Meet a Grubbie: Ashley Wong
GrubStreet runs on coffee, printer ink, and community. This series features just some of the Grubbies who make our community strong. In this edition, meet Grub instructor Ashley Wong. Ashley's poems have been published or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Salamander, Image, Fugue, Poetry International, and the 2011 Montreal Global Poetry Anthology. Catch Ashley in action during her Week of Poetry teen camp, starting July 31st.
What author, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
John Milton. I am so curious to know what it was like to write an epic poem like Paradise Lost while being blind. I would ask how his inspiration for this incredible work came about and whether writing this poem was personally a spiritual experience for him.
What's your favorite writing prompt?
Draw three random words from the dictionary and use all three in a poem.
How do you beat a bout of writer's block?
Read. When I can't write, I read, and I try to read diversely--across genres, across centuries. Often in the middle of reading something, inspiration will strike for a poem to write.
When do you feel most like a writer?
In a workshop, when my writing is on the table, I feel most like a writer. It is an honor to have others take my work seriously and to give me honest feedback.
Weirdest, or worst job you ever had?
In college I worked in a biology lab that required me to feed fruit flies to praying mantises. In order to catch the fruit flies, I had to suck them up with a straw--a task that completely grossed me out.
What is the strangest place you've ever been?
In rural China, in the mountainous outskirts of Yunnan province, I visited the Miao village where all the locals--despite speaking only Chinese--could sing the four-part harmony of Handel's Messiah in English, a tradition they have cherished and passed down for over a hundred years.
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