Rising Phoenix Winner Cassidy MacArthur
As we all come close to the launch party, it is time to introduce you all to the third Rising Phoenix winner. Last, but certainly not least, we have Cassidy MacArthur: the Poetry genre winner for Rising Phoenix
What inspired you to create the piece that you submitted for the Rising Phoenix Contest?
In a Grammar class last semester with Professor DaPra, we had an assignment to take a concept from Roy Peter Clark’s book Glamour of Grammar and run with it for a creative writing assignment. I choose the section on the verb “to be”. Clark talks about how the “to be” verb can be used in a multitude of different ways, and it got me thinking about how it applied to my own life. When it came time for submissions, I cleaned up the poem and submitted it!
What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?
I had this thick, green book of classical poems when I was very little that I’ve since lost, but I loved it so much that I still have some of the poems copied into a little pink notepad in my seven year old unintelligible handwriting. I think that that book and my parents reading to me all the time from all types of books encouraged my passion for writing.
When does creativity strike for you?
Mostly at 3 AM. I will toss and turn some nights and I can’t fall asleep until I write down what’s knocking around in my head. I also sometimes will just take a quilt and a pitcher of water and go lay down on my lawn in the spring and summer when I need to think and find inspiration.
What elements shape your writing? What is it that you are interested to write about? What are your themes, your genres, your topics of interests, etc.?
I’ve recently realized that I write a lot about death and memory. Things like places and people left behind drive a lot of what I write, but at the same time, I’m pretty much always writing about love. Love, death and the way those intertwine through grief show up repeatedly in what I create.
How long have you been a writer? How has your talent evolved since then, if applicable?
I’ve been writing poetry since I was about 9 or 10. My parents, and strangely enough, my elementary school librarian, were incredibly encouraging when it came to my writing habit and I ended up using writing as an invaluable outlet when it came to my tumultuous teen years. I honed how I wrote over time, and I have had a lot of practice.
What does winning the Rising Phoenix contest mean to you as a writer?
This is huge for me. To have guidance and comments from someone like Soham Patel is really inspiring for me as a young writer, and it’s also just great to see all the other great work that has gone into the journal alongside my own.
To read Cassidy’s poem “I am a long swill of Midwestern summer,” check out our Sheepshead Review website and be sure to RSVP to our launch party on May 3rd from 1-2 p.m. via Zoom. RSVP to the event using this link: https://uwgreenbay.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_41PfZDiWqhxVIjk