Author Q & A with Katherine Kubarski
January 19, 2022
This week’s Author Q&A is with Katherine Kubarski. Katherine is a grant proposal writer from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She’s long had an affinity for creative writing and rediscovered her passion at a retreat on the sacred island of Molokai. Her poem “Another April,” appeared in our latest issue of The Good Life Review.
We asked Katherine a number of questions and she elected to combine two of the questions to explain both how the pandemic affected her life and writing and how she came to finish a 14 year old poem. Her response was as follows:
“The onset of the pandemic coincided with my father’s precipitous plunge into deep dementia that sadly altered the last 16 months of his life. As his primary caregiver, I became his human compass, orienting him when confused, redirecting him when agitated, and connecting him as best I could to the things that had lit up the length of his 94 years – jitterbugging to Sinatra, the memory of my mother, assembling a Polish casserole to share with family and friends. There is something miraculous about muscle memory, the spot-on execution of a dance step or the perfect slicing of thin rounds of potatoes and onions. Well-worn pathways lead to one’s former self, even when almost all is lost.
“Well-meaning friends would encourage me to write about my pandemic caregiving as a possible path to my own catharsis and release. But it was all too fresh and raw to handle. I had little strength to write about the storm while smack in the middle of it.
“Instead, I took refuge in the toil of revision. Many nights, I’d dig up safe, familiar writing and tuck myself into the folds of the old work, often inhabiting a single poem for weeks at a time. Draft after draft, I’d burrow deep until on occasional mornings I’d wake up to a new image, wordplay, or insight that would take the poem in a new, truer direction.
“’Another April’ is one of those poems. The bones of the piece were set 14 years ago as I emerged from another period of loss and exhaustion. As I revisited the poem during the pandemic I started by dwelling in its strata – of soft snow, frozen ground, fabric, epidermis – and gradually added new layers to convey the anticipated experience of surviving isolation, emerging from “cocoon-ment,” and unwinding the self to connect with the natural world and others once again. In the process, I have come to appreciate how in times when inspiration appears to be in short supply, taking a well-trodden path back to previous work can be a deeply rewarding experience.”
Katherine’s work has appeared in Mountain Gazette, Santa Fe Literary Review, Santa Fe Reporter (awarded first prize in the 2019 Poetry Contest), and Snow Poems Project. In search of post-pandemic inspiration, she is headed with her laptop to a cabin in the forest of Chilean Patagonia where the world’s tiniest deer and other surprises await her.
Thanks, Katherine, for being a part of our 5th issue and for participating in this Q & A!
~The Good Life Review Team