Today’s interview is with Gina Vaynshteyn, author of “Eve as a Girl” and owner of a repeatedly challenging last name to spell (I’m just glad I haven’t had to try to say it yet).
Describe your poetry in 25 words or less.
Walt Whitman wearing a sequined skirt and packing a .45. Is that too ambitious?
Who has influenced you the most as a writer?
Miranda July, Mindy Nettifee, Allison Benis White, Aimee Bender, and John Steinbeck.
Tell me about your poem “Eve as a Girl.”
I think re-creating stories can be pretty interesting, so I gave it a shot. Since Eve was technically/supposedly created as a full-grown woman, I wanted to explore the possibility of her non-existant childhood. I also wanted to see what purpose she could serve besides a symbol. So, according to the bible, Adam’s first wife was actually Lilith. Lilith didn’t like being ordered around by Adam, so she broke up with him and fled; she flew into the air where she started having sex with demons. God must have really felt for Adam, so he created Eve out of Adam’s rib and made sure she was an agreeable and mild wife. Since I’m a writer and I can do anything that I want, I wanted to introduce a different kind of Eve. A playful, innocent, and sexual Eve. I’ve been working on a new poem where Eve uses the forbidden fruit (juice) as war paint and a weapon.
Do you keep a blog?
What are you reading right now?
Mindy Nettifee’s Glitter in the Blood, the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, and Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I don’t have a T.V.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read anything and everything. Find poems and stories that you love and take them apart, find out what they are made of and why they work so well. Imitate. Remember, you’re not stealing, you are borrowing. Which is okay in the literary/writing world (just don’t plagiarize). Write every day and set attainable goals for yourself. For instance, I try to have at least one “working” poem a week and go from there.
What are you working on right now?
I’m putting together a chapbook for one of my workshop classes, it’s going to be titled “ALL ADVENTUROUS WOMEN DO” after Hannah Horvath’s famous tweet on Girls. I’m always writing and trying to publish my work; my goal is to publish my first book in two years.