Katie Manning: Poet, Musician, and Professor
I first met the talented Dr. Katie Manning when she joined our English Department at APU as a professor of creative writing and poetry. Students immediately discovered this enthusiastic teacher and spread the word about what a helpful mentor she was. And she was a very fun colleague, who quickly became a friend and encourager of my own writing. A highlight was Writers Read (open mic) where Katie, a poet, regularly performed her pieces, each eliciting vivid images and highly-relatable stories. Her rendition of driving a convertible with her hair blowing in the wind sticks vividly in my memory years later.
Beyond the Page
In recent times, Katie had used musical improv techniques to intertwine her poetry performance with a renowned pianist, and she has sung poems, set to scores, accompanied by fellow instrumentalists. Who knows what creative form of expression her poetry will take next? The following interview only scratches the surface of some of the creative projects in which she’s involved, some of them in unexpected settings beyond the page.
Some Interesting Factoids About Katie:
- Katie Manning is a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego
- She is the founding editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review
- She is the author of Tasty Other, a chapbook that won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award
- Her sixth chapbook is How to Play (Louisiana Literature Press, 2022)
- Her other five chapbooks are 28,065 Nights (River Glass Books), A Door with a Voice (Agape Editions), I Awake in My Womb (Yellow Flag Press), Tea with Ezra (Boneset Books), and The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman (Wipf & Stock)
- Her poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, december, The Lascaux Review, New Letters, Poet Lore, and many other venues
- Her poem “What to Expect” was featured on the Poetry Unbound podcast from The On Being Project
The Interview (an insider look at creativity)
- Tell us about your most recent poetry collection, How to Play. How did you come to write poems inspired by games?
- The cover of How to Play is striking, and you’re credited as one of the designers. Would you tell us about the process of creating the cover and how it’s important to the collection?
- Some of your poems have been set to music. Would you tell us what that experience was like and where we can listen to those pieces?
Katie: As a life-long choral singer, I don’t think I can adequately express how meaningful it’s been to have my poems set to music. I feel a little woozy discussing it. Was that real? It’s too good.
– Most recently, Victor Labenske created a “song cycle” from 9 of the poems in my book Tasty Other. We had a virtual premiere on YouTube during the COVID shutdown, but then we were able to hold a live performance in October 2021. Seeing the poems that I’d written based on my pregnancy anxiety dreams performed as songs on a stage in front of an audience was as surreal as you might imagine. This was also a very vulnerable but very wonderful experience. It’s such an honor when musicians I respect so highly want to spend time working with my poems!
- When you’re not writing or playing games, how else do you spend your time?
- You’ve got another poetry collection set to be published spring of 2023: Hereverent. Congratulations! Would you tell us about this book’s title and poems?
Where Can Readers Learn More About Katie’s Writing and Projects?
- Much of it is listed on Katie’s website, which also includes individual poems, interviews, readings, and collaborative events
- You can also glean new information about her writing and activities on her Author Facebook page
- Follow her on social media below to learn the latest behind-the-scenes stuff
Where Can Readers Find You Online?
Thanks for joining us, Katie! Keep writing and performing, and we’ll keep tuning in!–Nancy
Katie’s How to Play poetry chapbook giveaway contest closed, and Carol Alwood is the winner!
(Contest closed September 30) See blog comments below.