Advice I always give to my students: trust your own voice. Don’t worry about what other people are writing. And most importantly, write for yourself.
Coffin Bell Journal: Introduce yourself.
Victoria Nordlund: I received my MALS from Wesleyan University. I teach creative writing at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT. I am also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. My work has been published in Pank Magazine, Gone Lawn, Amaryllis, Ghost Proposal, Ink in Thirds, Right Hand Pointing, and Bitterzoet.
CB: What got you started writing?
VN: I started writing poetry in high school. I fell in love with Sylvia Plath and all those confessional poets. I actually had a whole collection of poems in the shape of coffins.
CB: What is the most rewarding aspect of writing?
VN: Writing helps me make sense of my world. The darkest, ugliest topics somehow manage to be beautiful. And, it weirdly helps me to remain a positive fairly normal person. It’s also pretty cool to have other people, especially my students, connect to my poems. It’s weird that people feel the same way that I do.
CB: Do you have a designated space for writing? Tell us about it.
VN: I have trouble sleeping so I like to write on my phone in my bed at 3 AM.
CB: Are you a planner or a pantser? Tell us a bit about your writing practices.
VN: Definitely not a planner when it comes to poetry. I write when the ideas hit me. I do have two amazing writing groups and they force me to write at least two poems a month. Deadlines are always a good thing. I always worry I will never write anything else, yet something always miraculously materializes.
CB: What advice to new and emerging writers can you give?
VN: Advice I always give to my students: trust your own voice. Don’t worry about what other people are writing. And most importantly, write for yourself.
CB: Who are your influences?
VN: Sharon Olds, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Atwood, Tracy K. Smith, and Joss Whedon.
CB: Physical books or e-readers?
VN: There is nothing like dog-earing a book.
CB: If you could give a PSA to journal editors, what would it be?
VN: Be open to new writers. Be open to ugly poems. Be open to poems that actually make some sense.
CB: Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive. Tell us about your fears.
VN: Oh God. I am fearful of getting every disease. (Web MD is evil.) Also…failure, puppets, lice, and people who do not wash their hands.
CB: What draws you to dark fiction?
VN: Nightmares are always the dreams people remember most. Our most painful memories are also the ones that seem to bubble up first. I am drawn to dark fiction like I am drawn to road kill – I want to look away but I just can’t. And, it is usually burned into my memory long after I leave it.
CB: How does the darkness in your piece enhance the work?
VN: Blood, bones, parasites, and assorted dead things seem to be the best metaphors for my life. Plus, they never get old.
CB: Where can we find more of your writing?
Victoria Nordlund received her MALS from Wesleyan University. She teaches creative writing at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. Her work is published in Pank Magazine, Gone Lawn, Eunoia Review, Ghost Proposal, and Amaryllis. She is the 2016 NEATE New England Poet of the Year.