Five Questions with Sarah Jean Grimm

Sarah Jean Grimm edits the online journal, Powder Keg, and works at Penguin Random House. Her poems have recently appeared in The Atlas Review, H_NGM_N, Jellyfish Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.

Sarah is a past contributor to Washington Square Review and we adore her work. We asked her these questions over email.

1. How do poems happen for you?

I like to play bricoleur. I tend to collect disparate little phrases in my iPhone Notes. When I find time to write, I assemble them into poem-shapes. The notes might not survive the poems, but they’re a helpful spark. I like when poems happen other ways, too. In fact, there’s nothing better than when they seem to just happen, coalescing out of nowhere.


2. What is your relationship to the night?

I’m an intermittent insomniac, so if I need to sleep, my relationship to the night is also a polyamorous one with melatonin, valerian root, zzzquil, or scotch. If I don’t have to function in daylight, my relationship is more :dancer emoji:. But mostly, I hang out with my cat. I’m a comfortable surface.


3. Which fairy tale is your favorite and why?

I’m going to skirt around this question because I find it too difficult to choose one, and instead I’ll shout about the fairy tale I’ve read most recently: Patrick deWitt’s Undermajordomo Minor. It’s sharp yet tender, completely captivating—a brilliant flirtation with the genre.


4. If you didn’t live in New York where would you want to live?

Somewhere very opposite, like the Faroe Islands (although I’ve never been). I also have an ongoing love affair with Scotland, and I think I could plant myself in the Hebrides quite happily. This is fantasy; I can’t imagine not wanting to live in New York.


5. Describe your ideal sandwich.


Washington Square