Maggie Glover is originally from Pittsburgh, Pa. She received her BA in English literature (Creative Writing) from Denison University and an MFA in poetry from West Virginia University, where she received the Russ MacDonald Graduate Award for Poetry in 2007. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Glover’s poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Ninth Letter, Smartish Pace, The Journal, 32 Poems and other literary journals. Her debut collection of poems, “HOW I WENT RED,” is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2014. She lives in San Francisco.
Q: You are an incredibly busy person! You are head of community for ModCloth, social media director for Failbetter.com and you have a collection of poetry coming out next year. What new projects, hobbies etc. have you taken on recently?
A: I spent a wonderful year with Failbetter.com, directing their social media strategy, but I transitioned out due to the increasing responsibilities of my job with ModCloth and my own writing. I’m still a huge fan of Failbetter.com and I am glad they have been able to keep their social momentum going.
This is my last week as head of community at ModCloth. After five wonderful years, helping to build the company from 11 employees in the Strip District of Pittsburgh to almost 500 employees in LA, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, I decided to take the position of director of brand marketing with a cosmetic community and subscription service, ipsy.com. My first day is Monday, and I’m so excited to take on this new challenge!
As far as writing goes, I recently completed a new collaborative poetry manuscript with fellow WVU alum Isaac Pressnell, and am currently working on a new poetry manuscript of my own.
Oh, and I’m training for my first half-marathon (fingers crossed!)
Q: A number of people think if you get an English degree (or any liberal arts type of education) that you’ll end up teaching etc. What do you have to say about the value of your area of study and how it’s been an asset to your success?
A: Thank you for your kind words! Creative writing is a critical aspect to marketing positions because it means you understand the importance of both internal and external communication. Messaging is one of the most important aspects of marketing; the craft of poetry helps me to better understand the impact that concepts and words will have on a customer community. Similarly, the workshop environment helped me to better understand and ultimately become more confident in my own decisions. It’s important to listen to feedback, but you have to understand where the feedback is coming from. I am ultimately responsible for my decisions in poetry and marketing, so all feedback must be taken with a grain of salt.
Q: I understand your forthcoming collection, “How I Went Red,” is about the “how” of exploration as you stated it in previous interviews. Could you elaborate on that statement, the importance of “how” and why it interests you?
A: In a literal sense, I “became red” by dying my hair red. Taken alone, that isn’t very interesting. However, if you research the process of hair dyeing and live with the results a while, you learn so much more the reason certain chemicals work and others don’t, the reason my hair is genetically predisposed to react to color a certain way, the methods of upkeep that will allow the color to stay longer, the patterns that bleed onto my pillow after the dye sets in these are aspects of my red hair color that are ultimately more appealing to me and, I think, to my ideal audience. The hair dye serves as a rather heavy-handed metaphor for my poetry process in general, and the roles that memory and time have played in the formation of my identity.
Q: Speaking of “how,” how do you manage everything? Working several different key positions for different companies, writing and publishing work are all extremely time consuming. Tell me a little about how you balance all the different aspects of your life, and what you like to do for enjoyment or to take a break from it all.
A: After giving this some thought, I have a few answers. First, I don’t cook, I don’t have children, or dogs. I think the time that some people spend on these three things might be the time I spend on poetry and my job. Second, poetry for me is something that comes naturally when I’m in a “dark” place, sometimes unable to do anything else, I can always able to write poetry. Often, I have to write poetry to get through those moments.
A lot of my “for fun” hobbies are clichés: I love to travel (I took a solo journey to Spain last summer for a few weeks) and spending time with my friends, who are scattered across the world. I’m also a superfan of television shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Doctor Who.” Finally, as you’ve probably guessed, I love experimenting with makeup and fashion trends.
Q: What is your fondest memory of WVU?
A: My fondest memory of WVU was moving into my first apartment on Dille Street. It was tiny and run-down, but it was the first time I ever lived completely alone. I have so many memories associated with that apartment: hanging in-progress poems on the walls to keep them top of mind, staying up all night on my mattress on the floor to read “Lolita” for the first time (lent to me by another MFAer), reading over insightful comments on my poems from professors and other students….and, of course, grading lots and lots of ENG 101 portfolios. The last time I visited Morgantown, I stopped by the old place, and was instantly brought back to that time of feeling independent and free for the first time in my life, focused on what I loved to do the most: poetry.
Q: Who was your favorite professor at WVU and why?
A: I have a great deal of respect for all of the professors I worked with at WVU: James Harms, Mary Ann Samyn, Kevin Oderman, just to name a few. From them, I learned valuable lessons not only about the craft of poetry, but also how to live my every day life like a writer: being attentive to the world and its messages.