Meet the Authors: Melissa Matthewson

Interview conducted by American Literary Review Editors

Melissa Matthewson  is the author of the essay collection Tracing the Desire Lineout from Split Lip Press. Her essay Notes Towards Beauty appeared in our Fall 2018 issue. Melissa will be signing her essay collection, Tracing the Desire Line, at AWP at the ALR table (T1353) on Friday from 11-12pm. She’ll also be reading at our offsite reading at Francis Bogside, Friday March 6th from 6-8pm. We asked Melissa a few questions in anticipation of meeting her in person at AWP.

ALR: What was the last book you read, in any genre, that taught you something new about your craft as an essayist?

Melissa Matthewson: I’ve actually been reading quite a bit of philosophy lately and those particular books have been teaching me about how to think on the page, about how to ask questions and follow those questions into a long line of investigation, which is something I do already, but these particular books are pushing me to go farther in my thinking. In essence, how to be a better thinker. Elaine Scarry’s On Beauty and Being Just. It is dense, of course, and I’ve been reading the book for weeks on end it seems, but what I admire, especially, is the precise language, both lyrical with some abstraction, but also grounded in explanation and interesting uses of metaphor.

ALR: What kinds of research feed your creative process–music, movies, non-literary texts, archival work, etc?

MM: I absolutely love this question. Music, immediately and always.