midwifery is based on a painting by my husband, Tony Rio.

SpiritualMidwiferyFC

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’ve been writing a series of poems about Cassandra, the mythological figure, but re-situated in the Midwest in the 21st century. It’s fun and weird. Many have been published in literary magazines, but I would like to see them all together in a chapbook. I thought I had written them all but a new bunch burst from me recently. It’s been a little scary being taken over by Cassandra.

Who is your favorite author?

Oh, my, I love many authors and read constantly. Lately I’ve been reading short stories again. I love that form. I had just been re-reading Ann Packer’s Swim Back to Me and recommended it to a friend, who also loved it.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

I often return to The Wild Iris by Louise Glück.

What inspires you to write?

Looking at the world, paying attention. Trying to figure things out…and resting in paradox.

What is your favorite sweet?

I’m about to bake the annual pumpkin bread from a recipe from a childhood friend in Nebraska. Sometimes I add chocolate chips. Sometimes I make a gluten-free version for my mom.

Thank you, Kathleen, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Katrina Vandenberg

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Katrina Vandenberg
Title of Pieces Published in Sweet: “Mandala,” “Black Bears and Their Bear-Dreams,” “Two Bracelets”
Issue:  9.1

Vandenberg Photo

 

Katrina teaches creative writing and lives in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of Saint Paul, Minnesota. When not at school, she is usually hanging out with her eight-year-old daughter Anna. You can learn more about Katrina by visiting her website.

 

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I got tenure! I took my first sabbatical. Recently I published two feature-length essays, “Jam” — speaking of sweets — in Image and “Essence of Lavender” in Orion. I also have an essay about writers’ conferences (in which I do not mention social media at all) in a forthcoming issue of Poets and Writers.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’m working on a book of essays around the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory near our house, where it’s never winter, even though here in Saint Paul we have snow on the ground for at least five months of the year.

 Who is your favorite author?

I don’t think that I have one. I came to writing through poetry, and what I loved most of all were individual poems. I liked to write them out by hand and collect them in notebooks, collaging together all these highly lucid and charged flashes of insight from dozens or even hundreds of people across space and time. My first favorite poet was Emily Dickinson, when I was seven or eight. I loved how small her poems were. As an adult I still love how complicated she is, and counter-cultural in a lot of ways. If I had to pick only one person, I would say her. But only if you made me pick one.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

The two best books I read this year were Powers of Two: How Relationships Drive Creativity by Joshua Shenk, and The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I don’t know that I have a favorite anything. I read a lot, and the books and poems that live in my head rise to the surface when I need them. A few years ago, I re-read Theodore Roethke’s poem “In a Dark Time the Eye Begins to See” every day for over a month. At one point in my life I really needed the odes of John Keats, and at another time I needed Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, and at another time I needed James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son.” I nearly always seem to need E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

What inspires you to write?

I used to sit down to write with the desire to say something, but these days I tend to sit down in order to see what will happen. I don’t mean that writing is a game, or about cleverness or “nothing” – far from it. I do think that I am finally coming to terms with the fact that my subconscious self is smarter than my conscious self. So, work creates its own inspiration.

What is your favorite sweet?

Several years ago, I wrote a poem called “Consuming Desire,” in part about the locally-famous cakes at the Saint Paul wine bar Café Latte. I don’t eat much dessert these days, but if I were going to, I could do far worse than the cake there. Here is the Café Latte dessert menu, complete with photographs, in all its glory.

 

Thank you, Katrina, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Kathleen Rooney

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Kathleen Rooney
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: “Ten Declarations on the Superiority of Roots”
Issue: 5.2

Kathleen Rooney, author.Find Her:
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Kathleen can be found teaching English and Creative Writing at DePaul University, composing Poems While You Wait, and editing hybrid books at Rose Metal Press. You can learn more about Kathleen by visiting her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I published my novel Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk with St. Martin’s Press in 2017, and my novel in flash fictions and prose poems The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette & Loulou Magritte with Spork Press, and my World War I novel Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey is coming out with Penguin in August of 2020.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’m most excited at the moment about the forthcoming novel because it tells the true story of two formerly famous, but now almost totally forgotten figures from the Great War, Cher Ami, a heroic messenger pigeon, and Major Whittlesey, a diligent soldier.

Who is your favorite author?

Oh man, that’s impossible! But right at this very moment, I’m very into Bette Howland, a Chicago author who fell out of print, but is now coming back thanks to the reissue of her work by A Public Space. I cannot recommend her story collection Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage highly enough.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Bill Knott (RIP) was my teacher at Emerson, and I love his last book, I Am Flying Into Myself: Selected Poems.  It was a huge honor to get to review it for the New York Times when it came out.

What inspires you to write?

Curiosity.

What is your favorite sweet?

Butterscotch anything, but especially Smitten Kitchen’s Butterscotch Sauce. You can put it on anything and improve it a millionfold. I could drink it, practically: https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/12/ridiculously-easy-butterscotch-sauce/

Thank you, Kathleen, for taking the time to reconnect with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!