Haunted by Sarah Lyn Rogers’ Prose

Thank you to everyone who joined us this week in San Jose’s St. James Park! We really appreciated the opportunity to fill our downtown park with stories and friends. Today we are excited to feature our first video footage from one of our returning authors, Sarah Lyn Rogers. Here’s footage of Adam Magill reading “Haunted”:

Melinda Marks read Sarah’s second piece, entitled “Mountain State”:

Thank you to Michelle Anderson for filming these pieces.

Sarah is a writer, editor, and illustrator from the San Francisco Bay Area. When Sarah’s not writing or doodling, she selects short fiction for The Rumpus, gives editorial feedback to young novelists through Society of Young Inklings, and writes snarky humanities content for an education website. For more of her work, visit http://sarahlynrogers.com.

Publications, Honors or Awards:

James D. Phelan awards in metrical verse, free verse, and familiar essay. Academy of American Poets’ Virginia de Araujo Award.

Recent publications:

“‘Sleeping Lady Plate,’ 1976” in Cosumnes River Journal

“‘You can never quite forgive’ (148),” in Caesura.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

Sarah Lyn Rogers
Sarah Lyn Rogers

I submitted work for the last two performances, “Take Flight” and “Spring Fling.” Nicole Hughes, who used to be one of the PoW organizers, goaded me into submitting the first time. Now I’m hooked!

Which writers or performers inspire you?

I’m on a poetry kick again, rereading pieces I like by Matthew Zapruder and Erin Belieu. Leigh Stein is another writer I admire—she’s able to cram so many evocative objects and ideas into poetry that sounds both nostalgic and conversational. These poets in particular make me think, How did they do that? Can I?

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, is something I come back to again and again. Her shtick is that she’s a Zen practitioner and a writer who had an epiphany: What if she used writing as her meditation, her practice? This book is about “writing practice”—which isn’t so much about honing a craft it is about letting your thoughts flow freely without judgment. Use a fast-writing pen. Don’t look back. Don’t erase. If you reread later and any of your  recorded thoughts have special resonance, go ahead and harvest them—but that’s not the goal.

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